Hoopla Music Review: Dizzy Gillespie ‘Jambo Caribe’ (1964)

You know how they always told you never to judge a book by its cover? Well, in this case, they’re wrong. Just look at that thing. Is it a child’s sugar-fueled scribblings, a Ralph Steadman/Hunter S. Thompson ‘Fantasia’ sequence, or Harry Belafonte’s worst experience on acid? It’s hella bizarre whatever it is, and it pretty much sums up the eclectic and eccentric music contained within.

Alternating between cool, catchy, Caribbean-influenced instrumentals like ‘Hello, Trinidad’ and ‘And Then She Stopped’ and the frenetic, infectious insanity of Dizzy’s vocals on songs like ‘Poor Joe’ and ‘Don’t Try To Keep Up With The Joneses’, this is one of the most exciting and unusual jazz/world albums you’re ever going to hear.
Future stars Kenny Barron (piano) and James Moody (flute) accompany throughout, but ‘Jambo Caribe’ is truly the personality and sound of just one man, bebop’s most famous extended cheeks, Mr John Birks ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie. It may be his experimental, unpredictable trumpet playing that has kept this album relevant with critics and jazzopiles over the years, but it’s his playful sense of humor and obvious affection for the calypso music of the West Indies that will keep you laughing, singing, and jumping around your house every time you play it.

Falmouth Public Library, West Falmouth and Woods Hole cardholders can stream the album FREE on Hoopla here. For information on how to get a Hoopla account, click here! (reviewed by Josh)

Music by the Flaming Lips, ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’

The title track starts off with a lone acoustic guitar strumming in a loose, Jonathan Richman style, a warbling synthesizer chirping out a couple of random, faltering notes behind it. Faint, far away voices can be heard speaking what sounds like Japanese just as a fat, stomping drum beat comes crashing in, immediately rerouting the song’s assumed course. Like Aladdin entering the Raja’s palace only after his loud procession of musicians, jugglers and elephants, it is then that frail-voiced singer, Wayne Coyne, steps up to the mic to deliver his ballad of the city-funded, black belt, robot fighter.
Much like The Flaming Lips’ first hit, ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’, ‘Yoshimi’s’ charm lies in its goofy, unusual rhymes (“She’s taking lots of vitamins cause she knows that it’d be tragic if those evil robots win”), and the fact that there is really no need for such a song ever to exist and yet it seems to fill some void that was ’til now unnoticed. It’s a semi-funky, instantly catchy number, perfect for nerdy manga fans and/or parents looking to play something other than the two Frozen soundtracks when their kids are in the car.
Then there’s ‘One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21’. It’s a mellow, melancholy song that expresses in five heartbreaking minutes what it has taken ‘Westworld’ three-and-counting seasons to get across.

If this were as good as the album got, I’d say go ahead and YouTube the first three or four songs and call it a day. But the other, non-robot tracks are some of the most purely-written songs of love and loss since Leonard Cohen dropped ‘Hallelujah’. (What?! Record reviews are all about hyperbole disguised as personal opinion!)

Although only two or three other songs will get you as amped as ‘Yoshimi’, the others possess a quality that inspires introspection and reflection, sadness and hope. Coyne’s wounded voice, Steven Drozd’s seemingly repetitious yet persuasive drumming, and Michael Ivins’ incredibly inventive use of synths as background sound effects and impressionistic soundscapes combine to create an album full of the same sort of excitement that their older, punkier albums had with the more intricate and psychedelic experimentation of their more recent records. Equal parts pessimism, existentialism and anime-inspired science fiction, with ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’, The Flaming Lips may have created the most honest and innocent album of their discography.

If you have a Falmouth-issued library card, you can listen to ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ on Hoopla via this link! You can learn about-and sign up for-Hoopla here
Music review by Josh!

A Gentle Giant: In Memory of Bill Withers (July 4, 1938 – March 30, 2020)

Singer/songwriter Bill Withers passed away on March 30 from heart complications. But for 81 years prior to that, he was a genius musician, poet, songwriter and activist.

Bill Withers released his first album, ‘Just As I Am’ in 1971. Featuring such classics as ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and ‘Grandma’s Hands’, it immediately identified Withers as an artist on par with the John Lennon, Marvin Gaye and Joni Mitchell. His next album, ‘Still Bill’, was equally amazing, giving us the classics ‘Lean On Me’ and ‘Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?’

Throughout his career, Withers would release nine studio albums, one live album, and countless collaborations with other artists (most notably ‘Just the Two of Us’ with Grover Washington Jr.). Withers was nominated for seven Grammys and won three. In 2015, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 2009, the documentary film ‘Still Bill’, was released. It is a GREAT way to learn more about this icon and appreciate the art he gave us. If you have a Falmouth-issued card, ‘Still Bill’ is available as to stream free on Qello, through our RB digital platform. You can sign up for it on our site here-call us or email if you need help with this. 

The link to ‘Still Bill’ on Qello is here, you can access it by creating a free account with your card.

(written by Josh)

Now available, more streaming & downloading at FPL

Introducing Hoopla Digital!

Hoopla Digital is a digital library service that works with public libraries to offer access to over 600,000 titles of movies, TV shows, music albums, eBooks, audiobooks and comics.

You sign up using a library card from the Falmouth Public Library, Woods Hole Library or West Falmouth Library and an email address. Each month, you can borrow 4 titles, and instantly stream and download title through Hoopla Digital’s mobile app and online. Everything is available at www.hoopladigital.com.

With Hoopla Digital, there are no wait lists. Everything is available to everyone at the same time. Movies and TV episodes check out for 3 days, music for 7 days, and audiobooks for 21 days.

While Hoopla Digital is free to you, it is a pay-per-use service for the library. For this reason, FPL has currently limited borrowing to 4 titles per month per person. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Hoopla is brought to you by the Friends of the Falmouth Public Library. Find out more about the Friends of the Falmouth Public Library or find them on Facebook.

Come to “The World of Harmonica”!

Falmouth Public Library invites you to “The World of Harmonica” with Bob Hennessy.  This free program for all ages will be held on Tuesday, March 14, 2019 from 6:45 PM to 8:00 PM at the Falmouth Public Library, 300 Main Street. 

The harmonica is a worldwide instrument voicing the music of hundreds of cultures, and one simple reason could be its SIZE.  It fits in your pocket like a cell phone.  What has intrigued many in the music community is its ability, when played by masters, to encompass all genres of musical style with not just credibility but with critical acclaim, from Classical to Jazz to Near Eastern to Irish to Blues to Country etcetera.  The list grows day by day.

 “The World of Harmonica” is an effort to expand the awareness of the instrument.  Using story-telling, historical facts, slides and playing the instrument in many styles, Bob Hennessy tells the story and plays the music that will open your ears and minds to “The World of Harmonica”.  His fast paced program is both entertaining and educational for all-ages.  It will delight and perhaps even move you to try the instrument once again.

Bob says, “As a 16 year-old I encountered a Hohner model 260 Chromatic Harmonica in a New York City pawn shop.  That initial experience and my journey with the instrument through today has been one of love, pain, joy and heartache all expressed through my instrument.  I hope it’s a story you can hear and feel as I play for you.  All the emotions of a lifetime of music played with my harmonica.”  Today, Bob plays with a number of musicians in Connecticut, Cape Cod, Ft. Meyers and Naples, Florida.  His expertise with his instrument affords him the ability to play in a variety of musical venues.

The program is free thanks to generous support from the Trustees of the Falmouth Public Library.  Registration is appreciated, but not required.  To register, you may go online to falmouthpubliclibrary.org/register, call the Reference Department at 508-457-2555 x 7, or stop by the reference desk.

Cape Cod Sax Quartet

The Cape Cod Sax will perform an entertaining show for all ages at the library on Tuesday, August 2 at 6:30-7:30pm. The Cape Cod Sax Quartet consists of some of Cape Cod’s well-known saxophonists, who play in a variety of groups throughout Cape Cod, including Stage Door Canteen, Steve Morgan and the Kingfish, Funktapuss, The Cape Cod Jazz Quintet, and the Chandler Travis Philharmonic.

