Thursday, April 30, 2009


Every month I shell out money to my gardener to cut my grass as well as shelling out even more money to the Water Company to keep my grass green. A growing trend I have noticed in my neighborhood is that people are getting as fed up with this as I am. I have seen several people eliminate their grass and utilize drought resistant plants (see photo) while others have replaced their grass with artificial grass (see photo). The photos below are a few examples of this growing trend that I have been seeing. Now, I'm not sure what direction I'm going to take but all I know is that I could save a whole lot of money if I didn't have to water or cut my grass!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This weeks Latin Jazz Artist Pick Of The Week is the great conguero Poncho Sanchez. Poncho used to play congas with the great Cal Tjader before breaking out on his own and forming his own band. Since that time Poncho has released numerous recordings and is always playing around the Los Angeles area. For those that have not seen Poncho live my only advice to you is go check him out!
Here is a great video of Poncho playing a solo before segueing into his hit, Besame Mama which is sung here by the great salsa legend Oscar D'Leon. Check it out!


This weeks Latin Funk CD Pick Of The Week goes to the 1998 debut cd by the Los Angeles band Ozomatli. This is a great cd from start to finish. Ozomatli has released six cd's and of course I have all of them. I feel that this cd was their best as it mixes a variety of musical styles together such as latin, funk, hip-hop and even rap. Check out the Amazon link to hear some audio samples of this cd or check out the video of Ozo playing City of Angels from their latest album Don't Mess With The Dragon. Check it out and hip up!


What? Denzel robbed? for what? his car? his watch? his N.Y. Yankee hat? No, I'm talking about the 1992 Academy Awards.
Because I have unlimited time on my hands (still!) I just finished watching Spike Lee's movie Malcom X starring Denzel Washington. Denzel's performance of the Nation of Islam leader, Malcom X is simply terrific! If you haven't seen this movie then check it out!
Although Denzel was nominated for his portrayal of Malcom X, he lost the Academy Award to Al Pacino for the movie Scent Of A Woman. Now I love the work of Al Pacino (Godfather, Carlitos Way, Scarface, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, etc...) I really do not think that Pacino deserved the Academy Award and that Denzel was robbed! Yes, robbed! View these performances side by side and Denzel is the clear winner!
The movie Academy frequently makes mistakes and then issues "make up awards" which are awards given later when they realize the mistakes they had made earlier. This is why Pacino was given the Oscar here and why Denzel was later given the Oscar for Training Day. The same can be said for Marty Scorcese who was recently given the Oscar for The Departed because he was overlooked for all of his other brilliant movies. Anyway, that's just my mindless rambling on this subject. View the movie trailer below for a glimpse of Denzel's powerful performance.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I just love the tenor sax sound of Stanley Turrentine. An unmistakable tone that you can identify from the very first note. So why are there two cd picks this week instead of only one? Well, because these are the last two cd's that I bought, that's why!
The first cd is titled A Chip Off The Old Block and features the music of Count Basie. Featuring Shirley Scott on organ and Blue Mitchell on trumpet this is a cd that definitely swings! Click the link below to hear some audio samples of this cd.
The second cd is titled The Return Of The Prodigal Son and features Stanley in a much larger band setting. Another great cd from Stanley that you need to check out!


No, no, don't worry my many readers, I am not going to deprive you of your daily reading and I am definitely not going to prison. A few years back I used to watch the HBO tv show titled OZ. This show was about life in prison and to me it seemed like a very realistic representation as to what prison life would be like. You would see some young college guys get busted and the next day they are in OZ and then made to wear earrings, lipstick and tie their shirts up like a halter top. This is just the half of it! Prison? No way, not for me. A handsome guy like me (Saxoman aka Afro-Samurai) would not do well in prison. A word of warning to all of you! Obey the law or you could end up like the guy in the photo! No thanks! HAHA!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


OK fellas, this one is for you! Have you ever been to someones home where there's the obvious absence of a man in the house? Typically what you will find at these homes is the dreaded padded toilet seat (see photo). Now I'm sure that these seats are very comfortable for sitting however us men typically stand up when we gotta go. Now what's my complaint about these things? Well when you try to lift the seat up they never stay up and fall right back down so you then have to hold up the seat with one leg and try to go. Compound this with a bathroom door that doesn't lock and you are juggling both legs and arms in a position normally associated with the board game Twister. Either way, it's a difficult maneuver and no fun at all.
Guy's I'm sure you know what I'm talkin' about! Let your voices be heard on this!


