Monday, March 30, 2009


This weeks jazz artist is alto sax player Cannonball Adderley. Cannonball was a saxophonist that always kept the music swingin' and soulful. Cannonball was a member of the great Miles Davis group with John Coltrane before striking out on his own with his brother Nat. Cannonball's music is always a joy to listen to as it is always swingin' and hip.
Now I thought I was pretty hip to Cannonball's recordings and have 18 cd's by him currently in my collection. I must say though that I was caught completely off guard by some of these release (pictured) that I knew absolutely nothing about! How could this be? A hip guy like me? I believe most of these have never been released on cd and are only available on rare vinyl if you can find them. The lp Love, Sex, and The Zodiac features narration by Rick Holmes. Now most of you are probably not old enough to know but Rick Holmes was the premiere DJ on the Los Angeles jazz station KBCA (105.1) in the early 70's. KBCA then became KKGO and is now KKJZ (88.1 in Long Beach). Anyway, Rick Holmes had the 6:00PM - 9:00PM time slot during the week and played the hippest jazz anywhere! I used to listen to his show (Rick's Affair) every week night.

Anyway, check out
for downloads of these rare recordings. Too lazy to do that?
Then check out some video of my man, Cannonball Adderley and get hip!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


You may have noticed that my blogging has slowed down the last few days. The reason for this is that I have recently discovered some fellow bloggers who has listed musical downloads on their blogs. Now I don't just mean any musical downloads, I'm talking about very rare, hard to find, out of print cd and vinyl tracks. I'm talking about early 60's Mongo Santamaria, early 70's Live Herbie Hancock, 70's Freddie Hubbard and Stanley Turrentine, and much, much more! These musical treasures can be downloaded, burned to a cd or put into iTunes (which is what I've been doing).
So I have been patiently downloading a ton of free music and my poor little iPod can hold no more! All can say to this new discovery is What A Country and God Bless America!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


This weeks jazz cd pick of the week goes to jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell with his cd titled Midnight Blue (pictured). This recording features Stanley Turrentine on tenor sax and includes Ray Barretto on congas. Recorded in 1967 on the Blue Note label (of course), this cd is a great addition to any jazz lovers library.
The one thing that caught my attention was when you go to the Amazon link below it lists the tracks Kenny's Sounds (Take 10) and K Twist (Take 35). My question is where are all these other takes and why aren't they available to the public? Shouldn't this classic recording be re-issued with more of these bonus tracks? Oh, maybe that's next!

What? You say you're not hip to this recording? Well click on the link below to hear some audio samples of this great recording

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Because I have unlimited time on my hands I am revisiting many of the items currently in my collection (books, dvd's, cd's). I am currently re-reading the book titled Miles Beyond by Paul Tingen (pictured). This book covers the electric explorations of Miles from 1967 - 1991. This is an exhausting, in-depth look at the electric period of Miles and covers his recordings in detail. For those that dig the electric period by Miles (and I surely do), this book is definitely worth checking out!
What? You say you're not hip to the electric period of Miles? Well shame on you! Watch this video clip of Miles at the Isle of Wight Festival and get hip!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I have been fortunate enough to visit the great Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru not once, not twice but three times! The last time we had visited Machu Picchu we hiked through the Andes mountains for four days to reach our destination. Here's a few photos of Machu Picchu taken during my last visit. Enjoy!

Monday, March 23, 2009


As I am always looking to change things up a bit I have removed my Japanese Homer photo from my profile and replaced it with Afro Samurai. My many readers (2? 3?) have weighed in on this and it was a close contest between the three images below. I finally settled on the one that looks the most like me (the blue background shot) HAHA!


This weeks reggae cd pick of the week goes to the legendary reggae singer Gregory Isaacs with his cd titled Night Nurse (pictured). This is probably one of Gregory's best known cd's. With a laid back, cool style of singing Gregory earned the nickname "The Cool Ruler". Gregory Isaacs has recorded extensively and I must admit that I have several of his cd's in my collection (thirteen cd's and counting). Gregory Isaac's is still touring and recording today so make it a point to check him out!
What? You say you're not hip to Gregory Isaacs? Well get hip then you squares and check out some audio and video samples of Gregory Isaacs.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Los Mocosos is a Latin/Funk group from Oakland, CA. Although I have a few of their cd's I feel that the first cd that they released (pictured) is definitely the one to get. A mixture of funk, latin, jazz and ska it is definitely one of my latin funk favorites.
Check out the video. Enjoy!


Something that you rarely see is the oboe being used to play jazz or blues. Here is a clip of the great Yusef Lateef from 1963 playing a blues on the oboe. Yusef was a monster on the tenor sax, flute and oboe and did not get the recognition that I feel he deserved. Yusef had a brief stint with Cannonball Adderley's group and this video is from that time frame.
Enjoy the sounds of Yusef Lateef!

Friday, March 20, 2009


OK, now I like listening to the blues as much as anyone however for some reason I don't really have that many blues cd's in my collection. I have some Buddy Guy, some Albert Collins and also Michael John and The Bottomline (a great local blues band).
This past weekend I rented the Cadillac Records dvd which is the story of Chess Records and some of their recording artists (Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry.
Now I may not have selected the best videos available however I thought I would pay my respects to the blues with a few choice clips of some of these artists. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I recently pulled out this dvd from my library after hearing Quentin Tarantino talk about it on the King Boxer dvd commentary. After watching this again all I can say is this is one wild and wacky action packed kung fu movie. For me, the more hilarious the better and this fits the bill. This is a Shaw Brothers release from 1982 and the plot is about evil ninjas who attack from fire, sun, wood, water, and the ground. Check out the trailer to see what I'm talking about. Hilarious!


Has there ever been anyone as funky as James Brown? I think not! During his heyday James was turning out hit after hit. Although I have owned the James Brown "Star Time" box set for some time, I have recently been collecting all of the studio cd's James had recorded in the late 60's through the 70's. The studio cd's contain the longer versions of many of his tunes where you can hear the band stretch out and get funky!
Check out this video of James at his funky best on Soul Train! Dig it!


One of the all time great jazz improvisers and tenor sax players is Sonny Rollins. Sonny has played with everyone from Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Art Blakey and Max Roach (to name just a few). Sonny is still going strong, recording and touring extensively. Sonny is a true giant in the world of jazz. Rather than describe his playing into words, the attached video will provide you with an example of the artistry of Sonny Rollins. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Although I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about Asian cinema I must admit that I have very little Japanese cinema in my collection for some reason. The one Japanese title I want to talk about today is Zatoichi - The Blind Swordsman. The character of Zatoichi is a blind masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman as well (go figure). As he wanders from town to town Zatoichi rights the wrongs and fights evil along the way. Zatoichi's samurai sword is hidden inside his cane and he is extremely lethal with his sword!

The original Zatoichi movie first aired in 1962 and spawned a total of 25 subsequent sequels (and you thought there were a lot of Rocky sequels). In addition Zatoichi spun off into a television series of the same name and aired for 112 episodes. I currently only own the first four movies and a few of the television episodes but I expect this number to grow in the very near future. Anyway, check out Zatoichi when you get a chance. You will not be disappointed!

The link below will take you to a listing of all Zatoichi films made.

Check out some video of my man Zatoichi

Monday, March 16, 2009


This weeks latin cd pick of the week goes to Colombian salsa singer Yuri Buenaventura with his cd titled Vagabundo. Although the entire cd is good the standout tracks for me include Donde Estaras (featuring Orisha - this is funky in any language!) and the tango tinged Vagabundo (featuring Cheo Feliciano). The musicianship on this cd is first rate as well - Check it out!
Click the link to hear some audio samples and get hip!

