Soul of the Tango

The music of Astor Piazzolla. In case you had not guessed, my favorite Yo-Yo Ma out of half-a-dozen Yo-Yo Ma Cd’s. Cello, bandone√≥n, piano, guitar. A pretty woman and a little wine are the only things that can add to that.

Les Paul

Les Paul and Chet Atkins
Les Paul and Chet Atkins

When I was in High School, my older brother played guitar and listened to records of guitar players. He especially liked a 45 by Les Paul and Mary Ford – How High The Moon. He played it as the signature song for his pretend radio show.
Les Paul, invented more stuff for musical performance and recording than most people have items in their kitchen.
Les Paul, always the accent, the spark, the zing.
Les Paul, now missed.

United Breaks Guitars

And has unfriendly service besides. I heard the song behind this video on All Things Considered. An e-mail newsletter from Flight Aware jogged my memory so here is the video.

The last time I flew United Airlines, I was flying to a job interview with them. I did not know whether I was being treated liked dirt because something on my ticket let them know I was flying to headquarters or I was just another passenger to be treated like all the others. Still, I would rather fly United than Delta or American.

Blast and Fire

In a land far away many years ago, I would sing to my children as I pushed them on the swing.  Recent events at work brought to mind this song:

Every morning about seven o’clock
There were twenty tarriers drilling at the rock
The boss comes along and he says, “Keep still
And bear down heavy on the cast iron drill.”

Chorus
And drill, ye tarriers, drill
Drill, ye tarriers, drill
For it’s work all day for the sugar in you tay
Down beyond the railway
And drill, ye tarriers, drill
And blast, and fire.

The foreman’s name was John McCann
By God, he was a blamed mean man
Last week a premature blast went off
And a mile in the air went big Jim Goff

Chorus

And when next payday comes around
Jim Goff a dollar short was found
When ‘e asked, “What for?” came this reply
“You were docked for the time you were up in the sky.”

Chorus

And Drill ye tarriers drill. And Blast. And Fire.

Confluence

My grandfather loved opera. He went to every performance of the Metropolitan Opera when it was in Cleveland. He was infamous for going out one afternoon for a haircut to a new barbershop and calling home when late for supper to say that he had been listening to 78’s of Enrico Caruso with the Italian opera-loving barber and had lost track of time. He listened to the Texaco Metropolitan Opera every Saturday afternoon. He introduced me to opera. I like opera. But I do not love it as my grandfather did.

My mother liked 20th century music. I did not realize until after I left home how my mother liked Karlheinz Stockhausen, Aaron Copeland, and Samuel Barber.

I of course was influenced by both Mom and Poppop. I also liked synthesized music. I was turned on to music synthesizer by Howard Russell. Howard did sound production then and still does sound production. As a result he had a promo album of Walter Carlos’ Switched On Bach. Walter has become Wendy but the music is still Back with the electronic sound. For me it made the voicing clear for first time.

I tried to make synthesized music with kits from Paia. Time pressures from children and job put the synthesizer in the background. But I alway played a variety of recorded music when I had the opportunity. I occasionally listen to the opera as it plays on Saturday afternoon when I am out-and-about doing recycling/lumber/garden supply/tools and otherwise guy-shopping.

I also have always liked Philip Glass as a composer. There is a certain comfort in the repetition of Glass’s music. I had borrowed Powaqqatsi http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powaqqatsi from the Windsor Public Library and wound up buying my own copy. There is also the CD of the sound track for The Hours

My son who plays the guitar well has taken to composing (assembling?, constructing?, compiling?,…?) electronic music on his computer. He describes this music style as “trance”.

Today’s Weekend Wall Street Journal has a review of Philip Glass’s ‘Satyagraha’. I had seen the headline and picture but had set the paper down to get busy with Saturday projects. After lunch, I moved the car and happened to turn on the radio. As I listened, I noticed that the currents of Glass’s music flowed in patterns similar to my son’s music. I went to tell him to give it a listen.

In an interesting confluence, my son’s girlfriend had just suggested that he listen to today’s opera to hear how much Philip Glass was like trance.

He did listen. But in just a few seconds he said “The Hours“. And indeed he was right. But there is more…

I think. Satyagraha has solos and chorus. The Hours is strictly instrumental.

So many flows come together and go on.

Michael Masley

One of the CD’s that I just took off the player is by Michael Masley. I think that I bought this one near the corner of Jefferson and Hyde in San Francisco in 1999 when I was there for a SHARE conference. I guess that Michael Masley is still going strong as attested by his own web site and the number of Google entries. But most especially by the Wikipedia article. A very intense, dedicated, talented and interesting fellow. He played on the street outside Mac Expo in January.