Category Archives: music

Wake up!: “It Never Entered My Mind”

Today you can wake up with some soothing music. This rendition of “It Never Entered My Mind” is a duet featuring two of the greatest saxophonists in jazz history: Ben Webster (who soloed on “Cottontail” yesterday, and was nicknamed “Frog”) and Coleman Hawkins, also known as “Hawk” or “Bean”). To my mind, it’s up there with […]

Wake up!

Here’s a bouncy song guaranteed to get your juices flowing—if you have any. It’s one of my favorite jazz pieces, “Cottontail,” written by Duke Ellington and recorded in 1940 with his famous “Blanton-Webster” band. It’s most famous for the tenor saxophone solo by Ben Webster, one of the all-time greats.  It starts at at 0:29 […]

My Old School & Bad Sneakers

The original Steely Dan, with Donald Fagan, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, and Walter Becker, was moderately famous, but I contend it’s one of the best rock groups of all time: sui generis, with a unique mixture of jazz, rock, and other motifs. Although they’re in sad decline (Fagan’s lost that plaintive voice), I still revisit their […]

Whipping Post

I think everyone needs this to wake up today. It’s raining in Chicago and so is a gloomy start to the week. What better way to rouse yourself than a strong espresso or latte and a dollop of The Allman Brothers Band? “Whipping Post,” written by its singer Greg Allman and recorded in 1969, is one of […]

Caturday felid: World premiere of “Hili and Cyrus”

I am extremely honored to present reader Carol Piller’s polka/klezmer composition (and performance) in honor of Hili and Cyrus. But I will let her explain the origin. First watch the video: an original piece of music accompanied by slides of our favorite cat and her canine staff. A few years ago, I started writing my own piano […]

Jesus ‘n’ Mo, Calvin ‘n’ Hobbes, and Bonnie ‘n’ Clyde

This morning we have a fortuitous conjunction of three pairs of individuals—fortuitous because Albatross 2.0 will be done today and I will have little time to post here. Do not expect Deep Thoughts (which, according to philosophers and theologians, I don’t have anyway). First the latest Jesus and Mo, relevant to our discussion of theology […]

Laura Nyro (reimagined)

If you listened to National Public Radio (NPR) this morning, you heard a piece on Laura Nyro, who happens to be one of my favorite popular singers of all time, and someone who, I imagine, is almost completely unknown to anyone born after 1970.  She died young: at 49, and from ovarian cancer, the same […]

Good morning!

This is the best morning music ever.  I am not a diehard or knowledgeable fan of classical music, which, given the circles I run in, sometimes makes me feel left behind, but there is much of the music I love, and one of them is Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé (1912), a beautiful ballet. In fact, I like […]

Old Blue Eyes on religion: “When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday — cash me out”

If you think of Frank Sinatra as a dumb kid from Hoboken, New Jersey, who made it big from his voice alone, you’ll be surprised by this interview he gave to Playboy magazine in 1963. He’s thoughtful, articulate, and—surprise!—godless. The Playboy interviews were famous, one of the best things about the magazine. I used to […]

Work to do

I’m working like gangbusters on the Albatross, which is coming along nicely but slowly. However, due to the existence of a real job, things on this website are either going to be either slow, video- and persiflage-oriented, or thin until this bird is off my neck.  The appropriate song was recorded in 1972 by the Isley […]


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