Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hickory is no ham!! I watched her and she is pure music in her step!

Hickory, a Deerhound "hero" with an elegant cut in her strut is the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club's Best in Show! Her easy prance made me suspect that she was a champion!
Although I was disappointed that the Dachshunds were eliminated from the contest, I am thrilled that the Hound category is so spectacularly represented!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jerry's Groove will never stop!


Jerry's Groove made me think of Mavis Staples singing "I'm On My Way and I Won't Turn Back"
I have been thinking about my friend, Jerry Friedman. I went to a celebration of Jerry's life on Sunday that was put together by his lovergirl, Susan U. Thank you, Susan for organizing it. I have shared with individuals about visiting him at Calvary and how strong his handshake continued to be. I have shared about how I have missed his humor and funk-i-fied playing. But it really hit me when I walked in the door and all his "people" started to show up. Brother Robbie, Phillip, Orlando, John, Allan, Hugh, Ira, Roger R. and Bob, all great creative folk who "groked" with Jerry. Jerry and I worked on all types of music and he could always hear something special to play and that was his gift. He could get inside of my creative process and know what would work. More than just work, what would make the music excel, rock and move! Allan did some tracks with Jerry playing and singing and the performance made me understand that Jerry's musical tone in his guitar and voice and his phrasing of melodies was his prayer going out into the ether! Thank you Allan for capturing it for all time.

Read On My Way Lyricshere.

JaLaLa, is JAnis, LAurel, and LAuren and they don't need "autotune."

Thoughts on Music and the Musical Life
A musical travelogue from a Gemini point of view. With a little help from my mascot, Lucia Lagrima!


JaLaLa, is JAnis, LAurel, and LAuren and they don't need "autotune."
On Tuesday, January 18th, I went to the Cornelia Street Cafe to see JaLaLa, a vocal group that stars Janis Siegel, Laurel Masse and Lauren Kinhan. Each one shines on a solo or two, but they sing great harmonies, some that are the three part triads that we all know and love but I also heard some nice sophisticated voicing in Ellingtonian style! Arrangements were awesome. Great choice of songs, including those of Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and a great song by Lorraine Feather called "I Know How To Get To Brooklyn."
BFF, Hub and I sat literally 5 inches from the stage so it was easy to hear all the care that went into the arrangements, as well as the stellar tuning!! Anyone who loves vocals needs to hear these "Chicks", because they are swinging! The two man orchestra was extraordinary & solid consisting of pianist, Yaron Gershovsky and upright bassist, Steve LaSpina!
Posted by Murray Weinstock at 5:15 PM

Friday, January 7, 2011

An Ido Sushi New Year's Eve- Furry Murray & new friends

New Year's Eve is always an enigma for me. To spend it with my friends is wonderful, but as a musician, I always want to be making music. This New Year's Eve I decided to combine the two at IDO SUSHI, a Japanese restaurant in Greenwich Village where I have been entertaining, doing my Furry Murray Fridays since May of 2010. Not only did some of my favorite people come out like Tim and Valbourg Lynn who brought Robert Edelman and the great artist, Ilona Granet, but the Flamenco dance troupe Noche Flamenca who brought a crew of 18! (They are performing at The Cherry Lane Theater till January 12)

MY PLAN was to start playing New York songs for my 11:00 set and started with "How About You", then "I'll Take Manhattan" and a Cole Porter song written for "The New Yorkers" that I heard Bobby Short perform called "I Happen to Like New York." It has a great bridge:
"Last Sunday afternoon I took a trip to Hackensack,
But after I gave Hackensack the once over, I took the next train back."

After that I did Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind," a wonderful song that can rouse any crowd, even one that includes cynics and non-believers. I brought us to the count-down to 2011 by getting everyone to join in with my rendition of the Dominico Medugno hit, "Volare" in Italian, I might add! Then we brought in 2011 singing "New York, New York."

Usually, I invite singers up to join me at Ido Sushi and that night with several tables filled with a rhythm clapping, rowdy rapping Flamenco dance troupe, I decided to jump into 2011 immediately. I approached the big table and said, "By the way you are clapping in rhythm, I know you are a musical crowd. I also know there has to be some wonderful singers among you and if you would like to come up and sing, I would be happy to accompany you." Sometimes people are quite shy, but not our Noche Flamenca table. I immediately saw three men start to fiddle with their napkins and get up from the table!! When the first of them got to the stage, I said, "What song, what key?"He said, "Sorry, no English, just play riff and I improvise!" Well, I started playing a "montuno" that I got from Dizzy Gillespie and the singing took us to a place where we were down the tracks like a train in motion! Two singers later, 45 minutes had past and I could not have been happier doing one of the things I love to do which is to communicate with music!!!