Check out Yuri in action

Sunday, March 15, 2009


OK, we all know that Bob Marley is considered the King of reggae but do you all know who is considered the Crown Prince of Reggae? That's right, this weeks reggae cd pick goes to Dennis Brown otherwise known as The Crown Prince of Reggae. Bob Marley is quoted as saying Dennis Brown was his favorite singer. This is just one of many "Best Of" collections issued but this one titled Love and Hate is a true gem with 15 classic recordings.
Check out some video of Dennis!


This weeks jazz cd pick goes to pianist Sonny Clark with the cd titled Leapin' and Lopin'. A swinging cd on the Blue Note label (of course) and recorded in 1961. Featuring an all star front line of Tommy Turrentine (Stanley's brother) on trumpet, Ike Quebec and Charlie Rouse on tenor saxes along with Sonny (piano), Butch Warren (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums).
This cd swings with fine playing throughout. Another recommended pick!
Click on the link to hear some sounds samples at Amazon or pick it up!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


There are those that thought the best decade of music was the 60's (British invasion, Motown) or the 80's (Heavy Metal Bands) but for me the best decade of music was and always will be the 70's.

The music being made in the 70's is timeless and to me some of the best music that was ever made. Let me give you some examples of some of the artists who were making great music at this time. I'm sure I am forgetting several artists but I'm sure my many readers will let me know.

  • SOUL and FUNK - Ohio Players (pictured), Tower of Power, Mandrill, Kool and the Gang, Parliament, Slave, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Commodores, James Brown, Donny Hathaway, The Dramatics, War, Average White Band, Sun, Bootsy Collins, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Isley Brothers, GQ, Gil Scott Heron as well as "love groups" such as the Delfonics, Temprees, Blue Magic, Stylistics, Whatnauts, Black Ivory, Chi-Lites
  • REGGAE - Bob Marley was putting out his best music in the 70's although I knew nothing about him at the time
  • SALSA - The latin salsa coming out of New York in the 70's is timeless (Willie Colon. Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente)
  • AFRICA - The jazz funk sounds of Fela Kuti
  • JAZZ - Jazz music suffered in the 70's as the artists (above) overwhelmed the scene. Jazz at this time was undergoing a jazz funk phase with releases on CTI and KUDU being extremely popular although not my particular cup of tea in a lot of cases.

I rest my case. Some may disagree but for me the 70's was some of the best music ever made!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Is there anything better than taking a trip to L.A.'s Chinatown? I think not!
Where else can you buy the latest Asian movies, shop for Bruce Lee t-shirts and buy Asian hats. I passed (for now) on the hat that said "No Money - No Honey" Oh well, maybe next visit. Going there is like being transported to another country at times. It really is a lot of fun and I would recommend Chinatown to anyone.

Also for those that don't know there is also a jazz club located in the heart of Chinatown (see photo). I'm not sure what level of talent is booked at this club but it is always refreshing to see a place that supports live jazz.

This jazz club is also home to what's known as The Beat Swap Meet where thousands of LP's. 12 inch singles and 45's are for sale while DJ's spin the latest and greatest beats. It doesn't appear they sell cd's at this show, only vinyl. So all you vinyl hounds go check it out!

I don't know how often this record show is held but I know on March 15th they will be holding their first anniversary event. For more info go to

Anyway, as always another fun day in Chinatown as I picked up the latest movies (Chinese action and Korean suspense) to enjoy.

Friday, March 6, 2009


OK, so what's the deal with Blu-ray dvd's? I go into Best Buy and they have a split screen monitor with a blurry dvd playing on one side of the screen (regular dvd) and a crystal clear image on the other side of the screen (Blu-ray dvd). Now I don't believe that my regular dvd's look as bad as this demonstration shows. I could be wrong but I really don't believe it. I really think it's just a marketing ploy to suck us all in.

I wonder how many people have hopped on the Blu-ray bandwagon? I know it's supposed to be much better quality and all that but how much better quality do we all need?
I have yet to go to this Blu-ray format as I believe it is just another way for you to re-buy things you have already bought once or twice before.

