Random Notes

Hi, long time no see. Here are some random notes and updates:

Mitra Sumara, the 16-legged band that plays pre-revolutionary Iranian pop music, has been rocking and swinging in 6/4 time. Our leader and singer, Yvette Perez, took us into Andrew Baker's recording studio, and we laid down some tracks that have us all feeling very excited and tingly. Stay tuned, and you'll get to hear it too.

By the way, two members of that group have put out excellent records this year: Sam Kulik, "Escape From Society," and Brian Geltner, a.k.a. Dr. Snitch, "Instrumental Health."

In other recording news, next week I will begin tracking for the next Jim Duffy album, featuring the same group -- Dennis Diken on drums, Paul Page on bass and Lance Doss on guitar. We'll be laying down four tunes at Cowboy Technical Services, vis-a-vis the engineering skills of Greg Duffin and Mario Viele. As I write, I'm tweaking the compositions. I tend to make changes at the last minute.

And I tend to record in the most inefficient ways. Yes, I know that people can make good records in their bedrooms, using a laptop computer, and more power to them. But that's just not my style. Instead, I have to sweat over the compositions for months, and then arrange to have a full band play live in the studio, and record using vintage microphones onto old-fashioned two-inch tape, using 16-track recording. For some reason that brings out the vibe. That's also why it takes me three or four years to make an album. (And yes, I still call them albums.)

As the summer winds along, my listening playlist includes the Gerry Mulligan-Chet Baker Quartet, one of my favorite groups of all time. I really enjoy all that counterpoint, and I like how there's no piano or guitar or other chording instrument. Plus, they keep the tunes short and snappy. A lot happens in those three minutes. Each track is a little gem.

Also, I am finally catching up with Brian Eno's early pop albums. On heavy rotation: "Here Come the Warm Jets," "Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)" and "Another Green World." I have heard this stuff on and off over the years, like most people, including you, probably, but these days I'm really *hearing* it. Maybe I'm just conducting my own music education in public. That's all right, I'm not embarrassed. And I found a vinyl copy of "801 Live" for $8 -- that's one of my favorite records of any kind. That record gives prog rock a good name.

For my own keyboard playing, I have made a project of Bach's Two-Part Inventions on the Wurlitzer electric piano. As I write, the Wurlitzer is in the repair room at Main Drag Music, where keyboard tech Jun Takeshita is fine-tuning it for the recording session. In the meanwhile, I'm playing some acoustic piano and also blowing into a Hohner melodica. The melodica is a subject unto itself.

Those are just a few notes for anyone who may be interested. Thanks for clicking.

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Audio Playlist

Latest Release: "Pale Afternoon"

 The latest release  from Jim  Duffy is "Pale Afternoon," a  collection of 11  moody and bouncy  instrumental pop tunes. Buy CDs here.

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