Monday, November 16, 2015

The odyssey of Jean Michel Jarre in China (1983)

The Concerts in China (or Les Concerts en Chine), is an important part of the history of modern music. So are 800 million people (!!!) who followed the live concerts or radio. And it is that nobody wins Jean Michel Jarre you great mass gathering of people for a single concert, remember 2 million in Paris in 1990. The musical content of the double album is a selection of songs from the last two albums of previously edited Jarre (no Deserted Palace and Les Granges Brulees), plus a few new songs that either were made specifically for the tour (The Overture , Arpegiator, Laser Harp, Night in Shanghai, Orient Express) were either traditional (Fishing Junks at Sunset) or were only included on the disc a posteriori (Souvenir of China). Something to keep in mind is that the issues were very strictly selected for editing, since not all the concerts-given the special circumstances that Jarre had to count on such a juncture, and later explain the why-they had a perfect sound quality. Probably Jarre was asked that he should put special attention to the staging (lasers and others) rather than music, as this surely would sound very strange to the Chinese and had to give them a show if or if. But do a little history ... The French musician went out (and almost ruined) for being the first Western musician to play in post-Mao China. The experience was chaotic and unforgettable, but likely to be worsened. In mid-December 1979, Jean Michel Jarre received a call from the secretary-general of UNESCO, the Senegalese Amadou-Mathar M'Bow. The Chinese Government would be interested in Hua Guofen Jean Michel Jarre travel to Beijing and formalize a series of concerts in communist China, just three years after the death of Mao. Amadou-Mathar had studied in Paris and felt a very special affection for France. At the meeting of the UNESCO headquarters, Secretary General tells Jarre to Radio Beijing has begun to radiate their albums, from 'Oxygene' to the last 'Magnetic Fields'. Jarre almost jumped for joy, because it was a year and a half insistence to the Chinese Embassy in Paris to approve his concerts, at the same time that there was astonished. Moreover, it was clear who was handling all the threads of the recent Chinese Communist economy was Deng Xiaoping. That same month, China had purchased several planes to Boeing and Coca-Cola announced the opening of a factory in Shanghai ... something was changing in the most isolated country in the world, or so it seemed at first glance. The July 13, 1980, the following year, Jean Michel Jarre and his wife Charlotte Rampling reach Beijing. His first meeting with the Chinese authorities occurs at the Conservatory of Music in Beijing China, located in one of the adjacent streets of Tien An Men Square. Jarre had taken the precaution of taking a couple of synthesizers to let them show the Chinese what electronics had changed the face of music. Chinese hallucinated with new sounds. They are excited with all the 'currencies' Western. Jarre himself was surprised at the Conservatory that not a single acoustic piano is not found. During the Cultural Revolution, the piano had been convicted of Western musical decadence. It seems that throughout Beijing, at most, there were only two pianos and controlled cultural apparatus of the communist regime. That evening, Jean Michel and Charlotte attend a concert of Chinese symphonic music. Jarre recorded on a cassette music to compose something about Chinese musical idea, but with synthesizers. At night, dine with Madame Wuang, director of the national radio. The ruling says that over half a million Chinese already know Jarre's music, because he has given orders that are heard as disturbing technological innovation in the culture of a new country, developing. As everything becomes eternal by the civil service, Jarre does not return to that country until February 1981. It flies in the same Concorde, with François Mitterrand, who is about to be president. The presidential candidate says he will talk with the Chinese to get to act, at least in Beijing. Jean Michel tells the president that his idea is to adapt some traditional theme of Chinese classical music with synthesizers and adapt. Something difficult to solve, because in Chinese classical music are not interpreted scores memory and hearing. In June, Jean Michel back again Beijing. last technical details with the huge workforce of Chinese officials, unable to understand each other. The meetings almost mad French artist. Nearly a week after the discussions, it is on the verge of aborting the project, to abandon the business. Charlotte explains that these concerts will be more difficult to achieve a concert at the far side of the moon. And precisely for that time, Jean Michel is impressed by the staging of 'The Wall', the magnum opus of Pink Floyd. So hires Mark Fisher to achieve spectacular staging. The signing of Mark for the project raises morally Jarre, who agreed with the Chinese finally two concerts in Beijing and three in Shanghai. Finally, on October 15, 1981 Paris off a special plane to Beijing. Transported 15 tons of material with boxes labeled 300 and 70 people on board. The plane arrived in the capital 30 hours after China. In the airport, the Chinese authorities forced him to formalize and sign a kind of contract. But soon they begin endless problems, since the decline of the Chinese Communist apparatus causes chaos in the expedition. For starters, the authorities had not provided many rooms in the hotel where they stay. To the extent that Dominique Perrier, one of the technical loses his wife for many hours lost in one of the hotels that have enabled the fly in some remote part of the huge city. But the worst is yet