Sunday, September 8, 2019

Oscar Peterson The Trio

Laugh Out Loud! I am reminded of the movie Amadeus, where the king tries to counsel young composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart that his musical piece has "too many notes"!

For me, the same holds true for Canadian jazz pianist-composer-legend Oscar Peterson. Not in a bad way, of course. His music is fascinating. There ARE a lot of notes. His fingers seem to fly along the keyboard.  And you can tell he is loving every minute he is performing - with him happily humming as he is playing along.

 He began studying music when he was five under the direction of his father, an amateur trumpeter and pianist, and his older sister, a classically trained pianist. He continued his studies with other well-known instructors. The young prodigy practiced four to six hours per day.  He dropped out of high school when he was 14 to become a professional musician It wasn't long before he became known as the "Maharaja of the keyboard"  and his career continued to grow. He recorded over 200 pieces during his career.

We are looking at the Trio performed before a live audience in Chicago. The trio, including guitarist Joe Pass and bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen produced the album The Trio which won the1974 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance. It was a nice surprise to find the The Trio CD among Jim's collection.  I've been listening to it all week as I drove to work.  It is truly joyous music.

Songs on the CD include:

  • Blues Etude
  • Chicago Blues
  • Easy Listenin' Blues
  • Come Sunday
  • Secret Love
All great! Listen to some Oscar Peterson here.

Listen to a piano lesson here.

Also, I am reminded  of Black Books, The Entertainer, where Manny (Bill Bailey) plays the piano.

Peterson passed in December 2007 and is remembered through the Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival. Check it out.  Maybe you can attend.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Steve Winwood Roll With It

I went down  to the deep, dark corner of the basement where the CDs are stored, and pulled out Steve Winwood's Roll With It.

What a nice  surprise! The classic four-beats-to-a-measure-and-a-quarter-note-gets-one-beat rock album - bordering on pop rock - had me humming along in no time. I especially enjoy Put On Your Dancing Shoes by  Steve Winwood and Will Jennings.
"Life's a dance; put on your dancing shoes; take a chance ..."
What a wonderful reminder to go on living - and living well. So I'll put on my dancing shoes and tap dance on!

Winwood is an English singer and musician. Known mainly as a vocalist and keyboardist, he also plays numerous other instruments including drums, guitars, bass and saxophone. His music is often described as progressive rock, rhythm and blues, and jazz. I describe it as just plain listening fun.

In between his solo career, Winwood is known for participating in popular bands including The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and Go. Notable solo pieces include While you See a Chance, Back in the High Life Again, Higher Love, and Roll With It. Even I am familiar with those, and now I know who sings them. I am even happy to know the next time I go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I can read about him as a member of Traffic. He was inducted in 2004.

The CD Roll With It was released in 1988 by Virgin Records of America Inc. Songs include:

  •  Roll With It
  • Holding Oh
  • The Morning Side
  • Put on Your Dancing Shoes
  • Don't You Know What the Night Can Do?
  • Hearts on Fire
  • One More Morning
  • Shining Song
I like them all.  Learn more about Winwood at his website, or listen to Roll With It on Youtube.  Don't forget your dancing shoes!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Yellowjackets Samurai Samba

Oh! So that's where those tunes originated from.

 Yellowjackets Samurai Samba was frequently heard from Jim's office. I admit I enjoyed the jazz music, but I never put a name to it. Now I have the name forever - Yellowjackets!

The 1985 album was produced by Tommy LiPuma and Yellowjackets, with: 

  • Russell Ferrante, keyboards
  • Jimmy Haslip, bass
  • Ricky Lawson, drums/electric drums
  • Marc Russo, alto sax
  • Also, in later editions:
  • Carlos Rios, guitar
  • Michael Landau, guitar
  • Paulinho Da Costa, percussion
  • Bobby Caldwell, Marilyn Scott, Paulinho Da Costa and Carl Caldwell, vocals
  • Bobby Caldwell, lead vocal on “Lonely Weekend”
  • Paulo da Costa Jr., vocals on “Los Mambos”
Tracks include:
  • Homecoming (Ferrante)
  • Deat Beat (Ferrante/Haslip/Lawson/Russo) 
  • Daddy’s Gonna Miss You (Ferrante/Haslip/Lawson/Russo) 
  • Sylvania (Ferrante/Haslip/Lawson) 
  • Silverlake (Ferrante)  
  • Lonely Weekend (Ferrante/Curiale/Lawson/Caldwell) 
  • Los Mambos (Ferrante/Russo/da Costa)  
  • Samurai Samba (Ferrante) 

The jazz fusion band steps back to 1977 when guitarist Robben Ford was recording his first album.  He recruited to join him keyboardist Russell Ferrante, base guitarist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Ricky Lawson. The name Yellowjackets was selected by producer Tommy LiPuma from a list of suggestions from band members.

