Rolling Stones – As Guitars Go By
Andy Babiuk is a member of the group the Chesterfield Kings and the owner of a guitar shop. His writings on music and his knowledge of musical instruments have made him a living legend. His Beatles Gear book, published in 2001, told the story of the Fab Four through their instruments. Employing exhaustive research, Babiuk and his co-author Greg Prevost interviewed 400 individuals that helped them elucidate the history, technology and pure musicality of how those instruments shaped the group and rock history. For years, Babiuk fans have heard that he was working on an even more challenging project. That project is now a reality: Rolling Stones Gear (Backbeat). Babiuk and Prevost dig even deeper here than they did in their Beatles book. They also had the daunting task of covering a group who is still actively recording and touring, unlike the Beatles, who broke up in 1970. This book is more than twice the number of pages and required a wider scope of knowledge given that it covers the seven core members of the group, as opposed to four with the Beatles. Babiuk was able to draw heavily from ex-Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, who is the de-facto, unofficial archivist of the group. I can’t imagine a better book on the group. This beautiful, hardcover, coffee-table book is all about the music and completely ignores the gossip, cultural baggage and myth-making that have at times detracted from the sheer musical importance of the greatest rock and roll band in the world. It is also important to point out that, as with the Beatles book, the reader does not have to be a musician or a gear-head to totally enjoy the book.
Blue Note Jazz
Blue Note Records is marking its 75th anniversary with a reissue program that will delight fans of classic American jazz and especially vinyl purists. Spearheaded by the label’s president, musician/producer Don Was, the series launched its first batch of reissues in March of this year with five defining albums from the likes of John Coltrane and Art Blakey. Five albums will be released every month until October of 2015. Blue Note is perhaps jazz music’s most celebrated label. While classic jazz has been recorded through the years by other independent and major labels such as Verve, Atlantic and many others, Blue Note released many of the cornerstone recordings of the genre. Equally important is where the albums were recorded: many at Rudy Van Gelder’s famed New Jersey studio. Also significant are the photography and artwork of the original albums, most of which were done by photographer Francis Wolf, with the covers designed by Reid Miles. The second batch has just been released and includes two live albums: At The Golden Circle, Stockholm Volume One from the Ornette Coleman Trio and A Night at the Village Vanguard from Sonny Rollins. Also included are two classic jazz albums that have been enormously popular for years, Our Man in Paris from Dexter Gordon, and Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage. Perhaps one of the greatest one-off jazz session albums of all time rounds out the second batch: Somethin’ Else, featuring Cannonball Adderly, Miles Davis, Hank Jones, Sam Jones and Art Blakey. The next batch will feature the classic Song for My Father from Horace Silver, and the reissue of Idle Moments from Grant Green, a nod to one of the great jazz guitarists.