to come. Arrived at Beijing Sports Palace, Jarre team is stumped. No electrical outlets and no electricity no concert, after long talks with Chinese-French translators do not translate well, you have to step in China's Ministry of Industry to solve the problem. Every Frenchman has a Chinese technician available, although in some ways are their caretakers and guardians of the Chinese Communist apparatus. Another problem is that the Chinese back their crazy coffee machines that have installed the French team. In a couple of days, there is no 'stock' or coffee or sugar. Who said that Chinese like tea? Dictated by unscrupulous authorities, there are two general technical inspections every day. The first at 11.30 am and the second at 17:30 pm. Jean Michel Jarre talks to the 'bureau' communist and requires them to be free tickets. You receive an insolent no for an answer. They say the tickets are very cheap. 30 cents more expensive and the cheapest 18 (change) cents. But keep in mind that China's average wage was only four hundred and eighty cents (just about five dollars). A Jarre has no choice but to swallow left. As few tickets sold are sold, Jean Michel, with his partner Dreyfuss ensure buy and give away 180,000 tickets three days of performances in Shanghai. A view of the business, the Chinese charge six cents each entrance faces tax issue, they say. Fortunately, the rest of the material, synthesizers and set design time have come to Hong Kong. Comes the big night, on October 21, 1981. Most were soldiers and public officials. In the end, the regime had given the inputs. Like everything is going to film and will have a global propaganda, the regime installed as president of the Palacio de los Deportes in Beijing to Panchan Lama Ederni, which had been the collaborationist Tibetan leader, the friend who had been cast as vice president National Assembly to show that China is crushing the Tibetan people. Jarre premiered in Beijing on Fairlight, the new instrument could sequence and sample any sound. But the Fairlight fails because of the continuing brownouts in electricity. Worse, Frederic Rousseau is wrong to shoot sequences and ends nagging. A musical chaos. The sound is a disaster. After the concert, Jarre learns that more than two near the Palacio de Deportes neighborhoods have been dark for the French to have their electricity. Jarre is also demoralized because, as the concert progressed, people were leaving the premises. Officials say it was because he did not want to lose the last public vehicles only means to return home. Actually, everything is a whimsical game advertisements. A Jarre drove him crazy, excited him become the first Western artist who played in China. For the Chinese regime was widely publicized show the world that were not closed to the world. Quite the opposite. They were the more modern village, open to the Marco Polo mail with a society open to the latest music technology. Pure marriage of convenience. The truth and the only truth was that the Chinese did not understand at all Jarre's music. And neither the lasers, the overwhelming sound and paraphernalia staging of Mark Fisher made them out of indifference. They were forced to concerts, like the entire French team were guarded in a special way. The concert of the second day was much better. In addition, Jean Michel Jarre could play with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra small one of the most famous pieces of traditional Chinese music, 'Fishing with reeds at sunset'. Quite an achievement, but everything sounded out of tune. Chinese-government daily, the next day, Jean Michel Jarre called "the magician of sound and light," the "great master of electricity." But its electronic circus has to travel to Shanghai. We expect three concerts, on 26,27 and 28 October. As had happened in Beijing, a large district of Shanghai remains without light for feeding electricity to the stadium of 60,000 spectators. Or giving away the tickets, the stadium is completed to fill any of the three days. Yes, the public hallucinating with portable synthesizer Jarre and even his famous harp electronic works in Shanghai. Beijing had failed to install due to technical problems. Besides the China National Radio broadcast live across the country each and every one of the concerts. In the end, there is a general feeling happy. All concerts have had great impact worldwide. Jarre had invited more than 20 journalists from many countries. The Chinese offered the possibility of a sixth concert in Beijing before the propaganda success in the world. But Jean Michel prefers to buy a motorcycle to a police officer in Beijing for three thousand francs and return to Paris after the Chinese nightmare. On the plane back, Jarre write the topic of their double album 'The concerts in China'. He calls 'Souvenir de Chine'. A week later, Jarre and his musicians all come into the studio to select the items to be recorded on the disc. For the rest of the five nightmares in China can only assert the footage shot on film. Dreyfuss Jarre and his partner had lost 5 billion francs-about a nearly 400 thousand euros of today on the trip to China. It took nearly five years to recover the money from the venture. Interestingly, Jean Michel back to China in March 1994. Thirteen years later. But what was even more chaotic, because the concert was made in Beijing's Forbidden City. This was even worse than the first adventure. The Chinese had lost oppression of the communist regime and just enjoyed the money. Jarre learned much from a Chinese proverb which read: "The wise man can sit on an anthill, but only the fool is sitting in it." Sure you associated with his second trip to China.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Chronology of Popular Music (1940´s)