Please join us for an evening of jazz, classical, ragtime, rock, and popular music from a talented ensemble, including members Maurice Soque, Berke McKelvey, Ryder Corey, and Nicholas Suchecki. Throughout the show, audience members will learn about the saxophone, including its roles in different musical settings, the various parts of the instrument, and the more unusual types of saxophones, including the 6 feet and 4 inches tall, 45 pound contrabass sax.

This event is offered to the public free of charge and is open to all ages. It is made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Falmouth Public Library. For more information and to register, please contact the Falmouth Public Library by phone: 508-457-2555, email: info@falmouthpubliclibrary.org, text “askfpl” to 66746, or visit us in person at the Reference Desk.

Classical Rocks!

No, Falmouth does not have  Beethoven’s portrait mowed into its fields. But, were you stirred by the Beethoven symphony you just heard on the radio (on Cape Cod’s own 107.5 FM WFCC) and you want to hear it again? Are you getting ready to play a string quartet or learn a choral piece and you want an idea of how it should sound? Will you be attending one of the Cape’s wonderful summer chamber music concerts, but you’d like an audio preview of one or all of the pieces being played? Well then, head over to Falmouth Public Library’s collection of over 600 classical music CDs.

Where are the library’s CDs kept?  The CDs are located in the library’s classical music CD section, near the books. Each classical CD is identified by a pink round sticker.

How to find a CD at Falmouth Public Library

  • Browse the music CD shelves. Every CD in the classical section is identified by a pink sticker along with its call number. Classical music CDs are generally arranged on the shelf by composer.
  • Check the online catalog. You can search for a piece of music using any of these approaches: composer, musical genre, conductor, performer, group, and name of the piece.
    For instance, you can search for Bach or cellist Yo-Yo Ma or the piece, Kol Nidre, or Symphony 5
  • Ask for Help in person at the Reference/Info Desk, by phone (508/457-2555, ext. 6), by email (info@falmouthpubliclibrary.org).

What is the borrowing period for CDs?

  • CDs may be borrowed for 14 days. A CD may be renewed if no one has put a hold on it.

Are there other kinds of music CDs at FPL?  YES! Here are the CD music categories at Falmouth Public Library:  country & western, folk, holiday, international, jazz, opera, popular, R&R, and Stage (movie and tv scores, musicals).

FPL Classical CD trivia:

The most often borrowed Classical CDs at FPL are Beethoven sonatas (Pathetique, Moonlight and Appassionata), Beethoven’s 9 Symphonies, and the Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello!

At least 637 Classical CDs have been borrowed in the past year.

Steppin’ out. Want to hear a live performance of Cape Cod chamber music?  Here are some options.

MBL Summer Concert featuring Curtis on Tour. This summer’s program includes a new work, “Forged Sanctuaries” composed by Curtis alumnus Jonathan Bailey Holland, written in inspiration of the Cape Cod National Seashore and in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial. The commissioning and touring of this work is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Ticket order form online.

The Meetinghouse Chamber Music Festival  brings well-known musicians to Cape Cod to present concerts in intimate settings and always in collaboration with Cape Cod musicians. It presents concerts in Orleans and Cotuit during June and July. Here is their schedule. Purchase tickets at the venue.

The Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival  presents four weeks of intensive chamber music programming in a variety of Cape locations in July and August, as well as several concerts throughout the rest of the year. Click here to find their summer concert schedule. Tickets may be purchased online.

The Buzzards Bay Musicfest sponsors concerts July 13th – 17th, 2016. Staged in Marion, MA at Tabor Academy’s Fireman Center, the series opens and closes with orchestral concerts, with two chamber music concerts and a jazz performance held in-between.  A highlight of the festival is the Children’s Open Rehearsal, a unique opportunity for young and aspiring musicians.  All concerts are free, but donations are welcome.

Judy Donn
Reference Librarian