Paul McCartney was born on this date in 1942, so today we can celebrate 68 years of singer, musician, songwriter, actor, artist, and author, Paul McCartney. To be honest, he didn’t start composing hits on the day he was born, though, if anyone could, it would be him. Technically, the earliest the larger world knows of him dates back to 1961, when he was just a back-up musician for little-known singer Tony Sheridan.
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For those of us who were worried that the ever-endearing John Goodman would soon jump on celebrity death craze bandwagon, you can put your concerns to rest. A shockingly slim and sober Goodman appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman this week to discuss his new healthy lifestyle, and presumably a project of some sort. Goodman said he was pushing 400 at his peak and cites quitting drinking as the source of his success. Goodman’s target weight? “30 pounds”. It’s good to know he’ll be around for awhile.
Bill Dixon, jazz trumpeter, composer, and educator, died in his Vermont home on Wednesday, June 16. He was 84.
For about half a century, Dixon’s name has been peppered all around the fringes of modern jazz. His works with Archie Shepp and Cecil Taylor in the 1960s placed him on the map, and all over that map he would eventually sprawl himself. He utilized his composition skills as a bandleader and exercised his chops as an occasional sideman. But Dixon was almost always fostering the very genre he was helping to create. He was a professor of music at Bennington College, helped set up appropriate live music venues in Greenwich Village, and organized the October Revolution in jazz concert series. Even though he retired from teaching in the mid-‘90s, he still stayed active with recording and gigging. He even lent a hand to his genre protégé Rob Mazurek on Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra, which received a positive review from PopMatters, no less.
Before Bill Dixon left us, he created a strange, nebulous double album called Tapestries for Small Orchestra. Eight musicians, including the aforementioned Mazurek, bring to life the deep, impressionistic harmonies that Dixon seemingly plucked from the air and transposed to paper. As “Adagio - Slow Mauve Scribblings” slowly burns down like a stick of incense, you sadly realize that this type of album is almost peerless nowadays, earning it a place in destination-out.com’s favorites of 2009.
The trumpet just lost its Anthony Braxton.
Mr Mashup, Pogo, celebrates the release this week of Toy Story 3 (yes, it’s another summer of sequels) with “Toyz Noize”. Read more in depth about Pogo in L.B. Jeffries’ recent Moving Pixels article, “Pogo: Turning Classic Films into New Songs”.
Broken Social Scene played “Texico Bitches” on Jimmy Fallon, a tune that Evan Sawdey described as “joyously disposable”. Here’s what else he said about the song last month in his review of the Toronto band’s latest full-length Forgiveness Rock Record:
“Even on something as joyously disposable as ‘Texico Bitches’, Kevin Drew’s vulgar slang soon turns into a near plea for the Texico Bitches to stick around out of a fear of lonliness, the only line in the chorus being ‘I want to be fair’. The song is still catchy as all get-out, but the more time spent with these lyrics only shows just how dour Drew’s outlook can be. Marrying strangely dark lyrics to infectious harmonies is nothing new in pop music, but as is often the case, we get lost in tension between these opposing ends.”