Ahmad Jamal Interview (Part 1 of 1) [Listen 34:00] – Reading The Stop Signs With Ahmad Jamal S03 Ep09
Special Guest: Ahmad Jamal - is without question one of the greatest names in jazz living today. His lyrical and minimal approach combined with his otherworldly sense of timing and innovative use of silence set him apart in the jazz world (or as he prefers to call it - American classical music). Ironically, it was a left-field hit in 1958 with “Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing: But Not for Me”; a live album that reached number three in the pop charts which set his career spinning in diverse and broad directions. First, by making some of the hardcore jazz critics question his loyalty to the jazz world because charting in the pop charts was frowned upon and secondly, and more importantly, it changed his career because the album grabbed the attention of a trumpet player by the name of Miles Davis. In fact, Davis openly talked about borrowing heavily from Jamal and his unique use of silence within his playing. He often covered Jamal's repertoire like “New Rumba” and standards from his set like “Autumn Leaves” and “But Not For Me.” Jamal’s career has alway remained strong and consistent. In fact, at age 81 he has released his strongest albums in years, harking back to his time with Chess and Impulse Records. His latest album, Blue Moon, won second place for the best jazz album of 2012 in the readers' poll choice for DownBeat magazine and is widely considered a modern masterpiece.
12 cheap and easy tips to instantly improve your record collection
1. Putting dust cover jackets on your records
Nothing says I care more than a guy who has his collection all wrapped up.* Taking records in and out from storage can be quite harsh to a collection when not stored in plastic. The plastic record cover sleeves avoid cover damage, the spread of any mildew or dust and allow you to try tip 3.
2. Protective paper or plastic record covers
This is the best way to avoid scuffs on the outside and/or worse undesirables from getting into the grooves. You will often come across cheap records where the protective inner cover is missing. My advice is inspect before buying, consider cleaning it before exposing it to your turntable, and invest a buck to protect that record. I know you may have got it for a buck, but you need to consider your record needle as well.
3. Combine tip 1 and 2
Store the vinyl record outside the dust cover but still inside the vinyl covers – Ever noticed the first place to have damage is the bottom or sides of the cardboard record cover. When your record moves, the sharp hard vinyl record moves inside the cardboard sleeve, cutting into it. I avoid this by storing the vinyl records and cardboard sleeves separately. I still put the sleeve, record, and any artwork that the record has inside the dust cover jacket side by side. I still have the record sleeve covers protecting the vinyl from dust and finger prints.
4. Store them vertically
The more severe the angle, the more damage you are causing to your records. Like most everything else in life, time is not your friend, and storing your records on an angle will eventually cause your records to warp. Laying them flat like a pizza is also damaging and can also cause warps.
5. Don’t over crowd your shelf
I know I’ve done it in the past. You are trying to squeeze that record in an overcrowded space and you end up bending the cardboard. The best way to avoid this as well as avoiding putting a record imprint from another record into on the record cover.
6. Buy yourself a nice Cleaning brush
I always clean the surface of a record before I drop the needle. Another tip is to be sure not to touch the cleaning brush bristles (no matter how soft and luxurious they feel) otherwise, you risk transferring the oils from your fingers onto your records.
7. Get yourself a nice tiny brush to clean off the dust that eventually builds up on the needle
Most high end stereo stores will have one of these specific brushes for cheap.
8. Buy needle cleaning fluid to clean your record needle
No matter how clean or new the records you play you will accumulate grime and dirt where the needle runs along the record. The liquid doesn't cost much and will probably last you the rest of your life. One note, be sure that you only clean the tip and not touch any of the movements further up by the cartridge body itself.
9. Keep records out of direct light
I only say this because I had it happen to me. It sounds obvious, but it can happen to you too. I had a record pulled out getting ready to put it on next; carelessly I set it in direct light by a window thinking that I wouldn't be long. I got distracted and when I came back to the record was a warp in a ripple effect. Sunlight can also cause fading, dulling the records covers as well.
10. Even moisture and Temperature
Garages and sheds are far from ideal and should be avoided whenever possible. Swings in temperature can cause your records to become warped (especially in high heat). Moisture is another thing altogether. Mildew will spread through records like mold in a loaf of bread. Plastic is only a partial solution to quarantining these bad boys the best solution is take it as a learning lesson and throw them out. Cleaning is questionable at best and in my opinion, not worth the risk.
11. Dust and Smoke Free
When I’m buying used records, nothing sets off the alarm more than seeing dust on a record or noticing that the record has an odour. Dust and smoke particles act like sandpaper on your turntable, damaging your needles and potentially all the records after it. Quarantine that puppy and say goodbye..
12. Record Cleaners
To be honest, I haven’t actually tried all types or configurations of record cleaners that are out in the market today. Personally, I’ve had mixed results with cleaning records and recommend it with a caution. When dealing with an obviously dirty record, cleaning really helps; with new records the verdict is still out. If you want to try cleaning a record to test it yourself I have a cheap alternative that you can try. All you need is a broken record player, a tooth brush, Nitty Gritty Cleaner (buy a small amount at first) and a hand-held modified shop vac. You place your dirty record on the table put the Nitty Gritty Cleaner on it, clean the surface and inside the groove with the tooth brush then carefully vacuum the liquid. Place the record on a clean surface to dry then repeat for side two when side one is dry. The downside to cleaning records is that I find the process slow, awkward to dry and that multiple cleanings is required in order for optimal results. That said, official record cleaners seem to be the best and if I had one I would probably clean more often. You also need to put a piece of soft rubber on the hand vac to avoid causing surface scratches.
