I should first clarify that I have yet to receive any of the things I’m about to list. But I can at least tell you why I ordered them, and share my excitement concerning their eventual delivery! Also, I don’t care if people think they’re impersonal – gift cards are a GREAT gift. I always ask for them!
A few days ago I was adrift in a late-night YouTube binge, watching related video after related video, most of which had to do with playing bass, and bass guitars, and bass strings, etc. I eventually stumbled upon a video of Joni Mitchell performing a song called “The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines” with an incredible backing band – Don Alias on drums, Michael Brecker on saxophone, and Jaco Pastorius on bass. As a fan of Jaco’s, I knew he had played on some of Joni Mitchell’s albums in the seventies, but had never actually heard any of them.
Anyway, the song begins with just drums and Mitchell singing. Her vocal delivery immediately blew me away, and the melody was just incredible – I learned via a subsequent Wikipedia bender that Mitchell co-wrote this song with the late, great Charles Mingus – and once the rest of the band dropped in after a minute, I was floored. So I ended up ordering Shadows And Light, Mitchell’s 1980 live album, which features this amazing collection of musicians.
2. The Definitive Vince Guaraldi, by Vince Guaraldi
A couple of weeks ago, I happened upon a song in my iTunes library that I had long since forgotten about: Vince Guaraldi’s “Samba De Orfeu”. It had been emailed to me years earlier by my friend John, Ra Ra Riot’s original drummer, because he had been listening to it on that particular day and felt like sharing the fun. I was obviously familiar with Vince Guaraldi’s work from all the awesome Peanuts soundtracks, but hearing this song again piqued my interest in the rest of his work, about which I know nothing.
3. The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye In The Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
Gabe, another past Ra Ra Riot drummer, had recommended this book to me several times, and since his recommendations are always good, I ordered it without knowing much about it. From what I can tell, via reviews on Amazon, it is going to be AWESOME. It seems like it’s a work of both fiction and non-fiction (as many good books are), sort of about everything I’m interested in, all smashed together, with lots of conspiracy theories and some dolphins jumping over a black pyramid on the cover.
Thanks for the gift cards, Mom and Dad!!
Mathieu Santos is the co-founder and bassist for Syracuse, NY based band Ra Ra Riot. He recently released his first solo effort Massachusetts 2010. You can check out a song and a video form this album here.