What’s Hot DJ Roomba?!?!

24 06 2010

While unpacking some random items from a box that showed up yesterday, I uncovered our Roomba. Yes, that robotic maid that vacuums your floor. It’s basically the new millenniums answer to Rosie from the Jetsons cartoons. I packed the little guy up months ago and nearly forgot about him. While he was in storage there was a hilarious Parks & Recreation (NBC) episode that featured the lovable robot. Aziz Ansari’s character, Tom Haverford, is moving and enlisted the rest of the crew to help him. At one point, they stumble across his “DJ Roomba” and are a bit curious as to what it is. I thought it was hysterical then and now that I just got my friend back, I was recently reminded of it. Check out the video below to see the short clip I’m talking about.

BTW – Yes, the Roomba does really work. He’s a noisy little bugger though. I see why it’s a good idea to strap an iPod to it. It’s a must for keeping the place free of pet hair… my dog Blu is a shedding machine.



iRobot Roomba Site

EW Recap of the episode: RIP DJ Roomba

More info on NBC’s Parks & Recreation

More info on Aziz Ansari

RIP Gary Coleman

28 05 2010

This may be a little off the traditional music theme but Gary Coleman passed away today at age 42. Coleman was hospitalized this week after falling and hitting his head at his home in Utah.  After slipping in and out of consciousness for the last two days, he was found dead this afternoon. Gary was best known as Arnold Jackson from TV’s Different Strokes. Although he had a bit of a resurgence in recent years, it is the wise cracking young Arnold that people will remember him for. As a tribute, below are two videos…. both of which are quite fitting. One is a a montage of Gary’s trademark line “What you talkin’ ’bout Willis?” and the other is the famous Different Strokes theme song… it’s a classic.

NEW! On The Turntable

23 04 2010

I have been very delinquent with my updates to the On The Turntable page. So much so that I completely missed March. So, in order to keep a clean house and have everything in order I have updated for both April and March. April is up on the current page, featuring Herbie Hancock’s incredible album Fat Albert Rotunda. While March is in the archive on the side bar. Unfortunately, March never got a fair shot but you can still enjoy it. It features one of my favorite short lived bands Blind Faith and their self titled album. Take a look at both, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. For those desk jockey’s out there, these make for some great listening while hard at work in your cubicle. You can locate these links on the top navigation bar and the side bar archive… or you can just click the album covers below to listen to these albums in their entirety. Enjoy!

Blind Faith                                              Fat Albert Rotunda

As a little extra fanfare, there are few videos to get you in the mood. The first is Blind Faith live at Hyde Park in 1969. They do an awesome version of The Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb”. Now, perhaps it’s just because I am a huge fan of young Steve Winwood but I think this rivals the original… Sorry Mic.

The next is the opening theme to Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert cartoon. For those not familiar with the Herbie’s Fat Albert Rotunda, it was inspired by the work he did for this show.  To be clear Herbie did not write this theme but he did some work for the show as he was friendly with Cosby. That said, the album is FAR superior to anything ever featured on the show but this will likely get you in the mood and perhaps even trigger some nostalgia.

The Carrot Highway

7 04 2010

Despite what you may think, this one’s not just for vegetarian and vegans. It’s ridiculous (and therefore amazing!) regardless of your fondness for veggies. Not only is the song a fantastic blend of folk, rock and spoken word but the video features some really great style choices; specifically the oversized Champion sweatshirts donned by hosts Nigel & Cassidy. Not to say that songwriter Tom Gorman’s look isn’t equally as out of date. Enjoy your trip down the “Carrot Highway”…

Heard It Through The Grapevine

5 04 2010

I just found this video from the 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival. It’s Marvin Gaye doing “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”. This song from his 1968 album of the same name has become one of his signatures. It was also recorded by a few other Motown artist like Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, as well as Gladys Knight & The Pips. It’s a good performance but more so it’s just some funny footage of Marvin in a red and black tux accompanied by huge band… there’s at least 15 people up on this stage. There is also a faux phone call in the beginning that is hilarious. This performance was originally recorded for a concert video that is now available on DVD.

The California Raisins

The people at California Raisins used this tune for countless clay-mation commercials, most of which aired during Saturday morning cartoons in the 80’s. They are very typical of what you might remember from those days. Below are just a few:

Classic CR Commercial

1986 CR commercial

1989 CR commercial

Workmen CR commercial

Michael Jackson CR commercial

1988 Ray Charles CR commercial

Pointer Sisters CR commercial

Alt Versions/Ref Links:

Check out Gladys Knight’s version. The tempo is kicked up A LOT compared to other version and her inflection and cadence  is much more gospel inspired. This is a solid live performance from 1972.

There is also a Creedence Clearwater Revival version too. You can see CCR’s version live here.

Smokey’s version, perhaps the best of all of them.

The simplified 1968 version from Marvin Gaye, he plays keys for most of the tune.

More info on the Motwon hit “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”

Herbie in Japanese TV Ad – Straight!

29 03 2010

I recently found this funny old Japanese TV ad of Herbie Hancock endorsing Suntory Whiskey (a Japanese brand). Being a big fan of both Herbie and Whiskey makes this one a no-brainer. Tack on my fondness for the far east, specifically Japan and it goes without saying… I love it! I think the tag line “Straight!” is supposed to be a play on words referring not only to the booze but also to the concept of a straight feel versus a swing feel in music. I could be wrong though as that’s just a rash assumption based on my oh-so clever marketing prowess.

This ad is actually not that unusual as the Japanese LOVE jazz. They did decades ago and, unlike most of the rest of the world, they still do today. Almost exactly a year ago I visited “Nippon” for a few weeks and it was awesome to see how much they still appreciate what is now considered to be a dying art. The song is the original post-bop version of “Watermelon Man” (as opposed to Herbies funk fusion reinterpretation from the 70’s). In the ad it says it features drummer Tony Williams and bassist Ron Carter… all true but we only hear them in this clip, no visuals. As a little aside, it should be said that Tony and Ron make up one of the greatest drum/bass combos in all of jazz history. In my mind they’re THE best. Even better than Roach/Mingus or LeFaro/Motian or any other “giants” you might toss in there. Back in the 60’s, Ron and Tony were both called upon by Miles Davis as just kids to join Herbie and saxophonist Wayne Shorter to be in Miles’ New Quintet. The same group that has made some legendary music throughout that period. They all went on to be hugely influential in the history of jazz and music as a whole, and not just for their work with Miles. I’d love to go on and on and on but, I’ll save it for future posts.

There are also a few alternate versions from this same series. Here are 2 that feature Ron Carter. Ron is just so cool… check him out: Ron #1 & Ron #2

You may recognize the name Suntory Whiskey from the Sofia Coppola film (featuring Bill Murray) Lost In Translation. Here is the clip of Murray doing the ad in the movie… It always cracks me up. If you want to YouTube Suntory you can find a TON of hilarious commercials of famous American actors, musicians and popstars. That is what makes the Bill Murray piece so funny in the movie. Feel free to do so, and see what you find.

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