Monday, January 24, 2005

Straight Life

The autobiography of Art Pepper. A tremendous read. This is the brutally honest story of the self-destructive life of one of jazz music's greatest players. Art holds nothing back as he tells his life story of obsessive sex, drug use, prison time and thievery, while pursuing the art of jazz and the alto saxophone. Art's career spanned over four decades, though his playing was interupted time and again for long harsh prison terms in hard-core facilities like San Quenton. Yet each time he gets released from prison, he returns to his life of getting wasted on drugs and alcohol. Finally, in a desperate moment, after being thrown out by his girlfreind and rejected by his mother, Pepper checks into Synanon, a rehab center with an unorthodox cult-like method of therapy. Finally he kicks his addictions (though continues using drugs), and enters the most productive and artistic stage of his career till an early death at age 56.

This gut wrenching story really gets you into the mind of Art Pepper. If you can't relate to his life at some level, you at least get an understanding of how the mind of a self-destructive artist thinks. Although you may despise his addictions, criminality and seemingly racist attitudes, on some level you admire his independent 'I don't give a fuck about anyone, i am going to do, say, feel, play whatever I want, and I will deal with the consequences'.

The book was written by wife Laurie Pepper, from transcripts of Art Pepper's telling his life story on tape. It is augmented by interviews from friends and musicians. Throughtout the book, you read the story as told by Art, and then read the same account from a different perspective by those who were there at the time. It is one of the most compelling and addictive (no pun) books I have read.

For the past week, I have been doing nothing but seeking out and listening to the music of Art Pepper (a great collection is at eMusic, a great music download service especially for jazz-heads). This cat consistantly created great recordings no matter what drugs he was using or how loaded he was at the time. My next radio show, Jan 31, will be an Art Pepper special.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Best of Jazz 2004

I created an iMix of Best Of Jazz 2004icon (link requires iTunes). The iMix playlist goes with my radio show that airs Sunday afternoons. Click on the following link for more info on my show-In the Groove,Jazz and Beyond.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

MacWorld Announcements and BIG Prediction

Another great MacWorld Expo San Fran. Very cool new products announced by Steve Jobs at the Keynote address. The iPod Shuffle, and the Mac-mini. I hope to hell that they are both successful. But for me, I don't have that drooling desire to own either one. These products are really aimed at the first time Mac User. I have never seen Apple release such low-end budget hardware. I prefer to see Apple in that high end BMW, Power, Elegence, Stylin' mode. But make no mistake about it...there is a huge market for budget Mac's and an opportunity to expand market share with these products.

My BIG Prediction for Apple in 2005
I predict that Apple will license Mac OS X to IBM to produce Business and Enterprise computer products, while Apple will concentrate on the Home Consumer market. Here is what leads me to such a conclusion.
1. Apple's success with home products like iPod, and iMac (and lack of success in the business market).
2. IBM's recently selling off its Windows/Intel based computer business to a Chinese company.
3. IBM is a major producer of the PowerPC G5 processor that is the heart of all Mac's.
4. IBM's long history and relationships with corporate America and Enterprise computing can make great strides getting Mac OS X servers and desktops into the business world. IBM may be able to expand the Mac Market beyond its current niche in graphics, music, and movie-making.
5. Apples announcements at the MacWorld of low-end consumer products. No mention of PowerMacs, Servers or even laptops in the Keynote address.

So mark my words... you heard it first here on Ken's Brain Drain. Apple and IBM will enter into an alliance to gain market share and compete seriously with the Micro$oft Hegemony.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

A New Year

Can't help but think of the disasterous events that brought in 2005 with the Tsunami that hit the islands and coastal regions of the Indian Ocean. Don't mean to be a bummer on the New Year, but this event has put a grave shadow on what is usually a celebratory time. The pictures and stories from that part of the world have been mind-blowing. It is humbling to think, that all the weapons, wars and oppression that man bestows upon his fellow man; it doesn't hold a candle to the power and destruction that Mother Nature can inflict with one wave of water coming down on those poor souls.

Earlier this week, we spent a couple of days in NYC. Stayed in a cheap hotel room with shared bath for one night. Spent most of the time hanging in Greenwich Village, and caught a great jazz show with Mike Stern at Bar55 on St Christopher Street. Real small intimate setting, and the band ROCKED! For New Years eve, did a fill-in at the radio station with my buddies (gord, kirk, stephen) which was a blast. Then joined the rest of the crew for the Midnight thing.