Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

July 2007 on 50 Words
Aug 12, 2007

I wrote 37 Reviews in July on 50 Words, six more than my goal. In August, I’m going to try to keep up with my average of one review per day. Here’s what I reviewed in July, in order of letter grade:

  1. Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane – At Carnegie Hall
  2. Tito Puente – Live at the Village Gate
  3. Joe Henderson – Double Rainbow
  4. Joe Henderson – Lush Life
  5. Billy Taylor – Dr. T
  6. Buddy DeFranco and Terry Gibbs – Holiday for Swing
  7. Modern Jazz Quartet – A 40th Anniversary Celebration
  8. Sicko
  9. The Tao of Steve
  10. Thirteen
  11. Gerry Mulligan – Midas Touch
  12. Hargrove McBride Scott – Parker’s Mood
  13. Herbie Mann – Sultry Serenade
  14. Jimmy Smith and Eddie Harris – All the Way Live
  15. Lackawanna Blues
  16. Oscar Peterson – Compact Jazz
  17. Shattered Glass
  18. Teodross Avery – In Other Words
  19. Eric Dolphy – Outward Bound
  20. Lee Konitz – Subconscious-Lee
  21. Sonny Stitt and Richie Cole – Battle of the Saxes
  22. Stanley Jordan – Standards, Vol. 1
  23. Transformers
  24. An American Rhapsody
  25. Nine Lives
  26. Tom Dowd & the Language of Music
  27. All Over Me
  28. Mi Mejor Enemigo
  29. Proof (1991)
  30. Stanley Jordan – Stolen Moments
  31. Ella Fitzgerald – Ella By Starlight
  32. The Young Americans
  33. Head On
  34. The Last Days of Chez Nous
  35. Keane
  36. Last Days
  37. Eric Dolphy – Wherever I Go

Highest Grade: A++. Lowest Grade: D-. July’s GPA: 3.21 (B+).

Category Breakdown: Movies (17 – 45.95%), Music (20 – 54.05%)

Goal for August: 31 reviews or more.

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June 2007 on 50 Words
Jul 12, 2007

I wrote 29 Reviews in June on 50 Words, one short of goal. So, in July, I’m going for 31, an average of one review per day. Here’s what I reviewed in June, in order of letter grade:

  1. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1964)
  2. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue (1959)
  3. Miles Davis – Birth of the Cool (1956)
  4. Sonny Stitt – Personal Appearance (1957)
  5. Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
  6. Whale Rider (2002)
  7. 21 Grams (2003)
  8. The Bill Evans Trio with Stan Getz – But Beautiful (1974)
  9. Paris, Je T’Aime (2006)
  10. Walk the Line (2005)
  11. Cannonball Adderley – Things Are Getting Better (1958)
  12. The Beautiful Country (2004)
  13. Joe Henderson – Mode for Joe (1966)
  14. A River Runs Through It (1992)
  15. John Coltrane – Stardust (1958)
  16. Grizzly Man (2005)
  17. Abbey Lincoln – Abbey Is Blue (1959)
  18. Paradise Now (2005)
  19. Pride & Prejudice (2005)
  20. Trees Lounge (1996)
  21. My Cousin Vinny (1992)
  22. Happy Endings (2005)
  23. Broken Flowers (2005)
  24. The Secret Life of Words (2005)
  25. La Vie en Rose (2007)
  26. Corpse Bride (2005)
  27. Oscar Peterson – A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra (1959)
  28. Knocked Up (2006)
  29. Forty Shades of Blue (2005)

Highest Grade: A++. Lowest Grade: F. June’s GPA: 3.46 (B+).

Category Breakdown: Movies (19 – 65.52%), Music (10 – 34.48%)

Goal for July: 31 reviews or more.

Beautiful Tomorrow
Feb 10, 2006

Two weeks ago today, I received an Amazon package with a few CDs in it. Right now, I’m listening to Blue Six‘s 2002 album, Beautiful Tomorrow, on the Naked Music label.

For those who aren’t aware, three of Blue Six’s songs—“Pure”, “Music and Wine”, and “Love Yourself”—are well-known enough in the deep house scene that they’re almost standards. This album has multiple mixes of those tracks, as well as other standout songs—“Let’s Do It Together”, “Very Good Friends”, “Grace (Freedom Dub)”, “Come Inside”, and “Beautiful Tomorrow.” The production quality is solid and the song-writing excellent, if minimalist. Lisa Shaw, Catherine Russell, Monique Bingham, Lysa, and Diva Blue deliver powerful vocal performances. The entire CD has a laid-back groove-laden tropical feel, evoking sandy beaches and cool breezes.

My grade: B+.

A Time 2 Love
Jan 20, 2006

On my way to work this morning, I stopped by Starbucks to get a mocha to start out my day. While I was waiting for the guy to finish making it, I noticed Stevie Wonder‘s brand new record, A Time 2 Love. The version they were selling at Starbucks included a bonus disc of six of Stevie’s hits.

After giving this a couple of listens (and uploading it to my iPod), I am astonished by his first album in a decade. It is a magnificent effort, featuring guest appearances by Kim Burrell, Aisha Morris, India.Arie, Doug E Fresh, Oscar Castro-Neves, Hubert Laws, Prince, Paul McCartney, Bonnie Raitt, and more. The album is full of songs that are destined to become classics. Solid song-writing and magnificent performances by everyone pervade the entire recording. Stevie Wonder is a towering genius.

Standout songs on this album include, well, all of them. My favorites include the bossa nova Sweetest Somebody I Know, jazzy ballad Moon Blue, upbeat From the Bottom of My Heart, the wistful duet How Will I Know which features Stevie’s daughter, the astonishing gospel-influenced ballad Shelter in the Rain, the danceable funk track So What the Fuss (which features Prince on guitar), and title track A Time to Love, featuring India.Arie and Paul McCartney. According to Stevie’s website, he’s garnered five Grammy nominations for this album and songs on it. I’m not at all surprised.

If you’re a Stevie Wonder fan, there is no way you can leave this CD out of your collection. If you’re not, but you’re a fan of good music, this is definitely a must-have. Stevie’s first album in 10 years is, by any measure, a grand slam home run. It surpassed my expectations with considerable room to spare.

My grade: A+.

Sixes: Favorite 6 Jazz CDs
Jan 16, 2006

  1. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
  2. The Quintet – Live at Massey Hall
  3. Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
  4. Stan Getz/João Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto
  5. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
  6. Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook