10 years in orbit we are!

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We’re headed for the end of yet another year, and we completely forgot to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of Mizar5!! I know, I know, we changed it into Mizar6 to make a difference or a point rather, still, we should have brought out the hats and… ha, see? We haven’t forgotten how to talk Steely!

Either way, we just wanted to share some stuff with you, such as the release of this stellar new album! The Breithaupt Brothers, Don and Jeff, they teamed up for yet another fine set of compositions guaranteed to make you bow down in awe. They did it again and delivered a masterpiece. Just Passing Through is its title and the cast of musicians and vocalists is stunning: Marc Jordan, Paul Shaffer, Sophie Milman and Ron Sexsmith to name just a few.

breithauptpassingthrough “When I go to the movies I am invariably one of the last people to leave the theatre. That’s because I stay behind to read the credits. There is much to be learned from that rolling script if you take the time to read it. I feel the same way about music. I devour studio credits and liner notes in hopes of garnering little pieces of information about the music I’ve just listened to, in the event there’s something worth passing on. That’s how I first learned about Jeff and Don Breithaupt.”

1555542_10204616012097149_1359274192202969649_n “I can’t remember the name of the song or even the record it appeared on but it impressed me enough at that time to look up the songwriters and read their story. I was more than a little impressed by what they’d accomplished to that point. So when Just Passing Through: The Breithaupt Brothers Songbook Vol. II landed in my digital mailbox I wasted no time downloading the tracks and cycling through them. My initial response was simply “wow.” Further listening confirmed my initial response was an accurate assessment of what I’d heard.”
Continue reading.

You do know that Don Breithaupt wrote a must-have pocketbook about Aja? And that the Breithaupt Brothers collaborate with the Leonhart siblings (Carolyn and Michael) when in New York? Okay, just checking :-) so you needn’t be wondering what the Steely connection is here. We’re still not done listening to Just Passing Through, and as soon as we find a moment, we’ll try to give you a little more than just superlatives!

wadenius Which brings us straight to Georg Wadenius, renowned Swedish guitarist/composer/arranger who toured and recorded with numerous artists. We interviewed him for Mizar5 once, and have kept up to speed since. He released Cleo 2, as you can see, a follow-up to his 1987 album with the same name. We can recommend watching this documentary, which even though it’s in Swedish, isn’t hard to understand when the language is music. Enjoy!

And last, but not least, we’d like to ask your attention for a blog that touches on legalities that can really ruin one’s chances to move forward in life. Or in the United States of America. We first heard of this artist when listening to Dandom Radio, an initiative of Hoops who also distributes the incomparable and essential on anything ‘Dan’, namely the Dandom Digest. The tune that made us drop what we were doing cleverly mixed Steely Dan with Frank Zappa. Brain Tap Shuffle. Yeah that’s exactly what it did! Nigey Lennon, as a musician and published author who also runs her own e-book publishing company called Airstream Books, is working on a new album, but she’s brutally hindered by the stickiness known as red tape, courtesy of the rigid apparatus called bureaucracy. Read all about it on Bedford and Bowery.

nigey Nigey’s first album was re-released by Muffin Records. “Classification has always been anathema to Lennon. Equally at home writing a risqué blues tune, a string quartet, a big band free-for-all, a sea shanty, a hauntingly melodic Lieder-like song — or more likely a combination of all of them — Lennon’s self-confessed musical purpose is to express what she feels at the moment. “Sometimes the moments all collide like a train wreck,” she admits, “but that’s the way it goes.” Born in Los Angeles to a philologist mother and “a house painter-drifter-philosopher” father, who died in an accident shortly before she was born, Lennon suffered from a hip defect at birth and as a result of limited mobility spent her early childhood in her bedroom, listening to 78 RPM records and reading. She began playing guitar when she was ten and moved on to electric guitar at 11. An early influence on her music was her great-uncle, old-time fiddler James B. Gordon, whom she often accompanied on guitar when he played dances and rodeos in the Southwest. At age 12 she accidentally got hold of a copy of “Freak Out!”, the first album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Heavily influenced by the recording, Lennon decided she wanted to be a professional musician. Three years later she recorded a demo tape of songs she had written and sent it to Frank Zappa’s record company, Bizarre Records. This led to a meeting with Zappa which didn’t result in a record deal, but he did tell her he thought she might be a good guitarist someday if she kept practicing.” Continue reading.

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GREAT stuff!!

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Hey guys, if I’d say it’s been a while, that would be the understatement of the year. And the reason we’re back here isn’t because we stumbled upon something new… nope. We stumbled upon some good stuff turned into great stuff. Found it via our Canadian friend Blazer Rouge, Red Blazer ;-)

So, let’s not dilly-dally and get into this: Enjoy!

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Lost in translation!

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We haven’t been keeping up with news for months, but decided to fire up the old Mizar engine for the following we spotted on a Facebook friend’s wall (thanks, Jun Kumagai!). You all know we love to read what’s written about Steely Dan and its founders, but if a journalist misinterprets or twists facts to sensationalize in order to try and earn some readership wings, that is a big NO NO in our book! So yeah, click on the image for the rest of this article, and how a Rolling Stone journalist now will never ever get on the good side of mr. Donald Fagen.

But wait! There’s more! Scroll on for the rest of this story. A link to the Rolling Stone article can be found Down In The Bottom, to add Walter Becker to this mix (up).

