Archive | July, 2014

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO WHILE ON HIATUS

15 Jul

I noticed that I have a number of new “Tribute” CDs on my desk and I finally started listening to them instead of using them to build very unstable and loud houses of cards. I’ll tell you what I think, but you should listen to them and decide for yourselves. Let me know what you’re listening to these days, ok?

  • Diane Schuur – I Remember You – This is a tribute CD to Sinatra and Stan Getz with songs associated with one or the other or both. Diane may not be the lyric interpreter that Sinatra was, but she is every bit the inventive and indefatigable musician Getz was. She blends perfectly as another instrument with the band and it’s a very solid band, too. Best surprise for me: Diane’s unadorned, unembellished title track – just singing from her heart.
  •  Wendy Moten – Timeless: Wendy Moten Sings Richard Whiting – Most of these songs were written in the 1920s and 1930s, but you couldn’t guess that from listening to this CD. It swings, it’s tender, it’s sexy, it’s bluesy. Wendy Moten has been a back-up singer here and there; she has a few CDs under her own name, some in Contemporary R&B mode. But she’s very comfortable with jazz and ballads. There are lots of Whiting chestnuts – My Ideal, Miss Brown To You, He’s Funny That Way.  Best surprise for me: a couple of cute songs I didn’t know – It’s A Long Time Between Kisses and I Wanna Go Places And Do Things. I’ll be interested to see if she does.
  •  Janet Planet – Janet Planet Sings The Bob Dylan Songbook, Vol. 1 – Okay, I admit I cracked the cellophane on this CD with trepidation. However, this story has a (mostly) happy ending. In many of Dylan’s most powerful songs, the drone of the repeated melody forces you to pay attention to the lyrics. I find those songs proved to be too limited and confining for this jazz setting. But in songs with a stronger melody line, Janet Planet adeptly, intelligently goes to work, weaving interesting designs with her lovely voice and considerable talent for embellishing. She has moxie and takes chances and I’ll be playing her a lot when Turntable For One returns in the Fall…maybe not so often from this interesting CD.
  • Mark Winkler – The Laura Nyro Project  — Anyone paying tribute to Laura Nyro gets points from me from the start. And when the tribute CD is sincere, affectionate, and swinging — as this one is — bonus points galore! The songs, all favorites for any Laura Nyro fan, range from the slight and ethereal to the raucous and rowdy. And just about all of them really do work with a solid jazz combo  and this West Coast hipster singer. Okay, his straight-ahead jazz version of Save The Country obscures the point of this anthem which, it seems to me, has even more meaning now than when Laura Nyro wrote it about 50 years ago. But, boy, does Mark Winkler understand ballads and heartbreak! His version of Billy’s Blues haunts me every time I listen to it.  Best surprise for me: an incredibly clever mash-up of the song Time And Love and Ahmad Jamal’s classic instrumental version of Moonlight In Vermont. 

Turntable For One returns to the air on Saturday, August 30th at 10:00 PM  (E.D.T.)

Can’t wait that long? Why not listen to a Turntable For One podcast. Better yet: invite a crowd to listen!

http://www.prx.org/series/33284-turntable-for-one