Agreed on everything said about Chick Corea. RIP to one of the true greats. I've seen him live and it was pretty mind-boggling to watch his facility, adventurousness, ability to create on the fly, and simultaneously, how in tune he was with his band and the audience as a communal experience of give and take. I have some pro-level (though not famous) jazz musician friends, percussionists and keyboardists, that revere him and speak of him in hushed tones (not just the week of his death but going back years). A keyboardist friend of mine who would blow anyone away that watched him, says of Chick: "he is way beyond anything I will ever be able to approach. It is impossible what he is able to do." Another said "If Mozart was a Jazz musician..."
There is a case to be made that he is the most skilled and versatile keyboardist in Jazz history.
To think he is the same keyboardist/pianist for each of these albums (for starters) is tough to wrap one's head around:
In A Silent Way
Afternoon of a Georgia Faun
Light as a Feather
On the Corner
Version Galore and Dread In A Babylon (which... for some reason is not on my reggae chart apparently?) are essential. Surprised we don't have his self-titled on the site yet... definitely a great gateway to dub and dancehall. _________________ Maple Syrup
Đorđe Balašević died today from COVID, after having health problems for some time. He was the Balkan version of Cohen (or Dylan or whoever you wanna compare him to), one of the best Serbian songwriters of all time. And you know you're a big deal when you're a Serbian musician and get a full evening of in memoriam documentaries on Croatian national TV. In my book, he was one of the few who managed to make local ethno/folklore influences work in traditional ballads, chansons, pop, folk and rock songs. Incredible wordsmith as well, it was more poetry than typical lyrics. Up there with the best ever. I've never been the biggest fan (mainly because I've never dived deeper into his opus), but the talent is undeniable. The concerts commonly lasted over 4 hours with his long speeches in between songs, often of political nature. And, in retrospect, he was almost always on the "right side" of historic events, even during the turbulent 80s and 90s. If anyone's interested, here's some of his most popular songs.
Devojka sa čardaš nogama (Girl with "czardas" legs)
One of the concert staples was the song "Neki novi klinci" (Some new kids), it has an iconic line "Then I got a few mandarines and a small, white rabbit". The tradition was to bombard the stage with mandarines and plush toy rabbits when he sang the line. Here's a video of him retaliating during one concert. Shitty audio disclaimer. He says "That's enough now! You've been throwing rabbits at me for 20 years, now you'll pay." (around 1 minute mark, timestamp doesn't work for some reason)
It's one of my favourite songs lyrically, or at least a very intriguing one that I had spent a lot of time thinking about. The song was not without its share of controversy, as it was seemingly written about the violence of Albanians over Serbs in Kosovo in the 1980s and was as such accused of nationalism. Later on in the 1990s Balašević mentioned that things have changed and "we [Serbs] are the ones who break locusts now". He had also said that the song was supposed to be about good and evil and not ethnicities.
Devoid of this context, this is a first person song in which the narrator, talking to a judge, decries the violence coming from unnamed perpetrators (his property vandalized, crops stolen, his "locusts trees broken"). The way it is written, it seems that the narrator is actually on trial, after taking the justice into his own hands, having being failed by the system (failing to restore order). I translated some of the bits of the songs below (although obviously no translation will do it justice).
I sve po zakonu (all according to the law)
za to sam prvi (I am the first one for that)
ne bi bilo ove krvi (there would not be this bloodshed)
da je bilo sve po zakonu (if it were all according to the law)
Vlast je vlast...
i ja to poštujem (The rule is the rule*, and I respect that)*meant as in - the authority, the ruling power
Tu su paragrafi pa zagrabi (There are paragraphs, so grab it)
Nek isto je i đavolu i đakonu (and let it be the same for the devil and the deacon)
Pa nek se zna! (And let it be known!)
Nek' su mi gazili njivom (let them trample on my fields)
Mojom se sladili šljivom (sweeten themselves* with my plums)*not sure that's an expression, but i can't translate it...
Uvek je lopova bilo (there had always been thieves)
Jer ćuk je ćuk i vuk je vuk (because an owl is an owl, and a wolf is a wolf)
Nikada zlotvora dosta (never the end of the evil in the world)
Suša mi uništi bostan (and the draught destroys my melons)
I led se prospe pred žetvu (and the ice will ruin my harvest)
Al' led je led a red je red! (but ice is ice, and order is order!)
I prekardašilo (and it has gone on for too long)
Im'o sam bagremovu šumu (I had a locust trees forest)
Tamo dole prema drumu (down there by the road)
Pa sam čekao (and i waited...)
Red je red! (Order is order!)
Polako komšije! (Slow down my friends!)
Ne može samo da se uđe (You cannot just enter)
Da se ruši tuđe (and break what's not yours)
Lepo sam im rekao (I told them nicely)
Ne lomite mi bagrenje (Don't break my locust trees)
Bez njih će me vetrovi oduvati (Without them, the winds will blow me away)
Ljudi smo, cenjeni sude (We are people, my honor)
Pa neka bude šta bude (and whatever will be, will be)
Žao mi marama crnih (I'm sorry about the black scarfs)
Al' plač je plač a mač je mač (but to cry is to cry, and a sword is a sword)
Ne pitaj šta bi sad bilo (don't ask what would happen now)
Kad bi se ponovo zbilo (if it happened again)
Ne pitaj da li se kajem (don't ask if i regret it)
Jer jed je jed a red je red (because fury is fury, but order is order!)
Rock and blues piano player. He had a long and productive career, beginning as a player with Big Joe Turner and T-Bone Walker as a teenager in the 60's. He was a member of Canned Heat and The James Harman Band in the seventies, and joined The Blasters in the early 80's. He was also a member of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and played on albums by John Hammond, Doug Sahm, Charlie Musselwaite and many others.
He was 68 years old. _________________ May we all get to heaven
'Fore the devil knows we're dead...
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