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Archive for the ‘Top 5 Lists’ Category

Jane Irving is one of Sydney’s most swingtastic singers. I’ve had the pleasure of performing and hanging out with her many times and she is one of my all time favourites.
Every Sunday you can check her out with her all star band “The Swinging Blades”  down at Marrickville Golf Club 3:30pm-6:30pm.
www.janeirving.com

Check it!!!

Here’s her top 3 albums:

Sarah Vaughan ‘Swingin’ Easy’.
The tracks on this CD are from two New York recordings. 1954 and 1957. John Malachi and Jimmy Jones piano; Joe Benjamin and Richard Davis bass and Roy Haynes drums.
~I first heard this album somewhere back in the early 80s in high school. It was my introduction to jazz singing. It completely blew my mind then and when I return to it now it’s the combination of interaction, quality of accompaniment and Sarah’s effortless singing style that I love. Swingin easy indeed. The thing I remember the most however, was hearing Sarah’s solo on All Of Me. A perfectly constructed solo, inventive, grooving and acrobatic. It was that precise moment that I fell in love with Sarah and made my decision to go about learning how to sing jazz. I knew I had a long road ahead of me but I was attracted to that beautiful mystery. I love her time, her humour, the range (hello!) and the willingness and confidence to really take a tune somewhere –not just sing the melody and be done with it. On this album Sarah’s personality shines beautifully bright –especially for someone who had only recorded once before with a small group, and in the 50’s her larynx was no-where near as close to the floor as in later years. There are some straight ahead tunes here, ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams’, ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’ and other tracks including a very swinging ‘You Hit The Spot’, ‘If I Knew Then’, ‘Words Can’t Describe’, ‘Linger Awhile’ and the opening track ‘Shulie a Bop’ (a tune that Sarah wrote with George Treadwell) -are tunes that I will forever associate with Sarah.

Mark Murphy ‘Kerouac, Then And Now’ 1989
Bill Mays piano; John Goldsby bass and Steve LaSpina bass; Adam Nussbaum drums.
~ Mark Murphy draws from the days of Jack Kerouac including readings from the ‘Big Sur’ and ‘On The Road’ both with rhythm accompaniment but
this is a pretty big album in terms of material. Mark says in the liner notes that people like Monk and Eddie Jefferson (who are also acknowledged in this album) “…all added a richness to the legacy of the Beats –and beyond. This legacy still is as hot today as it was then”. Well, Mark should know. He is jazz. Monk’s ‘Ask Me Now’ is so god damn groovy I can’t stand it and his singing on ‘The Night We Called It A Day’ is just sublime. Every single track on this record holds you, deeply invested in –what’s about to happen and there is a lot of ground covered. Mark is the ultimate story teller. His perspectives are totally unique and he goes to great lengths to get his point across over a lyric with the most beautiful phrasing – never the same, always giving every word the precise weight it deserves. Like a conversation. I’ve learned much from this record.

Sonny Stitt sits in with The Oscar Peterson Trio’
Two sessions1957 with Oscar; Ray Brown bass; Herb Ellis guitar; Stan Levey drums and 1959 with Oscar; Ray Brown bass and Ed Thigpen drums and Sonny on tenor and alto.
~This one swings it’s ass off, unwavering, right in the pocket. I’ve pretty much committed this album to memory – well, pretty much, ha! A tune that nobody does ‘The Gypsy’ was the killer for me. I’m sure that when instrumentalists know the lyrics to tunes, you can hear it in their blowing. Well, whether Sonny did or not, the soul and intent in this mans playing is extraordinary. This is pretty much a dream band and the vibe of both recordings is just so happening. ‘I Know That You Know’ is what I like to call stupid fast and they all get around it. Sonny with all those triplet rolls and the way he gets from one part of the horn to the other in half the blink of an eye, is so fluid. I think I’m gona take it for a spin right now… happy happy daze!

Later,
E. Dilla

P.S Coming up next – Kristen Beradi!!!

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Over the next few weeks I’m doing a favourite CD series with a few of my favourite vocalists that I’ve had the pleasure of playing with.
First up is the delightful Hannah Macklin who hails from Brisbane. We first met as finalists in the 2008 James Morrison Scholarship in Mount Gambier and I have been listening to a CD she recorded of her duo project with Steve Newcomb.
She is a wonderful, creative singer and I recommend you check her out at her Myspace.

Here’s what Hannah had to say about 4 of her favourite albums:

1. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

This was without a doubt the most-listened-to album of my high school years. I still listen to it frequently and love it; Lauryn’s tone is my favourite! “Every Ghetto, Every City” makes me want to wear high top sneakers and Afro combs and play in broken water mains, all the time. The tunes and grooves are so super solid and the lyrics are powerful and passionate and intelligent.. I don’t really need to explain it. It’s dope.

2. Bjork – Homogenic

It’s kind of hard to choose one Bjork album as the most influential… Bjork in general is a massive presence in my life! Musically, artistically, lyrically, everything. I think what sets Homogenic apart for me is the personal listening experience I had with it… at first I found the album cold and harsh, with tracks like “Hunter” and “Pluto” that really get up in your face and scream right through you. With each listen, though, the album softens and the incredible beauty of tracks “Joga” and “Unravel” becomes apparent, as does Bjork’s raw, soul-baring vocal and lyrical delivery. The arrangements and instrumentation are a constant source of inspiration – I love how she blends pure instrumentation with electronic programming – as are the off kilter grooves and leaping, soaring melodies… Just talking about it makes me want to listen to it right now.

3. Wayne Shorter Quartet – Beyond The Sound Barrier

I love the language and the conversations between the players on this album, little bits of information that gradually come together – it reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle, starting with all separate bits which move closer together to eventually make a whole scene. Wayne’s tone is of course beautiful – vibrant and joyous and always carving the direction for the band. This is inspiring as a solo voice and a band leader. There’s a particular phrase he plays on… I can’t remember which track, but it’s in my head right now, and I could base an entire song around it, it’s so packed with grit and substance.

4. Rufus Wainwright – Release The Stars

Again, it was a toss up between a couple of Rufus albums, but by the time Rufus released Release The Stars I was already a huge fan… and then I heard this, and my respect for him increased tenfold. The impact it had on me was huge. For me, Rufus writes songs that sound larger than life… and he is the master of tension and the slow build. I transcribed the orchestral arrangement on Do I Disappoint You for a uni assignment, and one day in the library whilst listening intently to the crux of the song, I found myself crying like a baby. Pretty embarrassing, but also completely amazing. His voice is an amazing, amazing instrument, and the songs on Release The Stars are for me, perfect pop songs.

Later,
E. Dilla

Next week: Jane Irving

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This week I asked Sydney drummer James Jennings to write about some of his influences and favourite albums. He is possibly one of the best dressed Jazz musicians in Sydney and while still studying at the Sydney Con, he has started to make waves around town. Check it out below:

Top 3 drummers:

Very difficult to List only 3 favorite Drummers as there are so many inspiring players out there. At the moment this would be my top 3 for various reasons.

#1 Brian Blade:

Anyone who knows me would definitely have guessed this as my Number 1 but for reasons everyone is aware of. Brian Blade is why i started to play jazz drums. Brian’s Drumming/musicality is so so so deep and can rival and match any of the greats in the past. So much of my inspiration has come from Brian. His groove touch and feel are all aspects i wish to absorb. When i was 16 i was handed Ryan Kisor’s battle cry, which Brian is on and from that moment i knew i had found a drummer/musician that i truly wanted to grasp. Brian’s versatility as a musician is also absolutely astounding. Be it grooving with Sam Yahel, swinging with Joshua Redman, creating timeless art with Wayne shorter or getting his rock on with Black Dub, Joni Mitchell and Seal. He brings so much history present and future to every stroke he applies to a drum/cymbal.

Bill Stewart:

In my opinion Bill Stewart has changed the way Modern Drummers thing about playing jazz. His sense of phrasing among the limbs is amazing as well as the understanding of the ride cymbal as not only a time keeping devise but a creation of colour.The way Bill has taken from the masters of the past is also inspiring. You can definitely hear the history with large amounts of Roy Haynes ha.The very first album i heard bill on was John Scofield’s What We Do. His creativeness and undeniable groove blew me away! i still listen to that album a lot and still find new things every time which in my opinion is a true sign of a master.