This weeks world music artist is the great Nigerian born and originator of Afrobeat music, Fela Kuti. I first got hip to Fela as I used to take my almost weekly drive to Amoeba Records in Hollywood. On the radio every Saturday afternoon was an African music program on station KPFK (90.7). This program played a lot of great African music and is how I got hip to Fela. I only have about seven Fela cd's in my collection (at the moment) but intend to get more soon. I recently rented a movie titled The Visitor which had an older white guy trying to learn to play the African drum. The kid teaching him asked him "you don't know Fela? Man, you got to listen to Fela" and later gave him a cd of Fela's music to check out. Since watching that movie I have pulled out several of my Fela cd's and am rediscovering this music all over again.
Fela was a saxophone and keyboard player and led a band of many musicians and dancers performing the Afrobeat style of music created by Fela which is a fusion of jazz, funk, and traditional West African chants and rhythms. Fela used his music to convey his views on the government and the military. Although Fela's music was extremely popular with the people it infuriated the government leading to attacks against Fela including beatings, phony charges, burning of his recording studio and even the throwing of his mother out of a window.
Fela has a storied career in that he formed his own political party, ran for President and in 1978 married 27 women (wow!)
Although there are a lot of videos of Fela on YouTube that you can check out, the video (photo montage) I selected is of one of my favorite Fela tunes titled Water No Get Enemy. Check it out. Remember it is my duty to hip you to these things you may be unaware of. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Back in the early 70's the place to go for all the latest blaxploitation movies (an upcoming blog topic) was The Cinema 21 movie theater in Pasadena, CA. Located on Washington Blvd. just west of Lake Ave. the Cinema 21 was the place to be! The admission price was only 50 cents to get in and you were guaranteed to see the latest and hippest flicks. Risking life and limb at times to see classic movies such as Shaft, Superfly, The Mack, Cotton Comes To Harlem, Across 110th Street, Black Caesar, Cleopatra Jones, Slaughter, Coffy, Hell Up In Harlem, Blacula, and many more, the Cinema 21 was an unforgettable experience.
The theater was patrolled by the short, buffed security guard you didn't want to mess with known as "No-Neck". He would constantly patrol the theater looking for trouble makers and would keep everyone in line by flashing his flashlight on you.
Sadly the Cinema 21 theater is now abandoned and severely neglected (see photo).
Maybe I should buy it and restore it to it's luxurious past? Well, it wasn't ever very luxurious and one of the main reason we used to go there was because it was the cheapest movie theater in town.
After the movies it was about a block and a half walk to Bill's Chicken. There we would get some serious fried chicken from Bill (who was usually pretty grumpy and always had the blues playing), pop some change in the jukebox and listen to Ball of Confusion or I Can't Get Next To You by The Temptations. From there it was a long walk home.......Ahhh, those were the days.
What? You say your not hip to blaxploitation movies? Have you been living in a bubble? Well check out the Soul Cinema site to see what I'm talkin' about and get yourself hip!


Because my blog covers and discusses all types of music you may have noticed that I have changed the name of my blog to reflect this. I will no longer be the Jazz, Asian Cinema, etc.... blog. I will now be known as the Music, Asian Cinema and Life In General blog.
My current web address may change as well to reflect this but don't worry my many readers. I will keep you updated as to what happens. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


OK, for me the saddest moment of all time in movie history is from Rocky III when Rocky's trainer Mick dies. I know there are those that will think the saddest moment in the movies was when Spock died in one of the early Star Trek movies only to somehow come back to life (gimme a break, please!) but for me this is the one. I don't know what it is about this scene but every time I watch it I'm cryin' like a baby. Why just watching it again is bringing tears to my eyes. I....I......gotta go........whaaaaaaa!!!


This weeks dvd pick of the week goes to the Japanese dvd titled Azumi.
Azumi is a female assassin on a deadly mission and will let no one get in her way. At one point of the film Azumi takes on 200 samurai in a blood soaked conclusion. This review is for the first Azumi however this movie did spawn a part two dvd that is also great as well. An action packed and blood spattered movie that you are sure to enjoy! Hey, have I ever steered you wrong before? Check out the trailer and see what I'm talkin' about!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Because it was going to be a sweltering hot day in the city and everyone I know with a pool never invites me, I decided to spend the day at Venice Beach with my wife. I know.....I're probably thinking "what? how can you go to the beach with the NBA playoffs starting and the Laker game on?" Well, I decided that since I will be sitting on my butt for the next 6 weeks watching basketball I could at least record the first game and spend the day at Venice Beach. So off I went.........
Some people I know have never been to Venice Beach and others either don't like it or are scared to go. I know there are homeless people and bums around but so what?
Me? I've been going to Venice Beach for years. Although there are many other beaches that are nicer, to me they are just sand and the ocean. At Venice you have all of the entertainment and all of the people selling things on the boardwalk. We typically get there in the morning and stroll the boardwalk, which takes over 2 hours. Then we have a bite to eat and head down to the beach. Yesterday I took my iPod and promptly dozed off as soon as I laid down. The photos below are not pictures that I took but are just an example of the sights down at Venice Beach. What? You say you've never been? Well go check it out and get hip!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Well after spending hours and hours sitting on my butt watching 82 regular season basketball games the regular season is finally over!
Now, the real season starts, the playoffs! I look forward to watching at least two games every single night and doing absolutely nothing productive! To me the NBA playoffs are truly exciting to watch with great games every night.
Being born and raised in the Southern California area I am a die hard Laker fan and bleed purple and gold so I will be rooting for my beloved Lakers to win it all. Will they? I don't know and have serious concerns about their lack of defense as well as the play of the bench players. I still believe though.....oh yes, I do believe so we'll shall see what happens.
Here's some highlights of my Lakers in action. Enjoy!

