The Kenton Experience

There is a genre of classical music in which pop music is turned into ‘serious’ music. There are lps of the Beatles done as Bach. The Vitamin Quartet has made a career of interpreting the likes of Coldplay, Lady Gaga, even Led Zeppelin as string quartets. All of which I have tucked away in my collection. Of these cross-covers one of my favourites is The Kennedy Experience. 

Led by violin virtuoso Nigel Kennedy this Experience tackles – you guessed it – The Jimi Hendrix Experience. But instead of turning Hendrix into classical music it stretches into an exploration of wider musical horizons. Some meditative, Third Stone From The Sun; some rock out, Fire. All are fantastic & resonant. Music to treasure.

Near by on the shelf is Stan Kenton: 100+ Classic Greats: includes West Side Story. This high quality easy listening jazz. Instrumental music falls into so many categories – some of Kenton’s work falls under exotica, some nightclub, some late night cafe stuff, all good stuff though. This is a jumbled assemblage of a dozen or so lps dumped into a collection. I’ve arranged some of the tracks back into their original release lps, some I left randomized. The Latin tracks were easy to sort, a set of blues, one of show tunes, one of jazz standards.

Kenton is not a challenging band leader but is never boring either. You want challenging try Coltrane 🙂 You want boring try Kenny G. My partner had Kenton’s West Side Story as lp & I enjoyed it enough to replace it with mp3 version & when I checked it out on iTunes up popped this massive collection of 100+ Kenton, for under $10.00. So I bought it. Well worth it.

Another similar massive collection was ‘Songs You Know & Love.’ Songs I knew from movies, some my parents favourites & some from the radio. Performed mostly by original artists. Things like McGuire Sisters: Cuddle Up A Little Closer; Dean Martin: When Your Smiling; Eddie Cantor: Ma, She’s Making Eyes at Me. Another great public-domain jumble from iTunes for under $10.00. 

As I listen to these I wonder how long it’ll be before there are similar mp3 jumbles of today’s stars?

Anticipation 3

Another day Martin would never forget was the day he finally believed the prophecy. As a child he didn’t question the truth of what his parents had told him. At about fourteen he began to doubt, within himself, this weird reality that his parents had forced on him.

The doubt crystallized during a school seminar on ‘The Future.’ Because it had been set out for him ‘to heal the world’ he had never given his future much thought. He had no concept of what he wanted to be when he grew up. The Book made no career references, no hints as to whether he should become a doctor or a garbage man. What profession would suit the healer of the world the most?

His listened to other kids talk about how they had discussed their futures with their parents. Futures that included colleges, marriages; futures that had real plans. All he discussed with his folks was how was school today. He realized how abnormal his parents were. Maybe even a little crazy. The Book, The healing of the world! What a crock! They didn’t even go to church.

He carried those doubts for the next few years. Those years of believing his parents were insane were the worst. He spent days plotting to have them legally committed. He never spoke to his parents about his fears of their sanity. After all, there was food on the table. Rarely any shouting or fighting. A very normal family in all ways but this one little wrinkle – The Book. He pulled away from them & their crazy notions.

His best days were those on which he forgot the prophecy. Sometimes he even had weeks of that blissful forgetting, in which he was just a man plodding through his life as best as anyone else.

The worse days were the ones when he felt painfully trapped by a fate he couldn’t alter. A fate he didn’t particularly care for & which he had tried to escape any way he could.

“What if I die in an accident?” He once asked his mother. “Then what happens to the world? Huh?”

“You won’t Martin. You won’t die.” She admonished him gently.

So he became a daredevil. Drinking hard, playing even harder, fast cars, high mountains. Seeking to escape but always being faced with what couldn’t be changed.

Though his twenties he couldn’t make decisions. He turned his will & his life over to any escape he could find. Alcohol, heroin, women, men. It didn’t matter. His life was charmed & cursed both at the same time.