A few years back I had bought some SACD (Super Audio CD's) and I really didn't notice any difference in sound quality between a normal cd. These SACD's as you may have noticed have quickly disappeared as the iPod and the more compressed music files really took over the market.

I was in Target the other day browsing the dvd's and saw Blu-ray discs for $29.99 and these were for crappy movies that I felt bad when I had spent $4 to rent the movie. I guess you could go to the Blu-ray format and just rent movies but for now I think the Blu-ray discs are way over priced.

I see that Blu-ray dvd players have gotten a lot cheaper however the all region dvd players are still around $500. Because I am into Asian cinema (see site name) I need an all region dvd player that can play dvd's from all countries so until these come down to an affordable level I will be a spectator to the Blu-ray game.
Maybe some of my many readers can convince me otherwise but I doubt it!


This weeks latin cd pick of the week is Willie Colon's cd titled The Big Break (La Gran Fuga). Carrying on with the gangster themed album covers that Willie was known for, this cd is another gem on the Fania label with Hector Lavoe on vocals. You gotta love the cd cover quote "armed with trombone and considered dangerous".
This cd was recorded in 1976 however the combination of Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe in the 70's put out several must have salsa cd's. This is just one of many.

The link below will take you to some audio clips. Check it out and get hip!


In the L.A. area we do have a little bit of Latin jazz and salsa being played on the radio if you know where to find it. There is a lot of Latin "pop" music on the radio but if you want to hear something with a little more substance as well as hipness then check out these programs:

  • Latin Jazz - 88.1 FM (KKJZ) Monday through Friday from 5:00PM - 7:00PM
  • Salsa - 90.7 FM (KPFK) Saturday 8:00PM - 10:00PM
  • Salsa - 107.5 FM (KLVE) Saturday 8:00PM - 11:00PM (not sure when this program ends as I haven't listened to it much lately)


OK, now that Manny has finally signed with the Dodgers I look forward to going to Dodger Stadium this year, buying a Manny wig, and looking as ridiculous as the rest of the adults that wear these wigs (see photo). I'm hoping I'll look a little cooler than these people but you never know.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Next to sax players I probably listen to trumpet players almost as much. My favorite trumpet players include the following:

  • Miles Davis

  • Freddie Hubbard

  • Kenny Dorham

  • Clifford Brown

  • Booker Little

I'm sure there are many more that I am missing but I'm sure my many readers will let me know if there any I may have missed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


This weeks live cd pick of the week goes to the Godfather of Soul - James Brown with his cd titled Love Power Peace (Live at the Olympia, Paris 1971). There are others out there that will argue that his Live at the Appolo cd is better but for me this is the one!
This captures James during his peak funk period and features the J.B.'s with Bootsy Collins on bass! Featuring a combination of older material (Please, Please, Please, It's a Man's World, Papa's Got a Brand New Bag) as well as newer material (Sex Machine, Super Bad, Soul Power, Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved) This is a classic!
A great live recording that you will not be disappointed with! There are a lot of James "Best Of" cd's out there but for the sheer excitement of a live show this is the one you need to be bumpin' to and LOUD!
Click here to listen to some audio samples

The iPod

Is there anything cooler than the iPod? I have to admit I was a little late jumping on this bandwagon but I can say that me and my iPod are inseparable. I take it with me when I go cd shopping (because of my failing memory), wear it on walks, watering the plants, washing the cars, shooting hoops, listen to it at my desk, etc. To have your complete collection of music with you anywhere you go is a truly remarkable thing!

