Jimmy Winokur
     

Some of
My Favorite Musicians
and some personal background
page 1
 

Page 1
Jerry Jeff Walker
Gary Burton
Oregon
The Band
Gustav Mahler

 

   

 

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My favorite Musicians:
Page 2...Some More...
Page 3: Still More..
Song Lyrics.


 

 

 

Page 2 Some More...
Fleetwood Mac & Bob Welch
 
Symphonic Composers:
Romantic & 20th Century

Jackson Browne
Bruce Cockburn
Billie Holiday
James Taylor
Ella Fitzgerald
Blue Mitchell
"Israeli Favorites":
Shlomo Artzi & Arik Einstein

Donald Fagan & Steely Dan

Page 4:
Mostly Mainstream Jazz

 

Page 3: Still More...

Sting
Milt
Jackson &
the Modern Jazz Quartet
Joni Mitchell
Chet Baker
Paul Simon
Karla Bonoff & Terence Boylan
Mark Knopfler & Dire Straits
Richard Wagner
Little Feat
Paul Brady
Bob Marley
Women Singer-Songwriters
The Beatles
Composers for Musical Theater :
Gershwin, Rogers, Romberg, Kern



 
         


 

 

 

Jerry Jeff Walker

Jerry Jeff is my longest-standing musical hero.

Way back in  1969, I heard his Driftin' Way of Life album featured on Penn's  WXPN as I tried doing-"anything-but studying" for the Pennsylvania Bar exam.   

That album -- actually his first few -- were largely acoustic, with the exquisite aid of the magical picker, David Bromberg (pictured in foreground of the accompanying  "drawing ").  Unlike many albums that followed in the next few decades, the music and lyrics were all Jerry Jeff's, and almost all delicate, sensitive compositions.  My early favorite is the long-lost Fading Lady, which reminded me somehow of classical music, from whence I came at this stage of my listening. 

 

Those songs of '69-'71 spoke of roads traveled and people loved -- persistently yearning  beyond boundaries to new, unknown realms.  These songs encouraged me as I was deciding to leave my native Philly - for the 1st time - moving to Denver for a teaching career.

 

I've always been turned off by Jerry Jeff's better known "kick-ass" music (e.g., Up Against The Wall Red Neck Mother; Pissin' In the Wind).  But his good soul always shines through.  Mr. Bojangles is only the best known example.  Recently, he released what for me is his best album in decades:  Gypsy Songman, A Life in Song., which accompanies a book of memoirs of the same title. 

               My own 1st book, American Property Law (1982), was dedicated to my teachers and mentors , listed in the Preface - mostly established academics & lawyers... and Jerry Jeff!                                                                              

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I did with each other mentor, I delivered an inscribed, wrapped copy for Jerry Jeff to his staff one night at the Little Bear, Evergreen CO.  They laughed in disbelief when I confessed it was a law book -- Jerry Jeff having had some of his worst life experiences getting screwed by lawyers and the like.

 

 

 

Gary Burton is, for my taste, the world's finest vibraphone player.   Vibes are one of my very favorite instrruments.

Gary pioneered using 4 mallets (instead of the traditional 2) for vibes , and his styles vary from mainstream to the more abstract "chamber jazz" or "new music" of ECM -- embodied most vividly by Oregon, just below. 

with Gary Burton
at Cafe Communiqué, 1997

  Most widely known and beloved of his "chamber jazz" albums in this genre are the duet albums with Chick Corea (e.g., Crystal Silence), and with Oregon's Ralph Towner (Matchbook). 

He has also been Dean of the great Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts. 

Gary Burton is the one personal musical hero of mine whom I was able to present in my short-lived Cafe Communiqué, back in 1997.   What a thrill!  Unfortunately, the fine piano was very slightly off-tune when he played -- for which I got outraged shit from Boulder's fine pianist, the hot-blooded Art Lande.  (Lande finally had the decency to apologize ... months after the cafe closed.)  But even though vibes cannot be tuned to adjust to the variance, Burton was the ultimate mensch.   When I apologized to Gary, he said 'no problem', and  -- enjoying the music-loving 'vibe' I'd created at the cafe =-- he gave a spectacular performance!

 

 

The best artists musically are so often the good people as well.  Roseanne Cash and Fred Hersch were other examples of this special grace among those folks I had perform at the Cafe.

 

 

       

 

 

Oregon
(Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless, Glen Moore, Colin Walcott, Trilok Gurtu)

As luck would have it, I stumbled across this album, Out of the Woods, in 1979 leafing through an LP bin at Denver's great Indie record & CD store,  Twist 'n' Shout .

 A reminder of how great cover art was
in those magical music times.

 

Intuitively -- with not the remotest idea of what Oregon's music actually sounded like --  I thought "If the music on this album sounds anything like what this cover pictures, I will love it." 

It did.  I did.  Then and ever since. 

This was my most meaningful introduction to the ECM style of jazz (though not on that label).  My 1st ECM album was Art Lande's  Rubisa Patrol (courtesy of Listen Up).  Other such artists listed here are: Dave Holland and Gary Burton. 

This fortuitous discovery reinforced my lifelong willingness to buy recordings I had no good basis for knowing I'd like. Gamble, gamble, always take the gamble!  It 's the best way I've known to continue broadening my musical appreciation and experience --part of the broader idea:  Choose music from everywhere possible! 

