Pat Metheny : News: NEW ALBUM ‘FROM THIS PLACE’ AVAILABLE NOW

Music continually reveals itself to be ultimately and somewhat oddly impervious to the ups and downs of the transient details that may even have played a part in its birth. Music retains its nature and spirit even as the culture that forms it fades away, much like the dirt that creates the pressure around a diamond is long forgotten as the diamond shines on.
— Read on www.patmetheny.com/news/full_display.cfm

George Washington: American Aurelius ~ The Imaginative Conservative

In his own day and age, George Washington was the greatest and best-known man in all of Western Civilization. Washington (1732-1799), indeed, served as a pillar of Atlantis, recognized not only for his willingness to sacrifice his life for the great Republic, but also as the founder of the first serious Republic a weary world had witnessed since the martyrdom of Cicero. A true genius when it came to geometry, trigonometry, and surveying, he also read deeply in military history, biography, agricultural science. His loves, though, were hunting, adventure (as in traveling), and farming. Surveying, especially, allowed him to combine many of these loves into one. Ironically, given the status he attained as a living hero or demigod in his own lifetime, Washington suffered from a lack of liberal education, strange by the standards of his day. Much of what he knew of the classical world came not from a study of Greek and Latin (as with many of the founding fathers), but from his reading of biography and, especially, from his love of the Joseph Addison play, Cato: A Tragedy. Despite this, he earned innumerable classical titles during his lifetime, including: the American Achilles, the American Cicero, the American Aeneas, and the American Cincinnatus.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/02/george-washington-american-aurelius-bradley-birzer.html

Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time

I remember something the philosopher Gerald Heard told me.  The first thing a man is aware of, he said, is the steady rhythm of his mother’s heartbeat and the last thing he hears before he dies is his own.  Rhythm is the common bond of all humanity: it is also the most pronounced and readily misunderstood ingredient of jazz.

— Dave Brubeck

We’ve waited way too long for a serious biography of Dave Brubeck — but at last we’ve got it, and it’s a good one.  British music journalist Philip Clark’s Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time rises to the challenge of portraying the pianist/composer in his fullness — his days, his works, his friendships, and his ideals.

Fittingly, Clark plays with time to unlock the rich pageant of Brubeck’s 92 years.  Pivoting off a extended interview conducted on a 2003 British tour, the narrative unpacks Brubeck’s career in progress, building from West Coast beginnings through growing popularity coupled with critical puzzlement on the jazz scene to the mass culture break-out of Brubeck’s classic quartet (with Paul Desmond on sax, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums) via 1959’s “Take Five” and the Time Out album.  It’s only the strangely muted reception of Brubeck’s ambitious 1962 cantata The Real Ambassadors (a sly satire expressly written for Louis Armstrong) that sends Clark doubling back again — to Brubeck’s upbringing in rural California and the influences that forged him as musician and man.

Continue reading Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time

Democrats 2020: Two CS Lewis Villains, and a Bunch of Tom Wolfe Lampoons | The Stream

The lesser Democrats (Warren, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and now Biden) are minor comic figures from one of Tom Wolfe’s satires. (Think of The Bonfire of the Vanities.) Each has clawed his way to the top of a different greasy political ladder that stops well short of the presidency. And each now waves around his 10-point, single-spaced resume, crowing about how he followed all the rules, so now it’s his turn. It’s only fair. Watching such stunted people flail around at the end of their tethers is ultimately kind of … sad.

But Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg are different. They’re major characters, and from a more important writer. Each of them could have sprung from the pen of C.S. Lewis, and stepped out of the pages of the dystopian satire That Hideous Strength. In fact, the two candidates seem like colleagues at the conspiratorial think-tank, the National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments (N.I.C.E.).
— Read on stream.org/democrats-2020-two-c-s-lewis-villains-and-a-bunch-of-tom-wolfe-lampoons/

The Passengers' Club by Big Big Train

While most of the western world celebrated Friday, February 14, as the secularized Feast of St. Valentine, preparing for a Cinema Show of epic proportions and armed with chocolate surprises, I celebrated it as International Big Big Train Day. 

Granted, by international, I mean several counties in Michigan, but still. . .

On Friday, February 14, Big Big Train launched its much anticipated web-based fan service, The Passengers’ Club. Let me state immediately: this is, by far, the best such service I have seen.  While I belong—rather proudly—to Marillion’s fan service, I have never been totally satisfied with it.  As much as I adore Marillion, I think the service is a tease.  More than anything else, I feel like my subscription subsidizes their advertisements to sell me more stuff.  Granted, I buy it, but I am less than completely satisfied with the service as a whole. Most frustrating by far, though, is Neal Morse’s fan service. I belonged to it for years—happily receiving several cds and dvds a year. Then, suddenly, it all just stopped, switching all of the great releases to mere downloads. Honestly, I feel as though I was totally ripped off. As such, I finally quit my membership about six months ago. I subscribed for a year too long. Trust me, don’t go near Morse’s service. Admittedly, I still love Morse’s music and his integrity, but he needs a serious reexamination of his attitude toward his followers.

BBT’s, however, is extraordinary. The service offers three levels of subscription: one year; two years; and lifetime. Though I am alone to blame, I initially only saw the first two subscription options, and I went for the two year.  Had I been thinking properly and had I been observing what should’ve been observed, I would’ve signed up for the lifetime subscription (Patron). If you’ve yet to subscribe, don’t overlook the Patron option. 

Through the service, BBT is offering music, videos, essays, and photos. Admittedly, the photos did not do that much for me (though, they’re fine photos), but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the other three sections (“platforms” in the presentation). 

The brightest highlight of The Passengers’ Club, though, is the music platform. Indeed, the two songs released thus far are worth the entire subscription price.  The first two songs are the 17-minute “Merchants of Light” and the (almost) three-minute long demo, “Capitoline Venus.” BBT promises new music and new content every two weeks for the next year and claims that we’ll be receiving four full CDs worth of music over the next two years. Though I’m only speculating, I’m assuming this is the equivalent (perhaps, a 1:1 perfect correspondence) of the long-discussed Station Master’s release.  

The second brightest highlight (close to the second brightest star, it turns out) is Greg’s writeup about the songs.  Stunning stuff, to be certain.  Not surprisingly, Greg is a master of the word—whether in essays or in lyrics.  I’d share some of what he’s written with you, but I agreed not to when I signed up for The Passengers’ Club, and, believe me, this is a trust I hold sacred.

Here’s hoping I’ll see you at the Concourse.

Go here to subscribe: https://thepassengersclub.com