Title photo
frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Tue, 25 Jun 2019

Stanley Jordan, two-handed-tapping jazz phenom, sounds even better today

Is Stanley Jordan's two-handed tapping of the electric guitar a gimmick, or a portal to another kind of musical expression? I'm going with the last answer, and looking at this video of him playing the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" in 2015, I think he sounds better now than he did in his '80s heyday.

Part of what I'm responding to here is that his tone is so good. I'm guessing it's a combination of technique, musicality and better gear, but his time is excellent, and the way he works his way in and out of the tune is really worth watching:

Here he is playing the same tune in the 1980s:

Stanley Jordan is on tour right now, and the easiest way to keep up with him is via Facebook. I say this because his website is "under maintenance."

Tue, 18 Jun 2019

Romain Vuillermin and Serge Merlaud sounds so good playing 'Lullaby of Birdland' on vintage Gibson acoustic archtops

The playing is great, but the guitars sound so good. Often an archtop acoustic can sound a bit harsh, but I think the key here is that they are both using a light touch. I love the "woodiness" in these instruments. The sound of the '30s L-5 being played by Serge Merlaud on the right is exactly what I like:

Sat, 25 May 2019

Molly Miller Trio - 'Something Stupid'

I heard about Molly Miller on the Guitar Wank podcast (and that's proof enough that being on a podcast really helps get your name out there).

She talked about the Gibson ES-335 that she loves (I can't remember the year, but I'll fill it in if I listen again and remember it), and this video shows how good both she and this guitar sounds.

It's a nice, clean Gibson tone, and I really love her playing:

Wed, 22 May 2019

Pat Metheny - Secret Story Live 1992

Whether in the context of jazz, or outside of it, Pat Metheny is an original. He's also one of the greatest improvising guitarists and jazz musicians of all time.

I get the feeling that his fan base isn't primarily guitarists, but he's so deeply expressive on his instrument that every guitarist should be listening to him.

This video includes a full concert. Pat is playing his Gibson ES-175, and the sound of the instrument and player are perfect:

Pat Metheny Trio: 'Giant Steps'

I love Pat Metheny's take on John Coltrane's "Giant Steps." He plays the head of the tune in a more subdued way than you usually hear it, and he plays with the time, really slowing things down. But the improvisation turns up the heat and really shows the beauty of Coltrane's complicated and tricky composition:

'Giant Steps,' vocal by Camille Bertault with Nelson Faria on guitar

Camille Bertault sings the John Coltrane classic "Giant Steps," also scatting the original solo:

Wed, 15 May 2019

Julian Lage - 'I'll Be Seeing You' - I play this video at least once a week

Julian Lage is the rare child prodigy who has continued to grow as a musician to the point that he's a true leader both on his instrument and in the world of jazz overall.

I love his conception, the contrast between subtlety and bombast and the way he uses an old Fender Telecaster and a an equally old and super small Fender Champ amplifier to create this sound that goes from clean to dirty depending on how hard he hits the strings. It's a unique sound in jazz guitar, where clean tones from archtops are the standard.

I really do listen to this about once a week. Julian is so good, and the band of Scott Colley on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums is right there with him in this intimate live performance at the Blue Whale in LA's Little Tokyo neighborhood.

Thu, 09 May 2019

Miles Okazaki's six-volume 'Work' includes every Thelonious Monk composition played on solo guitar

I'm not sure what led me to Miles Okazaki and his stunning "Work" album, which includes every tune composed by Thelonious Monk played on Okazaki's Gibson ES-175CC guitar (with a Charlie Christian pickup) through a Fender Twin Reverb amp.

Okazaki's playing is virtuosic, he sounds great (how can you NOT love an ES-175, a Charlie Christian pickup and a Twin Reverb?), and his solo conception is very original.

You can listen to the whole thing on Bandcamp, but it's very reasonable to buy, and I'm doing that because I want the full-resolution FLAC files (hint to musicians: offer FLAC and I am way more likely to buy your album).

Also, listen to him play Bach on a classical guitar and the 175.

More

Sat, 09 Feb 2019

Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 played by Anna Fedorova and the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie

Tue, 29 Jan 2019

Videos: From the clavichord to the modern piano

David Schrader explains how keyboard instruments evolved from the clavichord to the modern grand piano.

And yes, he does play them: