July 08, 2005
I'm in Islamabad for a few days together with Tommy, Umar, Farrukh and Babar, officially hunting down Osama, unofficially having a good time meeting great, hospitable people.
A few intitial pictures have been uploaded to 23people (Flickr go home).
Chick Corea in the Copenhagen Operahouse
One of the highlights of any Copenhagen summer is -- in addition to strawberries and elderflower lemonade -- the annual Copenhagen Jazz Festival, around this time for the 27th time.
Last year we were fortunate to get two of 50 tickets for the Montmartre Revival concert with classics Toots Thielemans, Albert 'Tootie' Heath, Johnny Griffin, Mads Vinding, Didier Lockwood, Lisa Nilsson, and Niels Lan Doky. The concert was recorded and is now showing in movie theatres amply titled "Between a Tear and a Smile."
This year we've had a hard time scheduling any concerts, but we managed to be at last night's concert with Chick Corea and his Touchstone band in the new National Opera. While an opera concert hall with room for 1.500 people is by no means an ideal locale for a jazz concert, it was a great experience.
The first set started with what could have been Chick Corea 20 years ago but quickly moved into more latin rythms, particularly powered by the presence of several of Paco de Lucia's former house musicians. The second set went absolutely wild, including a beautiful solo (mono bootleg recorded on cell phone) by percusionist Rubem Dantas on an mbira, the African thumb piano I remember as a central musical element from my childhood in Kenya (while my sisters would practice the piano, I'd try to keep up with them on my mbira). Towards the end Chick Corea managed to make the 1.500 audience purposeful by engaging it as a huge choir. Possibly a cheap show-trick, but extremely effectful.
I'm sorry that we missed so many other great concerts, but I'm happy to have once again been reminded of the magic of great musical performances.
Bonus link: PBS Kids has a great Thumb Piano site where you can play your own tunes.
July 06, 2005
Stay hungry, stay foolish
As most of my friends know, I have an ambivalent relationship to Apple. While I love their products, I'm just not comfortable with the west-cost-democrat-apple-saab-acacemic-comfortable-clothes-creative-fast-company-out-of-the-box-kind-a-company storytelling thingie they've been running since Jobs' return to the CEO chair.
To me a good story is something that will make me send my father to the Bolaven Plateau in Laos (who wouldn't want to go?) to buy a certain unroasted coffee (yes, I am a Coffeegeek), or which will make me bike a few kilometers detour home, in order to buy the right brand of milk.
To me a good story is honest, and frankly what I see coming from Apple is generously overdone. So while they have no taste (quote by Steve Jobs in Triump of the Nerds, 1996), Microsoft's current upward surge in openness and outreach, beats the black turtleneck and silver Saab at Apple.
To this extent it's a great relief to be proven wrong while reading the transcript from Jobs' Commencement Address at Stanford just a few weeks ago. (Thank you, Per!) Take a few minutes yourself and read.