Monday, January 04, 2010

Coming Up on Tonight's Twin Bill: Pat Metheny and Metallica

The New York Times' Ben Ratliff finds common ground between jazz and metal music. Laughter may ensue for a moment, but perhaps the writer has a point:
Currently, making it in jazz means playing a circuit of sit-down supper clubs and comfortable midsize theaters booked by nonprofit arts presenters, and, in summer, at European festivals. If you make it in metal, you play a circuit of decent-to-horrible stand-up clubs. (And, in summer, at European festivals.) The aesthetic ideals couldn’t be more different: jazz is about subtlety and, one wants to say, beauty; metal is about intimidation, alienation and assault.

[...] Jazz stages and metal stages are places where a certain kind of experimentation happens: brainy and cabalistic, with a hint of a smile. Both increasingly depend on educated virtuosos. In both genres you can develop curious harmonic worlds, warp the tempos, brush against folkloric or conservatory music, play many notes very speedily and engage sturdy American grooves or a more studied system of fitting odd-number beats into even-number meters. Pat Metheny, jazz guitarist, meet Paul Masvidal of Cynic; Jeff (Tain) Watts, jazz drummer, meet Tomas Haake of Meshuggah. Both forms seem to have a neatly divided audience: maybe two-thirds respectfully fixated on the music’s past, one-third concerned about building paradigms for the future.
Read the whole thing; it presents some interesting ideas. And I wonder--despite a perceived antipathy of either genre's audience towards the other music--how many people are devout fans of both forms?

(Hat tip: Darcy James Argue, who's mentioned in the article.)

This is my twin brother; he's a year younger than I am: You always hear about New Year babies, and the first one born in any given city/county almost always gets his/her name in the paper. But this one is unique: Mom gives birth to a son right before midnight on December 31, while his identical twin brother waited until the new year to be born. (As the twins' dad pointed out, each kid gets his own birthday party that way.)

Beauty is in the eye on the scales of the beholder: The dating/social networking site revoked the memberships of some 5,000 members after they posted pictures that showed they had gained weight over the holidays.

Sit, Bella, sit. Good dog! Veterinary Pet Insurance Inc. released its annual list of the most popular dog and cat names in the U.S., and, for the first time in a while, Max is not the most popular dog name--supplanted by Bella, which evidently came from the Twilight series (which, not being a teenage girl or having any in my household, I haven't ever watched). Max is still, however, the most popular cat name. (Check out the entire set of lists at the link, which also includes Most Unusual. "Doogie Schnauzer, M.D.", anyone?)

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