RIP: Chico Hamilton, jazz drummer and bandleader

RIP: Chico Hamilton, jazz drummer and bandleader

From the Los Angeles Times:

Bandleader, drummer and NEA jazz master Chico Hamilton has died. He was 92 years old.

Born Foreststorn Hamilton in Los Angeles in 1921, Hamilton’s music career began with some notable high school classmates including future legends in their own right, Dexter Gordon and Charles Mingus. He eventually went on to perform and tour with Lester Young, Lena Horne and Gerry Mulligan before putting together his first quintet in 1955.

A landmark group that forged the sound of West Coast jazz while featuring the reeds of Buddy Collette, guitarist Jim Hall, Carson Smith on bass and cellist Fred Katz, the group evolved through a wealth of jazz talent, including Eric Dolphy, Gabor Szabo and Charles Lloyd, who joined the band in 1961.

Hamilton’s profile was such that he eventually felt the pull of Hollywood, and his group made a notable cameo in “Sweet Smell of Success” in 1957, which starred Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster and also featured Hamilton’s music. He later wrote the soundtrack for Roman Polanski’s thriller “Repulsion” in 1965.

Hamilton continued leading a number of ensembles, including a soul-jazz album featuring Larry Coryell, “The Dealer,” in 1966 and later the group Euphoria in the ’80s and ’90s. He also moved into education, teaching at the Parsons New School of Jazz in New York City and the Mannes College of Music at the New School University. He was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2004 and continued to record up to his 90th birthday in 2011.

• Chico Hamilton:

Polyvinyl plans 7-inch subscription series with Cloud Nothings, Mikal Cronin, more; all songs recorded onto the same Tascam 4-track

Hey, buddy, do you still have a mailbox and know what a four-track is? If not you can stop reading RIGHT THE FUCK NOW, because the news in this post is not for you.

Cool. Well, for those of you who actually do meet the criteria to read this post, I’ve got an exciting news-nugget from the folks at Polyvinyl for you. Turns out they’re kicking off a brand spanking new 7-inch subscription series. Starting in January of 2014, every month you can get a neato little 7-inch record thing delivered right to that mailbox you contractually promised you own before reading this paragraph. Each release will feature different artists like Cloud Nothings, John Vanderslice, and Mikal Cronin, as well as approximately nine others, since that adds up to 12 and that is how many months there are in a year.

I can tell from the smug look that I’m imagining on your face you’re not sure that this whole thing is sufficiently neat or gimmicky enough for you. Well hold the phone, buster, because I haven’t told you the best part. Basically, the foundational element in this thing is that all the songs were recorded on a Tascam 4-track that the artists mailed around the world to each other. The device has reportedly traveled over 20,000 miles at this point, making it just about due for an oil change and tire rotation. The artists were given free reign over what they recorded, with the only restriction being that that they couldn’t just record their own farts, so the resultant exclusive tracks will range from covers to new songs to re-workings of existing recordings.

In addition to the records themselves, the series also comes with a special box to house all the records in, and artwork designed by Jason Munn. And! If you subscribe before December 31 you get some other goodies, including a special turntable slipmat and t-shirt to wear on parts of your body that include your arms and chest. Also, I guess I probably should have told you sooner that the series is limited to 500 subscribers, since time is probably of the essence if you want to get in there and order before it sells out. My bad. Well, I’m telling you now. Oh, and here’s a link to more info and a full list of contributors where you can also subscribe by clicking some additional links and paying money.

• Polyvinyl:

Outkast set to reunite in 2014, play Coachella, hopefully not crush any dreams

Here at Tiny Mix Tapes, we like to take a realistic stance on the issues of the day. As reported by sources like Stereogum, Outkast are reuniting next year. If all goes as planned, they’ll be playing Coachella, as well as doing a full tour. This is very exciting. However, let’s all remember, everything can always go terribly wrong. For convenience’s sake, here is a quick list of ways this potentially amazing reunion could go straight down the toilet.

• Andre 3000 playing Sixteen-level guitar while Big Boi tries to freestyle through the worst of it.
Idlewild full-album shows, complete with screening of the film.
• Outkast Tour 2014: Just The Skits! Featuring guest appearances from that one cold lady and the shady bootleg dealer.
• Big Boi replacing his verse on “Spottieotiedopalicious” with a numerical ranking of the Kate Bush discography.
• Reunion just flat-out not happening, a somewhat likely prospect considering that Outkast are basically The Smiths when it comes to people’s imaginations running wild regarding reunions.

Outkast last released Idlewild in 2006. Since then, Big Boi has put two solo albums, 2010’s Sir Lucious Left Foot the Son of Chico Dusty and 2012’s Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Andre 3000 has been in a Will Ferrell basketball movie.