?queslove:

Lately i have really been checking out a fare amount of Hip hop soul and r&b.?uestlove has the best time feel. Its CRAZY!. I really think checking out and really listening to hip hop and r&b is on of the best ways to get your time feel happening in any genre. Drummers such as Spanky, Steve Jordan, Chris “daddy” Dave, Eric Tribbett, Aaron Spears, Gerland Heyward, are just some of the drummers i’m checking out in this genre.

Ok so i cant leave off Eric Harland:

Eric is my biggest inspiration right now. His articulation on the drum set is out of this world. His power intensity and GROOVE are all things i want for my playing. His compositions and arrangements are also amazing. His Arrangement of Monk’s I mean you played with SFJazz Collective is a perfect example of this. Also his total musical support towards other musicians and the music is what makes him one of the most happening and sort after drummers of today.

Other drummers that I’m checking out at the moment include:

Kendrick Scott,Jeff Ballard, Mark Guiliana,Matt Chamberland,Felix Bloxsom Nate Smith, Billy Kilson, James waples,Jorge Rossy, Roy Haynes, Jack Dejohonette, Jochen Rueckert.

Note:

I know all 4 of my Picks have been recently “modern” drummers as HIGHLY important as it is to look back on the MASTERS of jazz music and the art of jazz i think it’s also equally as important to listen and check out the new things that are happening in the world of music around us in present times.

3 fav Youtube videos:

Kendrick scott:

Christopher Hitchens:

Wayne Shorter Quartet:

Favourite Albums:

Kurt Rosenwinkle’s The Remedy:

Aaron Goldberg- Piano

Eric Harland- Drums

Joe Martin-Bass

Mark Tuner- sax

This album is just full of raw hardcore energy and inspirational solos form all players. This for me is the perfect example of Eric’s musical support to the band. Kurt’s compositions are also jaw dropping.

Chris Potter’s Gratitude:

Brian Blade-Drums

Scott Colley- Bass

Kevin Hayes –Keys

This Album really hit home to me with how truly amazing Brian Blade is. His groove on this album, on every tune is rock solid but not in a rhythmical pattern way. He could be breaking up the beat without loosing any sense of the groove what so ever!! I also really like Scott Coley on this album and of course Chris Potter is just killing!

Wayne Shorter’s Footprints Live:

Brian Blade-Drums

Wayne Shorter- sax

Danilo Perez- Piano

John Patitucci- Bass

This album is my example of how a band can work together to create something that has never been heard before. All members’ are virtuosos of their instruments but not for a second dose ego or selfishness entre the music. They are all there 100% for one anther and the music!! P.S Brian Blade is bubbling intensity GOD.

Brad Mehldau’s largo and Live in Tokyo:

Largo is one of my favorite albums I can put on and just simply listen to with out my brain trying to over analyse. The Producing on this album is wicked.

Live in Tokyo I think truly shows what a amazing musician brad is.He makes the piano sound like a 80 piece orchestra with not a hint of physical effort. The way he can build and maintain and solo on this album is another aspect why I choose it for my Top list.

and

Zubin Mehta Conducting L.A Philharmonic Orchestra Playing Dvorak’s New World symphony #9

Later,
E Dilla

P.S check out James with Mike Nock, Karl Laskowski and Alex Boneham at 505 on Saturday

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This week we have Simon Ferenci’s main musical influences. Ferenci is one of the trumpeters in the generation before me (by that I mean a few years older) that I drew a lot of inspiration from. I first heard him play in Judy Bailey’s Jazz Connection and since then we have played many times together in various big bands and recently more frequently in a Mariachi Band. Ferenci can be heard with his own group ‘Simon Ferenci Quartet’, ‘Doig Collective’, ‘Watussi’ and ‘The Beautiful Girls’. Check out his Myspace and hear what he does!

Here are some musical influences of mine (in roughly chronological order).

