Thursday, March 01, 2007

Four Easy Pieces

[1] You forget, you really do. How great he is. And maybe you want to forget! But I come here not to accuse MJ but to praise him. Since Mr. Poncho brought up The Power of The Glove, it's worth returning to the ur glove: Get a pair of these Grado SR-60 headphones for $69 (rare product plug: they're amazing) and put your vinyl copy of "Billie Jean" on the turntable. Here's my two-word review: HOLY! SHIT! You can actually hear MJ standing in front of the mic, a possessed livewire hissing and snapping and preening and just flat-out injured with funk, that weird, private electro-frankenfunk that moves his shoes. The rhythm section is Louis Johnson from The Brothers Johnson and Ndugu Chancler, who played with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. They're locked so crazy tight it's stupid. No wonder he's in pain! The guy who made the soundtrack for The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai, Michael Boddicker, plays something on here called the "Emulator." That's key.

Billie Jean - Michael Jackson

[2] If some part of your body doesn't start moving when you hear this then you're lying in a hospital bed with a feeding tube in your mouth (get well soon). As they say in the Catskills, this tune's tighter than Joan River's face. MJ arranged all the percussion and apparently plays some rhythm instrument on here, too, according to the liner notes. From 1979's Off the Wall.

Working Day and Night - Michael Jackson

And while we're at it, why not:

Off the Wall - Michael Jackson

Music Video for "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" (YouTube)

[3] What stanks in here? Oh! It's Cameo. From the 1980 LP Cameosis, some haunted Dr. Funkenstein shit that will put your ass in funk traction. Dig this couplet:

Sassoon, Jordache, even Gloria Vanderbilt
When I shake my pants you know I'm dressed to kill

Shake Your Pants - Cameo

[4] Since some jackass eBayer bid me up to near twenty bucks on this LP I'm obligated to give it some airtime today. I love the accidental zen fumbly-fingers piano style of T. Monk better than just about anything in jazz. I love how he plods and plunks along almost haphazardly and somehow arrives to every moment with an odd telekenetic grace that defies the time signature. He plays piano like Willie Nelson sings (well, vice versa I guess), dancing around the melody like a drunken Gene Kelly. The whole group on Monk's Dream from '63 - especially Frank Dunlop on drums - is tapped into Monk mind.

Sweet & Lovely - Thelonious Monk

Bye-Ya - Thelonious Monk

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