  • Disney's "Fantasia" introduces stereo sound
  • Pete Seeger forms the Almanac Singers to sing protest songs with communist overtones
  • Keynote is founded by Eric Bernay


  • Arkansas' radio station KFFA hires Sonny Boy Williamson to advertise groceries, the first case of mass exposure by blues singers
  • "La Discotheque" opens in paris, a club devoted to jazz music


  • Bing Crosby's White Christmas becomes the best-selling song of all times (and will remain so for 50 years)
  • Los Angeles bluesman T-Bone Walker incorporates jazz chords into the blues guitar with I Got A Break Baby
  • Capitol is founded in Hollywood, the first major music company which is not based in New York
  • Savoy is founded in Newark (NJ) by by Herman Lubinsky to promote black music


  • The first "disc jockeys" follow the American troops abroad
  • The USA army introduces V-Discs that play six minutes of music per side
  • Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein produce the musical Oklahoma that uses choreographer Agnes de Mille to design the ballets
  • King is founded in Cincinnati by Sydney Nathan to promote black music


  • Les Paul invents "echo delay", "multi-tracking" and many other studio techniques
  • Sam Hoffman plays the theremin in film soundtracks
  • White bluesman Johnny Otis assembles a combo for Harlem Nocturne that is basically a shrunk-down version of the big-bands of swing
  • Mercury is founded in Chicago
  • Jules Bihari founds Modern Records in Los Angeles, specializing in black music
  • Bill Monroe's Kentucky Waltz popularizes the "bluegrass" style 


  • Louis Jordan launches "jump blues" with Choo Choo Ch'Boogie
  • Muddy Waters cuts the first records of Chicago's electric blues (rhythm and blues) 
  • Carl Hogan plays a powerful guitar riff on Louis Jordan's Ain't That Just Like a Woman
  • Damstadt in Germany sets up a school for avantgarde composers
  • Raymond Scott founds "Manhattan Research", the world's first electronic music studio
  • Lew Chudd founds Imperial Records in Los Angeles, specializing in black music
  • The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film company opens a recording business to sell their movie soundtracks
  • Specialty Records is founded by Art Rupe in Los Angeles to specialize in black popular music


  • Billboard's writer Jerry Wexler coins the term "rhythm and blues" for Chicago's electric blues
  • Roy Brown writes and cuts Good Rockin' Tonight in Texas
  • Six majors control the music market: Columbia, RCA Victor, Decca, Capitol, MGM, Mercury
  • The Hollywood-based tv program of Korla Pandit (John Red), pretending to be an Indian guru and playing a Hammond organ, publicizes exotic sounds
  • Chess Records is founded in Chicago by two Polish-born Jews to promote rhythm and blues
  • Ahmet Ertegun founds Atlantic in New York to promote black music at the border between jazz, rhythm and blues and pop


