Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What's an Aebersold and Where Do I Find Them?

Want to find new methods for building your jazz skills? Or have you heard the name "Aebersold" and not known what it means? Then explore our collection of Jamey Aebersold Jazz Play-Alongs. It is a series of more than 100 books with scores for jazz songs and accompanying play-along CDs. Each has a different theme such as:
If you're looking for a specific song in the series, we have an alphabetical song index at the circulation desk that includes the key and tempo for each piece.

But where will you find these books? We had previously shelved them in our main stacks under their call number, MT68 .A33 but found that it was impractical. They are now behind the circulation desk, so you will need to ask for them. However, unlike most materials behind the circulation desk, they are not reserve items. This means that students can check them out for a full two weeks, so you can take them home and practice at length.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash would have turned 80 on February 26. Among the numerous highlights of our collection of CDs, scores, books and DVDs by and about the Man in Black:

The Best of Johnny Cash (MP1630.C37 B4 1982)

Cash: The Autobiography by Johnny Cash with Patrick Carr (ML420.C37 A3 1998)

Cash: The Legend (CD 27435-2743)

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison and San Quentin (CD 10659)

Johnny Cash: Hurt, a film by Mark Romanek (DVD 1005)

Walk the Line (DVD 2514)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sing Along with the President

President Obama joined an all-star band that included Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Booker T. Jones and Mick Jagger to sing "Sweet Home Chicago." The song is a standard in the city where President Obama began his political career. The concert was held at the White House on February 21 and is schedule to air on PBS next week.

Need to brush up on the song in case you should find yourself in a similar situation? We have scores, CDs, video recordings and lead sheets with the song.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Flashlight on George Clinton

There are lots of names associated with George Clinton, who receives an honorary degree from Berklee this week. There are the band names: Parliament, Funkadelic, P-Funk All-Stars. There are his numerous alter egos and titles such as Dr. Funkenstein, Starchild and the Nasty & Complete Minister of All Funkadelia. He has appeared on albums by artists such as the Wu-Tang Clan and Outkast.

How do you find it all in our collection, and how do you distinguish his work from that of film composer George S. Clinton? You may be in the habit of using Quick Search on the library home page or a general keyword search, but in case you'll get some false hits such a Bing Crosby compilation to which someone named George and someone else named Clinton contributed. This instance demonstrates the value of using "Starts with..." in our catalog. By searching for the name "Clinton, George" under "Starts with..." you'll get a link to the items that the Supereme Maggot Overlord himself contributed and leave out all the other Georges and Clintons.

Getting to know the tools the library provides can save you time by getting you straight to the good stuff and leaving the irrelevant information aside.

And one final tip: if you want to find materials about George Clinton rather than by him, search his name as a subject and you'll find George Clinton and P-Funk: An Oral History by David Mills (ML420.C556 M5 1998).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Flying with Your Instrument

The American Federation of Musicians has successfully lobbied for the passage of a bill creating consistent policy for bringing musical instruments on airplanes. Read the press release:

The AFM applauds passage of FAA Bill

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Serenade Your Sweetie with the Library's Help

Sure, anyone can buy their loved one a heart-shaped box of chocolates or compile a playlist to set the romantic mood for Valentine's Day. But why not put your musical talents to work to make a really big impression? If you already know your beloved's musical taste, you can head straight for the scores by Josh Groban or AC/DC. But if you need some suggestions, here are some ideas from our collection of scores with love songs:
If you're really ambitious, you could even write your own by consulting The Art of Writing Love Songs by Pamela Phillips Oland (Electronic Book)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

RIP Whitney Houston

The breadth of Whitney Houston's importance and influence can be seen in the admittedly rough measure of 79, the number of CDs, scores and other materials we have by her in our collection.

It can also be seen in the Grammy award for Best New Artist. Regardless of who wins tonight (or who did win if you are reading this subsequently), who qualifies for the award is a result of Houston and her self-titled debut (CD 5315). Although the album had sold 2 million copies and spawned 3 Top Ten Singles at the time 28th Grammy Awards in 1986, Houston had dueted with Teddy Pendergrass on his album two years earlier, thus disqualifying her as a new artist by Grammy rules at that time. Outrage over her exclusion resulted in the rule change that defined "new" more liberally, which is why the category now regularly includes artists who are several albums into their careers.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Brush Up on Your Grammy History

Lots of questions will float through your mind as the Grammy Awards approach: Will Adele be able to carry all the gramophone statuettes she's expected to win? Will Kanye West rush the stage during the speech for Best Classical Instrumental Solo?

But do you want to know more about the Grammys? You could start with Another Day in Showbiz (ML429.C675 A3 2002), the autobiography of Pierre Cossette, the producer who brought the awards presentation to television.

For all the details throughout the years, see The Grammys by Thomas O'Neil (Reference ML76.G7 O64 1999). For a behind-the-scenes look, check out Broken Record: The Inside Story of the Grammy Awards by Henry Schipper (ML76.G7 S3 1992).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bass! How Low Can You Go?

Decca Records is looking for the answer to Chuck D's question from "Bring the Noise." Composer Paul Mealor is searching for a voice that can hit a low E, nearly three octaves below middle C, for his latest piece, De Profundis. NPR has a report on the composer, the work and Decca's contest to find someone who can sing it:

Super Bass: Can You Hit This Note?

If you want to work on your technique to be able to hit low notes, check out Breaking Through: From Rock to Opera: The Basic Technique of Voice by Gloria Bennett (MT893 .B46 1994) or Fifty Lessons for the Voice: op. 9: For Low Voice by Giuseppe Concone (MT885 .C656 op.9, S32 low).

If you just want to hear Public Enemy address the issue, you'll find "Bring the Noise" on It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (CD 194).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Alan Lomax's Dream of a "Global Jukebox"

 The New York Times reports on how Alan Lomax's dream of a "global jukebox" will soon be a reality. "The folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax was a prodigious collector of traditional music from all over the world and a tireless missionary for that cause." He envisioned a global jukebox to enable access to his many recordings, and by the end of February, much of it will be available streaming online.

Folklorist’s Global Jukebox Goes Digital

In the meantime, you can listen to many of his recordings and read his writings here at the library.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

RIP Don Cornelius

Don Cornelius, the producer of the groundbreaking TV show Soul Train has died in an apparent suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Associated Press has a news story.

You can also learn more about Cornelius and how he created Soul Train in 1970 as a "hipper all-black" version of American Bandstand that served a showcase for all the leading names in soul and R&B in the "Soul Train" entry our online database The African-American Experience.

The American Mosaic: The African American Experience - Soul Train (TV, 1970)

To access this database from off-campus, you will need to go through the library web site. Along the way, you will be prompted to log in as a Berklee user.
Start at the library home page:
Click on E-Resources
Click on Search Articles & More
Choose the old or new interface.
If you choose the new interface, click on "Search by database."
Click on "African American Experience (Academic)" (not the checkbox next to the name) to enter the database.
Search "Soul Train" to see the entry.