Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 49: Matt Otto "53 West 19th" & Everette Harp "For the Love"

I've made the mistake of moving some CDs in from storage before I was done with the bag, so now I keep wanting to move onto those CDs and not finish the bag. It doesn't help that the bag has torn and now the CDs are intermingling with the ones that have already been done. Ah well...

Matt Otto
53 West 19th
This is another one of those CDs that I wanted but didn't know that I had. Not that I have any idea who this is. Because I don't. But that was the thing, I wanted saxophonists I hadn't heard, contemporary jazz musicians, etc. Except that it was always hard to buy Matt Otto, guy I've never heard, when I still don't own Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil. (I may very well actually own that...).

Of course, I was getting CDs for free and I still didn't listen to this CD until now. But I might have brought this home with Speak No Evil, so, you know...

This is actually a pretty decent jazz album. There isn't anything standing out so far, but it's pretty decent.

Well, that's not entirely true, there is something standing out, and it's the one thing that is quickly becoming my favorite thing...the liner notes.

But this isn't the regular fun and game that liner notes usually are. For some reason, Matt Otto has decided to go in a completely different direction with the liner notes: Socialist manifesto.

And I'm not talking that whole Tea Party notion of anything that doesn't benefit you directly is socialist knee-jerk kind of way. Like "it is the reoccurring reality of class society based on the private ownership of the means of production. That is, a society in which a minority of people (the ruling class) own all of the social resources and profit off the labor of workers who have only their labor to sell in order to survive." (direct quote) socialism.

As far as I can tell from the essay, he's against the exploitation of the worker for the benefit of the ruling class. And that the jazz musician, performing a music that spawned from the most exploited worker in history, owes a responsibility to work towards changing that. But he still had me huck his CD for just above minimum wage.

He also seems to feel that specialization in education has led to passiveness and subservience in the worker. That and sexism and racism used to divide the workers against each other.

Not at all what I expected to see in the liner notes of a CD.

So the lesson of the Albatross is: Always read the liner notes, you never know what you're going to find.

Yeah, and the music is pretty good, too. He doubles a few tracks to make things sound fuller, which in a purest kind of way doesn't seem right, but that's kind of unfair, really. It's not a live album, some mastering is bound to take place, why should it have to 'sound' live.

Ooooh, 'hidden' track. These tracks are never so much hidden as stuffed after a long pause on the last track of the CD.  Basically it's just a way to wreck havoc on you putting the CD on random.

Everette Harp
For the Love

Nuts, fusion. Smooth jazz fusion. Radio jazz. I recognized the name but didn't know anything about the artist. The CD loaded before I was finished setting up the post, so it's already playing before I was able to type out what my expectations were.

Every one of these CDs where I don't know who the person is is like Russian roulette, eventually that chamber is going to be filled with some bland smooth jazz.

Smooth jazz/contemporary jazz/fusion, what have you, sounds like soft core porn. That may be because it's late and I'm watching movie channels, but it's only Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, so it's not really that...

I'm not sure what the source of my complete disdain for this kind of jazz is. I mean, it's one thing to just not like it. There are flavors of ice cream I could do without, I don't like beef burritos nearly as much as I like chicken burritos, but that doesn't mean that I loath beef burritos. I don't hate other forms of pop music as much as I dislike smooth jazz. I don't listen to pop punk, but I don't hate it. I think rap-core is kind of comical, but hate? Smooth jazz, though...

I think that it's because this is the overcome I have to deal with when trying to introduce someone to jazz. Like, if I say I like jazz there's that chance that the person is going to say, "What, like Kenny G?" and then I have to kill them. And then I either go to jail or more likely, since I'm not really all that much of a tough guy, I get my butt kicked in the failed attempt. And really, what do we gain from that?

There isn't even liner notes so there isn't the chance that they're filled with a political screed or something.

At least it's short, just shy of fifty minutes.


  1. I like to imagine that you are seriously into smooth jazz - just imagining it makes me smile all goofy.

  2. The sad truth is that there was a time where I was, at least kind of. I was a big Spyro Gyra fan early on in high school and I even went to a concert. It's actually the Spyro Gyra concert that did me in with fusion because it sounded almost exactly like the album and that disappointed me. For a lot of people that delights them, but for me, the romance was over.

    But I'll still listen to Feels So Good or some Pat Metheny.