DJ Baz (Barry Martin) has great taste in music, and his sets tend to include a variety of types and genres; his answers to The Lucky 13 offer insights into his diverse musical tastes. Catch him Wednesdays from 8 to 11 p.m. at Azul Tapas Lounge, 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Visit www.azultapaslounge.com for more information on the place.
What was the first concert you attended?
The Beach Boys. I was working as a magician at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, and my best friend and I drove down to Akron and saw them at the amphitheater.
What was the first album you owned?
Class Clown by George Carlin. It’s not a musical record, but his brand of heady comedy inspired me to question and think about stuff before blurting out an opinion. He also taught me to be funny, and that saved me from being beat up in school. Musically, my first record purchase was the soundtrack to The Return of the Pink Panther by Henry Mancini. Stop laughing … Mancini won 20 Grammys, four Oscars and two Emmys with more than 50 albums. Mancini’s arrangements gave jazz a commercial appeal at a time when disco, soul and R&B were dominating the airwaves. It was also good “show” music for my magic act.
What bands are you listening to right now?
All of them. Now that I’m a DJ beyond the hobby stage, I’m building a respectable library of different genres and nearly constantly listening to and buying music. More to the point, though, I’m suddenly a big fan of the band The 1975. They’re an English alternative/indie band from Manchester.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?
Thumpy, pedestrian pop/dance music and EDM—the latter being a sonic fad if there ever was one.
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
Steely Dan. They only toured (originally) for two years, and I was very young then. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were studio perfectionists like Sting. They were unrivaled in their time, with complex arrangements and wry, deeply personal lyrics. Pure musicianship seamlessly blended jazz structures and harmonies with rock.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?
For a while there, it was Flight of the Conchords. I got to see them at the Hollywood Bowl, and I’m still a fan, but they seem to be on hiatus lately. That said, my longest-running guilty pleasure is Grace Jones. She’s still got it, both sonically and visually. I saw her legendary show at the Hollywood Bowl in 2011. It was kinda spellbinding.
What’s your favorite music venue?
The Hollywood Bowl, but only with really great seats (which I rarely get).
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?
From the Billie Holiday song, “You Go to My Head”: “With a smile that makes my temperature rise / Like a summer with a thousand Julys / You intoxicate my soul with your eyes.”
What band or artist changed your life? How?
Jazz/rock horn player Chuck Mangione, and my reason is multi-faceted. His huge radio hit, “Feels So Good,” had a hook that I couldn’t get out of my young head. It was so rare for an instrumental song to blow up like that on the radio. Of note, he was on A&M Records, which was Herb Alpert’s label. A perfect team was behind Chuck to make a hit record—so they did. Anyway, I bought the album; saw him live in Dayton, Ohio; and went backstage to get him to autograph the cover. I still have it. I took up the trumpet in school because of Chuck. And when the live album from his most excellent Hollywood Bowl concert came out, the photo spread inside the album jacket made me pine to live in Los Angeles some day. I moved to L.A. in ‘91, 14 years after the release of “Feels So Good.”
You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?
Justin Timberlake: “Why didn’t we go steady?”
What song would you like played at your funeral?
“Cycle Song” by cellist David Darling. It’s simply the most brilliant and beautiful piece of improvised music I’ve ever heard. The instruments have a conversation that answers all of life’s biggest questions in 7 minutes and 8 seconds.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
Bob Marley’s Legend. I know that my choice is not very original, but it doesn’t matter.
What song should everyone listen to right now?
“Slow, Hot Wind” by Sarah Vaughan. Trust me. (Scroll down to hear it.)