Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Random Amusings

It’s good to be amused, and some of us are amused more easily than others.  I admit I’m pretty easily amused.  For one thing, I’m greatly amused by irony -  like the track that was submitted called “Endless” that was too short, or the track called “Minimalism” that took two composers to write.  I still chuckle at these.

I’m also a bit amused by the funny things that happen on cue sheets.  I once saw a cue sheet for a sports broadcast where I was listed right next to Van Halen. I can’t help wondering if this ups my cool quotient at all, even though the association is completely meaningless.  Maybe there’s a quantum cool and I obtain a quark of cool for this?  After all, a lot of people would list this as “worked with Van Halen” on their resume.

Advertising is endlessly amusing – like saying your product has zero latency (impossible, unless you’ve found a way to circumvent the laws of physics), or zero calories (where it turns out they’ve re-defined “zero” as “below a certain amount”).

Recently, I saw a bag of chips that said, “The only snack bold enough to call itself ___brand.”  (For legal reasons, I’m probably not allowed to say who it was.)  I was rather amused by the self-fulfilling nature of this proclamation. Basically, they’re saying, “We’re the only product good enough to call us ourselves.”  Well, of course you call you yourself, what else would you call yourself?  Interestingly enough, this slogan actually says nothing at all about how good the product is.

Speaking of "good," I was asked recently to send a client of ours a list of our “best tracks.”  I admit I laughed pretty hard at this one, because you might as well have asked me to send a list of our reddest-smelling tracks.  It was a request that had absolutely no meaning whatsoever.  What do you mean by “best”?   The best for what?  I was tempted to be both mischievous and snobby by sending them a list of some of our Classical tracks, but I was pretty sure that wasn’t quite what they were looking for.

So what’s the point of all of this?  None really, and that’s the point.  It’s a random list of things.  In it, you may find something that amuses you.  This is not entirely unlike our new “Singles Club” library.  It amounts to being a collection of random tracks.  They’re brand new tracks that have not yet been released on any of our CDs, but rather than wait until an appropriate CD comes along, we thought it best to get them into your hands now, instead of having them sitting around collecting dust while waiting for a home.

So check them out at http://bit.ly/1aOkXRU.  We’ll be updating them continually, and you never know what you’ll find in there.  Literally.

Am I aware that the phrase “singles collection” is a bit oxymoronic?

Yes, and that amuses me.

-Dave Hab

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Remembering Marian McPartland (1918-2013)

For many years, the legendary and pioneering jazz pianist Marian McPartland was a regular in our studio, recording promos for her NPR show "Piano Jazz," making special recordings for friends, and even recording a few of her original tunes for the Omni library!

Funny, articulate, classy and full of energy and ideas, Marian was a musical daredevil - not afraid to venture far out on the limb, taking harmonic liberties with old standard tunes that made me sometimes worry if she had forgotten where she was. And then, just at the end of the chorus, she'd plant her left hand on the dominant chord and - just like that - she'd be back to the tune again. It was amazing.

I had the good fortune to record Marian's reading of her autobiography "All In Good Time," which was fascinating because her life intersected so many other famous jazz musicians I loved. It was a challenge to record, because I'd get so engrossed in her stories I often didn't realize that Marian had strayed from the text to tell me an interesting anecdote that wasn't part of the book!

But what I remember about Marian most was how interested she was in everybody else. She was always asking me what projects I was working on, or how things were going at the ASCAP Board. Even though she had met and played with just about every famous jazz musician in the world, she never dropped names, and remained modest about her own achievements, even when she was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth!

Thanks for the memories, Marian. We were privileged to share a small part of your extraordinary life!

-Doug Wood