Fav. Tracks: Swing Era – Various Artists

Swing Era Swing Era – I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (Billie Holiday).

As you can see from the picture (left) this is another freebie from The Times and it is a wonderful collection of jazz and swing music from the big-band era (with a few classic singers thrown in for good measure).  this is the style of jazz that I most like to listen to, but it is also an interesting history of music.  The album was a good buy especially since it was free!

Picking a favourite track was not so easy, but one name sticks out as a key contributor to this era and her name is synonymous with jazz singing.  This song really suits her voice and the track has some excellent horn playing to give that big-band sound to the jazzy rhythm.

The Tracks:

Stompin at the Savoy Chick Webb’s Savoy Orchestra
Moonglow Art Tatum
I Can’t Get Started Bunny Berigan & His Orchestra; Burwell
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm Billie Holiday
Crazy Rhythm Coleman Hawkins & His All Star Jam Band; Martin
Don’t Be That Way Benny Goodman & His Orchestra
Jumpin’ At The Woodside Count Basie & His Orchestra; Hart
The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea Teddy Wilson; Woody Herman
Look Forward Maxine Sullivan
Tain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It) Jimmy Lunceford & His Orchestra
In The Mood Glenn Miller & His Orchestra
Cherokee Charlie Barnet & His Orchestra; De Sylva; Gershwin
Rockin Chair Mildred Bailey & His Orchestra
(Hop Hop) The Jumpin’ Jive Cab Calaway & His Orchestra
At The Woodchopper’s Ball Woody Herman & His Orchestra; Benny Goodman; Harry James
Undecided Ella Fitzgerald
Stardust Artie Shaw & His Orchestra
Ko-Ko Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
Flying Home Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra
I Never Knew Lester Young Quartet

Fav. Tracks: Jazz On A Summers Day – Various Artists

643078_1_f[1] Jazz On A Summers Day – Just In Time.

This record (MP3 download) was bought to improve my collection of more traditional jazz music and is an excellent collection from some of the great names of 30s through to the 50s jazz.  Count Basie is well represented and includes a classic version of “Every Day I Have The Blues”, while other classic artists included are Duke Ellington, Nina Simone (with her classic “My Baby Just Cares For Me”) and Ella Fitzgerald.  The Dave Brubeck Quartet also figure with some classic jazz.  However, an eternal voice of jazz for me, remembering back to the radio of the 50s when I was a young boy, is Frank Sinatra and he presents an excellent track on this album – Just in Time.  This is classic big band style jazz and has the classic voice of Sinatra to boot.  I love this album and the forty tracks make it an excellent purchase, but I hate the cover picture!

The Tracks:

Every Day I have The Blues Count Basie
Moanin’ Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
Lazy River Hoagy Carmichael
Session at Pete’s Pad Henry Mancini
I Thought About You Dinah Washington
Take Five The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Too Close For Comfort Count Basie
Exactly Like You Nina Simone
Basin Street Blues Duke Ellington
Cheek to Cheek Sarah Vaughan
Three Over Four The Jack Duff Quartet
Stormy Monday Blues Count Basie – Billy Eckstine
Pick Up Sticks The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Just In Time Frank Sinatra
Blue Train John Coltrane
What A Difference A Day Makes Dinah Washington
Walkin’ Bass Henry Mancini
Things Are Swingin’ Peggy Lee
I Got My Mojo Working Jimmy Smith
My Baby Just Cares For Me Nina Simone
Georgia On My Mind Hoagy Carmichael
Goofin’ At The Coffee House Henry Mancini
I Got Rhythm Ella Fitzgerald
Walkin’ Shoes Chet Baker
Cry Me A River Julie London
Lazy Bird John Coltrane
The Man I Love Peggy Lee
So What Miles Davis
Lullaby Of Birdland Sarah Vaughan
My Heart Stood Still Oscar Peterson
Nice Work if Your Can Get It Ella Fitzgerald
One O’Clock Jump Count Basie
Here’s That Rainy Day Bobby Breen
St Louis Blues Duke Ellington
Fever Peggy Lee
Love Is Here To Stay Oscar Peterson
Sweet Thing Lena Horne
Freddie Freeloader Miles Davis
What’d I Say Ray Charles

Fav. Tracks: Nina Simone – The Very Best of……

Nina_Simone_-_The_Very_Best_of_Nina_Simone[1]The Very Best of Nina Simone – My Baby Just Cares For Me.

