Friday, April 20, 2018

#22 Dave Brubeck Quartet "Take Five"

This one's kind of a classic. Most of the album is good, above average, but then there's the title track. That's a kind of perfect that doesn't come along very often. The first track, "Blue Rondo a la Turk" is kind of NPR or PBS theme music, and I'm sure I heard it used there when I was a kid for something or other. Not really a bad thing to say about this album and I'll likely come back to it. Not my first time, won't be my last. Adding it to the list of jazz I don't hate. Maybe I don't hate jazz after all...

#21 Marty Robbins "Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs"

"El Paso" is on this one. Used to hear this played over and over while eating at The Border Café in Harvard Square. That's about my extent of exposure to Marty Robbins before this. While technically country music, it's really more storytelling than anything else. A bit melodramatic, this album kind of perfect illustrates a part of the 50s otherwise not in evidence in the list so far. Westerns were huge and there's an innocence here that has been lost and will never be reclaimed. I wouldn't go out of my way for this kind of thing but I can appreciate it for what it is.

Monday, April 16, 2018

#20 Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"

This album is pretty perfect. I don't like jazz, or I didn't but this is so evocative, it can't help but make me see and feel things. I'd heard it before, it's not for every day. It needs to be as close to the center of what you're doing as possible to soak it properly in. If I were to see him in a club doing this live and anyone was talking or otherwise distracting, I'd be pissed. Top marks.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

#19 Ella Fitzgerald, "Sings the Gershwin Song Book"

I might get flack for this, but I couldn't listen to too much of this album. Fitzgerald and the Gershwins are geniuses, of that I'm sure. It's not really my kind of music; all those strings are just so...parental. This just feels like music for older folks, stuff I used to avoid when I was a kid. Mix that with the fact that there is over 4 hours of music on this one meant that I just had to pass. I'm finding that the albums that have a rougher edge, a bit more energy and less rehearsal are appealing more to me, even when it's not my kind of music. This stuff is so polished, there's not an interesting corner to it. For me. So.. I'm sure this is great stuff, just not for me.

#18 Sarah Vaughn, "At Mr. Kelly's"

Recorded live in 1957, this record is delightful. It's VERY live, with an intro as well as disclaimer that Sarah will be using music sheets as this performance is going to be a record. She messes up the second song and has fun with that fact. Hers is a very sweet voice, less bluesy, more soft. An amazing instrument, I can easily see her draw. The modern version of this record is a double set with the songs I'm guessing were left out of the original record put back in.

#17 Jack Elliot

This one is abbreviated as the album in question, "Jack Takes the Floor" is missing from Apple Music and the list I was using, though not the book. I don't have the track list, so listened to the three songs particularly mentioned in the article. His is that kind of train-track, hobo blues kind of music. Not my thing at all, though apparently he was quiet influential. Not my thing.

Friday, April 13, 2018

#16 Billie Holiday "Lady in Satin"

From what I read about this record, it was Billie Holiday trying to make a comeback in her 40s while sounding like she was in her 70s. Apparently the victim of a terrible heroin addiction, she was at a shaky point in her life, though later claimed this as her favorite of her own recordings. I'm going to go against the author of the book and say that I generally really disliked the arrangements here as they're all typical 50s strings, softening the blow of her still amazing voice. If she'd been paired with the clarinets, saxophones and other general blues instruments instead, I think this album would have been utterly unforgettable, stunning and 100% better. That's just me. She's been through a lot. You can tell, feel it. Just wish it wasn't the Lawrence Welk Orchestra behind her.