  • Pete Seeger forms the Weavers, which start the "folk revival"
  • Detroit rhythm'n'blues saxophonist Wild Bill Moore releases We're Gonna Rock We're Gonna Roll
  • Columbia introduces the 12-inch 33-1/3 RPM long-playing vinyl record that can play 20 minutes on each side, invented by Peter Goldmark
  • Pierre Schaeffer creates a laboratory for "musique concrete" in Paris and performs a concerto for noises 
  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Tale Of The South Pacific introduces exotic sounds to Broadway
  • Leo Fender introduces its electric guitar (later renamed Telecaster)
  • Moe Asch founds Folkways, devoted to folk music
  • Ed Sullivan starts a variety show on national television (later renamed "Ed Sullivan Show")
  • Homer Dudley invents the Vocoder (Voice Operated recorder)
  • Memphis' radio station WDIA hires Nat Williams, the first black disc jockey
  • The magazine "Billboard" introduces charts for "folk" and "race" records


  • Moondog virtually invents every future genre of rock music
  • Fats Domino cuts The Fat Man, a new kind of boogie
  • Hank Williams' Lovesick Blues reaches the top of the country charts
  • Scatman Crothers cuts I Want To Rock And Roll (1949), with Wild Bill Moore on saxophone
  • RCA Victor introduces the 45 RPM vinyl record
  • Fantasy is founded
  • Todd Storz of the KOWH radio station starts the "Top 40" radio program
  • The "Billboard" chart for "race" records becomes the chart for "rhythm and blues" records
  • German physicist Werner Meyer-Eppler publishes the book "Elektronische Klangerzeugung", about making music by purely electronic devices
  • Aristocrat changes its name to Chess

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Chronology of Popular Music (1930´s)


  • The first "fanzines", science fiction pulp magazines "Comet" and "Time Traveller", are founded, to allow sci-fi fans to communicate
  • Leon Termen invents the first rhythm machine, the "Rhythmicon"
  • Warner Brothers buys Brunswick


  • EMI (Electrical and Musical Industries), formed by the merge of Gramophone and the British subsidiary of Columbia, opens the largest recording studio in the world at Abbey Road in London, while the USA division of Columbia is sold
  • Edgar Varese premieres a piece for percussions, Ionisation
  • George Beauchamp invents the electric guitar (the Rickenbacker)
  • Gene Autry's Silver Hairde Daddy Of Mine popularizes the "honky-tonk" style of country music


  • Thomas Dorsey's Precious Lord invents gospel music in Chicago 
  • Milton Brown and Bob Wills invent "western swing" 


  • Cuban bandleader Ignacio Pineiro releases Echale Salsita, the song that gives the name "salsa" to Cuba's dance music
  • Only six million records are sold in the USA
  • Jimmie Rodgers dies
  • Sales of "race records" drop to $6 million
  • The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) is founded to represent the recording industry worldwide


  • John Lomax and his son Alan begin recording black music of the southern states, and discover the gospel genre of "rocking and reeling"
  • Laurens Hammond invents the Hammond organ
  • The first magazine devoted to jazz music, Down Beat, is published


  • The radio program "Hit Parade" is launched
  • Woody Guthrie writes the Dust Bowl Ballads and becomes the first major singer-songwriter
  • Max Gordon founds the jazz club "Village Vanguard" in New York


  • Roy Acuff becomes the first star of Nashville's country music
  • Bluesman Robert Johnson cuts his first record
  • Carl Stalling begins scoring the soundtracks for Warner Brothers' cartoons
  • The Gibson company produces its first electric guitar, the ES-150


  • Records by the "big bands" are the best sellers
  • The mambo is born in Cuba 


  • a Carnegie Hall concert by the piano trio of Albert Hammons, Meade Lux Lewis and Pete Johnson launches the boogie-woogie craze
  • CBS buys USA's Columbia


  • Leo Mintz founds a record store in Cleveland, the "Record Rendezvous", specializing in black music
  • John Cage composes Imaginary Landascape N.1 for magnetic tape
  • The "Grand Ole Pry" moves to Nashville's "Ryman Auditorium" and is broadcasted by the national networks
  • The Panoram visual jukebox is invented (plays short films of records, the first music videos)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Chronology of Popular Music (1920´s)


  • Mamie Smith's Crazy Blues is the first blues by a black singer to become a nation-wide hit
  • Eric Satie composes music not to be listened to ("musique d'ameublement", furniture music)
  • Westinghouse Electric starts the first commercial radio station, "KDKA"


