Housekeeping: Below is an assortment of links, videos, photos, and miscellaneous diversions. On Sunday, paid subscribers will receive the final installment of my guide to the 50 best Brazilian music albums. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing a number of end-of-year features, some for paid subscribers (such as my 100 best recordings of the year) and others for everyone.
By the way, the response to my piece on Eva Cassidy, on the 25th anniversary of her death, was heartwarming—especially the feedback from readers discovering her music for the first time. This has already proven to be one of the most popular articles on The Honest Broker, and had around a thousand shares on Facebook alone. That’s a testimony to the enduring power of her music.
Many want to know why Eva Cassidy never got that record deal with Blue Note. I’m curious about that situation too, especially given label head Bruce Lundvall’s comments to me that not signing her was the biggest regret of his career.
So let’s start with a video describing Cassidy’s struggles with the record industry from Mick Fleetwood, who knew Eva well in the mid-1990s.
The Honest Broker is a reader-supported guide to music, books, and culture. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. If you want to support my work, the best way is by taking out a paid subscription.
An analysis of 15,000 hit songs determined that these had the most repetitive lyrics.
Charles Mingus owned this book—not to read, but to hide a gun.
We lost guitarist Pat Martino a few days ago—here’s a recent transcription of his solo on “Just Friends.”
If you don’t know about Pat Martino’s remarkable return to guitar playing after brain surgery removed 70% of his left temporal lobe—forcing him to relearn the instrument from scratch—here’s an article on this unprecedented comeback.
After the procedure, Martino suffered from “severe retrograde amnesia and complete loss of musical interest and capabilities.” Neuroscientists were astonished at his eventual recovery. A team of doctors, writing in World Neurosurgery, concluded: “To our knowledge, this case study represents the first clinical observation of a patient who exhibited complete recovery from a profound amnesia and regained his previous virtuoso status.”
I'm mystified why this park wants to prohibit hipster dogs.
In case you thought Adolphe Sax only made saxophones—here’s an 1872 advertisement for his business. This doesn’t even include his envisioned Saxocannon, which could destroy an entire city.
Issues of Coda, an important but defunct jazz magazine, are now archived online.
The program for John Coltrane’s funeral service.
The power of sound: “Diagnosed with retinal cancer at the age of two, Ben Underwood had his eyes removed at the age of three. He was able to detect the location of objects by making frequent clicking noises with his tongue. He used it to accomplish such feats as running, playing basketball, riding a bicycle, rollerblading, playing football, and skateboarding” (source).
The power of sound (part 2): Did you know that sound can be cool, literally cool—producing refrigeration.
The power of sound (part 3): Neuroscience says listening to this song reduces anxiety by up to 65 percent. The music, created with input from a group of therapists, was actually composed with that goal in mind.
Can an old telephone exchange be turned into a percussion instrument?
Critic Harold C. Schonberg called these compositions “the most impossibly difficult things ever written for the piano.” Someone actually counted the notes in one brief passage, and determined it “requires 1,680 independent finger movements in the space of about 80 seconds, an average of 21 notes per second. . . .”
Finally, here’s a hand ballet performed by 128 individuals in wheelchairs (for the Paralympic Games).