Part of this week’s listening was guided by my reading of Joshua Berrett’s Louis Armstrong and Paul Whiteman: Two Kings of Jazz. And there are a few more recent releases in the mix.
Changes – Paul Whiteman feat. Bing Crosby
As hinted at by the title and described in its lyrics, Changes meanders through different key centers in an exciting and unusual way. It is a catchy tune and, when combined with Bing Crosby’s vocals floating over it, irresistible repeat listenings ensued.
Source – Nubya Garcia
Source, the debut album of saxophonist Nubya Garcia is powerful. Her tone is full of energy and her notes are packed with intention and intensity. I particularly enjoyed the title track for its synthesis of Reggae grooves.
Undertow – Joshua Redman
The original members of the Joshua Redman Quartet reunited after 26 years to record his latest album, RoundAgain. I was drawn in by the first piece, Undertow. The piano ostinato at the beginning is hypnotic, like watching the waves of the ocean.
Rhapsody in Blue from King of Jazz (1930) – Paul Whiteman
There are many things about this film that I would not call “inspiring,” namely the racial stereotyping “voodoo dance” and using women as decorations. But, I decided to include this here as a historical record. Another point of interest is that King of Jazz was the first film to use a pre-recorded soundtrack.
Lianne La Havas: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Thanks to my friend Ian Buss for introducing me to this wonderful artist and her NPR Tiny Desk concert. Lianne La Havas has an powerful yet nuanced voice that is perfectly framed by her inventive compositions. Even though her band is merely a trio, the sound is full-bodied and never lacking depth or texture.