Let me not underestimate the incredible environment that Tora and Jane have created at Ido Sushi that makes this all possible. It's magic! Ido Sushi boasts nightly music programs including my buddy, Tommy Mandel who does a "Rock Cafe" on Tuesdays. (Tommy graciously used to let me sit in at his Friday gig at The Empire Diner) "Opera Night" happens every Wednesday and Saturday. I have worked at more upscale venues for more remuneration and more famous personalities, but this was the most joyous New Year that I have had in a long time! Visit me at my Furry Murray Fridays at Ido Sushi. more info at:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings / Allen Toussaint at Best Buy Theater

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, December 30, 2010. Everybody get on the dance floor! Holy Moly! I have been Dapped, Tapped and Zapped by the awesome Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings' show some nights ago. My composer/pianist friend, Leslie Steinweiss from Mannes School of Music arranged for us to see the show. His son, Homer has been the drummer. (and backbone for the group's groove and swing for some years. He has even written songs for the group) After Mark Ronson heard him drum, he dapped him, oh I mean tapped him as the meat and potatoes of the rhythm section to record his Amy Winehouse hit album "Back to Black." Also, check out "Make the Road by Walking" created with Tom Brenneck for Dunham Records! This was sampled by Jay-Z for his smash hit from American Gangster, “Roc Boys (and the Winner is…)” and when I say "Dunham Records" it is really vinyl!

Getting back to the show, Allen Toussaint was the warm-up act and he is one of the great New Orleans based songwriter/producer/ arranger and singer. And I must mention that his funky style honey-dipped piano playing is totally unique and is a complete musical meal all by itself. Close to the end of his set, he brought out the Dap Kings to join him (which included 3 horns) and I am always amazed at how well placed his syncopated horn parts are. Like the consummate producer that he is, he even directed the horn solos by pointing at the trumpet player and saying "trumpet" than "tenor" and then, "baritone" and then saying "trumpet and now everybody." And with a jazzy contrapuntal interplay flowing through the air, he looked at the audience and said "That's New Orleans!"

After an intermission, The Dap Kings came out and started the ball rolling with some tight funk playing that made me want to "shake and shimmy." After a few songs, the star of the show, Sharon Jones came out to join the band and I have not experienced this kind of non-stop exhilaration since watching James Brown during his "Living in America" tour!! Special favorite songs were "Window Shopping" and "100 Days, 100 Nights." Her patter is everything you want to know and her dancing is everything you want to see and her singing is like nothing you have ever heard. Infectious as can be and I burned my throat shouting, hooting and hollaring. (I explained that to my New Year's Eve audience at IDO SUSHI why my voice was froggy-toned that night.) I am thinking of checking out Sharon Jones again later this month on the 23rd in Poughkeepsie at the Bardavon Opera House. More on that.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Arrow Park, NY- A European style cultural retreat!

It's Murman, here, A favorite European style retreat is Arrow Park, located in Monroe, NY off of Orange Turnpike. It has been a cultural retreat for me and my family since I was 7 years old! The lake is a soft water that is astonishingly beautiful and clear. There is swimming, boating, picnicking and hiking. And if you search, you may even find some sassafras growing along the lake trail there! (It's fragrance is similar to root beer) My parents took me up there and it was the first place that I remember that had a garden complete with a fountain where accordionists gather and play Slavic melodies! On Saturday, June 12th there will be the opening banquet for their 62nd season. There will be live music of balalaika and accordion as you walk into the Main House dining room. The menu is a mix of Slavic foods that always includes great borscht! Call for reservations and meet me there and we can walk among the statues of the "four immortals,"| TARAS SHEVCHENKO | ALEXANDER PUSHKIN | WALT WHITMAN | YANKA KUPALA! For info call ahead at (845) 783-2044 (The last time I went to the waterfalls that feeds the lake, it was running loud and fast, not unlike some of my music!!!)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Music and Spring! What a Day for a Daydream.

It is March 6th and one of the finer days that I can remember this year. Talked with my longtime friend Eliot, who celebrated a birthday, a big birthday! Well, I think that every birthday after 60 is a big one. We always talk about one thing or another that opens a door to something else. One name that I brought up was George "Shadow" Morton, who I ran into at Rod McBrien's memorial service. Rod was a good singer, musician arranger and more. I worked with Rod as a musician, a singer and I also hired Rod as a singer. One time after Rod and I had worked together, he got a call from Jimmy Beaumont of The Skyliners, who needed a keyboard player for a show at The Beacon. I was enrolled and loved playing on "Since I Don't Have You." It seemed that every time I saw Rod, he had the happy look of a cat that had just swallowed a bird! (Apologies to animal lovers)

Anyway, I saw Shadow and we had worked together several years ago and had had a good rapport. I did not go on to him about how much I appreciated his work on Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly and of course, The Shangri-Las! But we talked about a Tom Pacheco song that I worked on which had 3 guitars and 3 keyboards.

Anyway, I am quitting now so I can send out a blast about my appearance at PJ Charlton this Thursday, March 11th! I will be singing and playing music from Nino Tempo to Nino Rota and Charles Strouse to Richard Strauss!

I am calling it "A Gemini Vision of a Musical Soiree" and will be joined by Jon Sholle and John Miller.
Signing out now, with peace.....