Summertime

We have an awful lot on our minds these days and much work to do, but with summer arriving for the northern end of the globe in just a few days, here’s hoping you can find some moments of fun and comfort during this favorite of seasons.

In the early 70’s, War put out a string of hits ranging from the socially restive – “The World is a Ghetto” and “Slippin’ into Darkness” – to the upbeat – “All Day Music” and “Summer”.

This recording of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess is by Stan Getz from 1964’s Getz au Go Go.  Performing on the track is then 21-year old vibraphonist Gary Burton, already showing his budding virtuoso talent (see this post from 2017 celebrating his retirement).

For songs that evoke the joy of summer, Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime” can’t be beat.  Please try to boop boop ba boop boop when you want to this summer.

Holiday Music Buying – Best of the New and Old

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror, it’s fair to turn attention to holiday gifts.   In this era of downloads and Pandora, if you still enjoy the quaint custom of giving music to family and friends, here are some recommendations from the albums we’ve featured over the past year.

Among new albums, Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories”, Jake Bugg’s eponymous April release, and “The Colonel & The Governor” by Tommy Emmanuel and Martin Taylor are three superb choices.

Daft Punk weaves together a wide variety of influences and pulls in musicians like Omar Hakim and Nile Rodgers to add touches that can’t be synthesized.  “Random Access Memories” needs to be played a few times through to fully appreciate, but the investment of time is well worth it.

Jake Bugg’s eponymous album features a great set of songs ranging from raw rockers to soft acoustic ballads.    And Bugg is not resting on his laurels – he’s just released his second album this year, “Shangri La”.

“The Colonel & The Governor” is an exceptional instrumental jazz album from start to finish.  Two masterful musicians, complementing each other beautifully, on classic songs.

If you’d like to dig back into history and help round out a friend’s collection of classic albums, “Getz/Gilberto”, the groundbreaking Bossa Nova album, “Blue” by Joni Mitchell, and Stevie Wonder’s “Inner Visions” can’t be beat.

“Getz/Gilberto” introduced America to “The Girl from Ipanema” and many other Bossa Nova classics.  The mellow voices of Joao and Astrud Gilberto combined with Getz’s breathy sax are as intoxicating today as they were fifty years ago.

Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” includes many of her classic tunes as well as lesser known gems.  It’s a perfect album from start to finish – no filler. “River” is worth adding to your play list of sad, sentimental Christmas songs.

Stevie Wonder is – well – Stevie Wonder, and in a career of brilliance “Inner Visions” may the best of the best. The first track, “Too High”, features his trusty harmonica work and a great bass hook.

Buy Music