Posts Tagged ‘Jazz


Al DiMeola Tour 2010 – East Coast Summer Shows

Thanks be to the gods!  Al’s website has decreed that the master will play 3 shows on the East Coast this summer; one of those shows is in Hi Fi’s hometown!

Al will be playing with his incredible World Sinfonia at The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC as we locals call it) and I’m sure it will be very sold out since Saratoga is a hot spot in summertime.

There are two more dates that you might want to know about so, here they are!





the jazz soul of little stevie

One of the greatest things about music is when you discover something that you never even knew existed, and it turns out to be a wonderful piece of ear candy.  I’m a big fan of Stevie Wonder – to be more specific, I’m a big fan of his music from the 1970’s.  His 60’s Motown stuff is ok – “For Once in My Life,” “Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day,” etc…I’m not a fan of his 80’s work and beyond.  But those 70’s albums – Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale, and Songs in the Key of Life, Vol. 1 – are phenomenal works of R&B, funk and soul.

I have little knowledge of his very early career, when he was known as “Little Stevie.”  The only experience I’d had was from seeing his performance of “Fingertips, Pt. 2” in TV clips.  It’s a great tune, somewhat jazzy but more R&B-sounding.  Until the other night I never had any inkling of curiosity as to whether there was a “part one” to “Fingertips.”  Turns out there is!  It’s from Wonder’s first album called “The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie,” recorded when he was only 11 years old.  I bought the album, and it’s a marvelous addition to any jazz fan’s collection.  Stevie co-wrote two of the songs, and plays all the drums, percussion, harmonica, piano and keyboards on the album…11 years old!  This is a true jazz album – all instrumental as well, save for a few hoots and hollers on a couple of songs.  “Fingertips” features great drumming as well as groovy horn playing.  The flute is featured on this track and several others as well, which for some reason is distinctive to me as typical of 60’s jazz.  “Square” features the classic Wonder harmonica sound, and “Soul Bongo” reeks of Puerto Rican-influenced salsa-style jazz.  “Manhattan at Six” has a similar sound, featuring a percussion jam mixed with high energy piano work.  “Paulsby” is light on its feet, with Stevie’s harmonica floating on the breeze, along with a nifty organ section.  Things slow down a bit with “Some Other Time,” but kick back up with “Wondering,” featuring quick organ playing and some horn scatting.  The album closes with two similar numbers, “Session Number 11” and “Bam.”  Both have nice mellow jazz grooves, slinking through piano and harmonica exchanges, with some nice sax work on “Bam.”

It’s a short album, clocking in at just about 30 minutes, but for jazz fans and early Stevie Wonder fans, I’m calling it a must-have.

The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie gets 4.5 out of 5 stars!


Al DiMeola NJ concert Tonight!

Just announced on Al DiMeola’s website, he will be playing a benefit concert tonight (Wednesday, February 3rd) for Haitian relief in Old Tappan, New Jersey at the Charles De Wolf Middle School.  Tickets and show information can be had by calling 201-664-1475.

Clearly a last minute gig by Al but for a very good cause indeed.  Welp, if you’re lucky enough to find this blog and live in the Tri-County area, see the master!

If you go to this show, please comment back how it was; we would love to know!


Al DiMeola Website Corrected!

Al DiMeola’s website has now officially taken down the “Final US tour” text…although, not as a result of this blog I’m sure.

I thought it odd after his show on Saturday night and his introduction of a new album being released that he would not follow it up with a tour (everywhere on the planet in his case).  I’m hoping that this was simply a teaser date and that he will re-visit Albany when the album is officially released.


Final Tour for Al DiMeola?

I hate to create rumor’s but I noticed on Al D’s website the words “Final US tour” are mysteriously placed at the top of his home web page.  There is no link or information providing additional clues to what this means but if so, you better get your tickets now!

I did find it odd that his US tour dates for 2010 are very limited and then he’s off to Australia to play nearly every town in that country.  I’m personally shocked that he has no dates for Boston or New York City.  Luckily he will  play my cozy little city of Albany, NY; thanks Al!

Well, if he is indeed winding down his legendary touring schedule it would seem appropriate; the guy has been hitting every continent for nearly 2 years non-stop.  I’m just glad that I will get a chance to finally see the master (perhaps for the first and last time) on January 31st at The Egg.


Pandora Web Radio

For those that may be searching (or have searched) for decent free web radio station that plays the music you specifically like please check out The Pandora Genome Project.  I’m a huge Frank Zappa fan but find it incredibly difficult to find any Zappa on the internet; Pandora actually has a nice assortment of Zappa on the Zappa radio station.  You can create nearly any artist station and Pandora does a good job matching similiar artists in the mix.  I created an Al DiMeola station and have discovered other artists that I had never heard before (and actually liking!).   I have a Supergrass, Bob Marley, Gwar, Slayer, Eliot Smith, Iron and Wine, Jimmy Smith, John Coltrane, Cal Tjader, and other radio stations to choose from that I created.  The possibilities are quite endless.  I found a cable that connects from my laptop to my stereo and was able to feed Pandora through larger speakers, the sound quality was very good.

A cool thing about Pandora is that if you like the song you can give it a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” and it will assist you in creating a more personal play list.

Yes, there are commercials every once and awhile, this is actaully something quite new and I would suspect allows Pandora to provide this music for free.  There was a time, I was told, that Pandora began limiting the amount of free songs you could listen to, but I have not experienced any limitations yet.  Commercials are just part of the World Wide Web these days whether you like it or not, but hey…it’s still FREE, so don’t complain.

Check it out and I hope our readers in Iran, Saudi, and other countries where the Web is monitored can access this great station.

Please take the time and tell us what you think!

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