Archive for the ‘ Artistes ’ Category

2300 Jackson Street

In honour of Michael Jackson I went to visit his childhood home in Gary, Indiana. Terri Stevens and several other family members of mine also came along with me. It was definitely a somber experience. There was a gentle and cool rain that was present during our entire visit. Many admirers of The Jacksons have placed hundreds of items around the house to memorialize the life of Michael Joseph Jackson.

Justin French @ 2300 Jackson Street

Click Picture for Video Interview with Justin French & Project Runway's Terri Stevens.

Terri Stevens @ 2300 Jackson Street

Terri Stevens @ 2300 Jackson Street

L’histoire de Melody Nelson

l'histoire de Melody Nelson

l'histoire de Melody Nelson

L’histoire de Melody Nelson (The story of Melody Nelson) was released in 1971 by French song writer Serge Gainsbourg. It is highly aclaimed and considered to be the most successful and influential concept albums. The plot involves a middle-aged Serge Gainsbourg causing a collision with his Rolls Royce Silver Ghost into teenaged Melody Nelson’s bicycle. The evemts that occur afterwards, are seduction, romance and tragedy.

Click below to listen

L’histoire de Melody Nelson

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Serge Gainsbourg

Non Stop to Brazil: Astrud Gilberto

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Born in Bahia of North-Eastern Brazil, Astrud Weinert is a well known Brazilian singer of Brazilian and German descent. After marrying João Gilberto (1959), Astrud began her introduction into Brazilian Jazz and Popular music. Her unique fusion of American Jazz and Bossa Nova gained her much success with audiences in Brazil and the United States. 74272367

Gilberto’s sensual, naive vocals and exceptional command of the English language on “The Girl from Ipanema” skyrocketed the popularity of the track, delivering the cross-over appeal needed to penetrate the American market. Astrud Gilberto’s inclusion on the grammy-winning song “The Girl From Ipanema” gained her international attention and helped her establish a solo career, with her debut “The Astrud Gilberto Album” (1965).

Listen to Astrud Gilberto

La Musique Afro Cubaine: Jack Costanzo

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Jack Costanzo (also known as “Mr. Bongo” of Chicago, Illinois ) is an American percussionist. Following an extended voyage to Havana Costanzo learned to play Afro-Cuban rhythms on both the congas and bongos. Jack Costanzo is credited with introducing the bongos to American Popular Music during his collaborative efforts with Stan Kenton‘s Band in the late 1940’s.

Jack Costanzo

Jack Costanzo

Click Here to launch a stand alone music player filled with many Jack Costanzo favourites.

Jim Zimpel’s Western @ Hungry Man

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Un Peintre de Chicago, Jim Zimpel showcases his new interdisciplinary collection, Western at the Hungry Man art gallery in Wicker Park. Zimpel’s Western is in the form of sculpture as well as video. He explores the long forgotten era of the American fontier culture through ficional media (Hollywood movies to folklore). “These are the products of assumptions and a mass media based understanding of the world. They function in the blurred realm of the seemingly authentic, the regulated imaginary, and the mundane grandiose”.
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A part time professor at Columbia College, Zimpel received his Bachelors of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute and UIC in 2008.

Click Here for more information on Jim Zimpel

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Afro-Cuban Jazz

Afro-Cuban Fantasy

Anyone that knows Justin French knows that he knows little of modern music but specialises in the excavation of musical gems long forgotten. I am most appreciative of the endless styles of Jazz music, especially Afro-Cuban. Filled with Guaguancó, Rumba, and often religious like chants, afro-cuban music is very rhythmic highly complex and caters towards specific dance styles. It is believed that all Cuban music has African influences. Below are artist who contributed to the genre.

Click Here to Listen to some amazing Afro-Cubonic rhythms (listen with an open mind and ear).

Cal Tjader

Cal Tjader

Cal Tjader made excellent contributions to Afro-Cuban jazz with albums such as Latino!, Latin Concert, Latin Kick, Cuban Fantasy and countless other albums. Tjader has an extensive collection that even I have not yet heard in it’s entirety. Definitely a legend in Afro-Cuban (Latin Jazz) history.

Nina Simone

Nina Simone

Nina Simone, American pianist, arranger, singer and songwriter was not formally an afro-cuban musician, nor restricted to any other particular genre. She explored just about every genre of her time, often in the course of a single album. She did explore Afro-Cuban rhythms, as heard on tracks: Return Home (from Nina Simone Live at Town Hall), Near to You (from Ne Me Quitte Pas, good luck finding it.)

Mongo Santamaria

Mongo Santamaria

Mongo Santamaria of Havana, Cuba was entirely an Afro-Cuban Jazz percussionist. His most exhalted work was the jazz standard Afro Blue. Mongo Santamaria explodes on racks such as Skins and Bembe Blue (from his album Skins). Santamaria is essential in any afro-cuban (latin jazz) listeners collection.

Biggest Mouth @ Columbia College of Chicago

Big MouthFrench Review – I attended Big Mouth, a monthly event showcasing various genres of musical talent. Students of Columbia College are given the opportunity to present their self in a supportive environment (which could also be a crutch. Perhaps too supportive at times). There were many audio problems throughout the night, and there was a 20-minute window of technical difficulty (every microphone went mute). Overall the event seemed ill planned, and unorganised. Now this was my first time attending and it just seems like the event was very unconventional, but on a positive note there was  great diversity in the acts (Jazz, Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop).

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Many of the performers were drowned out by the music, but managed to keep the crowd entertained.

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I would definitely have liked to see different bands. It seems as though the same band played for almost every act that required live instrumentation. I know that these students have talent, I just think they should definitely utilise their educational opportunities to improve their performance abilities.

16 April 2009

Justin French @ Biggest Mouth