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Why You Should Skip My Articles and Go Straight to the Comments
Here are some highlights from yesterday's open mic anarchy thread
The comments are sometimes the best part of my articles. There are a few possible explanations for that—including one I prefer not to think about. But still it’s a nice surprise.
Even my son Thomas, who has high standards (about five steps higher than mine), took a look at the open thread yesterday, shook his head, and admitted: “These comments are actually smart.”
That’s not something we’ve come to expect in the digital age. People tend to use their digital devices to give everybody else the virtual middle digit. But somehow we’ve bucked the trend here.
I guess I should have anticipated it. I’ve hosted six open threads since launching The Honest Broker, and they all were worth the price of a subscription.
Which reminds me. . .
The Honest Broker is a reader-supported guide to music, books, media & culture. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. If you want to support my work, the best way is by taking out a paid subscription.
But yesterday I was still apprehensive. I was anxious because I’d invited readers to talk about anything.
That’s asking for trouble. Only bartenders, barbers, and Uber drivers let people deliver uninterrupted monologues. At least they get paid for it. On the other hand, I’m charging for subscriptions, so people have expectations of entertainment—or some reasonable facsimile thereof.
But the comments on the open thread were totally legit. In fact, they absolutely slapped. There are worse ways to spend your time than reading all five hundred of them.
Below are a few of the highlights.
I was born in Omaha in the 1970s. As a teen, I asked my mother what the 60s were like and she said, “Son, the 60’s never made it to Nebraska.”
Cuboids made a case that recent Colombian records deserve more attention, and recommended some favorites.
Well, why not Colombian music? Before I begin, let me note that (a) I am not from Colombia, (b) have never set foot there, and (c) don't even speak Spanish. But who cares! I have recently discovered more amazing, transformative, soul-healing music in a month than in years, some of which by Colombian artists. So here we go:
I keep getting blown away by this album. As Pitchfork says, "The Colombian musician sketches a sci-fi vision of bolero, son, and other classic genres she grew up with. It’s philosophically daring, technically ambitious, and a joy to experience."
I guess winning a Grammy already tells a lot about the quality of this album. I would say this album more or less exemplifies what I consider "good music".
This just swings!! I just wish I could speak Spanish and understand the lyrics!
4. La Ruta - by Kondraschewa/Chica (Piano Duo)
A two-piano album by the German/Ukrainian-Colombian duo who play compositions by contemporary Colombian composers. Definitely worth checking out!
An absolute joy to listen to!
Do let me know if you know more amazing music and artists from Colombia!
I asked yesterday how Joey Chestnut wins the hot dog eating contest every year. And reader Patrick M. Lydon not only had an answer—but even had a musical answer.
I remember marching with Joey Chestnut in the San Jose State Marching Band. Pretty sure he played trumpet. So my theory on this, is that the rigorous act of playing an instrument while marching into formations on a football field is why he can eat so many hot dogs.
David Hill shared some musical coincidences—and I learned how Billy Strayhorn, the beloved composer-arranger with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, launched his performing career in the same way as Leonard Bernstein. But they ended up in such different places in American culture.
Here are two musical coincidences that you might find interesting, Ted. The first involves classical composer Edvard Grieg, who wrote one of his most famous pieces, the Piano Concerto in A minor, in 1868. On March 1, 1934, one great American composer, 18-year-old Billy Strayhorn, performed the piece with the Westinghouse High School (Pittsburgh) Senior Orchestra. Music director Carl McVicker said of the performance "I never heard a student play that way before or after." As you know, Billy actually had dreams of becoming a concert pianist, but his race precluded such ambitions, and so he gravitated to Jazz, and his eventual partnership with Duke Ellington became one of the most extraordinary in the history of American music. A little over two months later, on May 14, 1934, another great American composer, 16-year-old Leonard Bernstein, performed the first movement of the Concerto in A minor at Roxbury High School, with the Boston Public School Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of T. Francis Burk.
The other coincidence involves a landmark Jazz recording, the October 11, 1939 version by Coleman Hawkins of "Body And Soul." This was significant because it features Hawkins improvising during the entire take, not playing the melody at any point. It was considered a bridge between the popular, melody-based Jazz music of the Swing Era, and the more sophisticated, improvisation-based Jazz music of the Bebop Era that was to follow. Not many realize, however, that a very similar recording was made only eight days later, on October 19, 1939, by the trombonist Jack Jenny. His improvisation was over a similar standard, "Stardust," and just like Hawkins, at no point does he play the melody.
Here is Coleman's recording:
And here is Jenny's:
João Callado shared his brand new YouTube video, which was just a few hours old—and his comment (with the video link) got the most like of them all yesterday.
And finally Shaggy Snodgrass gave us an inside tip:
The next major Japanese sumo wrestling tournament starts tonight (July 8th). As a sport, it has the best value/watchtower I know of, and the stories that pour from every aspect of it are largely organic and often surprising and fun.
Are we not entertained? If that’s not enough for you, check out the entire open thread here.