I currently have the 80 gig model and it is completely full with over 15,000 songs on it. I can't add any more music which is real frustrating. This past Sunday I was cd shopping and saw a Charles Mingus cd that I wasn't sure I had. I turned on my iPod and only saw a few Mingus cd's listed. What? Yes, I had recently bought several more Mingus cd's but since I can't load them on my iPod I really don't know what I have.
Apple recently discontinued the 160 and 80 gig iPods and now only offer the 120 gig iPod. I can buy a 160 gig iPod on Ebay but I am buying technology that has been discontinued because Apple wanted to go with a slimmer/newer design and introduced the 120 gig.
Now my problem is, should I buy the old technology (160) get the new technology (120) or hold off hoping that Apple comes out with something new and bigger that will satisfy all my musical needs (for now). Hmm.....decisions...decisions.....


This weeks jazz cd pick of the week goes to great tenor sax legend Stanley Turrentine with the cd titled Dearly Beloved. This cd recorded in 1961 on the Blue Note label features Stanley on tenor sax with his wife Shirley Scott on organ and Roy Brooks on drums. A trio setting that just oozes soul with some blues, ballads and up tempo numbers. I picked this up last week after I noticed the local cd store made a long overdue price adjustment. I'm glad I did because this is another must have for Stanley T. fans out there.

Click the link hear some audio samples or even buy it.
Check out Sanley T. Live!


This weeks dvd pick is another early 70's kung fu classic. This weeks pick is the classic Shaw Brothers film King Boxer which is known to most fans in the U.S. as Five Fingers of Death. This was the first kung fu movie released in America and instantly became a classic. I saw this when it came out and recently saw the new release (on Dragon Dynasty) and it is as good as I remember. Don't buy any other so called versions out there as this is the one to own. This film has been restored to its original glory and includes an English dub (soundtrack) for those that don't like sub-titles. If you can't deal with sub-titles then you're probably not much of an Asian movie buff. This dvd also includes an audio commentary by filmmaker Quentin Tarantino who really knows his kung fu flicks. You can also rent this at Blockbuster or buy it at your local Best Buy. Hey, have I ever steered you wrong on kung fu classics? For now my dvd picks have been the rather obvious and more accessible titles. This is for the uninitiated to get hip to these titles. Later I will get into more obscure as well as current releases.

Check out the trailer for King Boxer

Monday, March 2, 2009


This weeks jazz artist is pianist Andrew Hill. Andrew played with everyone from Joe Henderson, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Hank Mobley, Bobby Hutcherson and Sam Rivers to name a few as well as many releases under his own name. Although not well known outside of the jazz community Warren's free style of jazz is a welcome addition to any jazz lovers collection. Pictured here are just two of the many Blue Note releases under Andrew's name as a leader. Check them out!
Click on the link to hear a sample of Andrew's playing.


This weeks reggae cd pick of the week goes to the great Horace Andy and is titled Skylarking
For those not familiar with reggae this is an easily accessible collection that you are sure to enjoy!
Taking a quote from Tower Records web site "Skylarking is the best collection available of Horace Andy's pioneering work. This cd collects prime material from several different eras. The title song dates from Andy's early days with the legendary producer Coxsone Dodd. "Natty Dread a Weh She Want," "Money Money," and the disturbingly beautiful "Rock to Sleep" are absolute classics from the prime of his popularity in Jamaica".

For some audio clips of this cd go to the following link and expand your musical horizons!


I know this has nothing to do with Music or Asian cinema but it does have to do with the other part of my blog (life in general). When I am on vacation I take hundreds of photos. Here's an interesting shot I took from one of the many beaches in Costa Rica.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


For some reason I listen to more tenor sax players than alto sax players. Since I have listed my top five tenor sax players I guess I might as well list my top five (only five?) alto sax players.
  • Charlie Parker ( a real no-brainer)
  • Sonny Stitt
  • Cannonball Adderly
  • Jackie McLean
  • Art Pepper
Revised 3/2/09 - How could I forget Eric Dolphy!
Honorable Mention: Gary Bartz, Ornette Coleman. Hmmm..........anyone else? I'm sure I'm probably forgetting a lot of them but I'm drawing a real blank on alto players.