Friday, August 28, 2015

5 on Friday -- Set 281




Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.

Well...

I'm trying to process the results of a Cognitive Function Evaluation which I just received today when I went to the clinic for my weekly sauna detox treatment. I don't know why I was a little more hopeful about those results, when my Physical Function Evaluation in June turned out to be equally as jarring.

To put it plainly, I'm a wreck.

I have multiple chemical sensitivities and chronic 24/7 pain issues, and although quite obviously they have been taking their toll on me, it's a weird feeling to see black-and-white results staring me in the face.

Luckily, I'm currently in treatment for both of these conditions. It helps that my physiotherapist and my nurse both experienced similar situations and have made successful returns to stronger health.

This week, I need to cheer myself up. Ballet to the rescue! 



1 - Compilation of scenes from Spartacus - Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra - composed by Aram Khachaturian

Featuring the crazy jumping of Ivan Vasiliev.

Here's a little reason why I love Ivan so much: "Ballets without a story are always a little bit difficult," he says in an interview with The Telegraph's Mark Monahan. "When I don't understand what I must say to the audience, it's a problem, because I must just dance -- but for what? I can dance 'just to dance' when I'm drunk."







2 - A section of the Raymonda Grand Pas Classique - Paris Opera Ballet Orchestra - composed by Alexander Glazunov

The section I'm featuring here in particular is the female variation that begins at the 3:40 mark, featuring Marie-Agnes Gillot. This piece of music has really captured me lately, and her version of this variation is truly the best I've seen.








3 - Romeo Learns of Juliet's 'Death' from Romeo and Juliet - Mariinsky Ballet Orchestra - composed by Sergei Prokofiev

The section I'm featuring here begins at the 35:45 mark and ends at the 40:00 mark. My very favorite male dancer, Vladimir Shklyarov. As always with Vladimir, I just wish he would put some effort into it. 







4 - Dulcinea dream sequence from Don Quixote - La Scala Ballet Orchestra - composed by Ludwig Minkus

Featuring the deceptive strength and balance of Natalia Osipova. Male dancers always showcase their strength moves, while this choreography is typical of the female dancer disguising her strength as delicacy. This is an aspect of dance of which all fans are well aware, almost like a secret language between performer and audience. We know that the more fragile and ethereal the movements appear, the harder it was to pull it off.







5 - Final pas de deux from Onegin - Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra - composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, arranged from various sources by Kurt-Heinz Stolze

Nothing makes the hair rise all over my body or my gut wrench with emotion quite like this pas de deux from Onegin. Not only for the exquisitely tragic music -- my favorite kind -- but for the typically challenging partnering choreographed by John Cranko.

The roles of Onegin and Tatiana are danced here by the hunky and talented principal Vladislav Lantratov, whose dancing I've really enjoyed during last year's ballet series through Cineplex Front Row Centre Events, and leading soloist Olga Smirnova who debuted in this role in the opening premiere rather than the reigning principal.


Friday, August 21, 2015

5 on Friday -- Set 280




Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.

280 music sets! That's only 20 more sets before A Piece of My Mind celebrates its 300th 5 on Friday post. A little mindboggling, really.

So many musical roads I've meandered during these 5 on Friday sets, both by listening to the sets put together by the other bloggers, and by putting together my own.

When 5 on Friday began, there were about ten of us spinning the Friday tunes. I encountered so many wonderful new-to-me tunes, as well as being reacquainted with songs whose title I would never have remembered or even who played them.

Travis, the originator of the Friday blog event, decided to call it a wrap after his 200th set, but Mike Golch and I kept going, and now we're the only two still doing it.

This week's set is a nod to the gypsy caravan nature of 5 on Friday.

You never know where the muse will take you. I just go along for the ride. It's good for my creative well -- in fact, I know my creativity thrives on musical journeys like these.



1 - Spanish Caravan - The Doors 







2 - Caravan - Van Morrison 








3 - Minor Swing - Russian retro jazz manouche or gypsy jazz band 







4 - Amari Szi Amari - Csokolom 








5 - Super Taranta! - Gogol Bordello 




Friday, August 14, 2015

5 on Friday -- Set 279




Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.

The Canadian federal election is in full swing.

This week's set is dedicated to the sitting prime minister.


1 - Viva la Vida - Coldplay 







2 - How Low - Jose Gonzalez 








3Take a Bow - Muse 







4 - I'll Be Good - Jaymes Young 








5 - In the End - Linkin Park 




Friday, August 7, 2015

5 on Friday -- Set 278




Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.

This year I've been taking a once-a-month look at specific instruments and showcasing five songs or tunes which place that instrument front and center.

This year's feature is called Spotlight On...

...and for our eighth installment, I'm transitioning from percussion to rhythm. We began the year listening to the primal body instruments of hand-clapping, whistling and vocal harmonies. Moving on, we explored percussion with April's look at drums, May's look at the vibraphone or vibes, June's look at piano, and wrapping things up with cowbell in July.

For August let's listen to one of my favorite instruments -- bass guitar.

