American Idol’s American Idiots

Okay, I admit it. I watch American Idol, and I can’t wait to see what happens every week. One thing has been really bothering me this season. It’s the continued presence of Sanjaya on the show. This guy is clearly the worst singer and performer on the show, and he’s wasting space. Last night, Chris Sligh got booted off the show. He really blew it the night before, but he has actual talent. Sanjaya, on the other hand, has a lot of learning and growing to do as a singer. He’s just not ready to perform at this level.

Now, to all of you American idiots out there voting for this guy, stop and think next week before you vote for Sanjaya. So far, three insanely talented singers have been voted off the show. Let’s prove to the rest of the world that Americans can judge talent by voting Sanjaya off the show.

New Liquid Soul!!!

Hi everybody! I just listened to Liquid Soul’s new album, One-Two Punch. It’ll take a few listens before everything sinks in, but I am very impressed so far.

For those of you that are not familiar with Liquid Soul, it’s a great band out of Chicago. When the band first came out, it was thrown in to the acid jazz category, but really, it’s almost impossible to pigeon-hole Liquid Soul into any genre. Their albums and live shows are a mixture of jazz, funk, dance, rap, rock, blues, latin, soul, R&B . . . the list goes on and on.

For long-time fans of the band, this latest album will seem like a logical next step in the band’s evolution. If you listen to their albums in chronological order, you can definitely notice a pattern.

One-Two Punch contains one of the coolest songs I’ve ever heard: Kong. None other than Vernon Reid from Living Colour sits in with the band on the track, and it really smokes. For me, this song alone justifies the price of the album.

Do yourself a favor and check out Liquid Soul’s latest work on iTunes.

New Wynton Marsalis Music

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been listening to more and more jazz music on a daily basis. I think seeing Wynton Marsalis in an iTunes commercial reminded me of how cool jazz music really is. I’m not saying that I haven’t been listening to jazz, but it has taken a back seat to rock and blues music in my daily listening.

I wanted to take some time to comment on a couple new albums I’ve been in to lately. The first is Wynton’s new live album, Amongst the People: Live at the House of Tribes. The album contains six songs, and all but two are over ten minutes long. All of the musicians stretch out and play some great solos. For me, this album ranks up there with some of the best live albums that I’ve had the privilege to hear like Wynton’s Live at Blues Alley, Cannonball Adderley’s In San Francisco, Art Blakey’s Ugetsu, and Duke Ellington’s At Newport. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I would definitely recommend giving Amongst the People a listen.

The other album I’ve been listening to a lot lately isn’t really an album at all. It’s a three-song session Wynton did for iTunes. I have a feeling Wynton went into the studio with these three songs for the commercial, and they ended up picking Sparks. All three songs are brief by normal jazz standards which should make them more accessible to the masses. They’re also fun to listen to because they have a certain level of humor and attitude. I hope to hear more of Wynton in a quartet setting in the future if this is the kind of result we can expect.

Well, I need to get back to listening.

New Albums

There are a couple new albums by two of my favorite artists that I have been listening to a lot lately.

The John Mayer Trio just came out with Try! which is a live album from their current tour. The band is incredible, and it’s great to hear John Mayer really playing the guitar. I saw him play at the House of Blues in Chicago before he got really big. He played several songs without the band, and he was able to show off his chops. He is such a great guitar player, and I am glad he’s getting back to what he does best.

I’ve also been listening to Trey Anastasio’s new album, Shine. It’s a great rock album with a varied set of songs. Once again, Trey has surrounded himself with excellent musicians that make this album a lot of fun to listen to. I saw Trey with Phish back in 1995, but I’ve never had a chance to see him live with his current band. Judging by the two live tracks included with the iTunes version of the album, it sounds like Trey and his band put on a great show.