 

Oregon's music originally combined the unique combination of Paul McCandless' Oboe (and a host of other reed and wind instruments) with Colin Walcott's Sitar and Tabla.  Ralph Towner played Classical Guitar and acoustic piano (eventually the Prophet synthesizers).  When Walcott tragically died in a car crash, Oregon recruited Trilok Gurtu, a more fiery, more Indian player -- who left to pursue independent projects not much later.  The Sitar and Tabla are now gone.  But the disciplined musicianship has persisted uninterruptedly.  Recently, their musicianship shone in with the Moscow Philharmonic in a double album, Oregon in Moscow.

 



Ralph Towner    Paul McCandless

 



Oregon, currently    

 

 

The late , great
Colin Walcott on Sitar & Tabla

 

 

 

 

     

The Band

After years of listening to these folks I finally realized not too long ago that they are my very favorite musical aggregation in my lifetime of music.  Thirty five years later, the complex music on their early albums is endlessly interesting to me.  I am never disappointed to hear one of their songs come on.  An amazing thought. 

The Band came to some prominence in the 60s as Bob Dylan's' back-up -- literally "the band."  But when they released Music from Big Pink (a pink ranch style  house near Woodstock), they took on a magic all their own.  This further solidified with release of "the brown album" -- with its then-desperado, sepia-photo.

   

As with Oregon, above, I discovered The Band also via cover art.  I was intent on finding my way from 19th century symphonic music and the likes of Peter Paul & Mary to music of the exploding counterculture, which I then saw only from far outside it.  I went to Jerry's Records on Penn's campus, in search of the most bizarre cover art I could find, since that was what I associated with true, "far-out" rock 'n' roll.  I saw the confusing Big Pink cover and figured I'd hit upon something different from my listening habits. 
That day, as I recall it, I also bought an album by Strawberry Alarm Clock.  An incoherent name -- must be real "rock."  Far out!!!!

Listening to The Band began with real difficulty for me.  I couldn't make sense of what they were playing!  It was then that I came up with the idea of listening through new music only in the background repeatedly before returning to listen for real.  It eventually worked with these guys! 

Robbie Robertson, who wrote most of the songs and fronted the group, left to great attention after the first handful of albums.   Martin Scorcese filmed the farewell concert in "The Last Waltz" (photo , below left), where they were joined by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, etc. 

 

Each member of The Band is superbly talented and versatile, switching instruments throughout their concerts.  The lead voices on all their songs are are so very deeply resonant and plaintive, and none of them is Robbie Robertson's.  Though Robertson's spare , cutting electric guitar could hardly account for most of the intricate musicianship of The Band, he was clearly the best known, and wrote much of their music.  His departure took some real life out of the group's music.  The Band returned many years later -- sans Robertson -- with a strong  album, Jericho, featuring on the cover a Peter Max rendition of the old Big Pink House.  Their later work -- though good -- doesn't quite match up with the Robertson era's, more complex music.

Many years after I first saw The Band at a half-empty Philadelphia's Spectrum, I was front and center at their closing night appearance at a Telluride Bluegrass Festival in the '90s.  Breathtaking setting.  Wonderful concert.  Big thrill, too.

 

Richard Manuel

   

Robbie Robertson,             
                Levon Helm and Manuel

   
 

These comments by William Ruhlmann, in the  All-Music Guide  focus specifically on Music From on Big Pink, they aptly describe some of what was extraordinary in The Band's early music:

At first blush, The Band seemed to affect the sound of a loose jam session, alternating emphasis on different instruments, while the lead and harmony vocals passed back and forth as if the singers were making up their blend on the spot.

In retrospect, especially as the lyrics sank in, the arrangements seemed far more considered and crafted to support a group of songs that took family, faith, and rural life as their subjects and proceeded to imbue their values with uncertainty.

Some songs took on the theme of declining institutions less clearly than others, but the points were made musically as much as lyrically. Tenor Richard Manuel's haunting, lonely voice gave the album much of its frightening aspect, while Rick Danko and Levon Helm's rough-hewn styles reinforced the songs' rustic fervor. The dominant instrument was Garth Hudson's often icy and majestic organ, while Robbie Robertson's unusual guitar work further destabilized the sound. The album reflected the turmoil of the late '60s in a way that emphasized the tragedy inherent in the conflicts.

 

 

 

Gustav Mahler 

In college, after my year long music history survey course, I took a wonderful, more specialized and  advanced course focusing on High Romantic music.  The main focus of that course was the brilliant Richard Wagner.  Mahler was another major focus and, from this favorite era, he remains clearly my favorite composer.   Mahler's orchestrations enlisted a larger orchestra than any composer had up until that time.  His  extreme was reached in his Eighth Symphony, aptly know  as Symphony of a Thousand

 

 

But Mahler's great appeal for me is his extension of the new harmonies introduced by Wagner into the symphonic and operatic repertoire.  Mahler's music also reflects some of the pathos and disillusionment of being not only somewhat sickly, but also a German Jew (albeit secular & regretful) in a Germany and a Europe which typically had ,at best, ambivalent feelings toward Jews.  Not coincidentally, Mahler spent substantial time as a conductor of the New York Philharmonic.

The most memorable representation I have seen of Mahler and his music,. was in the best of controversial Ken Russell's films:  Mahler.  Though Mahler takes liberties with historical truth, it is breathtaking visually and musically.  Highly recommended!!!

 

 

More of
My favorite Musicians : :
Page 2...Some More...
Page 3: Still More

 

 

MahlerFest (Boulder)