One fateful night he had a car accident. A little stoned he hit an icy patch, swerved into another car, & rolled his own. He lived. He needed steel pins to put his leg together. Three people died in the other car. He was unconscious for two days.

His mother was there beside his bed. The Book on her lap. As he opened his eyes, she read, with a calm flatness, “Even as a vegetable Martin will fulfill the prophecy. The decision is his.”

“Hell. Hell. Hell.” he muttered painfully. “Why doesn’t it tell me more. I want to know what to do till then.”

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Infernal Violins

Angele Dubeau & La Pieta: Infernal Violins (Jan04) – I heard Danse Macabre from this cd on the car radio summer of 2003 & had to have more by Angele. I found the cd on sale at HMV after Xmas that year. A double set – one of the music, the other is videos & concert clips (that I may never have watched.)boots

 bevy of boots

The selection lives up to the title – infernal. The sound quality is pristine – almost as if the microphone is in the bow of the violin at time. Her playing is emotional, energetic (when called for) and at times transporting. The material runs from Offenbach to Jagger. That’s right, like many classical players she can’t resist tackling pop music. Here it a combo of Paint It Black/Sympathy For The Devil & it is great fun. (Not as much fun as Nigel Kennedy tackling Jimi Hendrix though.) kidshoes

shoes on ice

On the shelf this is followed by Weekend Classics: Famous Operatic Duets (Aug95). I wasn’t much of an opera fan back in the 90’s – but in ‘95 I had recently heard the duet from the Pearl Fishers on the car radio, then spotted this on sale .99 ! at Sam’s. I saw this duet on it & bought it. blackshoes

shoes in the shadow

Weekend Classics was a cheapie series of compilations from London. Cuts were from the 50’s & 60’s & repackaged for quick sale. Here there are duets from La Boheme & others. It makes a nice introduction to opera. Though I probably couldn’t tell an aria from Tosca from one from La traviata; or discern between Joan Sutherland and Renata Tebaldi (nor care to learn how to).

sample

Trinket

Bev patted the soil on the last of the seeds. Oriaha had found the seeds under the floor boards of the ruined barn. They might not have even know that ruin was there if the pond hadn’t suddenly dried up. “Time for a new well, I spose.” Oriaha had said after he saw the mucky ground turn to hard dry clay over the summer. “Could be,” Bev had replied secretly glad the the evil smelling pond was  gone. They had ignored the pond bed over the winter but once spring had come and no new water flowed in to fill it Oriaha called on Trinket Annie, the dowser, who found them a good clean spring not too far from the house. This one was to the east. Bev knew the east brought good new energy. The old pond at the north end of the land was in the place of endings. It was one day in late April when she first saw the outlines of something in the dried muck. She got out her trusty broom and began sweeping away till she struck the floorboards. “Sure’nf musta been Old Rev Geddis barn. Knew it wh’round here somewhere.” “Boards could be good for sum’thing, don’t you think?” “Well, Bev they’ve bin un’erwater too long so’s they’d be rottened clear through I spect.” “Can’t hurt to give a look.” She stooped down and began to pull gently at one of the boards. It gave way and sent her with a loud thump to her butt. “Guess they’s settled in there.” “Oh, don”t you laugh at me, Oriaha Dankiels. Give me a hand.” That’s when they found the old chest. Sealed as tight as a drum with wax. Held down by the weigh of the lock. The lock gave way with one good blow of the hoe. It was filled with glorious golden seeds. “Looks like hay of some sort.” “I spose,” Oriaha ran his fingers through the hulls. “Let’s try’em over in the south pasture.’ “Good idea.” The seeds seemed happy to be in the light, to be out from under the water and the muck of so many years. “Musta a been down there over 100 years.” “Think they’ll still gown?” “Caint hurt to try.” Bev stepped back to survey the first neat row. They were only going to try one row so see what they seeds might be. Not even Trinket Annie recognized what they were. boot03

buckled buckle boots

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