In Other News

Ahead of more “rich” content here, check out some new writing elsewhere.

In the Brooklyn Rail, I’ve reviewed two new, worthwhile booksAll Gates Open: The Story of Can, by Rob Young and Irmin Schmidt (out June 12, order here).


And a collection of writing on Steely Dan, Major Dudes: A Steely Dan Companion, edited by Barney Hoskins (out now, order here).


I’ve also written an article for VAN Magazine, which I hope will lead to more, about my current situation, which is listening to music through depression.

“He gets it! He knows music!”

Alvin Singleton

“…Edgy models include Brooklyn Rail…”

San Francisco Classical Voice

Like what you read? Subscribe for 2018 to have access to all content. Only $20 for the calendar year!



Look at that ugly gap in postings! Apologies for that, I’ve been truly preoccupied with an unfortunate occurrence, vis-a-vis the Big City; the hard drive on my computer is failing. As I’m sure you can imagine, that’s a problem when it comes to maintaining any kind of web site.

As it’s going to conk out literally any moment (the people at the monitoring software I use said that the number of bad blocks was “off the charts”), I’ve been busy trying to prepare ways that I can keep doing my work, including blogging, on an iPad, and for the short term I can sustain the blog.

While for the long term I will need some more robust and permanent technology, the good news is that my Kickstarter campaign was a success and this blog will continue through the end of 2018.

Which leads to this important reminder: If you want to read all content here after New Year’s Eve, you will need to subscribe (there will still be stuff here available to all, but subscribers will get the best stuff, including more media). I understand that subscription media on the web may offend many people; I have been blogging for 10 years without compensation, and now is the time to turn that sweat equity into something real. Modest, but real.

Subscriptions are $20 per year, which is incredibly modest, far less than mainstream web journals, far less than you give to NPR or PBS (and if you live in New York you have a good idea of where that money goes), far less than any print subscription, about the cost of two paperbacks, or a CD with change left, or a couple downloads from Bandcamp or iTunes. It’s more than affordable.

Think about it, and if you want to subscribe, use this link where you can pay and I will collect your email address for your future access.

Repeat: Only subscribers will get all content starting January 1. Subscribe now! Only $20 for the calendar year!

“He gets it! He knows music!”

Alvin Singleton

“…Edgy models include Brooklyn Rail…”

San Francisco Classical Voice

The Sell-Off

Time to say goodbye

Is it possible to regularly listen to 18 different Mahler symphony cycles? 20 different sets of the complete Beethoven symphonies?

In theory, yes, in practice, no; I find myself reaching for the complete Mahler on EMI rather than the one on Deutsche Grammaphon, I prefer Bernstein’s first cycle to his second, I usually pick Bertini over Chailly. With Beethoven, it’s Karajan’s second over his third, Bernstein’s first (again) over his second, and Szell over Klemperer.

None of the ones I’m neglecting are bad, they are actually good and many are classic recordings in their own right. I pick up the boxes I do purely as a matter of personal taste, not critical opinion. And since I find I’m neglecting some recordings, it makes sense to de-accession.

You can see a preliminary list of what I’m selling at Discogs, and if there’s anything that catches your eye, you can purchase through there as well (you should make an account, and a Discogs account is a good thing to have if you are interested in recorded music). I’m currently cataloguing my library, 3,000+ recordings, so I’ll be adding to this list as I go along—I have several specialty recordings that no one has entered in Discogs yet, doing so means putting in every single track, so…—so check back again.

Stuff That Stocking


Are you a musician, or do you know any musicians?

My Moleskine music notebook is one of the two most valuable tools I have. I’ve got a bunch of different music notebooks, but this is the only one I carry around with me—the hard cover protects the interior, and the paper inside is nicely printed with light, thin ledger lines. Indispensable. The one above fits into a bag or backpack, there’s also a pocket size version that you can carry in a jacket, or cargo pants.

Of course, you need a writing instrument. I use and strongly recommend the Tornado Stealth mechanical pencil.


I’ve been using one for over three years, and I’ve used nothing but this in all that time. Very sturdy and well-made (it’s metal, not like so many plastic ones) with a nice thick, soft lead that does everything. I love this and have given it as a gift, and will keep doing so. If you don’t like the basic black, you can get various colors and designs, including one with Einstein’s formulas for getting to the equation that energy is equal to mass times the speed of light squared.

Stuff That Stocking


For anyone who listens to music through smartphone or tablet, these Bluetooth headphones are an exponential upgrade over earbuds. The sound is excellent, close to that of my Sony studio monitor cans, and you can’t quite imagine how wonderful it is to be free of those danlings wire until you actually try it. Pairs with my iPhone immediately just by turning them on (no fussing with the system application) and they recharge via included USB cable. Once you have them, you will have a hard time imaging how you did without them.

Tip Jar

A gentle reminder, there is an ongoing fundraiser here at the Big City. Every little bit helps, even tiny donations.

If you can give more, I have many of what the public broadcasters call “premiums.” Since I’m below even subsistence level, your donation means a lot more to me, and if you can’t give any more to NPR since they got rid of jazz coverage, consider helping out here.

Hitting Amazon links for purchases helps, a few pennies go to me instead of their company. You can also buy my excellent book!


Even more, treat yourself or a loved one to a signed, personalized copy. A donation of $20 (add $5 for expedited mailing if you need this in time for Christmas) gets you a copy with the inscription of your choice. It’s a way to give and get.