25 March 2006

Christian McBride Band at Yoshi's

Yesterday evening we went at Yoshi's in Oakland to hear the Christian McBride Band. The show was amazing, we LOVED it!

Here are some info about the band and their great music (from Yoshi's website):

Bassist, educator, composer, super sideman, and bandleader Christian McBride returns to Yoshi's with his own band featuring Geoffrey Keezer on piano, Ron Blake on saxophones and Terreon Gulley on drums. From Philadelphia, McBride has become one of the most acclaimed acoustic and electric bassists to emerge from the jazz world in the 1990s. His CDs on Verve as a leader, and the hundreds of albums he has performed on, showcase his funky style and big tone.

His ever-expanding pop, R&B and fusion palette takes him around the world anchoring some of the best jazz groups today. He has performed with numerous artists including Joshua Redman, Sting, Chick Corea, The Roots, Diana Krall, D'Angelo, Betty Carter, McCoy Tyner, Roy Hargrove and Wynton Marsalis. He has established himself as a true master of the bass and a giant of jazz.

(Pics from Christianmcbride.com)

If you don't want to miss McBride's next gigs, here is the calendar. It's really worth it!

20 March 2006

Keith Jarrett "Solo Piano"

After 20 years of absence, Keith Jarrett came back to perform in San Francisco. We were there, at the War Memorial Opera House, Sunday March 19.

Having grown up listening to the "The Koln Concert" (1975), shaping our mood, we were expecting a very touching, passionate and maybe even bothering experience. Well, it was different. The first half of the show, one hour straight, was - noticing all the people who fell asleep - boring. The show-man had totally dimmed the music. It was all about Jarrett, his piano was in second position.

After the break, hopefully, he came back and played with more sentiment, even if it was still far far away from the Koln experience. 45 minutes of beautiful music, not extremely touching, but still amazing.

Then the standing ovation. He went away. We applauded, applauded and applauded and he came back, made a joke on the fact that this is a little trick to keep people awake (maybe he heard the snoring of the first half?) One tune, beautiful. He went away again. We applauded and applauded all standing. And he came back, again. Another joke on his bad temper ("To stick to my bad reputation I should complain about something... What about the Government?" and the San Francisco audience of course made an ovation of happiness mixed with laughter). One short tune, nice. And gone again.

At that point many people had left the theatre, but a good part of the audience was still applauding, standing. We didn't give up, and he came back. Then he played for himself and the real fans. And it was AMAZING. The third bis he played, was what we had been waiting all night. Was the prize, the candy for music lovers. Beautiful, long, touching. Great.

Then of course he went away. We didn't give up and still applauded and applauded. The theater was still dark, but we weren't sure of a fourth bis... But, yes, he came back again! He played "As Time Goes By", we cheered, he was great. Took the last applause and went away definitely, after 2 hours and 20 minutes of music.

This was a magic, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

18 March 2006

The "Pei Pa Lo" Quest

This was a San Francisco week-end. Despite the lovely weather we left the wilderness for the city and went shopping to SanFran. The target was the magic "Pei Pa Lo" cough syrup for my dad.

So we went to Chinatown, where of course we found it, along with some nice dim sums in the oldest Chinese Restaurant in town (at least, that's what they say on their menu). Not an amazing lunch, but tasty. Then, we decided to take a walk around and went to Russian Hill. Definitely our favorite neighborhood in town. We even walked on the famous Lombard street (img by elmspuzzles.com). Nice, tiring but lovely.

After that we spent the Sunday morning in the sun, relaxing, waiting to see Keith Jarrett. Lovely week end!

06 March 2006

Oscar night

And The winner is...
Yes, another Oscar night has passed, and with it, all the glamour and the fun. I must admit that I'm very fond of the Oscars, especially this year that my beloved Reese Witherspoon has got an award! And she wasn't the only one in my heart to be rewarded for a great performance. Philip Seymour Hoffman got his statuette for the interpretation of Truman Capote in "Capote". By the way, both the movies, "Walk the Line" and "Capote" are worth seeing.
(Pic from Oscar.com)

These two movies are completely different, but I appreciated both. "Walk the Line" is a romantic movie with a country music soundtrack. It follows the tormented love story between the great Johnny Cash and his music partner June Carter (Reese Witherspoon in the movie). Joaquin Phoenix, who plays Cash, did a great job and if it wasn't for the Hoffman-Capote biopic I bet he would have won the Oscar. The story is touching, the music is great, and the whole movie is very entertaining. Ok I'm a Johnny Cash fan, but I'm sure that even non country music listeners will be involved in the love story. Touching.

Capote"Capote", on the other hand, is a low budget movie following the birth of Truman Capote masterpiece "In cold blood". Hoffman did a great job to emulate the controversial personality of the writer-with-a-funny-voice. Truman Capote wasn't a nice person, he was selfish, self-centered and used people around him. But in the end, he changed forever American writing with his book (which is also worth reading).

For those among you who saw the movie and are wondering how sounded the real Truman Capote's voice, I suggest you renting the great exhilarating movie "Murder by Death" (Invito a cena con delitto - 1976) with the real Capote as the evil Lionel Twain. GREAT MOVIE! So funny!

A scene from CrashAmong the other movies that I would suggest seeing, there is also "Crash". I must admit that I found this movie wanna-be intellectual, wanna-be original and in the end very common. But, somehow, something stayed in me until now. So I guess my first judgment was a bit harsh, and I will give "Crash" another shot.

I don't have much to say on "Brokeback Mountain" who, like "Crash", got 3 Oscars yesterday evening. I didn't see the movie and, I admit, I'm not interested at all in seeing it. I guess I will rent it once available on Dvd. But frankly I don't see much of a revolution or anything extremely new about it. The story reminds me a lot of another movie called "Maurice" (by James Ivory with Hugh Grant) which, in my opinion, was way far more "gay" than this one, but of course it was setted in England and not among cowboys of the 60s... During the Oscar night they showed a very funny montage of all the "gay-like" scenes taken from real old cowboy movies. Well, that one was really funny.

Last comment goes to the host: Jon Stewart. My goodness this man is so comical!! I loved him. I wish I coud see Comedy Central, but I have no cable, so...

Anyway, I had fun, and here it is the complete winners list of the 78th Annual Academy Awards (R). Enjoy!