Jonathan Best | Songs From Before I Got Laid

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World: African- North Avant Garde: Sound Collage Moods: Mood: Quirky
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Songs From Before I Got Laid

by Jonathan Best

"Any attempt to describe the music of Jonathan Best is bound to fall short. Equal parts Gospel tenor, boogie-woogie piano, and avant-garde sound collage, his music spans cultures and idioms with ease..." -Susan DeFreitas, Zene Magazine
Genre: World: African- North
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Tracks

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1. Whata Ya Know!
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4:00 $0.75
2. Over the Hill
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3:28 $0.75
3. Cherry Dog Tap
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4:17 $0.75
4. Fiddlesticks
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2:38 $0.75
5. Hey Fred
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2:59 $0.75
6. Left Him Lonely
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3:20 $0.75
7. Lucy Bent Down
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5:21 $0.75
8. Let's Go Fishin'
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1:50 $0.75
9. If DogsHad a Memory
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1:53 $0.75
10. Bugler Baby
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2:36 $0.75
11. I Know That!
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4:04 $0.75
12. Ridin' Thumb
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1:39 $0.75
13. Take Off
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6:28 $0.75
14. Applesauce
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4:15 $0.75
15. I Bless the Lion
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7:13 $0.75
16. Hometown Blues
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7:19 $0.75
17. Soul Down the Line
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5:12 $0.75
18. You Don't Know Nothin'
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5:14 $0.75
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Jonathan Best has been playing music around the world for over 20 years. He was taught the finer points of gospel music early in his career as he toured the Pentecostal churches of New York City and the south with The Elect Lady Evangelist Shirley Davis. His blues and R&B leanings also landed him gigs with bands such as The Drifters, South African singer Cosbie Mbele, the B-52s and Defunct. His odd sense of humor brought him together with the notorious Peter Stampfel (Holy Modal Rounders) for a number of albums and tours, culminating in the thankless job of producing and recording Stampfel's last album with the Bottlecaps "The Jig is Up". Thoroughly ensconced in the Downtown experimental music scene he also performed and recorded with various Latin bands, a synthesis which brought him together with David Byrne (Talking Heads) for a seven month world tour and a feature film.

Jonathan has also done a lot of composing and arranging for albums and movies in his own recording studio. He composed, arranged and co-wrote the lyrics for Clarence Carter's 'I Got A Thing For You' included on Carter's "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" album and his "Greatest Hits" album, both of which remained on the Billboard R&B charts for several weeks.

Jonathan's teaching experience includes giving private piano lessons since the beginnings of his career. He has also taught and led a various music workshops in improvisation and group interaction.

Jonathan is currently performing solo in an act where he brings all of his various musical talents to the stage and does not just perform, but creates music with the audience. With the aid of a looper, he records and layers, live on stage, rhythmic sounds made with such instruments as bicycle forks, a transistor radio, tooth brushes, hedge clippers and his cheeks. He then brings the audience and even the hall itself into the mix, adding seven part contrapuntal vocal harmonies and his inimitable keyboard playing, covering every style from barrelhouse blues to salsa.

"Imagine the intensity of Jerry Lee Lewis's piano playing
with the deliberate onstage deliberations of Badly Drawn Boy
and the avant-garde experiments of (insert favorite
found-sound avant-garde artist here...) and you've got an idea just how quirky and fascinating his performances are."
-Tony Fletcher, iJamming.com

"Any attempt to describe the music of Jonathan Best is bound to fall short. Equal parts Gospel tenor, boogie-woogie piano, and avant-garde sound collage, his music spans cultures and idioms with ease. It also makes startling use of sampled "loop" technology - and it's this element, perhaps more than any other, that has helped to establish Best as a local musician with a "must-see" live show."
-Susan DeFreitas, Zene Magazine


Reviews


to write a review

Mark Davenport

Color Me Purple… With a few Pinks, Reds, Greens & Blues
Yes it’s hard to pigeonhole Jonathan Best into any one or another genre, but that’s simply because he has the ability to move in and out of musical colors like a chameleon. The listener is in for an unexpected ride—an aural slide show with popcorn and ear candy. The opening track “Whata Ya Know!” introduces shakers, chimes, rainsticks, congas, bongos, and then a Latin guitar feel that starts you off down the road with the wind blowing through your hair and the radio blasting. The excellent sax play of Marti Cuevas hints at those groovy samba days of the 60s. But wait, that musical saw, reminiscent of the theremin in the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” recalls an eerie B-rated monster mash. You ain’t in Kansas Dorothy!

“Over The Hill” gets the toes tapping—electronica? Not quite. In fact this track quickly morphs into a Lennon-esque infused double entendre, both in the interplay of the light and dark musical landscape and the double edged sword of the lyric: “If you got time to kill and I got time to die, why don’t we go over the hill?” Best’s lead vocal is convincing as he growls and cuts “why don’t we go over to Hell, yours and mine.” A playful synth brings us out of the depths, momentarily, before the clank of metal and bass drum once again stoke the flames of the inferno. It’s a powerful track—emotive, raw, and compelling.

In contrast, “Cherry Dog Tap” sooths the savage beast. The reflective and repetitive piano track creates a reassuring (almost new age) lullaby, with some solid standup bass playing by Dmitri Kolesnic that walks straight into the chorus and a taste of the blues, than back again—now we’re continuing the journey, no longer in the Mississippi Delta we’re floating over the plains of West Africa, with the mbira and ankle rattles. The Chameleon is showing his true colors… or is he?

“Fiddlesticks” offers some down home country cookin’. Big Pink is the color of this track, and The Band really rocks on this one, compliments of Matt Hill (drums), Gary Solomon (bass), and Marty Cohl’s tasteful pedal steel guitar work. Freddie ain’t dead in the next track (“Hey Fred”), and neither, apparently is Curtis “Superfly” Mayfield, resurrected for some funky clav grooves that supply the backing for the most memorable piano solo on the CD. “Left Him Lonely” provides a little New Orleans funk but Dr. John-athan has cast some Louisiana voodoo on the spirit of Frank Zappa—what a concoction! Other standouts are the funky “I Know That,” “Hometown Blues,” “You Don’t Know Nothin’,” and “Take Off,” perhaps my favorite track on the entire album. With some screaming sax work by Erik Lawrence, the track is hypnotic, beautifully produced, and demonstrative of Best at his best!

All the colors are there, if you listen closely enough, and Best is having a blast in the studio—the culmination of years as a songwriter, singer, session player, gospel accompanist and blues man—all with an endearing sense of humor and life. Highly recommended!