The bass is a stringed instrument, yet its function is to anchor the groove of the music alongside the more obvious percussive sibling, the drums. Bass players often use percussion techniques such as slapping the strings, popping them (a more aggressive plucking) or thumping, as well as playing the strings as would a lead guitarist. 


1 - Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey - The Beatles - 1968

This song is extra groovey, with handclaps, bell and other smaller percussion instruments shared out by The Beatles. Paul McCartney totally rocks out on bass with this track.







2 - Reach Out I'll Be There - The Four Tops -1966

The bass player on this track is the one, the only James Jamerson.

"A true session giant, Jamerson has played on over 30 number one records, laid down stone cold grooves for the biggest artists Motown, soul and funk could throw at him, and has influenced scores of bass players from all genres of music." -- Claire Davies, MusicRadar 

What is a session musician? These are working musicians who are in demand for recording sessions or live performances, but who do not permanently join a particular group.

Being a session musician generally means more stability as far as residence, because there is less need to tour the country or head out internationally. The session musician builds a reputation locally and becomes the go-to instrumentalist when other acts come to town. This gives the musician the added benefit of playing in many musical styles and alongside a vast array of fellow musicians.








3 - Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) - Sly and the Family Stone - 1969

I hope you've been busy groovin' to these tunes. Get ready to cut loose with the slapping funk of Larry Graham, who is credited as the originator of this technique. 








4 - Come On, Come Over - Jaco Pastorius featuring Sam and Dave - 1976


This is a fairly tame, more accessible tune from a legendary bass player. He was already teaching bass at the University of Miami at the age of 22. His self-titled debut album coaxed Sam and Dave to reunite just so they could work with him. He played for Weather Report from 1976 - 81, leaving to work on a myriad of solo projects, collaborations and session work. He passed away at the young age of 35 after years of erratic behavior and deteriorating health, a direct result of mental illness.

Jaco Pastorius was loved by family and friends, and revered by his fellow musicians. His death is a simple yet sober reminder that the grip of mental illness can be stronger than the best support system, stronger than the remedies available, stronger even than the burning flame burning inside the person who lives with this type of chronic condition. 





As an added bonus for this week's set, here's a far more typical example of Jaco Pastorius' groundbreaking bass playing. He was incredibly influential, pushing the bass to new levels with his lyrical style and use of harmonics.


Continuum - 1976







5 - Hysteria - Muse - 2003

Stepping away from the funkier tracks to some rock bass playing, here is Christopher Wolstenholme of Muse with a base line voted 6th best bass line of all time by MusicRadar.

  

Friday, July 31, 2015

5 on Friday -- Set 277




Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.

This week's set is dedicated to Misha Collins and all GISHWHES participants.

Misha plays the angel Castiel on my favorite show, the show for which I drop everything, sitting to watch it properly rather than staying on the computer and half-watching out of the corner of my eye: Supernatural

This is what Misha looks like in character as Castiel.




This is what Misha looks like, normally.




Pretty good arms, actually.

Shouldn't lean so much, though.

Hard to keep the center!

Much harder than it looks. Those ballet dancers are doing themselves no favors, most of the time, making it all seem so effortless.

Anyway, because Misha's big scavenger hunt is beginning tomorrow, today's 5 on Friday goes out to all GISHWHES participants. Good luck! Have fun!


1 - The Final Countdown - Europe 








2 - Seven Nation Army - White Stripes 








3 - Fishin' Blues - Taj Mahal 







4 - You Can Get It If You Really Want - Jimmy Cliff








5 - A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight - Firehouse Five Plus Two 

  

Friday, July 24, 2015

5 on Friday -- Set 276




Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.

I didn't know until a few years ago that there was such a thing as a selenophile -- someone who loves the moon, is captivated by the moon, who feels a sense of excitement as dusk settles and night takes over.

All I knew was that I loved the moon and moonlight in a way that sunworshippers seem to love their sunny days. Actually, no -- the sun lovers' relationships to sunny days seems to be more of an extrovert thing, while they fill their blue-sky days with lots of activity and feel happy doing it.

My relationship with the moon and the night fits with my introverted self, filling me with a quiet joy, yet a very intense joy. It's just me and the night and no desire to do anything but be. 


1 - Moonlight Bay - Leon Redbone 








2 - By the Light of the Silvery Moon - A Capella Trudbol (Julien Neel) 








3 - Moonlight and Roses - Jim Reeves 








4 - Harvest Moon - Neil Young 









5 - Moonlight Drive - The Doors 

  

Friday, July 17, 2015

5 on Friday -- Set 275




Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.

I know I keep saying this, but after the winter we had this past year, everyone in this neck of the woods is enjoying the sweetness of summer like we never have before.

For this week's set, let's fling ourselves into the sounds of summer.


1 - Beach Baby - The First Class 








2 - Twisting by the Pool - Dire Straits 








3 - Summer Fling - k d lang 








4 - You, Me and the Sea - The Flamingos 









5 - The Tide is High - Blondie