Is it live or is it Memorex?

Author: tshook

The first time I recognized the magic of European classical music was when pianist Richard Goode came to a small church in Olympia, Wa.  I think I was in my twenties by this time (or maybe my teens), and although I loved jazz, classical music was only interesting, nothing more.  Anyway, he started playing some Bach, and it was beautiful, organic, alive.  I was totally transfixed throughout the entire concert.  I was hearing something that lived and breathed just like me.  And Bach was written how many centuries ago?  The idea that it was “old” music never crossed my mind.

This was the same experience I had seeing Ornette Coleman in concert.  I couldn’t really get into his recordings so much, but the first time I saw him live I felt like I had just heard and witnessed something miraculous. Which leads me to the point of this entry:  For a newcomer, in order to “get what all the fuss is about” in jazz or classical music, I believe it has to be seen live.  At least once, but preferably multiple times to really give it a chance.  Kind of like drinking coffee – I sure as heck didn’t like it the first few times I drank it, but once I got it, I … actually, I need to cut down on coffee.  Moving on:  Once a new listener can witness the energy firsthand, then they can recognize that spirit in a cd or video, but from my experience it’s hard for most people to hear what’s happening if they’ve only been exposed to recorded media. 

Opera, especially, is almost completely flattened out on a video – it simply has to be seen live.  And it needs to be seen live in a big concert hall – that’s what opera is designed for. 

Contrast this with a lot of rock, pop, rap, etc… which seems to present itself better in recordings.  Often it’s very effective in on cd or video, because the engineering process adds a lot of subtleties that often aren’t really weren’t there when the band played the music (assuming there are musicians).  This is why a group might sound great on record but are very often disappointing in a live situation.

So this is my new theory: 

Jazz, Classical = Better seen live

Current popular music (MTV, BET) = Better on recording

Hank Williams

Author: tshook

I heard Hank Williams for the first time about a year ago.  I was totally floored, I can’t sing him enough praises – click here to hear what all the hype is about:


Author: tshook

Barack Obama’s speech about race was right on the money.  I’ve been reading the blogs a little bit and it’s very disturbing to hear the ignorance in people’s comments, and the obvious fear by caucasians that Democratic nominee Barack hates America, hates white people, and wants to destroy this country. 

Barack’s approach to this speech was extremely rare in the political realm: he decided to be honest, keep his dignity and integrity, and in so doing gave one of the most intelligent  and well-crafted speeches you’ll ever hear in a public forum on the subject of race by a political candidate in America.  Unfortunately, this speech might have been a little too intelligent for most caucasians in America.

Decide for yourself here:


Author: tshook

I just watched Dogville starring Nicole Kidman et al, and all I can say is wow! Great, great movie.  Someone compared it to My Dinner with Andre, which is just wrong because My Dinner with Andre was stupid and sucked balls while Dogville was very well thought out and is great!  Every once in awhile I felt like a line was a bit obvious or clumsy, but overall the message in the film was very clear.  It’s the kind of film that can be talked about for hours afterward, it’s also the kind of film that’s almost 3 hours long and if you grew up in a short-attention span world like me at first you might be tempted to give up – but for those that take the time to get involved the pay-off is well worth it.