We googled the Donald-Fagen-blasts-boring-Dylan-McDonald-Scaggs Donald Fagen refers to in his post, and found a bundle of other websites covering this as hot gossip, they’re all using the same snippets.

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We took a look in the comments on the Donald Fagen Facebook page (he posted a newer version of his initial response that is posted in Vintage Vinyl News we refer to if you click the first image) and picked a fine selection to show you here:

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Oh Whitney & Donald Fagen

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First, wishing all who end up here by chance or on purpose a Happy Healthy 2013.

You might want to hear some news about Walter Becker, we can’t oblige in that department alas. Mizar6 host Rumpus is on Facebook all the time following various music pages and his colleague Bud’s into deep contemplation away on some roof in Shangri-La.

So what we can offer you for the moment, is news that involves Donald Fagen as a producer. It might surprise you, though. Ever heard of Oh Whitney?

You will now. If you’re curious how they all met, just follow this link.

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Slinky Stream!

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Alright. For those who can’t wait until they have their hands and ears on the actual album, here’s a stream as well as an interview! Click image. Must say, that the intro of the first track Slinky Thing is reeling you in so fast, there’s no way out. (Photo: Danny Clinch)

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Glamorous Confession: Donald Fagen’s new album appetizer!

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Donald Fagen’s new album Sunken Condos is on the rise. The first single is released and available via the usual outlets. Click the album pic for a stream on Rolling Stone magazine, if you want to check out the rest, click here. We have been out of the loop for many months. Got reeled back in the second we heard a familiar sound, and after listening to it time after time after time for as long as the insomnia permitted, we could only reach this one conclusion:

Mizar6 embraces this tune and the optimism it brings! And more later this week, because Rickie Lee Jones also has a new album out, available now everywhere for purchase, a wonderful collection of classic compositions by Neil Young, Levon Helm, The Rolling Stones… go check it out, you won’t be disappointed: “The Devil You Know”.

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Nostalgia in his Square Head

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Every once in a while an album emerges that, in its final form, only seems to touch briefly on the full story behind its inception. Nostalgia in My Square Head is one of those albums. Songwriter/keyboardist Malcolm Hunter may not be known to the public at large as a musician and blues poet, but he has trodden the streets of New York—Brooklyn and Manhattan in particular—as an entertainer since his childhood days in Queens.

The sound of the city is what comes across loud and clear in this 12-piece collection of songs and sound-bites. Hunter surrounds himself with what he describes as the Makeshift Dream Orchestra, including Steely Dan alumni Jon Herington (guitar) and Michael Leonhart (trumpet), but also guitarist Jamie Fox, drummer John DiGiulio, bassist Michael “Tiny” Lindsey and other fine session musicians who have earned their stripes along their respective ways.

It’s no coincidence, the Steely Dan connection. Although Hunter more than admits the influence of The Dan’s music, in addition to his classical piano training when growing up, this project primarily embodies the reflection of his own experiences in the city of New York. Nostalgia in My Square Head is not an homage to Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, for Hunter already paid his dues when he released the EP WUNDerground Radio (Malcolm Hunter Records, 2000) with the song “Like a Steely Dan Movie.” If this is an homage, it’s one centered around Charles Mingus, whose “Nostalgia in Times Square” appears as a pièce de résistance, with a subtle and tasteful arrangement that breathes Hunter’s sense of the city. Tom Smith masters his saxophone in a way that would most certainly please Stan Getz aficionados, while Hunter’s “5:30 Bounce” prelude and an underscoring presence throughout Mingus’ classic set the tone perfectly.

There’s funk, there’s gospel, there’s scat and there’s a lot of genuine jazz to be enjoyed here. Hunter’s narrative concept is highly entertaining and his obvious keyboard chops shine occasionally, while his vocals skirt around the danger zone, morphing from storyteller to modern times crooner, with a hint of Frank Zappa in “Invisible Man.” As a bandleader, he lets the members of his orchestra take plenty of leading roles and present themselves as outstanding musicians or vocalists. “Snow in Hades” is yet another unintentional homage, this time about singer Phoebe Snow who, in the 1990s, appeared in an underground concert where guitarist Eric Clapton was expected. For both vocalist Melissa Hamilton and Hunter, this song acquired special meaning when Snow passed away in April 2011, only a couple of months before Hunter’s planned release of Nostalgia in My Square Head. Trumpeter Rob Henke excels with ease, adding to Hunter’s sounds of a city that never sleeps.

Track Listing: No Kissin'; A Very Brief Respite; Invisible Man; Hide ‘n Sleep; Entre La Calle Y La Caneta; Cross: The Street; 5:30 Bounce/ Nostalgia in Times Square; Wreckage on Aisle 50; Hangups; Subwayride/Citywide; Snow in Hades; Nostalgia in my Square Head.

Personnel: Malcolm Hunter: vocals, keyboards; John DiGiulio: drums, percussion; Michael “Tiny” Lindsey: bass; Jamie Fox: guitar; Michael Leonhart: trumpet; Tom Smith: tenor, baritone saxophones; Melissa Hamilton: vocals, scat; Adira Amram: vocals; Meshach: vocals; Jon Herington: guitar (9, 12); Ivan “Funkboy” Bodley: bass (11); Rob Henke: trumpet (11); Scott Bailey: effects (6).

(source: All About Jazz www.allaboutjazz.com)

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