Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Don Ellis

Don Ellis b. July 25, 1934 d. Dec 17, 1978

A Day Out of Time

Do you think that Don Ellis was born on the “Day Out of Time” by accident? Well I don’t. He is a rhythmical genius and showed us that you don’t have to live in 4/4 time.

What is a day out of time? Well it is based on the natural time calendar that was used through out the world before Gregorian hijacked time. It is based on the 13 month 28 day cycle equaling 364 days which leaves one day for partying. I like that. Many cities of foreign origin celebrate this day and adhere to the 13 month calendar. Also many cultures of foreign origin play music that is not based in 4/4 – coincident? For me, 13 is the way to be! For more natural time cycles there so informative sites out there: one I enjoy is:

Thanks to a Greg, a wicked cool listener, I have learned much about Don in the past few weeks. Funny, I spent four years at a Jazz school and never heard of him. Well we didn’t do much with meters there anyways, so it is not that surprising. Anyways, I certainly would’ve remembered these compositions. If I could I would interview Don, but I have a close second. On the liner notes for “live at Monterey” he reveals himself as quite the visionary rhythmasist. Check out what he has to say:

Odd Time Obsessed - Don Ellis

So celebrate this day by listening/dancing/playing/writing to your favorite un-4/4 meter. Guess what I chose? Yep, one for every moon.

Being in 13,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Who Knew? Pt.2 - Ozzy Ozborne in 14/8

Song: Diary of a Madman
Artist: Ozzy Ozborne
Album: Diary of a Madman 1981
Time Signatures used: 12/8, 4/4, 14/8 (33332, 33233)

Who knew that this song featured some oddness? Well, the title suggests it. But the last time I intently listen to this song was over two decades ago, before I could recognize a 14/8 count. To me this is still a beautiful song. I wonder how much time signature exploration Randy Rhodes would have done if he had lived longer.

According to Wikipedia:
Guitarist Randy Rhoads was taking classical guitar lessons while on the "Blizzard of Ozz" tour, and came up with the opening acoustic riff by using a variation of Cuban composer Leo Brouwer's Etude #6.

The song was written by Ozzy, Randy Rhoads, bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake with the latter two writing the lyrics and vocal melodies, respectively. Supposedly, Ozzy had a hard time coping with the unusual time signature in this song, which was composed by Randy Rhoads and bassist Bob Daisley. According to Daisley, Ozzy's comment was: "I'm not fucking Frank Zappa you know."

Well, well of course he isn’t. But it would’ve/would be way cool if he would try to have just a little Zappa in him. In fact, everyone should have a little Zappa in them; it would be a much better world.

Now you know,