Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Dave Brubeck - We're All Together Again for the First Time

Perfect and orderly. That was the way Jim kept his music collections. He knew exactly where each album, CD, cassette tape and digital recording was on the shelves.

Things have kinda fallen apart since he left, which is how I ended up with another jazz CD to study. I reached in the box of CDs and pulled out Dave Brubeck's We're All Together Again for the First Time.The Jazz album, recorded before a live audience, was first released in 1973, and the first CD version in 1990. It is nice to hear some of Jim's favorites, even if I never knew they were from Dave Brubeck. 

I have a love-hate relationship with the jazz-great's music. I hear great tunes which I can carry in thought all day, and bam! The tune slips into a cacophony of discordant sounds - those were the parts that Jim liked best.

The group consisted of Dave Brubeck on the piano, Paul Desmond on alto sax,Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax, Jack Six on bass, and Alan Dawson on Drums.My favorite piece on the album is Take 5. The classic jazz tune had my feet tapping instantly. And, I remember dancing around with the kids -babies at the time - as Jim played the music.

The CD was created from the original analog recording. Beside  Take Five by Paul Desmond, the CD includes Truth by Dave Brubeck, Unfinished Woman by Gerry Mulligan, Koto Song, by Dave Brubeck, Rotterdam Blues by Dave Brubeck, and Sweet Georgia Brown by Ben Bernie, Kenneth Casey and Maceo Pinkard ( solo piano performance by Dave Brubeck). I connected each to a Youtube recording for your enjoyment.

Brubeck, 1920 to 2012, was born  into a musical family in Concord, California.  When he was four, he began studying piano with his mother.  88-years-later his career ended being designated a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress for his jazz and classical work. His biography on his Web page states "he was one of the most active and popular musicians in both the jazz and classical worlds. With a career that spanned over six decades,  his experiments in odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, polyrythm and polytonality remain hallmarks of innovation."  That's a mouth full!

Listen to a classical recording of Brubeck Meets Bach. Now that I can listen to all the time. If you want to learn more about Dave Brubeck, or find out where you can hear his music, visit his Web site. You can also listen to more of his tunes there.  His music lives on! 

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.