*Practice safe record collecting and help stop the spread of bad moldy record covers and other RDP’s. (Record Damaging Practices)
I would love to hear back from you about your experience with record cleaning and tips of your own. Please feel free to leave a comment.
Andrea Bocelli and Francois Eckert interview (Part 1 of 2) [Listen 41:22 min]- Getting Real Music Lessons With Francois Eckert S03 Ep07
Special Guest: (Written) Andrea Bocelli (Part 1 of 1): is an Italian tenor with outstanding talent and renown. He has sold over 80 Million records worldwide (making him the biggest-selling classical soloist of all time). He started his career off by winning Best Newcomer in the singing competition for the Sanremo Music Festival in 2004 and has gone on to win Grammys, Golden Globes, and was even nominated for an Academy Award. His musical style ranges a wide spectrum from opera to pop (singing with artists as diverse as Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, and David Foster). Bocelli's Sacred Arias became the biggest-selling classical album by a solo artist of all time with over 20 million copies sold worldwide. I am undeniably honored to have been granted this interview with Bocelli, and this interview reveals his warm character and his generosity towards supporting the arts.
Special Guests: (Audio) Francois Eckert (Artistic Director and Tonmeister) (Part 1 of 2): is a Tonmeister (a recording master) who is responsible for that title of the best sounding recording album in my collection or any of my friends' collections. A recording that not only has captured phenomenal music (the Arditti String Quartet playing a variety of 20th Century composers), but a perfect recording that truly sounds as if the Arditti String Quartet is in your room giving a private performance. François Eckert has worked with all the greats in classical music with composers like Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and György Ligeti, and conductors like Pierre Boulez, and Daniel Barenboim, and the list of talented people could go on and on.
In this podcast we talk about what a Tonmeister is, what his take is on the Vinyl verses Digital debate, some of the technical aspects of his career like mic placement and room acoustics, surround sound and much much more.
You can find out more about Mr Eckart and the record label La Dolce Volta - HERE
Andrea Bocelli Talks With Going Thru Vinyl
Going Thru Vinyl (GTV) - Italy, or more specifically the city of Florence (the capital of Tuscany), is undeniably the most historically important city in the world when it comes to opera. Not only was Florence the fertile soil for a cultural shift away from the sacred to the humanist thought (the birthplace of the Renaissance) but Florence is also the city that opera itself was invented.1
You grew up in the Tuscany region; what influence has Tuscany and its history had on you and your style. Did this prepare you later in life?
Andrea Bocelli - I don’t think Tuscany has influenced my career: it rather influenced my character, my mood, my sensitivity. Regarding the rest, I think everything was born with me, according to God’s plans.
GTV - Although you are one of the most recognized and respected opera singers today (having sung for prominent figures in society, headlined in the most historical opera houses, and having sold over 75 million albums around the world), you are in fact part of a long and profound history of opera singers. But history is too easily forgotten and people of the past are relegated to the shadows, can you say a word or two about some of the prominent singers of the past.
Giacomo Lauri-Volpi (December 11, 1892–March 17, 1979) – was a widely recorded and much celebrated Italian tenor who was a key member during the early days of recording. Although you did not work directly under him, you came from that school. One of Lauri-Volpi’s biggest admirers was Franco Corelli, and from Corelli you received private lessons. I’m wondering if Giacomo Lauri-Volpi came up in conversation and if his singing style has influenced yours.
Andrea Bocelli - Not really, but I always loved the great vibration of his voice and also the projection of it. Corelli used to say that his voice was one of the few that in theatre could reach the gallery…
GTV - Franco Corelli (8 April 1921 – 29 October 2003) – was a famous Italian tenor who was celebrated for his spinto tenor voice, for his movie-star good looks, and later in his career for his ability to teach. He was someone you took direct teaching lessons from. How would you describe his singing style and his influence in you?
Andrea Bocelli - I loved the great voices which I learned to recognize and distinguish very early on, but undoubtedly the voice of Franco Corelli was the one which struck and influenced me more than any other. I am almost sure that without Corelli there would never have been Bocelli.
GTV - Luciano Pavarotti (12 October 1935 – 6 September 2007) – probably the most famous tenor of the second half of the 20th century, and spearheaded opera’s contemporary success to a wider audience. Pavarotti was also a significant figure on the road to your success. What was your favorite role of his in opera?
Andrea Bocelli - Maestro Pavarotti deserves a special place in the history of the music of our time and to have worked alongside him has been an enormous and unforgettable privilege. The chance to work with important people such as those you mention, makes the life of an artist interesting and stimulating, which compensates for the hard graft with the constant travel and all the daily practice which a professional singer has to do to maintain peak efficiency.
1 Opera was said to have been invented in Florence (the capital of Tuscany) by Jacopo Peri (20 August 1561 – 12 August 1633) -a composer and singer who studied with Cristofano Malvezzi and was hired by the Medici family during transitional period in music (between Late-Renaissance and Early-Baroque periods). In 1590s, Peri became associated with Jacopo Corsi (a person who encouraged Peri and the poet Ottavio Rinuccini to experiment in both drama and music; using the frame work of the classical Greek tragedy). The first known standard composition to be considered opera, begun in 1594, was called “Dafne;” a story about Apollo falling in love with the nymph, Daphne. Today, only fragments of the opera survive.