Saturday, January 22, 2011

CD Review- Quincy Jones' Soul Bossa Nostra

A buddy gave me Quincy Jones’ Soul Bossa Nostra for Christmas, and let’s put it this way- it’s not the worst present I’ve ever gotten, but it sure ain’t the best one either.
There’s a few quality cuts that I actually like with Everything Must Change by BeBe Winans and Jennifer Hudson’s You Put A Move On My Heart at the head of the list. Mary J. Blige’s Betcha Wouldn’t Hurt Me is also worthy and Q Tip is smart enough to hang in the background on this one. Snoop Dogg’s Get The Funk Out of My Face is goofy fun I suppose. But the prevalence of rappers and auto-tune on this thing for the most part made these reinterpretations of 15 Q classics pretty unnecessary. I mean, why mess with perfection to begin with? Akon murdered Strawberry Letter 23, sucking the soul out of it completely; it’s absolutely robotic.  Jamie Foxx’s Give Me The Night is simply inferior to Benson’s. Amy Winehouse’s It’s My Party is so bad it’s good I suppose.  P.Y.T. in the hands of Robin Thicke and T-Pain is, well, PAINful. It sounds like an android singing lead. And is the world really waiting for a rap version of the Sanford & Son theme?
Barry White really didn’t need to make a comeback from beyond for this one, folk.
Hey, while we’re at it, how about a rap and auto-tune re-interpretation of the What’s Going On and Songs In The Key Of Life albums? Have Akon and Robin Thicke and a crew of rappers with auto-tune to spare massacre them both. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Or T-Pain and Three 6-Mafia can do the Sinatra Songbook.  How about Amy Whinehouse does Ella Fitz? Ludacris and David Banner can take on Bobby Darin; doesn’t Mack The Knife need auto-tune and an obligatory rap right smack in the middle?
It’s virtually unlimited!
Anyway before I start ranting…this one’s for Quincy Jones completists and the youngsters who just don’t know better.
Evan Ginzburg

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Concert Review- Prince with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Maceo Parker MSG 1/18/11

Concert Review- Prince with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Maceo Parker
Madison Square Garden 1/18/11

It almost “doesn’t pay” to review a Prince show.
You know going in you’re going to get great musicianship, classic tunes, colorful outfits, topnotch dance moves, a state of the art stage, and some smoking jams thrown in to boot.
On that end the musical genius most certainly delivered in a two plus hour show.
Prince opened by teasing the audience with mere snippets of tunes from his vast repertoire, and then proceeded in guitar Rock God fashion to rock out and throw a little funk in to boot. He did few covers, but The Time’s Cool and Sylvester’s Dance Disco Heat were most certainly worthy. Pacing his 52 year old self a bit more than in the past, he’d disappear throughout the show, giving his female vocalists space and milking applause for multiple encores. Although he didn’t do my favorite Prince jam, Sexy MF (hey, he’s religious now), he pretty much covered everything else you’d want to hear by him. He also wore a Prince T-shirt which was kind of tacky, but guess you gotta get paid somehow.
All in all it was a great night, although Sharon Jones’ five song, thirty minute set was ridiculous in that it was followed by forty-five minutes of, well, nothing. Why she couldn’t have performed longer was beyond me, as she prowled that stage like she owned it. She later came back with the Dap Kings’ horn section to just kill the joint with Prince on a smoking version of Love Bizarre. Maceo Parker’s participation was also a bit of a letdown as he was not given his own set, but rather showcased with Prince on a few numbers. Prince, while singing a ballad to a swooning, fine young woman, repeatedly looked towards the sax giant while asking her, “Do you know who THIS is?” Unfortunately, she clearly didn’t. It was just plain awkward. Maceo was also drowned out at times by the massive ensemble on stage.
Interestingly enough, during the way too long intermission, the giant screens played clips from Soul to Soul and Wilson Pickett’s set was just as great if not greater than anything live this evening.
All in all, this didn’t come close to touching the majestic show I saw Prince do with Larry Graham and Chaka Khan at MSG in the 90s. But hey, Prince, Sharon Jones and Maceo on the same bill is nothing to sneeze at. The Purple One has still got it.

--Evan Ginzburg

Sunday, January 9, 2011

An old friend dies too young

Former Promoter Gordon Scozzari Dies at Age 40
New York, NY - 1/5/11 - It is with a heavy heart that I've been asked to announce the death of my longtime friend Gordon Scozzari who died today at the age of 40. Gordon had been suffering for many years with kidney related problems, ultimately losing both, and had been on dialysis besides other health issues past and present. The former AWF promoter was involved with the wrestling business in a variety of capacities including promoting and booking in NY, NJ, Puerto Rico and England.
On a personal note, I'd like to say that in my entire life I've never seen a person fight so long and valiantly against illness. In one recent year he'd been hospitalized over 20 times, often for weeks and even months at a time where we thought he wouldn't make it. A mutual friend said simply, "That Gordon's a tough kid."
And he was.
His closest friend in Mike Henry requested I add this. "He was a good friend. I'll miss him and at least he won't be in pain anymore. The way he was living was no way for a person to be living. He was a really good guy and would give you the shirt off his back. We helped each other a million times. And he always repaid me to the penny, even when it was a financial struggle for him to do so.  I'll miss the 5 phone calls a day."
R.I.P. to an honorable man in a business not always known for that.
Today an old friend died too young.
I will devote part of our 1/12/11 7:30-9:30PM Legends Radio to the memory of Gordon Scozzari.
Evan Ginzburg's Legends Radio C 2011