When
· Naughties
· · 2006
· · · January
· · · · 02 (2 entries)

Dell Monitors · Just to prove that I can say nice things about Del­l: Mom vis­it­ed us over Christ­mas, and is think­ing about re­plac­ing the the mouldy old 15" CRT plugged in­to her new Mac mi­ni. So we walked around the lo­cal elec­tron­ics mega­mart and looked at the HP and Sam­sung and LG screen­s, which seemed much of a much­ness. At home, we went over to the Dell Cana­da mon­i­tors page, and wow, they were slaugh­ter­ing the big-box store; way bet­ter specs for no­tice­ably less mon­ey. I’ve seen the Dell screens and they’re good, and de­cent­ly styled too. I told her the old trick of book­mark­ing the page and mon­i­tor­ing the price ev­ery day or two for a few weeks un­til you learn to spot the pat­terns and strike when there’s a deal, and I bet Dell gets her busi­ness. [Up­date: I wrote this last week, then saw Jere­my Zawodny’s an­guished Dell-hell howl; I’ve de­cid­ed not to shriek “Stop!” at Mom be­cause, af­ter al­l, most of the screens aren’t go­ing to ar­rive bro­ken.]
 
Jazz in 2005 · Just now I watched an hour of the 2005 New­port Jazz Fes­ti­val on PBS HD, and I think it prob­a­bly said some­thing about the state of jaz­z. The or­der of the com­ments does not cor­re­spond to the concert’s run­ning or­der. Wyn­ton Marsalis (h­m­m, there seem to be two of­fi­cial com­pet­ing sites, so we’ll go with Wikipedi­a) erect­ed a perfectly-polished entirely-motionless 100% risk-free mon­u­ment to some ide­al­ized no­tion of the Gold­en Age of Jaz­z; his en­sem­ble all wore re­al­ly great neck­ties. The Joshua Red­man Elas­tic Band opened with some in­ter­est­ing heavily-processed so­lo sax, then played con­ven­tion­al quite-OK jazz flawed on­ly by Joshua Red­man, whose breaks were kind of bor­ing. Martin Medes­ki and Wood, whom I’d heard of but nev­er heard, played fast com­pli­cat­ed synth-funk, which is gen­er­al­ly a dis­pos­able kind of thing, but it was ac­tu­al­ly a fair­ly funky fla­vor of synth-funk, so that’s a re­deem­ing fea­ture. The Dave Hol­land Big Band was re­fresh­ing, straight un-pimped-up jaz­z, but high-speed, high-energy, the play­ers were sweat­ing and some of the breaks veered in­to dan­ger­ous ter­ri­to­ry. Mm­m­m, tasty. Sav­ing the best for the last: The Pa­tri­cia Bar­ber Quar­tet played Nor­we­gian Wood. No, that’s not what they did... ac­tu­al­ly they fuck­ing blew the stage to smithereen­s, ca­ress­ing the song, then eas­ing in­to the in­stru­men­tal space, then of­fer­ing apoc­a­lyp­tic pi­ano and bass break­s, then drop­ping in­to a fast en­sem­ble groove, pure rhythm for the sake of rhyth­m, why couldn’t it have gone on for an hour; a penul­ti­mate dip in­to that tart Len­non/McCart­ney sweet­ness and then it end­ed with a big loud bang. I’ve been lis­ten­ing to a lot of jazz for a lot of years; for my mon­ey, the Bar­ber quar­tet is by a wide mar­gin the world’s pre­mier currently-active jazz en­sem­ble. Maybe the pre­mier currently-active en­sem­ble in any genre of mu­sic.
 
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