The digital streaming tidal wave is finally overcoming many of those labels that have held back. A few years ago, big artists like Taylor Swift, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Tool, Prince, and the Beatles were not ready to transition to the digital platforms. More obscure artists like the jazz label Resonance Records and the guitarist Robert Fripp, and his band King Crimson, have only trickled out into the streaming world, but as the basis of dollars and cents become evident, many of these artists are reluctantly accepting that music is now a digital, streaming commodity. While that is not necessarily good for the artists’ bank accounts, it is a bonanza for we subscribers of Services such as Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, and Spotify.
It makes sense that in its 50th year King Crimson would move to stream. On June 10 all thirteen of their albums were released on Spotify. Crimson manager David Singleton said recently that online sales of CDs and Vinyl have been profitable for the Band for many years, but it had become apparent that the future revenue streams were in streaming. So why not hit up Apple Music and click on In the Court of the Crimson King, Red, and Discipline? King Crimson has offered a steady evolution of high-performance sonics for five decades now, and if you haven’t listened before, there is no excuse now. And Three of a Perfect Pair is one hell of a running album.
Resonance Records has been another holdover in the last decade. This label also has relied on vinyl and CD sales to release an amazing array of obscure live jazz recordings. Over the next few months, they will put the majority of those records upon streaming platforms. You can go right now to hear a great anthology of piano jazz artists–Jazz Piano Panorama: The Best of Piano Jazz on Resonance is a great introduction to the label and a wonderful soundtrack for that Friday evening bottle of Slater Run Cabernet Franc. Another new one is Jazz Haunts & Magic Vaults: The New Lost Classics or Resonance Records, Vol 1., which will give you a good idea of what to expect from the Resonance streaming releases. There will also be live performance recordings released from Sara Vaughn, Wes Montgomery, Bill Evans, and Stan Getz, to name a few. Keep an eye out on for these albums on Spotify, Apple, or Tidal streaming services.
Do you have any Tool CDs? This progressive metal outfit has a cult fanbase, and their preference has never been to stream their music, figuring that playing a tool CD will usually result in a full listening of the album. Like the others, Tool may be cracking, and it’s anticipated that the band will soon be available on the streaming platforms when their new album released, their first since the 2006 10,000 Days. This is powerful stuff, meant to be played very loud. If you are interested in broadening your musical palate a bit, Tool is just the band to do it. Watch for it on the streaming platforms.
Finally, Peter Gabriel got his solo material on Spotify about a year ago. His music was a steady piece of my sonic vocabulary in the eighties, and his groundbreaking videos helped mold what MTV used to be when they played music videos. Solsbury Hill, Shock the Monkey, Sledgehammer, or In Your Eyes–they were all tunes that made the 80s what they were musical. Time to break out more Peter Gabriel, it’s still relevant today.
Time to Learn an Instrument!
Hunt Lyman and I joined two of our musical friends recently to play an event at Middleburg Methodist. It was a blast to be able to play some of our favorite tunes for a crowd in the church. While I played instruments in orchestras and bands many years ago, it’s only been the last five that I have taken up mandolin and bass, much to my delight. There are those that say you cannot pick up and learn an instrument in your 50s, and those folks are just wrong. You can pick up an instrument just fine, the key is enthusiasm, a good teacher giving you regular lessons, and practice. The biggest thing my teacher hammers me on, besides my right-hand mandolin technique, is that I don’t get out enough to jam with other musicians. He’s right.
So, if you are ready to take the next step and try guitar, banjo, mandolin, or fiddle, heed the old Nike slogan–Just Do It. My teacher is Mark Maggiolo, a long-time professional musician who can play just about any stringed instrument you hand him. The fact that he is a mentor of the nationally renowned Fauquier guitarist Larry Keel doesn’t hurt either. Mark has made a huge difference for me. You can reach Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org –you know you want to, so give it a try. Steve Winwood says it all in the opening lines of Dear Mr. Fantasy:
“Dear Mister Fantasy, play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything, take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy”
Steve Chase is playing mandolin on his back porch in Unison.