Band membership has changed over the years. Current members include Russell Ferrante, Bob Mintzer, William Kennedy and Dane Alderson. But the band remains true to its rasping saxaphone, deep bass, rythmic drums, and melodic keyboard sounds. Yellowjackets remains a popular jazz fusion band pleasing old and current generations of fans. Soloist Luciana Souza has added her own special flair.

The band has recorded close to 30 albums,been nominate for numerous awards, and evolved into its own jazz sound.  Check out the band's itinerary for a concert or workshop you don't want to miss.

Listen  to Yellowjackets Samurai Samba and more at its website, or take home some of its music from the amazon Buzz Store.      

Monday, May 27, 2019

Brinsley Schwarz - Silver Pistol / Please Don't Ever Change

I'm back. Been listening to the music, but did not feel like writing. Guess it is time to get back at it.

I thoroughly  enjoyed listening to Brinsley Schwarz Silver Pistol / Please Don't Ever Change as I drove the highway to and from work. It's a little piece of 1970's rock and roll heaven. Named after the band's guitarist, Brinsley Schwarz , the British band developed a strong  following, but never really took off.

The Silver Pistol and Please Don't Ever Change albums include Nick Lowe on base, guitars, and vocals. Bob Andrews on keyboards and vocals.  Bill Rankin on drums. BrinsleySchwarz ( I think his parents were out to get him)a1 on guitars, and Ian Gomm on guitars, bass and vocals. 

Silver Pistols includes:
  •  Dry Land (Gomm)
  • Merry Go Round (lowe)
  • One More Day (Gomm)
  • Nightingslr (Lowe)
  • Silver Pistol (Lowe)
  • The Last Time I was Fooled (Lowe)
  • Unknown Number (Lowe)
  • Range War (Gomm) 
  • Egypt (Lowe)
  • Niki Hoeke Speedway (Ford)
  • Ju Ju Man (Ford /Vegas)
  • Rockin'Chair (Gomm)
Please Don't Ever Change consists of:
  • Hooked On Love (Gomm)
  • Why Do We Hurt The One We Love (Lowe)
  • I Worry (')Bout You Baby ) (Lowe)
  • Don't Ever Change (Goffin / King)
  • Home In My Hand (Self)
  • Play That Fast Thing (One More Time) (Lowe)
  • I Won't Make It Without You (Lowe)
  • Down in Mexico (Lowe)
  • Speedoo (Navarro)
  • The Version (Hypocrite) (Sibbles)
The band played together from 1969 through 1975. Members went on to various bands including Ducks Deluxe  and various solo careers.

I am glad I happened upon this CD.  Now I have a name for the music I often heard Jim play.  It kept my foot tapping and generally added to the happy ambiance of home. I especially liked Play That Fast Thing One More Time and Hooked on Love.

Catch a glimpse of Brinsley Schwarz  on Wikipedia. Or listen to Please Don't Ever Change or  Down in Mexico.

I hope you discover some old favorites.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Eddie Daniels - Blackwood

Whoa! To me, clarinets were always the "sick geese" of high school band. They filled each performance with - to me - a rather grating  sound. Yes, to me they sounded just like the proverbial fingernails on a chalk board.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled Eddie Daniels Blackwood from Jim's CD collection. His clarinet playing was remarkably smooth and enjoyable. Titles included are:

  • Blackwood
  • Cruise
  • Heartsong
  • P.I.
  • Toucan Dance
  • Black Diamond Run
  • Clara's Heart
  • Walking the Line
  • Blackwood (Reprise)
  • Blue Waltz
Each piece has wonderful percussion wrapped around Eddie's jazz clarinet playing.  It is awesome!  I'm not kidding.  Listen to Blackwood here.  And then he continues his magnificent playing in a classical setting. 

Produced by Dave Grusin, Rob Mounsey, and himself, Blackwood was released in 1980 by GRP Records Inc. The title, Blackwood, makes reference to the African Blackwood, from which the finest clarinets are made.

If you would like to learn more about Eddie and his remarkable musical career, visit his Web site.

After hearing Eddie's music, I'll never again think of clarinet playing as sick geese.