-Lee Morgan

Hearing Lee Morgan was what really got me into jazz – I’d heard some other recordings before but none of them had the impact that he did right from the first note. The first album I heard him on was “Blue Train” (thanks to Scott Simpkins), but not long after that I heard his own album “The Gigolo” which is still one of my favourites. I also really like “Live at the Lighthouse” (the 2CD Fresh Sound one). So raw and dirty but it just sounds so good.

-Miles Davis

I love Miles Davis’ playing but he also had a great ability to bring together some really great combinations of musicians (I think Dave Douglas is another musician who is really good at this). The quintet with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams is probably my favourite band of all time – I love the way that they play together, sometimes going with the soloist and sometimes playing against each other. Also the freedom they have within a composition. I think the tunes “Country Son” and “Black Comedy” from “Miles in the Sky” are probably the two tunes I’ve listened to more than any others – and I still can’t believe what Tony plays!

-Chris Speed/Jim Black (I reckon they count as one influence… it’s hard keeping the list down to 5!)

I went through a period where I listened to hardly anything else. ‘Alasnoaxis’, ‘Yeah No’, ‘Pachora’ etc… (and Human Feel! Gotta use this opportunity to put in a mention of Kurt Rosenwinkel who nearly made my list of 5!). The sounds and textures they get are amazing and I really like their approach to composition/structure. Also I love how “simply” Chris Speed plays his notes -no vibrato, shape, not much variety in his articulation – but still makes it sound beautiful. That’s definitely not easy. Current Chris Speed/Jim Black favourite: “Swell Henry” by Chris Speed’s band ‘Yeah No’.

-Tony Malaby

One of my favourite musicians playing today. I was fortunate to see his band ‘Paloma Recio’ (with Ben Monder, Eivind Opsvik and Nasheet Waits) twice when I was in New York a couple of years ago. The second time I heard them was maybe the best gig I’ve ever seen (it definitely had the best drum solo I’ve ever heard!). I also really like his recordings as a sideman/collaborator with Angelica Sanchez, especially “Mirror Me”. Again, as much for the way the band plays together as for the individual playing.

-The other musos I play with

They probably deserve more than being lumped in one group together - collectively they have influenced and inspired me in my playing and approach to music more than anything else. Especially the members of my quartet (Hugh Barrett, Mike Majkowski and James Waples) but also many others: Dale Gorfinkel and Scott Simpkins back in high school, a lot of the students and teachers I studied with at the Con, and a lot of musicians/groups I’ve had the opportunity to play with since. Pretty much any playing situation you find yourself in there’s something (even if it’s only a little thing) you can learn by listening to the other musos; I try to always be open to that.

That’s it.

sf

Later,

E Dilla

P.S He’s playing down at the Big Gorilla on Sunday

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The Latest top 5 list comes from one of the more prominent musicians in Sydney - Simon Barker. Not only a great drummer, Simon also runs Kimnara Records which puts out consistently high quality CDs from Australian artists such as ‘Band of Five Names’, Scott Tinkler, Phil Slater, Matt McMahon and Carl Dewhurst. Two of my favourite Australian records are Phil Slater’s “The Thousands” and Matt McMahon’s “Paths and Streams” which both feature Simon and are released under the Kimnara flag. Simon has provided a lot of guidance in helping release ‘The Dilworths” debut album.

Also, if you are free on Monday the 1st March be sure to get down to the Australian Film Festival screening of “Intangible Asset No. 82″ – a documentary following Simon’s search for a shaman and grandmaster musician in South Korea. Click here for more details.

Here are his top 5:

Jack Dejohnette

It’s hard to describe how much joy I’ve experienced while listening to Jack Dejohnette play the drums. I first heard him on Keith Jarrett “Standards Volume 2″ when I was a teenager and have been a huge fan ever since. Jack’s way of creating streams of unresolved conversational rhythms had a huge impact on me, and his willingness to consistently develop new approaches to his instrument (conceptually and physically) is really inspiring… a wonderful musician.

Elvin Jones

What can you say? I’ve been listening to Elvin Jones since I started and am still completely mystified by the depth of his pulse and ability to create such a profoundly personal style. I love so many records that he’s on but my favorite is “Crescent” by John Coltrane, featuring the track “Wise One”… one of the most lyrical grooves I’ve ever heard. There are so many facets to Elvin’s playing… the powerful ritualistic playing, the incredibly swinging accompanist, the amazing ballad playing… genius!

