Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Behearer Has New Ears (and Eyes)

I read a cool article in the paper a few days ago about a new interactive database that covers jazz in the '70s and '80s--a time that many consider to be a "dead era" in the music's history because so many musicians turned either to fusion or the extreme avant-garde. But if you sift through the chaff, there was a lot of great music released between 1970 and 1990, and people in the jazz community are gathering together online to chronicle some of the often-overlooked music of this era.

The site,, is named after a Dewey Redman album, Ear of the Behearer, which I've always thought was an awesome album title; it was also released in 1973, which puts it within the site's demographic. The site is done in "wiki" style, and it's already up to over 500 albums. The album listings contain cover art and personnel rosters, and there are also links to purchase the albums on Amazon when applicable. Unlike Wikipedia's "neutral content" policy, opinions are encouraged, and every listing will ultimately lead to a discussion page.

Behearer had its origins in a blog post by trumpeter Dave Douglas on the website of his company, Greenleaf Music, and a response came a few months later at Do The Math, the website of the band The Bad Plus. One thing led to another, and the offiicial launch of Behearer took place last weekend.

Incidentally, Douglas's site also offers the opportunity to purchase downloads of entire sets of the Dave Douglas Quintet live at the Jazz Standard, recorded earlier this week. I've always been a fan of the power of the independent artist, and I hope to see more "instant releases" like this in the future.

Taking interactive gaming a bit too far? Some users of Nintendo's new Wii game system have reported that the system's motion-sensitive controllers have flown out of their hands and into things like TV's, windows and ceiling fans.

And you think your post office is busy this time of year: It's crunch time for the post office in North Pole, Alaska, where all the letters addressed to Santa eventually end up, and everyone who sends a return address gets a signed reply, thanks to the generosity of local volunteers.

Better save this job for Santa next time: A suburban Denver man got locked out of his house and tried to enter via the chimney; unlike Santa, this guy got stuck and had to be rescued by firefighters.

You'll get stuck in your chimney for sure if you eat this: If you're still not convinced that America is getting fatter, there's a restaurant in Snook, Texas (near College Station) that serves chicken-fried bacon.

Blowing out partial candles: Happy half-birthday to me.

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