Monday, November 28, 2011

Sultan Khan, an Indian musician whose career included Hindustani classical music, ambient/electronica and work in Bollywood films, has died at 71. NPR provides an overview of his career, and you may hear more about him at "The Music and Culture of Bollywood and Beyond II" on Wednesday, November 30 at 6 p.m. in the Media Lab.

One Of India's Leading Musicians, Sultan Khan, Dies At Age 71

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thoughts on Motian….

Ralph Rosen, Media Center Manager and a drummer himself, is our guest blogger for this post.

Paul Motian, one of the most prolific and unique drummers in the jazz field, died Tuesday, November 22, 2011 due to a bone-marrow disorder. He was 80 years old. He was raised in Rhode Island and became a professional drummer after leaving the Navy in 1954. He went on to play and record with countless major jazz artists. Here is a partial list: Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, Lennie Tristano, Tony Scott, George Russell, Steve Lacy, Bill Evans, Paul Bley, Charles Lloyd, Carla Bley, Keith Jarrett, Charlie Haden, Gary Peacock, Bill Frisell, etc.

In 1972, while a member of Keith Jarrett’s quartet, he began recording and performing as a leader, eventually releasing almost 50 of his own albums. This does not include his many collaborative projects or his countless recordings as a sideman.

Being a drummer myself I was very influenced by Paul Motian’s concepts. He seemed to fly in the face of the standards that most of us follow regarding technique and the jazz “language” yet he understood and had absorbed all of it. While we were all trying to master the great ideas of Baby Dodds/Chick Webb/Jo Jones/Kenny Clark/Max Roach/Roy Haynes/Elvin Jones/Tony Williams etc. Paul Motian played more and more like a little kid who simply didn’t know any of this- just played with no precedent. As a result there were no “licks” in his work. Sure, his playing was joyous and child-like but with a great groove. He could sound like a punk rock drummer at times or play with the most moving and complimentary impressionistic colors- always in service of the music. As Keith Jarrett said of him- he always loved the “song.” Through it all he always swung but in a wholly original way. He was truly one-of-a-kind.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Learn More about a Legendary Jazz Impresario

On November 20, the Boston Globe featured a front-page story on Lennie Sogoloff, who ran the legendary West Peabody jazz club Lennie's-on-the-Turnpike. Now 87 and retired, Sogoloff is booking musical acts at the nursing home where he lives.

The online version of the Boston Globe is now available only to paid subscribers, but Berklee users have access to the content via ProQuest, which also offers a more robust advanced search function than the Globe's own web site. Berklee users can access this under "Search Articles & More" from the library's home page. To see this article from off campus, you may be prompted for your wireless PIN.

Still getting in the groove: Legendary impresario jazzes up nursing home in Marblehead by booking classy local artists

To learn more about the importance of Lennie's-on-the-Turnpike in Boston's musical history, explore the Berklee Oral History Project collection. Many of the people interviewed have long histories in the Boston jazz scene, and Lennie's gets mentioned frequently as an integral part.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Take on Fake Bands

Nigel Tufnel Day (11/11/11) has come and gone, but our display of fake bands in honor of the event is still up. Here is yet another perspective on the subject, this time from Paste Magazine.

The 50 Best Fictional Bands

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Research Guides: Citing Sources and Grad School Exam Prep

We have just updated many of our research guides as well as unveiling new ones which are particularly useful this time of the academic year.

Are you writing a paper for a liberal arts class? Has your instructor required you to cite your sources in a particular format? Take a look at How to Cite Print & Electronic Sources for examples of how to cite different types of sources and where to find more help.

Are you applying to grad school and planning to take an entrance exam such as the GRE or LSAT? Check out our Graduate School Admissions Exam Preparation Guide. It is organized by examination, and we have plenty of materials to help you ace those tests.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

For Veteran's Day: Musicians and the Library of Congress

The library, along with the rest of the college, will be closed on Friday, November 11 in observance of Veteran's Day. But we can still honor the day and those who have served our country.

From Paste Magazine:
10 Musicians Who Served In The Military

NPR has a story on East of Underground, a band formed by servicemen during the Vietnam War that the U.S. Army sent on tour to entertain the troops. As David Hollander, the writer of the liner notes for the new reissue pointed out, "The U.S. Army spends an estimated $200 million a year on music, and is the largest single employer of musicians in the country."
The U.S. Army's Rock 'N' Roll Past

The Library of Congress has created the Veterans History Project. "The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More Fake Bands

For our display Fake Bands: In Honor of Nigel Tufnel Day, we focused on fake bands with representational artifacts. In other words, we wanted fake bands with CDs, DVDs or scores. Spinner assembled their own list of the best fake bands a few months back. Shockingly, Spinal Tap did not make the cut. The only act to make it into their list and our display was Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. But here are more fake bands to consider, complete with videos.

Top 23 Fake Bands: The Best Fictional Music Groups of Film and TV - Spinner

Monday, November 7, 2011

Make Your Own (Spinal Tap) Life-Size Stonehenge

Do you like the Stonehenge model that is part of our current display, Fake Bands: In Honor of Nigel Tufnel Day? Do you want to make your own Stonehenge or other fake rocks as stage props? These directions may not work if you want to make an 18' life-size replica of the original Stonehenge, but they certainly work for an 18" replica of the Stonehenge from This Is Spinal Tap.

How to Make Styrofoam Rocks

If none of this makes sense, stop by the library to see the display, and come to our screening of This Is Spinal Tap on Wednesday, November 9 at 6:00 p.m. in the Media Lab.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Dearth of A&R

Pete Townshend, in BBC 6 Music's inaugural John Peel Lecture, made headlines with his provocative comparison of Apple's iTunes to digital vampires. Less noteworthy but more useful was his constructive criticism, that with the decline of the traditional record industry, iTunes should fill the A&R vacuum. Anyone can get their music distributed on iTunes, but it is hard for artists to build careers without the guidance, nurturing and editorial feedback of knowledgeable music industry veterans to help them stand out from the crowd.

The fashionable view of the record industry is to condemn it for taking artists' money and offering little in return or for pushing aside artistry for the sake of crass commercialism. Trent Reznor has said that A&R interference led to Scream (CD 30744) Chris Cornell's ridicule-worthy collaboration with Timbaland. But the flip side, as Chuck Klosterman argues, is that the lack of A&R interference led to Lulu, Metallica's ridicule-worthy collaboration with Lou Reed. No one was in a position to tell them it was a bad idea.

The library doesn't have Lulu yet. Even if it doesn't hit the Billboard 50, we will probably acquire it as a cautionary tale.

BBC News - Pete Townshend calls Apple 'a vampire'

Chuck Klosterman on the release of the new Metallica and Lou Reed album - Grantland
Injustice For All: The Lou Reed/Metallica Album

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All-TIME 100-Song Mash-Up

Anyone who has read the book or watched the movie High Fidelity (PR6058.O689 H54 2000 and DVD 595, respectively) knows that making a list of the greatest songs will invite argument and that there is a definite art to making a mix tape. The writers and editors at Time took on both challenges, assembling a list of the "most extraordinary English-language popular recordings since the beginning of TIME magazine in 1923" and culling it into a 180-second mash-up of all the entries. Give it a listen, then argue amongst yourselves. Or head to the media center to hear the songs in their entirety.

Listen to the All-TIME 100 Songs in 180 Seconds