  • 106 million records are sold in the USA, mostly published on "Tin Pan Alley", but control of the market is shifting to the record companies
  • Okeh introduces a "Colored Catalog" targeting the black community, the first series of "race records"
  • The Donaueschingen Festival of avantgarde music is founded


  • Trixie Smith cuts My Man Rocks Me With One Steady Roll
  • Texan fiddler Eck Robertson cuts the first record of "old-time music"
  • Laszlo Moholy-Nagy advocates the use of phonograph records to produce music, not only to reproduce it
  • James Sterling buys out the British division of Columbia


  • Bessie Smith cuts her first blues record
  • John Carson records two "hillbilly" songs and thus founds country music ⇐
  • Arnold Schoenberg completes his 12-tone system of composition (the first form of "serialism")


  • The Music Corporation of America (MCA) is founded in Chicago as a talent agency
  • German record company Deutsche Grammophon (DG) founds the Polydor company to distribute records abroad
  • Andre' Breton publishe the "Surrealist Manifesto" in Paris
  • Riley Puckett introduces the "yodeling" style of singing into country music


  • The Mills Brothers popularize the "barbershop harmonies"
  • Carl Sprague is the first musician to record cowboy songs (the first "singing cowboy" of country music)
  • The electrical recording process is commercially introduced, quickly replacing the mechanical one
  • Victor and Western Electric create the first electrical recording
  • 78.26 RPM is chosen as a standard for phonographic records because phonographs at that speed could use a standard 3600-rpm motor and 46-tooth gear (78.26 = 3600/46).
  • Nashville's first radio station is founded (WSM) and begins broadcasting a program that will change name to "Grand Ole Opry"


  • Bing Crosby cuts his first record and invents the "crooning" style of singing thanks to a new kind of microphone
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson is the first bluesman to enter e major recording studio
  • Will Shade founds the first "jug band" in Memphis, inspired by Louisville's first jug bands
  • The magazine "Phonograph Monthly Review" is founded
  • Vitaphone introduces 16-inch acetate-coated shellac discs playing at 33 1/3 RPM (a size and speed calculated to be the equivalent of a reel of film)
  • The British magazine "Melody Maker" is founded
  • General Electric founds the "National Broadcasting Company" (NBC)


  • Meade Lux Lewis cuts Honky Tonk Train, the most famous boogie woogie ⇐
  • Russian composer Leon Termen performs the first concerto with the "theremin"
  • Jimmie Rodgers, the first star of country music, adopts "yodeling" style of singing, the blues style of black music, and the Hawaian slide guitar
  • Classical composer Kurt Weill begins a collaboration with playwright Bertold Brecht, incorportating jazz, folk and pop elements in his soundtracks
  • Sales of "race records" reach $100 million


  • The United Independent Broadcasters (later renamed Columbia Broadcasting System, or CBS) of 47 affiliate stations is founded
  • Clarence "Pinetop" Smith cuts Pinetop's Boogie Woogie
  • Maurice Martenot invents an electronic instrument, the Ondes-Martenot


  • Decca is founded in Britain by Edward Lewis as a classical music company
  • RCA buys Victor Talking Machines
  • The "Great Depression" destroys the record industry
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson dies

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Chronology of Popular Music (1910´s)


  •  John Lomax publishes "Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads"

  •  Aleksander Skryabin composes "Prometheus" featuring an instrument projecting light  instead of playing sound

  •  Sergei Diaghilev produces in Paris the ballet "Scheherazade", the most successful of the "Ballets Russes"

  •  The American Photoplayer Company introduces the "Fotoplayer Style", an instrument that can play orchestral music as well as sound effects 

  •  350,000 pianos are manufactured in the USA


  •  William Spiller's band, the Musical Spillers, export ragtime to Britain

  •  The incidental music to Richard Walton Tully's play Bird of Paradise popularizes the ukulele and the steel guitar

  • The first blues is published, Hart Wand's Dallas Blues 

  • Henry Cowell introduces "tone clusters" in The Tides of Manaunaun (1912) by striking the keys with forearm and fist


  •  Italian "futurist" Luigi Russolo publishes "L'Arte dei Rumori", in which he proclaims noise to be the sound of the 20th century, and especially noise produced by machines, such as his own "Intonarumori"


