School is almost out for the summer for a lot of kids in the U.S., but they can still learn! And what better topic to learn about than jazz? That's what Julian "Cannonball" Adderley must've thought, as he narrated a 1961 album called A Child's Introduction to Jazz. It was released on Riverside Records (RLP 1435) as part of their "Wonderland" series, designed to teach kids about a variety of topics in an entertaining way. Throughout, Adderley narrates the history of jazz and talks about the genre's roots in work songs, blues, and ragtime, and brings the listener through Dixieland, Swing, and Bebop. He also explains the instrumental makeup and musical structure of jazz. Numerous songs and clips back up his lessons, which makes the whole experience rather rich and informative. Some of t
Because it's never a bad time to play Louis Armstrong, here's a handful of my favorite Satchmo tunes. (Spotify users — you can listen to these and other featured Sunday Jazz songs by subscribing to my GFS Sunday Jazz playlist.) "You Rascal You" (with Louis Jordan) "Rhythm Saved the World" "I'm in the Mood for Love" "Struttin' With Some Barbecue"
Halloween is just a few weeks away, so what better time to unveil a few vintage, spooky jazz numbers to get you in the mood? (Spotify users — you can listen to these and other featured Sunday Jazz songs by subscribing to my GFS Sunday Jazz playlist.) "Blues for Dracula" -- Philly Joe Jones Sextet "Halloween Spooks" -- Lambert, Hendricks & Ross "The Great Pumpkin Waltz" -- Vince Guaraldi "Skeleton in the Closet" (from Pennies From Heaven) -- Louis Armstrong
Years ago I picked up a budget jazz CD set called Jazz Master Files. I figured I'd find three of four songs I liked on it -- instead it turned out to be a treasure trove of excellent jazz covering most of the genre's golden years. One of the tracks on it is a sizzling live performance of "St. Louis Blues" by Louis Armstrong and his band. I had never heard the song before, but instantly fell in love with it thanks to this version (sadly, the CD contained no information on the performance itself so I can't place a date or venue). Published in 1914 by W.C. Handy, "St. Louis Blues" remains one of the most popular and enduring songs in jazz history for good reason. It's energetic and simple, yet has melody that just won't quit. The most famous take of the song is probably the 1925 rendition ...
At long last, I present the conclusion of my list of 20 albums that have had the most impact on me and my love of music. For a brief refresher, you can check the back half of the top 20 here. But for your convenience, here's the list: #20 — Queen, The Game #19 — Seals & Crofts, Summer Breeze #18 — Kiss, Creatures of the Night #17 — Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast #16 — Run-D.M.C., Raising Hell #15 — Kiss, Alive! #14 — Rush, A Farewell to Kings #13 — Miles Davis, Kind of Blue #12 — Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pictures at an Exhibition #11 — various artists, Jazz Master Files OK, now that we're all caught up, let's finish this thing already. As a reminder, this is no particular order but I know people love countdowns so there you go. #10 — Genesis, Duke If Rus
Yesterday we lost one of the great composers of the 20th century. John Barry, best known to me and millions of others as the man behind so many timeless film soundtracks, died at age 77. Barry won five Oscars for his work, including Dances With Wolves and Midnight Cowboy, but it is his scores for 11 James Bond movies that I love the most. Here's probably my favorite Barry composition, from 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It's the immortal Louis Armstrong performing "We Have All the Time in the World," the love theme from the sole George Lazenby 007 film. Related articles Bond composer John Barry dies (telegraph.co.uk) John Barry, RIP (brooklynvegan.com)
Music is - or at least used to be - at once a very shared and a very personal thing. And truth be told the only thing I've spent more time doing in my life than listening to music is sleeping. Music has informed my life since I was a kid and continues to do so, although to a lesser degree now that I'm a family man. So it's time for me to give credit where credit is due, and list the 20 albums that had a bigger impact on me than any others. Some of these records opened my eyes to a new style of music. Some of them resonated on a deep, emotional level. Some were just too good to be ignored. Some are wrapped in nostalgia now and nothing more. But they are all critical to my development as a music lover in one way or another. #20 - Queen, The Game Memory is a tricky thing, espe
If you even think you like classic jazz, or if you just have some time to listen to one of America's greatest all-time entertainers, get thee over to Popdose now. There you'll find a top-notch bootleg of a Louis Armstrong & His All Stars show from 1954.
Radio stations across America started playing Christmas (sorry, holiday) music at least a few weeks ago, but I refuse to acknowledge any of it until Thanksgiving dessert is done. So now that it's officially safe to enjoy some holiday tuneage, I thought I'd pass along some of my personal favorites to you. Because not all Christmas music is crap. #1 A Charlie Brown Christmas Vince Guaraldi Trio Let's just get this one out of the way now. I defy anyone to hear any part of "Skating" or "My Little Drum" and not be instantly transported back to their childhood. I can't say anything that hasn't been said a million times about A Charlie Brown Christmas, so I'll just implore you to add this to your collection even if you hate Christmas music. Just be careful what version you purcha