Listen to the Unpopular Music webcast on, Saturdays 12 noon -2pm
Listen to archived episodes at

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Playlist for the Unpopular Music webcast for January 31, 2015

Well this is pretty much the show I had planned for last week, with a few of the more arbitrary choices replaced. Although instead of previewing the Bad Plus plays Science Fiction concert, I'll be reminiscing about it.

Also, while remaining "unpopular" there are appearances by Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, and the Beatles.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Bad Plus present Science Fiction at the Berklee Peformance Center, Jamuary 24, 2015

Here's an oversimplification of the difference between "classical music" and "jazz".1

In classical music the performers are tasked with recreating a musical experience that has been recorded in a notated document for this purpose, whereas in jazz the performers create in the moment using some sort of predetermined framework as a jumping-off point.

In classical music, the performer transforms the prerecorded information into live sounds to the best of his understanding of the composer's intentions, bringing to life the music in the composer's mind at the time he wrote it down.2 In jazz, there are various traditions to writing things down, from full fledged everything-notated-all-the-way-through, to some sort of "you play what you feel like when I point at you" approaches to all points in between.

Let's take Duke Ellington for example. It's obvious when listening to his music, there's a lot of stuff written out. But, if you've ever heard a recording of a rehearsal or recording session out-takes, you'll learn that things could change on-the-fly if a better idea came along. And there's always the spontaneity of the moment. For instance, at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, Ellington determined that between the mostly written-out pieces "Diminuendo in Blue" and "Crescendo in Blue" there would be a "blues interlude" where Paul Gonsalves would improvise over the standard blues form for an indeterminate length of time. As it turned out, Gonsalves' momentum and the audience's frenzied reaction sustained this interlude for 27 choruses (or about six minutes).3

No. 1 song for January 27, 2015

looking out my kitchen window around 7:30 this morning

Isn't this a lovely day? by Fred Astaire w/ Johnny Green and his orchestra

Substitute snow for rain, of course. This is the version I heard (from the Brunswick Recordings) while walking home last night through the early bits of falling snow.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Number one for January 25, 2015



Carson McCullers describes the Eroica Symphony in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter


This is one of those famous books of which I'd picked up a cheap copy somewhere intending to read "someday," only to have it sit around for a while before that day eventually came. While it's probably too lazy to equate McCullers' writing to William Falukner's in their depictions of time, and place, and language, I will anyway. But while I often admire and appreciate Faulkner's writing, I'm often not all that interested in what he's writing about, especially when it involves the precariousness of southern gentility, as in Sartoris and its related stories. Only after poking around the Viking Portable Faulkner a while until I came upon As I Lay Dying was I sucked in by its utter unusualness of story, form, content, structure, point of view, etc.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

No Unpopular Music webcast for January 24, 2015

I arrived at SCATV headquarters only to discover that the building was closed due to the "inclement weather"

Thursday, January 22, 2015

That akward moment

Oh, yeah, during last week's webcast, I start saying something regarding the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and then stop. It's merely that my brain and mouth were not exactly in coordination, and it was going to come out not so much as offensive, but just stupid and not what I really meant to say. I was going to mention that at the the time of Poulenc's composition and Garner's recordings, France was in its waning days as a colonial power in Muslim populated parts of North Africa. I was thinking of saying this only to point out that the violence doesn't exist in isolation, but was afraid it was going to come out as justifying the current violence with the past violence, which is something I assuredly don't believe. I abhor both terrorism and colonialism.

This a topic other people are better suited to discuss, and I'm sorry I brought it up.

Number One for January 21, 2015


To Miles, From Wayne on NPR's Jazz Night in America

From last year's Detroit Jazz Festival, Wallace Roney leads a jazz orchestra through some long languishing scores that Wayne Shorter wrote for Miles Davis. One was performed once, but none were recorded. A bit under-rehearsed, but still compelling. By the time the planned recording comes out it should be better, but what we have is still a great listen.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cats for Net Neutrality

In the interest of keeping places like Boston Free Radio or Live365 as accessible as other Big Media sites, let me take a moment to an amusing moment where the group Free Press bought out some of the internet's most prolific "content providers" to protest for net neutrality at the FCC's Washington offices.

Read more about it here.

Webcast info for January 17, 2015

The SCATV compound is closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday so no new show today. Instead we will feature an encore of the May 10, 2014 episode that ended up not re-airing on Christmas Weekend.

(All "holiday" references pertain, of course, to Mother's Day)

Here's some interesting holiday reading just in case this is not enough.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Playlist for the Unpopular Music webcast for January 10, 2015

 Greetings from Boston, city of curmudgeons!! (or right next door actually)

Olympics in Boston, what could go wrong? We love giant infrastructure projects, building new stadia, the little inconveniences of hosting large media events, outsiders, and change.

Don't let Greg Louganis talk you into it. Especially in these days when it's possible for a man to give birth. Or let's just have a big pin-trading festival instead.

Anyway, enough curmudgeonry, here's today's playlist, after the break...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Playlist for the Unpopular Music webcast for January 3, 2015

For your post-New-Year's celebrations, the first Unpopular Music webcast of the late-teens! ... and the last chance to announce Sun Ra saxophonist Pat Patrick as "the Governor's father".

Playlist, after the break...