Dutch Composer/Bandleader Willem Breuker Dies – One of the most original contrarians in European jazz passed away July 23 in Amsterdam at age 65. For more than 35 years he led his Kollektief band of about 11 players, which traveled the world. His mixmaster programs used his own compositions and selections from both high and low culture – Kurt Weill, circus music, marches, folk music, Elvis, blues, loft jazz, classical, Spike Jones, you name it. He liked to segue one piece into another totally different one, and compared the effect to spinning two records at once. Like Spike Jones, his ensemble members were superb and precise performers. He sometimes did amazing avant imitations of various animal sounds on his clarinet. He successfully lobbied the Dutch government to provide subsidies for jazz musicians, and also wrote works in the classical vein, including brass groups, carillons and symphony orchestras. His BVHaast label (rather hard to find) launched an annual festival in Amsterdam in 1977. Here is some of our coverage of recordings of Willem Breuker: (1), (2-scroll down), (3), (4-scroll down)
Focus Enhancements Spins Off Semiconductor Division – Summit Semiconductor LLC, headquartered in Hillsboro, OR, will concentrate on the growth of wireless audio technology with Summit Wireless – a standard for hi-res wireless home theater surround sound. Their patented system distributes hi-res distortion-free audio with ease. MyZone technology allows setting up a home theater system with from 2.1 to 7.1 speakers in under 30 minutes, with instant sweet spot calibration. Beginning in 2011 Summit Wireless will be integrated into digital TVs, Blu-ray players, docking stations, MP3 players and set top boxes. In addition to audio solutions, the company will continue to support their TV encoder business with hi-def digital video scan conversion integrated chips for information appliances, entertainment systems, medical displays, and industrial applications.
Hi-Fi Magnate Sidney Harman Buys Newsweek Magazine – In a surprising move, the 91-year-old founder of Harman International – the largest conglomerate of high-end AV component manufacturers – is purchasing the struggling magazine Newsweek, which last year lost nearly $30 million. Experts say the print version will be killed with the publication becoming an online portal. Mr. Harman left Harman International Industries three years ago and has been launching an institute at the University of Southern California for graduate students. His wife is a Democratic congresswoman for the 36th district in California.
Samsung Series 9 Ultimate Home Theater System in Development – Samsung is ready to launch a completely new home entertainment system built from high end components, including a side-loading 3D Blu-ray player. The new Series 9 home theater system will be sold via selected retail outlets. The display is surrounded with ultra-thin stainless steel, incorporates wireless and a PVR, and has provision for 2.1 audio from an iPod connector. There are four tall-boy speakers, a horizontal center and two small height speakers. The system has Dolby Pro Logic IIz height sound processing and several HDMI slots. The system is new from the ground up and built from the finest components available.