Tag Archives: video

Chet Baker and “My Funny Valentine”

Rodgers’ and Hart’s 1937 showtune, “My Funny Valentine,” has been recorded by over 600 artists, if we believe Wikipedia on this.  Those artists include Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, The Supremes, Nico, Jerry Garcia, Chaka Khan and many others.  One of these days, we will give it the full “Noise Variations” treatment, and that’s a Noise Narc Promise.

But for today you’re just going to hear two of my favorite renditions, one from the very beginning and the other from the very end of Chet Baker’s career.

Baker, one of the giants of west coast cool jazz, was also one of the first to have a hit with the song when he recorded it with Gerry Mulligan’s quartet in 1952.  I think Baker is playing a flugelhorn on this cut, as he often did, and the contrapuntal style of harmonizing with Mulligan on bari sax develops the thoughtful, measured tone of the track, transforming a jokey song about a lover’s endearing imperfections into one that embodies the complicated sense of melancholy that characterized much of Baker’s oeuvre.

Gerry Mulligan Quartet, “My Funny Valentine” [Buy Chet Baker: Career: 1952-1988]

Baker was only 23 years old on the above track; the 35 years he had left would not be kind.  Heroin addiction is hard on the body.  The 58 year old face you’ll see in the following video will look older than that.  Once, trying to score, he got jacked and beaten, so all of his teeth were pulled and he had to relearn how to play with dentures.

Addiction also leverages personal relationships into money for drugs.  He was a liar and a promise breaker.  People cared about him, and he used that against them.  The highly recommended 1988 documentary of his life, Let’s Get Lost, exposes this cruelty through the hurt and hopeless faces of his friends and loved ones.  He was just so good at manipulating emotions.  It was easy for him.

The following video, excerpted from a 1987 performance in Tokyo (sorry that the piano solo is cut short), treats us to Baker’s trumpet-playing as well as his singing.  He sang like he played, and his voice, shakier than once upon a time, nevertheless has the soft, sweet tone for which he was famous.  In spite of everything, his last recordings in the 80s were among the best of his career.

He fell from his second story hotel room in Amsterdam and died on May 13, 1988.

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You’re doing it wrong!

While watching this adorable video, I noticed Jorge Narvaez plays his right-handed guitar left-handedly but also with the strings backwards (treble strings up top, bass strings on the bottom).  Most of the famous left-handers I know of who played right-handed guitars (Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain) flipped their guitars around and then restrung them as a true left-handed instrument with the bass strings on top so that the shapes of chords would not have to be inverted.

I guess the obvious advantage of Jorge’s style is that he can pick up any right-handed guitar and play it without having to restring it.

The only other person I’d seen play that way before was Rick Moranis, believe it or not, in this hilarious SCTV skit, in which he, Eugene Levy, and John Candy cover Chilliwack’s “My Girl” as the punningly-named pre-teen band, “The Recess Monkeys” as part of a public-access fundraising drive.

So my curiosity about the backward-stringers was piqued, and as usual, Wikipedia is up to the challenge.

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This Is Philadelphia

If the number of posts I’ve written about Philly’s Sun Airway makes me seem like a bit of fuanboy, so be it. Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier drops this week and it’s available on MOG (free 14 day trial) right now. Back in March, I called it my most anticipated Philly release of 2010, and it’s been worth the wait: a stunning debut. Let’s say for comparison’s sake that Radiohead’s millennial music evoked the coldness of the technological age, then Sun Airway’s music is the age’s warm, swaddling embrace.

And this video for “Put the Days Away,” perfectly captures the beauty of a homecoming bike ride in Philly’s dark streets. Somehow makes me miss Philly, even though I’m in Philly as I type. It’s that kind of video: negative capability-inducing. Also: pretty girl on a bike.