  • Jerome Kern invents the "musical" by integrating music, drama and ballet and setting it into the present 

  •  The American Society for Composers (ASCAP) is founded to protect songwriters


  •  Tristan Tzara founds the Dada movement in Zurich


  •  Henry Cowell composes quartets using combinations of rhythms and overtones that are impossible to play by humans

  •  The first record to be advertised as "samba" is Ernesto Joaquim Maria dos Santos, better known as "Donga", Pelo Telefone 

  • Alexander Scriabin's "Prometheus" features a light show

  • Piano makers Brunswick start a record label

  •  Cecil Sharp publishes a collection of folk music from the Appalachian mountains

  •  Julian Carrillo writes "The Thirteenth Sound Theory" which heralds music for microtones


  •  The first jazz record is cut in New York


  •  James Europe's Hellfighters export jazz to France


  •  General Electric absorbs the American branch of Marconi Wireless Telegraph and renames it Radio Corporation of America (RCA)
  •  Will Marion Cook's syncopated orchestra plays jazz for King George V in Britain

Monday, June 22, 2015

J.Geils Band-Live Full House (1972)

This led Peter Wolf on vocals and guitar J.Geils band was a real steamroller of rock'n'roll, soul and a lot of rhythm & blues. The truth is that to begin to taste this excellent band material, I can not think of anything else to start this direct published in the year 72. Previously, they had already released two albums that seem formidable me as essential and this recording was not more than the culmination of a perfect trilogy.
But what we were, which is nothing but this live recording at the Cinderella Ballroom in Detroit on April 72, consisting of only 8 songs, but enough to get into orbit from the first second. It is true that the recording can cross a somewhat shorter in duration, when at that time the band offered their fans directly twice typical fall of ass. But, what the hell !, this work sounds like a runaway locomotive without brakes. All exercise of power, passion and joined the unlimited talent musicians energy off his hat. There is little of their own as they only include tremebundo "Hard driving man", but versions that are marked "First I look at the purse" Smokey Robinson, "Homework" Otis Rush or immeasurable "Serves you right to suffer "by John Lee Hooker, to give some examples, are powerful tools to put this live on an altar reasons. And to show a button relative to the strength and intensity that emanated from these guys live with "Looking for a love" ... overwhelming!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

UFO-UFO (1970)

In 1968 Pete Way (bass), Mick Bolton (guitar) and Tic Torrazo (drums) formed the "Hocus Pocus" group, then enter Phil Mogg (vocals) and Andy Parker (drums) and the band was renamed "UFO". In 1970 they recorded their first album, "UFO", and 72 come "UFO 2" and "UFO Live", these three albums were remarkably successful in countries like Japan, Germany or France.
Then Mick Bolton left the band and after trying several guitarists (Larry Wallis and Bernie Marsden), replaces a very young Michael Schenker would mark the band's sound in the coming years. In 74 released "Phenomenon" and a year later they are joined by Paul Chapman (guitar) leaving the group before the publication of "Force It" (1975). For the recording of their sixth album, "No Heavy Petting" (1976), joins the group Danny Peyronnel (keyboards, guitar) who was replaced by Paul Raymond for recording "Lights Out" (1977). This training would publish "Obsession" (1978) and the magnificent "Strangers in the Night" (1979). Michael Schenker decided to fly solo and left the group and was replaced by Paul Chapman with that record "No Place to Run" (1980). The changes are happening and Paul Raymond left the band and was replaced by John Sloman and later by Neil Carter. In 81 came "The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent" and a year later "Mechanix". In 82 Pete Way left the band and was replaced by Billy Sheehan place with which released "Making Contact" (1983) but sales are not appropriate and decide to separate.
Some time later the band would return to relive a second youth with very good albums like Walk On Water, Covenant and The Visitor among others ...
In this first album of UFO clearly noticed its roots blues mixed with psychedelia and experimentation, the road to the hard rock was still to come. The production is not very good because they counted as few resources but we can appreciate a superb Pete Way on bass. In the recording are two versions, "Who Do You Love" by Willie Dixon and "C'mon Everybody" Eddie Cochran it would be a remarkable success in Japan. Other outstanding issues would "Unidentified Flying Object", "Boogie" or "Follow you Home".