Thursday, August 14, 2008

UBM goes CD shopping

Happened to be passing through Hollywood today, so I decided to duck into Amoeba Music and thumb through the used CDs.

I don’t shop much for CDs anymore. But a few years ago, whilst building up my jazz collection, Amoeba was the gold mine.

It is a store I like to walk into without an agenda. Just browse the jazz aisles, the Rock en Español aisle and the African music aisle and see what leaps into my arms.

Within 10 minutes this afternoon, I found myself holding six CDs. Figured I’d better get out while the getting was good.

And because I likes to share, here is some of what I copped. Click the track titles to hear the music on my Vox blog.

1. “Central Park West” – Odean Pope Saxophone Choir

As a World Saxophone Quartet fan, I was halted in my tracks by an Odean Pope Saxophone Choir CD. Just the concept alone.

I’ve downloaded a few Odean Pope tracks over the years. But what really caught me about “Locked & Loaded: Live at the Blue Note” was this notation: “featuring Michael Brecker, James Carter, Joe Lovano.” That’s a murderers’ row of contemporary reedmen.

Turns out Brecker, Carter and Lovano only solo on selected tracks, they’re not members of the nine-sax “choir.” And none of them partakes of Pope’s luxurious arrangement of John Coltrane’s “Central Park West.” This is a gorgeous track, though.

2. “Brother Joseph” – Frank Lowe

I come to avant-garde tenor man Frank Lowe by way of his occasional work with Jayne Cortez, the poet.

This solo piece is from the 2008 reissue of Lowe’s 1973 LP “Black Beings,” which was released on the influential free-jazz label ESP-Disk.

3. “Once I Wished a Tree Upside Down” – Trilok Gurtu

I lifted up a CD called “The Trilok Gurtu Collection” just to find out what the hell “Trilok Gurtu” means.

It’s a dude’s name. Trilok Gurtu is a tabla player (and Western- style drummer) born in Bombay.

Now check out some of the other musicians listed on this compilation disc: Joe Zawinul... Pat Metheny... Don Cherry. (Sold!)

None of those cats is on this 1991 track. The sax player is Norwegian badass Jan Garbarek, who composed the piece.

4. “Satisfied” – Barbara & Ernie

I had never heard of Barbara Massey and Ernie Calabria – together or separately – and I still can’t find out much about them.

But I bought this Barbara & Ernie CD (“Prelude to...”) because the cover looks cool... and because Eumir Deodato was involved. (He is peculiarly credited for “conducting and orchestral expertise.”)

This disc is a 2007 reissue of a 1971 LP. It was originally released on Cotillion, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, and was produced by Atlantic’s prolific Joel Dorn. This particular cut features Keith Jarrett blues-vamping on the piano.

Yes, today was a good day.


mynameismyname said...

Man, I feel so "mainstream" when I read some of the musical choices that you point out. And I always thought I was a pretty "underground" cat. LOL.

You really open my eyes to stuff I probably would've passed over.

The originial LP of that Barbara and Ernie album is pretty pricey now, it's a pretty rare find.

Speaking of vinyl, do you collect it? And what was Amoeba's (a store I always wanted to check out ...but I live on the other side of the country) LP selection and prices like?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks for that, mynameismyname.

I've bought hardly any vinyl in the last 15 years. I still have crates full on the East Coast, and I used to hit the record conventions... plus there were some real good used-record stores in Montgomery County. (Roadhouse Oldies in Silver Spring might be the last one standing.)

Amoeba does sell used vinyl, but since I don't buy, I never check out that section of the store.

Their stores are HUGE, by the way. You could spend hours just in the jazz section... never mind blues, rock, world music, dance music, etc. You got to walk through the door knowing you're gonna put a hurt on your plastic.

Anonymous said...

Used to live right down the street from that place (Vine and...whatever cross street the orphanage where Monroe was). It is, to this day, my favorite music store ever.

I'm trying to remember some great bands whose albums I picked up there for the first time...TV on the Radio & Magnetic Fields are the only ones that come to mind at the moment.

I've been to their SF store as well, and I prefer the LA branch.

That was one of the few things I actually liked about LA. It's not enough to make me miss it though.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I've been to the one in Berkeley... the original, I suppose. But the Hollywood one can't be beat.

Marilyn said...

I love that Trilok Gurtu CD! My drummer mate came home with it years ago...I'd never heard of Gurtu at that point. LOVE it.

dez said...

You're one electic motherfucker :-)

BTW, why you gotta play RDJ like that? Who hurt you? ;-D

Undercover Black Man said...

BTW, why you gotta play RDJ like that? Who hurt you? ;-D

Homebwah shoulda tried that blackface shit when he was breaking into strange people's houses and falling asleep on their sofas.

dez said...

^ Good one.

I'll still see it, though. It looks hilarious and RDJ is a god among actors.

Undercover Black Man said...

I love that Trilok Gurtu CD!

Thanks for the comment, Marilyn.

I think we have the answer to "What do you buy the person who has everything?" Some Hindu percussion music!

Kellybelle said...

There was this shop in the Hill District in Pittsburgh that was like that. Just sick with CDs.

Brian said...

Thanks for introducing me to Barbara and Ernie - cool stuff. Plus, Satisfied is the intro to Brother Ali's Uncle Sam Goddamn.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Oh cool. I like Brother Ali.

God truly guides my hand when I go CD browsing.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Oh man, I would buy any Odean Pope Saxophone Choir music. Pandora rocks that Locked and Loaded a lot on my WSQ station. I've been meaning to buy it, but haven't been able to get to the store. I'll just order it.

Amoeba's the shit, and the one essential stop I make whenever I get to LA. I always plan to spend $300 and half a day in there.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I always plan to spend $300 and half a day in there.

Yep. That's the spot for that.

James said...

Next time you're in the Rock en Espanol section, try Natalia LaFourade. Talk about "random hotness".

As for RDJ, some of you are just too sensitive. He plays an actor that is so overly intense he goes over the top to play a black man. They are making fun of people that are that intense. And there is a brother there to call him on it regularly. No big deal. How can you make a movie about idiots if the characters can't act like idiots? Sigh.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Next time you're in the Rock en Espanol section, try Natalia LaFourade.

I've hit that. "Otra Vez" is my cut. (Especially the bridge.) BAM!

James said...

^ Constantly renewing my faith in your taste!