Monday, April 13, 2009


This weeks dvd pick of the week includes the two main topics of this blog: Jazz and Asian cinema (what a novel concept!). This dvd is from 2004 and is titled Swing Girls. This movie is about a group of Japanese girls who form a jazz band at school.
This is a hilarious movie that is definitely a lot of fun to watch and I must say I have watched it several times. Watch the ups and downs of the band as the girls skills progress and then the final conclusion, their performance in a jazz competition.
The video is part of the performance of the Swing Girls in action. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


This weeks reggae cd pick of the week goes to legendary reggae singer Garnet Silk with the double cd titled Music Is The Rod. This is a best of cd and contains most of the hits from the brief career of Garnet Silk. I had heard many reggae performers mention Garnet's influence but didn't get hip to him until fairly recently.
Garnet was known for his powerful and smooth voice. During the early 1990s he was hailed as a rising talent, but his career was cut short in 1994 when he died while attempting to save his mother while his house was on fire.
Go here to hear some audio samples of this great cd!
View the video to hear a live performance by Garnet Silk with the ode to his mother titled Mama. Rest in peace Garnet Silk and may your music live on!


This weeks Latin funk cd pick of the week goes to Illya Kuryaki and The Valderramas with the cd titled Leche. Someone had hipped me to this cd one day and while browsing the bins at Amoeba I came across it. A mixture of funk, hip-hop and Latin, this is a must have for the fans of the funk! The cd I purchased even came with a black sleeve to cover the bare breasts on the cd cover (how silly). Anyway, this is a super funky cd that you are sure to dig. If you're not hip to it then give it a listen and get hip! Remember, it is my duty to hip you, my many listeners to these undiscovered gems.
Or check out this video to see what I'm talkin' about!

Friday, April 10, 2009


This weeks jazz cd pick of the week goes to Bobby Hutcherson with this 1965 release on the Blue Note lable titled Dialogue. Featuring an all star cast of Bobby on vibes and marimba, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Sam Rivers on tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet and flute, Andrew Hill on piano, Richard Davis on bass and Joe Chambers on drums. A great recording that is a must have for any jazz lovers library.
Go to the link below to hear some audio clips of this cd or click the video to hear an entire cut from this cd. Dig it and get hip!


Do I ever get tired of going to Chinatown in Los Angeles? No, as a matter of fact I don't!
Because I have unlimited free time on my hands (still) I decided it was time for another trip so I hopped the Gold Line train in Pasadena and there I was, Chinatown once again.
It felt like forever since my last visit but in reality it was probably only about two weeks ago.
I visited my favorite dvd stores and picked up a few Shaw Brothers bootleg dvd's (The Tea House and The Condemned) and also the latest action movie by renowned martial arts star Sammo Hung (Wush Shu - The Next Generation) all for $13 (what a deal!).
Anyway, look for reviews of these fine films soon on my blog! From there I headed over (by bus) to the Garment District and Santee Alley. It's like a whole different world there where salespeople are trying to sell you everything imaginable. Ya' gotta love those suits with the matching overcoats and hats. Too hip!
On a related note, I recently had an odd dream that I opened a movie theater in Chinatown where the now abandoned Little Joe's Italian Restaurant sits. Maybe this is a sign? an omen of my future? Who knows........only time will tell.
What does the photo shown have to do with my visit? Why absolutely nothing!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


My pick for the best love album of the 70's goes to the classic recording, Lovemen by The Temprees (pictured). Now I am sure there will be those that will argue that Blue Magic's debut release was better or that the Stylistics album was just as good but in my opinion this is the best love album of the 70's. This album is always a sure bet to seal the deal with the ladies if you know what I mean. Although this classic recording has not yet been released on cd, you can have all of the songs from this lp but will need to purchase two separate cd's to get all of these songs. These cd's are: The Best of The Temprees and The Temprees Dedicated to the One I love. This is the only way to get all of the songs from this album.
Anyway, check out these two cd's and you can say once again that I was right!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I'M BACK!!!! Well as most of my many readers have noticed my blogging has slowed down considerably this past week. This was due to most of my time being devoted to my downloading a ton of music and then having computer problems probably because of all of this downloading of free music. Anyway, after dumping my free virus protection (free doesn't always mean good) and going to a more reputable (I'm hoping!) virus protection, my problems may now be behind me. I had several issues installing my new virus protection and also had several on-line chats with India regarding my problems. I am hoping my problems are all fixed but for now only time will tell. Anyway, stay tuned for more blogging in the near future.