Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Colossal Yes and Paul Aucoin.
Listed: Colossal Yes + Paul Aucoin
It comes as a surprise to just about anyone who hears Colossal Yes' striking debut album, Acapulco Roughs (Ba Da Bing!), that its creator is actually the drummer for psych-blues-punk lunatics Comets on Fire. But make no mistake, it is indeed the same Utrillo 'Potsie' Kushner. We first heard about Kushner's legendary songs years back when ? talked them up in his 'Listed' feature. When we were finally able to take a listen, we knew the hype was for real. Colossal Yes' smooth delivery and soulful playing (not to mention tasteful arrangements) calls to mind, well, just about all of the fantastic artists contained in his list (below).
My top ten favorite piano players
1. Harry Nilsson
I love that one infamous photo from John Lennon's lost weekend. The one of Lennon, Nilsson and gang getting ousted from a LA night club for being too drunk and unruly. The photo really captured the moment. You can clearly tell Lennon was having a wild night. He was all disheveled and aggro looking and if you look closely you'll notice a nice sized pee stain on the front of his trousers. Ouch! Nilsson on the other hand looked cool as a cucumber. He had this awesome shit-eating grin on his face, like he was completely entertained by the whole calamity. I've always admired Nilsson's songwriting ability, but more importantly I've always admired his perverted sense of humor.
2. John Cale
There was an extreme time in my life when I narrowed down my record collection to three records. The holy trinity consisted of Vintage Violence, Here Come the Warm Jets & the Plastic Ono Band record. I liked Vintage Violence the most out of the three because it was the one record that I discovered on my own. No one turned me on, no one told me I needed to own it. I just happened to buy it on a whim because I liked the album cover. In no time at all it became a record I couldn't live without. And quite honestly it just gets better and better with every passing year.
3. James Booker
It seems like there are hundreds of New Orleans piano players to revere but for me James Booker remains my favorite. From his beginnings as a golden boy child prodigy to his untimely demise as a one-eyed druggie fuck-up, Booker's days of playing on the scene were full of celebration and tragedy. Legend has it that James Booker wasn't born; rather he was hatched out of piano. I have no doubt about it.
4. Peter Jefferies
As corny as it may sound, if it weren't for Peter Jefferies I probably would've never had the courage to play the piano. By listening to his albums I learned that you didn't need to be a super proficient musician to music powerful and meaningful music. Jefferies confidence gave me confidence. Wherever you are these days Mr. Jefferies, I tip my glass to you.
5. Richard Manuel
"If you find me in a gloom, or catch me in a dream
Inside my lonely room, there is no in between
Whispering pines, rising of the tide
If only one star shines
That's just enough to get inside
I will wait until it all goes 'round
With you in sight, the lost are found
Foghorn through the night, calling out to sea
Protect my only light, 'cause she once belonged to me?"
6. Bill Evans
I ran into Pete from Yellow Swans in Amoeba's jazz section awhile back. He was going off about how much he loved this three LP live Cecil Taylor record and insisted that I check it out. On his advice I went ahead and purchased a used copy. I immediately put it on as soon as I got home. Jesus, I fucking hated that thing. And it was not only one but three records, eight freakin' sides of twisted chaotic pain! I took it back to the next day and exchanged it for Bill Evans' Conversations with Myself. Sorry Pete, that's just the type of person I am.
7. McCoy Tyner
My wife and I got to see McCoy Tyner perform in January of this year. It was during his annual two-week residency at Yoshi's jazz club in downtown Oakland. Despite that he's rocking well into his golden years, the man still puts on a fantastic (and lengthy) live show. It's almost as if he lives two entirely different lives on and off the stage. Metamorphosed from a frail elderly man to a vibrant soulful piano god within seconds upon sitting in front of the piano grand. It was truly an awe-inspiring life changing experience.
8. Gary Brooker
Hands down Procol Harum is my all time favorite rock band. The combination of Keith Reid's gothic lyrics, Gary Brooker's brilliant piano chords, Matthew Fischer's unforgettable organ melodies, and the world's best drummer made up a band that can never be replicated or duplicated.
9. Bill Fay
It seems like everyone has his or her own search and rescue story for this extraordinary human being and incredible songwriter. Mine was spawned from the Legend of a Mind box set. Tons of great music on that three-disc comp., but what really brought on the everlasting thunderclap was Fay's Screams In The Ears track. For the longest time I couldn't find any other material, then a CDr of Fay's first two albums started circulating around my work (Revolver Distribution). No artwork or track listing accompanied it. For the longest time I had not idea what the album names or song titles were. Thankfully the two albums finally got a proper repressing last year. Satisfaction never tasted so sweet. Apparently Mr. Fay is held up in seclusion somewhere still making music. I hear it's mainly synth keyboard jams. Me along with the thousands of fans would to hear them one of these days.
10. Carole King
Wow, I'm one old geezer. Carole King definitely qualifies as "mom approved" middle aged jams. Fuck it, I can't help but be totally enamored by King's superbly crafted songwriting and her hard hitting heartfelt lyrics. It's so refreshing to hear songs of love gone astray sung in a women's prospective. Let's hear it for the inadequacies of men!
Toronto (via Halifax) musician Paul Aucion is perhaps Canada's foremost (if not only) vibe rocker. (That's vibes as in vibraphone - not the good kind). In 2000 he formed the Hylozoists, whose music (despite the trite nature of the description), is truly cinematic in nature. Aucion's vibe 'n' glocs make the mood and carries the collective to idiosyncratic and pleasing reaches. Their new album La Fin Du Monde, comes out soon on Boompa Records.
1. Steve Reich - Drumming (Nonsuch)
Growing up playing in percussion ensembles meant that discovering a cool percussion ensemble record was pretty mind blowing. The ensemble Nexus (the percussive-core of all of Steve Reich's sixties recordings) are Toronto based so to discover that this has a tie to Canadian music made it all the better as a kid
2. Charles Mingus - Mingus Plays Piano (Impulse IMP-217)
I really should have listed any of his great band records but 'Myself When I am Real' stands on it own. A perfect record for an afternoon of pondering in the sunlight.
3. John Coltrane - Om (Impulse/ABC Records A-9140)
This is not Coltrane's best record, but when I was 15 finding this record in a pre-Internet and re-release world and on vinyl was a year long hunt after hearing it for five minutes on a music department reel to reel machine. I still love listening to that record and remembering how bad I had wanted to hear that record when I didn't have it and what music it led to in imagination while finding it.
4. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - Nancy & Lee (Warner/Reprise RS-6273)
Such a great record for a greatest hits. Everybody loves hearing it that does and I am surprised that it has not become more of an indi-grailed reissue. The arrangements, songs, singing, everything is exactly as it should be with incredible Hazlewood production and Billy Strange arrangements.
5. The Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers (Columbia CS-9575)
I had to have at least one Byrds record as I have worn through all of my Byrds records at least once. Picking Sweetheart would be too alt-country and going as far Dr. Jekyll would be too psych so Notorious gets it.
6. Tim Buckley - Happy Sad (Elektra CD-740450)
Once again vibraphones helped me make my way to something I would love. I was given the record be a friend because of it having vibraphone only to later find out that I had taken lessons from Buckley's Vibraphonist Dave Friedman and not knowing he was one in the same until years after have taken lessons from him.
7. Ian & Sylvia - Lovin Sound (MGM Records SE-4388)
For America's Nancy & Lee we had in Canada Ian & Sylvia. More country than Spector in production comparison to N&L but a record more people should hear. Reissued in Canada by Universal with Full Circle making the cd a must have and in no way intrusive finding both records in one spot as they used similar Nashville musicians that fellow Canadian Gordon Lightfoot had recently tipped them off to.
8. The Clash - London Calling (Epic Records EK 63885)
Who wants to hear vibraphones all the time not me. Love this record and love the band.
9. Mozart - Requiem
It doesn't matter which recording I pick if you don't have a copy you should I bet you can even find it for free on the Internet. My most listened to copy is a 1979 CBS recording of it though.
10. Mark Wirtz - Original Soundtrack Recording of A Teenage Opera (RPM 165) A version of Mark Wirtz recordings that are complied to be as it would have been released if fate had that in the cards. A great record that all Zombies/Beach Boy arrangers should know (lots of Harpsichord and Mellotron).
By Dusted Magazine