• Outkast:

Winamp to be shuttered next month after 15 years of occasional llama abuse

Harken back, if your hippocampus will allow you to, to the days when Napster revolutionized the acquisition of digital music (and served as an early indication of the internet’s collective obsession with cats). Obviously both the need and the desire for a low-resource media player increased dramatically in concurrence, and for the true music geek of the late 1990s/early 2000s, this overwhelmingly meant turning to Nullsoft’s Winamp, known for its plethora of user-made skins, the ease of its playlist-creating, and its general superiority (in my opinion) to the unspectacular Windows Media Player. Oh, and don’t forget the visualizer! My newly teenage self would scoff at offers of hallucinogens, as MMD3 plus the visualizer plus “Midnight in a Perfect World” more than sufficed at satiating my trip proclivities.

Sadly, as ArsTechnica documents pretty extensively here, the acquisition of Nullsoft by AOL in 1999 led to the gradual marginalization of the media player, certainly at a time when they should’ve taken serious strides to appreciate their market and how not only they, but the human race in general just doesn’t like your shitty browser or otherwise software, especially when it’s forcibly bundled. Likewise, but more overarching, the above article talks about a pattern of micromanagement on the part of AOL against Nullsoft, to the point where competition with the likes of a burgeoning iTunes became secondary to internal politics.

Winamp’s existence over the last decade has been mostly casual and unnoteworthy. True to form, a lowly red-shaded banner on their website relays the news without elaboration: Winamp and its associated services will cease to be come December 20. No doubt, some people are wondering what could’ve been. Also, Microsoft may or may not be considering a purchase, but who knows how much truth there is to that at the moment. and associated web services will no longer be available past December 20, 2013. Additionally, Winamp Media players will no longer be available for download. Please download the latest version before that date. See release notes for latest improvements to this last release. Thanks for supporting the Winamp community for over 15 years.

• Winamp:

Numero Group unleashes wizard rock collection Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles on a dorky populace

Oops, they’ve done it again! The good people over at Numero Group are taking another departure from the usual (stellar comps of forgotten soul, funky gospel, and such) to unleash upon the world a dark compilation of dragon-obsessed underground hard rock, the likes of which the world has never before known, in the form of Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles.

Due for a February 2014 release, Strangers features 16 tracks from 70s basement bands that were really, really into wizards, the devil, and rockin’ out. Complete with Dungeons and Dragons-themed artwork and packaging so fancy only Lucifer himself could be behind the design, the compilation will be released on vinyl and CD. You get songs like “Slave of Fear,” “Black Death,” “Wizzard King,” and my personal favorite, “Sealed in a Grave.” The songs come from bands with names like Stonehenge, Stoned Mace, Medusa, and the slightly fancier/more terrifying Gorgon Medusa. A plague upon all your houses! But like, a fun plague, where you can’t stop head-banging.

Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles tracklisting:

01. Air, “Twelve O’Clock Satanial”
02. Wrath, “Warlord”
03. Stonehenge, “King of the Golden Hall”
04. Triton Warrior, “Sealed in a Grave”
05. Junction, “Sorcerer”
06. Stone Axe, “Slave of Fear”
07. Wizard, “Seance”
08. Stoned Mace, “Tasmania”
09. Arrogance, “Black Death”
10. Sonaura, “Song of Sauron”
11. Dark Star, “Spectre”
12. Inside, “Wizzard King”
13. Space Rock, “Dark Days”
14. Medusa, “Black Wizard”
15. Gorgon Medusa, “Sweet Child”
16. Hellstorm, “Cry for the Newborn”

• Numero Group: shutting down because online avatar DJ parties are kind of sad

So if you’re cool and have sex often, you’re probably wondering what the fuck is. It’s an internet thingie where you enter a virtual dance floor as a virtual douchebag and have the option to virtually DJ for other virtual attendees, or just virtually hang out and listen to the other virtual DJs. If virtual attendees don’t enjoy your virtual DJing, their virtual douchebags will stand still and you will be voted off your virtual turntable, virtually.

Personal anecdote: I signed on once a while back, hopped on a turntable, and started spinning Merzbow for the kids; everybody gave me a bad rating, and my song was skipped to let some asshat have his turn playing Foster the People or some horseshit like that. Fat Worm of Error and Anal Cunt also got vetoed. Finally I wrote an email to suggesting that they just take down the site because people are stupid and have bad taste. It took them a while to come around, but they have now responded by announcing that they will be shutting down permanently.

“We thought bad music was being played in stores and on radios because of the major label machine,” Team Turntable should have announced, “but it turned out only a small percentage of the online population has the aptitude and innate intelligence to come up with a playlist that doesn’t include mainstream shopping mall hip-hop.”

December 2 will be the official last day online for, and they’ll be having an all-day farewell party. Virtually, I mean, because nerds don’t throw real parties. And while I’m certain that it was the users’ terrible taste that ruined the site, the founders have also noted that royalty expenses are too high to keep the site going. In other words, is following a steady trend of no longer being willing to pay artists for their music. They instead want to focus on Turntable Live, “an interactive way to hold concerts online,” so that you can make the music on the site at no expense to them. Watch this painful video about it if you hate yourself and want to see a white folk singer try to rap Salt ‘N’ Pepa.