Posts filed under “Friday Night Jazz”
Lately, I have been listening to an awesome selection of Rolling Stone Cover albums. Having heard these songs over the course of 4 decades, a little freshening up can go a long way. These 4 albums present the songs you know oh-so-well in a fresh new way.
• Paint It Blue: Songs Of The Rolling Stones: Given how freely the Stones borrowed from American blues greats, it only seems fair that these same blues players cover the Stone’s best known tunes. Somewhere between musically incestuous and ironically absurd, the covers by the bluesman (who influenced the originals) works stunningly well.
Luther Allison practically makes You Can’t Always Get What You Want his own (flavored with some of Lou Reed’s doo do do dos); Larry McCray gets funky on Midnight Rambler. Derek Trucks’ slide guitar burns thru Tumblin’ Dice; Junior Wells turns (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction into churning swamp funk.
Turnabout sure is fair play!
Favorite cut: Taj Mahal’s Honky Tonk Women
• All Wood and Stones: Imagine what the Rolling Stones would have sounded like if Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were gnarly California dudes, with acoustic guitars ala CSNY.
That was the totally original idea behind James Lee Stanley and John Batdorf recording — take 11 Rolling Stones classics and turned them into something the likes of which you have never heard before. They wildly succeeded.
Enchanting acoustic guitars, joyous vocal harmonies, surprisingly inspired arrangements completely rewrite classic Stones.
Favorite cut: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
• Bossa Nova: I love these wacky, bizarre, all female covers of the Stones’ catalog. The mix of Bossa Nova, Reggae, electronica, and — dare I say it — almost Muzak — combine to create a truly unique disc.
Its an odditiy — fun, weird, amusing, but there is an indefatigable sincerity that permeates all of these covers. Sure, the breathy female vocals are pretty thin, but the amusement factor more than make up for that.
It all somehow works.
I admit, you must have a musical sense of humor to enjoy these (think Barenaked Ladies). I especially like mixing some of these covers into a playlist, and watching people do double takes, as they try to make sense of the melody they recognize, with the arrangements.
Favorite cut: Beast Of Burden and since this is a double disc, I am adding: Fool To Cry
• Stripped: OK, its not quite a cover album. But the Stones going not-quite unplugged presents their own catalogue in the same spirit of fresh, new takes on old favorites. Its not quite acoustic, but its about as close as the boys ever come.
Rather than use do the mega-hits — Honky Tonk Women, Satisfaction, Sympathy for the Devil, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, etc. Stripped is filled with the unjustly neglected Stones B-Sides: Wild Horses, Street Fighting Man, Not Fade Away, Shine A Light, Let It Bleed, Angie, etc. The disc contains terrific versions of many of their lesser known hits, stripped of excess production.
Favorite cut: Like A Rolling Stone
Don Was has been the Rolling Stones record producer since Voodoo Lounge in 1994. He discusses the remastered version of Exile on Main Street Remastered version. NPR: “When Exile on Main Street was first released nearly 40 years ago, few expected it to gain recognition as a masterpiece. Though the album was a commercial success,…Read More
“I’m really looking forward to checking out the new Jimi Hendrix album.”
As it turns out . . . come March 1, there will be a new Hendrix disc of some unreleased material — Valleys Of Neptune.
For you young ‘uns out there who might not be familiar with Jimi — he was the genius guitar player who combined R&B, psychedelia distortion/feedback-laden electric leads. You can still hear his influence in music today.
Hendrix released but 3 albums during his short lifetime: Are You Experienced (1967) is probably the greatest debut rock albums of all time (Rolling Stone ranked it #15 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time). The next disc was Axis: Bold as Love (1967) and Electric Ladyland (1968).
He was 27 when he died in London on September 18, 1970.
Valleys Of Neptune track by track listing (with descriptions) after the jump . . .
Wow, terrific comments. I put the full run of reader suggested Hendrix videos here.
Amazon is running an excellent selection of $5 albums in DRM free MP3s , (if you like that sort of thing).
I prefer my music mostly in the form of cold shiny discs. However, Amazon selected over 800 albums, about 50 per genre across rock, jazz, country, new age, 2009 discs you misses, etc. at the bargain (legal) price of $5 bucks per.
These 2 dozen caught my eye:
More after the jump . . .
Over the course of seeing concerts the past 3+ decades, I have had the good fortune to attend shows that were recorded and later distributed on CD/DVD a handful of times. Up until recently, the most memorable was Aimee Mann’s Live at St. Ann’s Warehouse. But this summer, I was lucky enough to attend Paul…Read More
I will be incommunicado today, winging my way back from Berlin for acht und halben stunden (8 1/2 hours). I wrote this back in 2005, but never published it widely. Enjoy: > What sort of crap do you have lurking hidden on your iPod? That’s the question I stumbled across from my old essays &…Read More
Some of the recordings will blow you away — I suggest the Count Basie concert, but all 3 are excellent (free registration required).
Thank me after you’ve listened to some of these gems . . . more stuff after the jump
Historic Sounds of Newport, Newly Online
NYT, November 10, 2009
I’ve only come across a handful of compelling discs this year. Mo’ Horizons …And the New Bohemian Freedom is one of them. It is hard to describe this bizarrely compelling mix of acid jazz, bossa nova, soul, and electronica. Yeah, there is also some Brazilian funk in the mix as well. But the songs, while…Read More
Category: Friday Night Jazz
Lately, I have been combining two of my favorite past times into one multimedia experience: Books & Music. This began over the summer — I was done with my book, and I really wanted to read something mindless, having nothing to do with Wall Street or Washington DC. That’s when I started reading Pigs Might Fly:…Read More
Last year, we took an eclectic look at some of the lesser known works of Miles Davis.
Tonight, I want to go in the opposite direction, and simply focus on one disc: Kind of Blue.
Why? Well, it is the 50th anniversary of the recording of Kind of Blue.
If that is not reason enough, then consider the simple fact that it is Davis’ best-selling album. Indeed, it may very well be the best known jazz record of any artist, of all time.
Even though it was released almost 50 years ago, it still sells over 5,000 copies per week today.
In addition to its commercial success, it has come to be described by many Jazz critics as the greatest jazz album of all time.
Writing in AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted:
“Kind of Blue isn’t merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it’s an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of “So What.” From that moment on, the record never really changes pace — each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality.”
And Charles Gans of the Associated Press takes a look behind Davis’ masterpiece:
Today, the five tunes on “Kind of Blue” — particularly “So What” and “All Blues” — have become deeply embedded in the musical landscape. But at the March 2 and April 22, 1959, recording sessions, nearly all the tunes were new to the band members, who didn’t even have a chance to rehearse them. Davis gave the musicians written sketches of the scales and melodies, offering brief verbal instructions about the feeling he wanted on a particular tune.
Davis was moving away from bebop with its complex harmonies and improvisations structured around chord changes. The trumpeter asked his musicians to play in a modal style — a concept developed by pianist-composer George Russell — in which the musicians improvised on scales, with the soloists having more freedom to explore long melodic lines.”
The one jazz record to own even if you don’t listen to jazz — the band is extraordinary: John Coltrane, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley on saxophones, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums. I recently received a remastered CD of kind the album, thus retiring my scratchy hiss and pop laden vinyl version. (And another intelligent CD pricing: $6.99 at Amazon)
For those of you looking for some , check out NPR: Kind of Blue (54 minutes)
videos after the jump . . .