Sun Airway, “Put the Days Away” [Buy]

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Arcade Fire's New Interactive Video, Filmed at Your Mom's

Might as well just call us Sufjan & Arcade Fire Narcs with all the posts we’ve done lately, but this interactive video for “We Used to Wait,” made in partnership with Google, is flat-out amazing. It uses dynamic images from Google Streetview and Maps of your house. Requires latest version of Firefox, Safari, or Chrome (preferably Chrome) since it uses the newfangled HTML5.

The Wilderness Downtown.

Chez Baby Noise Narcs

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The Black Keys Give Each Other Black Eyes

MTV recently announced that the video for The Black Keys’ “Tighten Up” from Brothers (easily one of my most-listened-to albums and a shoe-in for top-ten of twenty-ten) is up for a VMA.

It’s adorable.

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Keep MGMT Weird: New Video for "Congratulations"

My opinion of MGMT and Congratulations has continued to rise since I fell for it (via the radio!) in June. And their tender scifi beast of burden video for titular and album-ending “Congratulations” continues to make me forget their saccharine debut.

[Buy Congratulations]

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To Whom Does a Noise Narc Narc? To the Jazz Police.

I don’t really have a good reason or special occasion to post the following except that I just happened to come across it and now must share:

After some googling, I found out that this performance is taken from a late night music variety show produced by Lorne Michaels, Night Music with David Sanborn, that featured mostly jazz and electronic music and aired from 1988 to 1990.

The transition into the song is sort of awkward, but in his solos, Sonny Rollins (who’s looking here like he could have formed the basis for The Simpsons‘ “Bleedin’ Gums” Murphy) really kills it in the good way.  Be sure to note the alto player standing awkwardly (you see him at the 5:10 mark), thinking to himself, “Yeah, I know, I know…I shouldn’t even be up here!” (Update: now that I think of it, chances are that’s Mr. Smooth Jazz, David Sanborn, himself.  So I guess he’s thinking, “screw you guys, it’s my show, I can share the stage with Sonny if I want!”)

Sonny Rollins looked quite a bit older when I saw him play at Penn State in, I think, 2001, nearly fifty years after he recorded the landmark, Saxophone Colossus.

Here’s the album version of “Who By Fire,” from the highly-recommended New Skin for an Old Ceremony (1974):

Leonard Cohen, “Who By Fire”

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Ariel Pink: Not a metal god

For some reason, I had, without listening, filed Ariel Pink under “metal.” But after hearing the truly lovely breakout single from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafitti’s Before Today, the truly excellent “Round and Round,” I realized I should have filed myself under “clueless idiot.”

Ariel Pink produces 1970s AM pop. You know, if it were filtered through a freak folk vortex. With a stopover in Elephant 6’s Athens, Georgia.

The album is a flitting, beautiful mess. Which just happens to contain song after song of fantastic pop. Their cover of Rocking Ramrods’ “Bright Lit Bright Sky” is my current favorite. Check the video below.

[Buy] at Amazon.

And check out the original after the jump! Continue reading “Ariel Pink: Not a metal god” »

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Youtube Musical Roundup: Obama's Failed Presidency / The Best Drummer

Obama’s lack of censure for Paul “British Petroleum” McCartney is untenable. “In the white house! And, now this time, just the men, c’mon boys.” Mr. McCartney, you’ve been impeached!

This guy wants your job, Animal.

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Video: Broken Bells, "The Ghost Inside"

That Broken Bells video I told you about is here.  It’s no Gaga-rotesque masterpiece, but I like it.  Turns out that those “difficulties” Mercer hinted about start with some kind of interstellar EZPass.

Makes me think at first of that scene from La Locataire when Polanski says, “If you cut off my head, what would I say? ‘Me and my head’ or ‘Me and my body?’  What right has my head to call itself me?”  But then, somewhat disappointingly (and therefore ironically?), it turns into kind of Twilight Zone cliche.

I sort of like how it plays on Mad Men, with the Draper stand-in fantasy offering a martini that never quite reaches her grasp, but I think it would have worked better if the setting had been a bit more 1960’s “space-age” retro.

What do you guys think?

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