Kim Seok Chul

In 2000, I was working in Korea and heard a recording of ritual music from Korea’s East Coast performed by a group of shamans led by Kim Seok Chul. The drumming had a profound effect on me and has changed the direction of my life. Since hearing this music I’ve spent many years traveling to Korea to study, perform, and engage with Korea’s extraordinary musical heritage. The style of drumming performed by members of Kim Seok Chul’s family is characterised by dense streams of conversational rhythms that are mesmerising. I was very fortunate to meet Kim Seok Chul in the final days of his life… a once in a lifetime experience!

Jim Black

In 1997, while touring Europe with Scott Tinkler, I was very fortunate to hear Jim Black perform with Ellery Eskelin. At the time I was unsure of what I was trying to do musically and feeling pretty confused (while also having a blast with Scott and Adam). With that in mind I went to Jim’s gig and was completely blown away. He played in a way that included everything from trad to ‘Blondie’… heavy metal, jazz, ‘The Bangles’… it was an incredible experience that was refreshing and inspiring and so exciting to listen to. Jim and the community of musicians he’s involved with have had such a positive impact on so many young musicians… a very inspiring guy.

Lately I’ve been really getting into ‘Questlove’, Ed Blackwell, Joey Baron, Rick Marotta, Hamish Stuart, Tony Williams, Mitch Mitchell, Ritchie Haywood, Paul Motian, Vernel Fournier, Steve Jordan, Tony Buck, Katsuya Yokoyama, Watazumi, Feldman, as well as the various drummers who played with Curtis Mayfield and James Taylor.

Also, I have to say that perhaps the most influential musicians in my life have been people who I’ve played with who want to try things that may not have been played by other drummers. Mark Simmonds had some killing drum beats that were fully formed in his head which were unique, while Phil Slater and Scott Tinkler have some really inspiring ideas about drumming, pulse, phrasing and ensemble playing.

Later,

Eamon

P.S. Check out http://www.kimnara.com.au

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Top 5: Richard Maegraith

1. Chris Potter. THE improviser’s- improvisor of our time. No other saxophonist has the explosive mixture of virtuosic technique and creative, spontaneous compostion as does Mr Potter. Unbelievable. I once asked him how to practice stuff that’s not going to come out as sounding pre-rehearsed material. He said it’s a 2 way street- what he improvises on stage influences what he practices and vise versa. I especially like his Underground band.

2. Jerry Bergonzi. The first saxophonist I ever heard at age 8, ‘Back Home’ was the album, it was a live in 1978 and was a Dave Brubeck album (it was also Roger Manins first jazz album too!). I love his approach of combining Newk and Trane into his own thing.

3. Michael Brecker. Not so much an influence now, but huge when I was younger. His concert in New Zealand in 2005 changed my life. Incredible musician. Little did we know that same month he was diagnosed with the disease that eventually took his life. I got to meet him and thank him for his music.

4. Warne Marsh. Underated, under-heard and under-recognised. Absolute improvising giant. He spent most of his life fixing tv’s and cleaning pools to make money. I did my master’s thesis on him in 2000. He came from a huge Lester Young influence, via Lennie Tristano. Check out ‘Live at the Half Note’ with a very young Bill Evans.

5. Dexter Young, Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson, Zoot Sims, Lester Young, Al Cohn, Trane, Rollins, Wayne, Ben Webster, Don Byas…. Too many players have influenced me to not mention these guys!!! In Australia, Dale Barlow, Mark Simmonds and Jason Morphet were big influences as a young kid, also Graeme Lyall and Jason Cooney.

