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Wagner and German Idealism

Scruton, Grayling, Janaway, Tanner and Deathridge each present a short episode on the philosophical influences on Wagner.   anthony graylingchris janawayClassical musicGerman Idealismmichael tanneroperaRichard WagnerRoger Scrutonromanticism

Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth

Alongside Booker and Martha Argerich, Bernie (“The Wizard of Woo”) is my favourite keyboard genius. I’ve been wanting to see this documentary for some time and am pleased that someone has made it available — at least for the time being. Like Booker, an absolutely authentic character and the most synesthesiac musician I can think of.…

Bayou Maharajah: James Booker Story

I’ve been anticipating seeing this for quite some time now and today was the day. The DVD packaging is superb and of course features a “who’s who” of the NOLA music scene. Two of my favorite clips include the 1973 Don Kirshner Rock Concert with Mac, the Harry Connick Sr. (and 12 y.o. Jr.) segments, and the Scott Billington segment featuring…

Missa Solemnis

Perhaps this rates (see video below) as the greatest musical performance that I’ve ever witnessed — crikey, has it really been almost 30 years? (12th Sep, 1986). That year I think I attended some 30 concerts as a promenader but still never made it into the hard core club (not even close). Read the very excellent Peter…

Williams on Wagner & Politics

New York Review of Books November 2, 2000. My point here is not to reinstate the distinction between the work and the man, which I have already said is not a helpful device in Wagner’s case. The point is just that one cannot decide in advance, either positively or negatively, what facts about the man,…

James Booker: Gonzo Live

This is a rerelease and though not of the calibre of the Classified rerelease it is a worthy supplement to the latter. Indeed a “must have” for a Booker fan — no throw aways or filler here.  Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Bookerbluesboogie woogieClassical musicJames BookerJazzmusicnew orleanspiano

Cocaine boogie: James Booker, the tragic piano genius of New Orleans

Not that one really needs any confirmation, but listening to this rerelease, the genius is palpable. Maestro producer Scott Billington‘s liner notes are fascinating. Here’s hoping that more releases are in the offing — there is precious little available even at the Louisiana Music Factory. Also, check out this Guardian piece plugging the recent documentary. Bayou Maharajah: The…

James Booker: Old Soul with New Wrinkles

Since we are coming up to the time of year when Booker died I thought I’d mark it now. IMHO Booker is one of those geniuses on par with “Gatemouth” Brown in the sense that they were so versatile encompassing so many different styles and so authentically. Both were “characters” but of course were very different in…