The letter “V” has brought a lot of “Very Best of” albums from my collection, but I hope you understand why this is the case – it is always useful to catch up on missing music from a collection – and you will perhaps be happy to know that this album is the last in that bracket.

Nina Simone has been a singer whose music I have enjoyed for years, but, once again, I never pinned this down by buying specific albums as they became available.  What I really like about her singing style is the mixture of gospel and jazz that really add a new dimension to the music.

This track is a perfect example of what I mean and start with a classic “small band” rhythm that is so typical of traditional jazz.  Nina’s voice is perfect for this sound and adds real feeling to a wonderful song (Oh! And the track is good for marketing apparently – it was used for advertising!).  Finally, I would just like to say that the piano work is really good listen carefully to it, very catchy and more complicated than it sounds.

Fav. Tracks: King Crimson – Thrak

KingCrimson_Thrak_CoverThrak – Dinosaur.

By the mid 90s, when King Crimson reformed and produced this studio album, their music had become much more alternative rock rather than progressive rock and was too experimental for me.  However, as well as experimental they still added jazz-like phrases and styles to the music, which is what I have always enjoyed.

This track is not typical of the album as a whole and is more like a “song” from their earlier albums, but it is a rock-track that I like a lot.  I can’t help feel this is a self criticism of the band, but the lyrics are interesting.  this track has the least jazz influences and is a heavy rock sound.

Fav. Tracks: Joni Mitchell – Taming the Tiger

Joni_Mitchell_Taming_the_TigerTaming the Tiger – Love Puts on a New Face.

I have never quite worked out what keyboard instrument Joni plays on this album (a cross between a tinny piano and a harpsichord?), but I am not sure I really like the sound of it – I prefer her guitar playing and the keys she uses always add a jazz-like sound.  I also believe this was originally planned as Joni’s last album, but there was a follow up in the form of Shine.

I think the music on this album has perhaps her most jazz-like sound, or perhaps sounds most like Joni Mitchell!  There is a freedom in the sounds used and I feel the lyrics are more important than the music, but there is also an appeal to the rhythms and the occasional use of woodwind or flute.  I like this album.

Fav. Tracks: Lina – Stranger On Earth

e91123n3v66Stranger On Earth – Step Up.

I was reading a copy of The Times in 2001, when this album was released, and for some reason, having read a review of the album, I decided to buy the album (CD).  I had never heard the music or the of the musician, but I thought “why not?”.  It is a very strange collection of music and I am not sure what genre it fits in – the Microsoft database says Rhythm and Blues, but I am not sure and would say “alternative jazz”.

I like the beat of this track, it is unusually arrhythmic and the overall sound is borderline jazz or blues.  Listen a few times and the song becomes quite catchy, so I have come to like the album – I really wasn’t sure at first.


Fav. Tracks: King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black

King_Crimson-Starless_And_Bible_Black-Frontal-resizedStarless and Bible Black – Lament.

By the mid 70s, King crimson were in their third different line-up and this time, led by Bill Bruford (ex-drummer with Yes), the differences were noticeable in the sound of the two albums released under this line-up.  This is the second of their albums and I prefer this album (vinyl) to lark’s Tongue in Aspect.

This track is very illustrative of the new sound, but there are still the elements of jazz-like freedom of expression in the music.  The steady influence of Robert Fripp was always there and he managed to weld a good band from this new line-up.  This style of progressive rock is not to everyone’s taste, which I understand, but it has a major influence in the area of experimental electric jazz.  Personally, I think it is great!