Richard Maegraith

Check him out at http://www.richardmaegraith.com/

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Lucian McGuinness is the latest musician to participate in The Dilworths Top 5 influence column.
Recently we’ve been playing a few horn section gigs and hanging out afterwards having great discussions about music and how we get our music out there.
He’s a killer trombonist and can be seen regularly playing with his band Keizer-McGuinness Quintet (check them out at the Kinetic Festival this month), King Tide and the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra.
Here it is:

My top 5 top 8 influences on my instrument

In order of my exposure to these trombonists, I would have to begin with Vic Dickenson. My mum had some Billie Holiday records – cassettes – that we loved, and I learned later that it was his trombone on most of those recordings. And now, listening to that stuff again, especially the late 50′s recordings of Billie, I’m sure all those years of listening to a pretty limited repertoire burnt that sort of lyrical, easy and slightly humorous approach to playing jazz in my brain. I guess by that time almost everybody on those recordings were in the twilight of their careers and didn’t feel the need to playing in any manner other than an ‘easy’ one. There was a tv show made of those sessions, here’s : Vic blows after Lester Young and Ben Webster.

When I started learning ‘jazz’ trombone towards the end of high school, I chatted to a busking saxophonist and he suggested I check out a Sydney trombonist James Greening, on a Catholics record called Simple. I’m sure you’ll all sneer at me when I say that at first I didn’t like it much. I found the texture of the music too subtle, too understated, and that Greening’s sound was too gritty or harsh. This is probably because I had had no real contact with Australian jazz at that point, or any jazz that stylistically reached beyond the 1950′s. (My teacher at the time had me working on J J Johnson and Carl Fontana recordings, both of whom are much more proper than almost any Australian muso, which in turn is something I now love Australians for). Of course, I soon came to my senses and at one point our high-school jazz hang almost became a Catholics tribute band. Then I got the Bernie McGann record with Greening on it, and refused to play anything other than piano-less quartet for a while. This somehow got me to Bassdrumbone, a trio of Ray Anderson, Gerry Hemingway and Mark Helias. I guess Greening and Anderson have some elements in common, although I don’t think Greening lists Ray Anderson as an influence per se. Those reduced combinations (Greening’s World According to James is also a piano-less situation) highlight the incredible freedom that both these guys have. Their sounds differ a lot, but they share a virtousic facility and deceptively ‘loose’ feel. I had a few lessons with a heavy classical cat in Canberra, whom I asked if he could make me sound like that (dumb question). He listened to about 5 seconds of Greening on CD and said something like, “This guy makes it sound free and easy, but underneath all that he has an incredible amount of control.”
Halfway through my conservatorium study Dave Panichi moved back to Oz to teach in Canberra. Dave was my first experience with a trombonist who knows post-bebop developments in jazz inside-out and upside down, which was intimidating at the time. At first Dave sounded too complex and almost pedantic to my ears (I had left J J behind for a while) but watching him play up close changed my whole perception of how at home and confident a trombone could be in sax-and-guitar-dominated-mainstream-modern-jazz.

Around the same time Phil Slater told me to check out a NY trombonist Josh Roseman, who I chased through Dave Douglas recordings to his own debut CD, Cherry. You could argue that there’s not that much trombone playing up front in this record I guess, at least, not in the old-school I’m the bandleader and I play first and the most kind of way, but what Josh plays and the way his personality is stamped across the whole disc is alluring: a kind of anti-Conrad Herwig (can I say that?) I used to spin the Marvin Gaye cover ‘Just To Keep You Satisfied’ on my radio show to sync up with the love scenes on Dawson’s Creek. Who knew trombone could be steamy and sexxy?

The conclusion to this list is another piano-less quartet leader, Nils Wogram. Sydney trombonist Jeremy Borthwick played me, among many other fine eye-openers, some early Nils Wogram quintet CDs which at the time I found so obtuse that I couldn’t fathom, let alone like them (I’m recognising a familiar theme in my journey of discovery). Later along the way, probably at Birdland Records, I heard Root 70′s Getting Rooted, and was completely blown away. Root 70 use high-fidelity to draw you in, and in, to sometimes very fragile timbres on their instruments. There are other amazing elements in the playing, rhythmically and harmonically, but I guess the most striking thing is how Nils can use that ‘fragile’ sound (with plenty of chops) to move in and out of the foreground, adding melody above and harmony or bass below. Oh crikey, there’s so many more…of the 8 names here, I have seen all the living ones play quite often, which greatly determines the scale of their influence, but there are many more!

L (January 2010)

Check out Lucian’s Blog at http://lucianmcguinness.com

Later,
Eamon

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