A Week with To Pimp A Butterfly

This just in - Kendrick is still the man

This just in – Kendrick is still the man

As I write this it’s been a week since Kendrick dropped To Pimp A Butterfly a week earlier than expected. I’ve been listening to it fairly non stop since then, but I thought it only right to give myself a week to really get into it.

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Whiplash (Review)

Spoiler alert : He is NOT as friendly as he is in I Love You Man

Spoiler alert : He is NOT as friendly as he is in I Love You Man

A little diversion from our usual fare, but I recently watched Whiplash ( with Italian subtitles, I feel they don’t quite convey how aggressive Fletcher really is ) and thought it was, at the very least, really interesting. Check out why below.

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Vienna, Part 1 – Keith Jarrett

Keith Jarrett

Here is one of the most gorgeous live performances I have heard in all of my 18 years of existence. Keith Jarrett may be classed as a jazz performer, and while it is true that jazz is the genre that has influenced him the most, this performance in Vienna is nothing short of the cinematic and emotional brilliance that comes with something different.

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My Favo(u)rite Things – John Coltrane

Coltrane: Not a jumper. But with added saxophone.

I’m a big, big fan of jumpers. On my list of favourite things, they definitely rate in the Top 15 (probably below tea but above television boxsets.) And it seems a pretty good time to be a jumper in pop music right now! Sings LDR on Blue Jeans, ‘you fit me better than my favourite sweater.’ And Meg Myers in After You, confesses that ‘I stole this sweater from your car so I’d have you all night in my arms.’ Okay, okay, these may err on the restraining order side of life but I can totally relate (which, admittedly may tell you more about me than jumper-related lyrics.) There’s something hugely comforting about jumpers; their smells, their feel and their fit. You can tell exactly whose jumper it belongs to by those three things. (This is a lie, I’ve never, ever tried this experiment. Ever.) Okay, so a whole article about jumpers in music is a bit of a stretch but I thought it was an interesting segue. I just googled ‘jumpers in music’ which pretty much sums up my Sunday night. Anyway, the point of this post is that I’m currently searching for comfort within music and that this will be the theme for my next few posts. Music as comfortable as your favouritist jumper after the… jump:

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Tides – Nitin Sawhney

Here’s a nice and relaxing gem from Indian-British musician Nitin Sawhney. Having released eight studio albums to date, he has a massive range of material to choose from. I’ve picked Tides because it feels like it manages to juxtapose jazz and classical music really nicely, and as we all know, I love a good song to relax to.


So let that sink in and help you get through the rest of your week. It’s Tuesday. You can do it.

Lump Sum – Justin Vernon @ Eau Claire Memorial Jazz

I came across this recently and I just can’t stop listening to it. You probably remember Lump Sum off of Bon Iver’s (or Justin Vernon’s) album For Emma, Forever Ago, and if you haven’t heard that song, drop everything and go listen to it right now. This version was performed by Justin Vernon at the Eau Claire Memorial Jazz festival, and it’s unbelievably good.

There’s a great flute solo in there that is likely to give you chills. Justin Vernon also played a jazzier version of For Emma which was also great, so I recommend finding that as well. Also, on the video front, all of the films of the actual performance of the song are from far away, so I’ve opted to give you a really cool video of the band rehearsing with Justin Vernon. In my opinion it’s something different and interesting to watch. Enjoy.

Anthem For The Earnest – The Bad Plus

Last night I was lucky enough to have second row seats for The Bad Plus in The Guardian building as part of the London Jazz Festival. I’d seen them play once before a couple of years ago, and the thing that had stuck with me about them was the fact that they were an odd combination, and an incredible performance from the drummer Dave King.

When they walked out onto the stage, their appearance struck me first. The pianist and drummer, both bald, were either side of the bass player. They were more smartly dressed from right to left. Dave King was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, while the bass player, Reid Anderson wore a smart casual button-down shirt and some strange pants. Pianist Ethan Iverson wore a suit.

You should now have an image of the band planted firmly in your head, so lets get down to the music. It’s worth mentioning at this point that throughout the entire performance I found it very difficult to take my eyes off of Dave King. Not only is his talent incredibly obvious, but he wears a huge grin as he hits each drum. The idea that music is a form of expression is totally evident here. Dave King plays as you would expect a kid to play in his room in front of a mirror, with exaggerated movements and unmistakable fun. Often during the songs he would look to Reid Anderson and grin as though the two were sharing a hilarious inside joke. During the softer songs he would look at his drums as he played with a facial expression that says “c’mon guys, please be quiet.” I think maybe I’ve beaten Dave King’s drum enough (sorry). This song, Anthem For The Earnest has a fantastic dominant piano part. It’s interrupted with almost comical intervals of light piano playing that feature throughout the song. Here’s a great live performance of it:

Also, check out this great performance of the band’s cover of the famous Chariots of Fire song: