Monthly Archives: May 2016


Chick Corea – Solo Piano Standards and Originals
Jeremy Steig – Flute Fever
Jeremy Steig – Howlin’ for Judy
Tortoise – It’s All Around You
Tortoise – a Lazarus Taxon
John McLaughlin – Extrapolation
John McLaughlin – Devotion
John McLaughlin – Belo Horizonte
John McLaughlin – The Montreux Concerts, disc 1,2 & 6 (Mahavishnu v.2 & the One Truth Band)
Mahavishnu – Adventures in Radioland
Max Richter – SLEEP [Remixes]
Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm, Sleep
Jon Hassell – Fourth World, Vol. 2 – Dream Theory in Malaya
Philip Glass – Songs From Liquid Days
Béla Bartók: Sonata for Guitar, transcription by Christophe Dejour
Bad Company – Live at Wembley 2010
Robin Trower – Where Are You Going To
Robin Trower – Bridge of Sighs
Eric Clapton – I Still Do
Terry Reid – Bang, Bang You’re Terry Reid
Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield Again
Buffalo Springfield – Last Time Around


from the YoTube notes:

Béla Bartók: Sonata for guitar. Originally written for solo violin. Arrangement for guitar: Christophe Dejour.

1. Tempo di ciaccona
2. Fuga. Risoluto, non troppo vivo 9,55´
3. Melodia. Adagio 14,45´
4 Presto. 21,54´

The Sonata for Solo violin Sz.117,BB 124, by Béla Bartók is regarded as one of the most important solo works of the 20th century. It was premiered by Yehudi Menuhin, to whom it was dedicated, in New York on 26 November 1944.

In 2015, after many thoughts, – sketches and considerations, I finished the guitar arrangement. I can only hope that people will recognize my attempt of the arrangement were done with respect for the composer and the unique Music.

In the last movement (presto) the manuscript contains sections written in quarter tone steps. Béla Bartók explained these in his letter of April 21 1944:

“The quarter-tones in the 4th movement have only colour-giving character, i.e. they are not ”structural” features, and – therefore – may be eliminated, as I tried to do so in the alternatives on the last pages, which you may use if you don´t feel inclined to worry about quarter-tone playing. However the best would be, if I could hear played both versions, and then decide if it is worth while use the quarter-tones”

The quarter-tones in the manuscript are followed by the ”alternatives” also known as the Menuhin version.

In my guitar arrangement I had to choose the half-note version. (Menuhin version) not that I like this version more, (actually on the contrary, I would had loved to play the quarter-note version) but I simply could not find a solution how to play the fast quarter-notes. The way to produce quarter-notes on the guitar are by bending or pulling the strings and I was not able to bend/pull the strings in the required Presto tempo.

Christophe Dejour, guitar transcription of JS Bach Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue (BWV 903)
Alban Berg: Opus One, transcription by Christophe Dejour



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Polygon Window – Surfing on Sinewaves
Tortoise – Standards
Leo Smith, Jamie Saft, Joe Morris – Red Hill
Jack DeJohnette – In Movement
John McLaughlin – Black Light
John McLaughlin – Concerto for Guitar, The Mediterranean
Brand X – Livestock
Brand X – Moroccan Roll
Brand X – Masques
National Health Complete
King Crimson – B’Boom
Ahmad Jamal – The Piano Scene
Ahmad Jamal – The Sound of Jazz
Ahmad Jamal – Listen to the Ahmad Jamal Qt.

stempy mad scientist

Zappa’s letter to Varèse

Mr. Edgard Varèse 188 Sullivan St. New York, New York

Dear Sir,

Perhaps you might remember me from my stupid phone call last January, if not, my name again is Frank Zappa Jr. I am 16 years old … that might explain partly my disturbing you last winter. The reason for my letter at this time is that I am visiting relatives in Baltimore and as long as I am on the East Coast I hope I can get to see you.

It might seem strange but ever since I was 13 I have been interested in your music. The whole thing stems from the time when the keeper of this little record store sold me your album “The Complete Works of Edgard Varèse, Vol.l.” The only reason I knew it existed was that an article in either LOOK or the POST mentioned it as being noisy and unmusical and only good for trying out the sound systems in high fidelity units (referring to your “IONISATIONS”). I don’t know how the store I got it from ever obtained it, but, after several hearings, I became curious and bought it for $5.40, which, at the time seemed awfully high and being so young, kept me broke for three weeks. Now I wouldn’t trade it for anything and I am looking around for another copy as the one I have is very worn and scratchy.

After I had struggled through Mr. Finklestein’s notes on the back cover (I really did struggle too, for at the time I had had no training in music other than practice at drum rudiments) I became more and more interested in you and your music. I began to go to the library and take out books on modern composers and modern music, to learn all I could about Edgard Varèse. It got to be my best subject (your life) and I began writing my reports and term papers on you at school. At one time when my history teacher asked us to write on an American that has really done something for the U.S.A. I wrote on you and the Pan American Composers League and the New Symphony. I failed. The teacher had never heard of you and said I made the whole thing up. Silly but true. That was in my Sophomore year in high school.

Throughout my life all the talents and abilities that God has left me with have been self developed, and when the time came for Frank to learn how to read and write music, Frank taught himself that too. I picked it all up from the library.

I have been composing for two years now, utilizing a strict twelve-tone technique, producing effects that are reminiscent of Anton Webern.

During those two years I have written two short woodwind quartets and a short symphony for winds, brass and percussion.

Recently I have been earning my keep at home with my blues band, the BLACKOUTS. We have done quite well and in my association with my fellow musicians I am learning to play other instruments besides drums.

I paint in oils and watercolor and last year produced a cartoon film in school by painting color directly onto a 250 foot reel of cleared 16 mm movie film. I painted on the color in such a way that I managed to closely, but not completely, synchronize their movements to your “DENSITY 21.5” and the second “movement” of “OCTANDRE”. It brought about some amazing results from the audience and my counselors in the office allowed me to make a trip I had planned to Walt Disney studios with the film.

Nothing ever came of my trip, but when I got back to school I was informed I had a chance to be skipped from the Junior year in high school to the Freshman year at the junior college which adjoined the school as an experiment.

I went to the Jaycee and studied harmony and music appreciation and history for one semester and came out of it with A’s and B’s.

I plan to go on and be a composer after college and I could really use the counsel of a veteran such as you. If you would allow me to visit with you for even a few hours it would be greatly appreciated.

It may sound strange but I think I have something to offer you in the way of new ideas. One is an elaboration on the principle of Ruth Seeger’s contrapuntal dynamics and the other is an extension of the twelve-tone technique which I call the inversion square. It enables one to compose harmonically constructed pantonal music in logical patterns and progressions while still abandoning tonality.

Would you please reply as soon as possible because I will not be here much longer. My address here is 4803 Loch Raven Blvd., Baltimore Maryland. Phone Hopkins 77336. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,

Frank Zappa Jr.

(Taken from Edgard Varèse, Composer, Sound Sculptor, Visionary (ed. F. Meyer and H. Zimmerman), Suffolk 2006)

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Paul Desmond – Bridge Over Troubled Water
Paul Desmond – Summertime
Roscoe Mitchell – Conversations I & II
Doug Raney – Listen
Doug Raney – Meeting the Tenors
Doug Raney – Guitar, Guitar, Guitar
Frank Zappa – Joe’s Camouflage
David Liebman, Lewis Porter – Surreality
William Basinski – Shortwavemusic
Chet Baker – Daybreak
Chet Baker – Someday My Prince Will Come
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92


December 7, 1998
George Van Eps, 85, Musician Who Popularized 7-String Guitar
By Peter  Watrous, NY Times

George Van Eps, a guitarist who played with some of the biggest names in jazz and pioneered the seven-string guitar, died on Nov. 29 at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, Calif. He was 85 and lived in Huntington Beach, Calif.

His family said the cause was pneumonia.

The seven-string guitar, which Mr. Van Eps helped popularize, allowed him to use his harmonic imagination. The seventh string, added in the bass, gave him the ability to play more orchestrally, adding bass lines below the chord, and making the guitar a more convincing solo instrument. Mr. Van Eps referred to the guitar as his lap piano.

Though his career started early in jazz history, his quiet sophistication never received the attention received by the guitarists Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian and their followers. But he did have several important students, including the guitarists Ron Eschete, from Louisiana, and Howard Alden and Bucky Pizzarelli, from New York.

Mr. Van Eps came from a musical family, with his mother, father and brothers all playing; George Gershwin was a regular guest in the house. He began professionally at the age of 11 in New Jersey and he performed for six months with an early idol, the guitarist Eddie Lang, in the Smith Ballew band.

During the 1930’s, Mr. Van Eps worked with Freddy Martin, Benny Goodman and Ray Noble.

In 1938 Mr. Van Eps, who had recently moved to California, went to the Epiphone guitar company to broaden the palette of his instrument, adding the seventh string.

He then spent much of the next several decades working in recording studios, in part for the 1950’s film and television series ”Pete Kelly’s Blues.”

He recorded occasionally for Capitol Records during the 1960’s; in the 1970’s an illness, and an accident that injured his hand, took him off the music scene for a while.

But in the 1990’s he surfaced with a series of fine records for Concord Jazz, recording with Mr. Alden, and an album with the guitarist Johnny Smith.

He is survived by a daughter, Kay Van Eps of Huntington Beach.

Wikipedia page

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Bill Evans – Some Other Time: the Lost Session from the Black Forest
Gary Burton – Cool Nights
Michael Formanek, Emsemble Kolossus – the Distance
World Saxophone Qt – Selim Sivad a Tribute to Miles Davis
William Basinski – the Deluge
Peter Bernstein – Hearts Content
Harold Budd – Perhaps
Ahmad Jamal – the Ahmad Jamal Trio
Ahmad Jamal – Count ’em 88
Ahmad Jamal – the Legendary Ahmad Jamal Live
James Newton – Water Mystery
James Newton – Luella
Ramon Sender – Worldfood
Boards of Canada – Twoism
Robert Fripp with BPM&M – XtraKcts & ArtifaKcts
McDonald and Giles
Frank Zappa – Hammersmith Odeon
Frank Zappa – One Shot Deal
Living Color – Vivid


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