Track of the Week: Witch Hunt by Wayne Shorter

This week’s track is Witch Hunt by Wayne Shorter off of Speak No Evil. It’s been a while since I’ve put jazz up as a track and it’s been a while since I’ve listened to any jazz. While Wayne Shorter isn’t a household name like Miles Davis or John Coltrane or Charles Mingus (my personal fav), he’s a heavyweight nonetheless, hailing from the same bop era of jazz. This this the first track off of Speak No Evil, a Blue Note production. As quickly as the frenetic opening trumpet line grabs you, it disappears to be taken over by the laid back classic cymbals and snare. The power thru the song is delivered by beautiful, strong and convincing trumpets but my favorite part might be the piano solo at about 5m30s that takes a walk over the drum line and then easily moves back to the song’s main pattern. Take a listen and enjoy this fantastic jazz number.

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Track of the Week: Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris (f. Florence Welch)

This week’s track is Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris, featuring Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine). The easiest way to describe this track is, it’s about time. Florence has this room filling soaring vocal that was just bound to end up on a thumping club track. Calvin Harris delivers a huge beat that she effortlessly and ethereally floats over. I’ve heard a few remixes of the song which take the stems from her vocals but nothing does justice to her huge sound as well as the original production from this track. It’s a high-repeat, high-volume song that hopefully lights up your Sunday.

Also, as a side note, me and a few friends and acquitances have started a little music blog called Looking Outside In. I’m casually contributing a song here and there, so if you’re looking for more music that’s roughly in the same generes as Track of the Week, it’s worth checking out.

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Tig Notaro

I first heard Tig Notaro when I went to see the The American Life live show (Invisible Made Visible) in May earlier this year. Her segment was in Act 2 where she discussed — at great length and with great comedic gusto — her various run-ins with Taylor Dayne. Her act was one of the funniest of the live show and I listened to various other bits by her over the course of the month after I’d seen the show.

I’d heard a few grumblings, maybe a Facebook post or two, about a string of tragic events that happened to her in the last few months, mostly in the context of a show that Louis CK was at a few weeks back. This morning’s This American Life (What Doesn’t Kill You) opened with her in the prologue and as the first act. As the story goes, she had just been diagnosed with cancer in both her breasts and her mother had passed away a few weeks prior. She went on stage and performed a raw, honest, and hilarious set about the recent events in her life. Stories like these are best told through better storytellers, so here’s a bit of Louis CK’s note on the subject:

I stood in the wings behind a leg of curtain, about 8 feet from her, and watched her tell a stunned audience “hi. I have cancer. Just found out today. I’m going to die soon”. What followed was one of the greatest standup performances I ever saw. I can’t really describe it but I was crying and laughing and listening like never in my life.

When listening to the recording, you can clearly hear Louis CK laughing and encouraging her on in the background. What’s incredible, among a million things that are incredible in this story, is the story itself and how she manages to deliver it. If you have heard her standup before, she’s witty and dry and has an incredible sense of timing, and this is nothing like it. It’s raw, it’s emotional, but it’s also dispassionate and unsettling all the while so engaging. Comparing her to her old self is said best by Ira Glass as he describes how she closes the set down.

And hearing her do the bee joke is like hearing her perform a version of herself which she knows doesn’t even exist anymore.

The whole segment — the This American Life act and of course the comedy show — are both absolutely worth listening to (and buying the show off of Louis’ site). It’s such an incredible story of so much misfortune and her strength and honesty through it are striking as they are inspiring.

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