Tatum the Sphinx

(This piece originally appeared in Sound Collector in 2003 and is republished by permission.)

Art Tatum, Piano Grand Master, Proper Records (Properbox 60) (UK), four CDs, 2003

Is sheer astonishment enough? That's the question posed by Art Tatum.

Tatum sounds…

Words About Music Without Words

"What kind of music do you do?"

My usual answer is "instrumental pop music." The longer answer is "moody and bouncy instrumental music." Since I don't really play jazz or classical or avant-garde music -- though I am a fan…

Tube Warmth

Last summer, I was on my way to play a duo gig with Mike Ferrio, the elegiac songwriter who may be best known under the band name Tandy. Mike had said he would bring an amplifier for me to…

Rods and Cones Thank You

Thanks to everyone who came out last Thursday night to the House of Blues in Boston for the V66 Reunion concert. You all made it a memorable night for Rods and Cones. We had not performed live in 22…

Rods and Cones -- "Education in Love"

 

 

Rods and Cones is coming out of the woodwork, with a vengeance.

Go check out "Education in Love" here, freshly available!

The band, in its first iteration, performed and recorded from 1982 through 1988. One track, "Round Room," from…

The Early Rods and Cones -- 1982

What did we think we were doing? The beats were funky and chomping. Mike on guitar was doing a sort of low-rent James Brown vibe, Herm was putting his Farfisa organ through a phase shifter. We had a two-brother…

Back to the Bass

(CORRECTION: In the original version of this blog post, the photographer was mis-identified. My apologies.)

To the right is an image of yours truly, in about 1987, playing a Guild Pilot bass guitar that is long gone. The photo was…

Rods and Cones to Return ... for One Night

Back in the 1980s, Boston was a great place to be a local band. In Kenmore Square, the Rat was spawning punk rockers, in Cambridge, the Inn-Square Men's Bar was featuring creative music every night. Further out on the fringes…

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'Moody and Bouncy'

Having grown up in the era of 1960s hit radio, I have a deep appreciation for the tightly arranged three-minute record. A great three-minute record glows like a gem. There's no wasted motion. It's like a dream that you can…

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The Black Hollies, and Paying for Music

(New York) The Black Hollies, from Jersey City, N.J., may have a misleading name. They don't sound like the Hollies, but they do sound like the Yardbirds, or the Zombies or the early Kinks, or the pre-"Tommy" Who. They stepped…