That Eric Alper! – December 28, 2011

“I don’t believe in geniuses,” he said. “I believe in hard work. Ever since I was a child I knew what I wanted to do and worked for that. Sometimes I think someone upstairs saved me from being ordinary.” – Michel Petrucciani

Today in 1974, Bassist/composer Charles Mingus records the adventurous and chance-taking Changes I with trumpeter Jack Walrath, tenor saxophonist George Adams, pianist Don Pullen and drummer Dannie Richmond. The first song, Remember Rockefeller at Attica is dedicated to the Attica Prison Riots of 1971 and the Governor of New York State at that time, Nelson Rockefeller.

On this day in 1943, Lester Young records first session as a leader with Sometimes I’m Happy), a stellar performance with astounding piano by Johnny Guarneri, bassist Slam Stewart doing his bowing/humming, and respective brushwork by Sid Catlett on drums. Here’s the YouTube video featuring that record going around and round:

Born on this day in 1962, Pianist Michel Petrucciani. I had the pleasure of working with him during his Dreyfus Recordings, and although born with osteogenesis imperfecta, the genetic disease that causes brittle bones and in his case, short stature, we shared many a sacred moments over our height (I’m 5 feet tall.) His manager would often smuggle him into hotel rooms in a suitcase in a bid to save money, and the extender that his family had devised to enable him to work the foot pedals. He passed away in 1999, and still missed. Here’s Carvan:

My choice for Best Video of 2011? This kid. Thumbs up for Rock and Roll!

News as a process: How journalism works in the age of Twitter –

YouTube Blog: What were we watching this year? Let’s rewind 2011.

The new chief executive of Sony Music UK (& ex-Dexy Midnight Runners member – remember Come On Eileen?) in The Guardian spotlight:

Last year, Facebook started noticing something odd in the way people were using its “Report This Photo” feature. The company had put the link under every photo on the site so users could flag images that violated the company’s terms of service, like ones that included scenes of illegal drug use or graphic violence. But now they were getting reports of images that didn’t seem to include anything out of the ordinary. Just regular pictures of regular people. Facebook eventually realized that the people reporting the photos were actually in the images themselves–and the company realized that the problem was that those users didn’t like the pictures or, in some cases, particularly among younger users, felt that the images were being used to bully them:

Roger Ebert on Writing: 15 Reflections From ‘Life Itself’ :

Ever wished you could choose your seatmate, a cool guy like *cough* me, on a long overseas flight? Well, now you can: