If you came here expecting or hoping to find an article bashing Billy Joel as an overrated, mediocre pop songwriter, you've come to the wrong place friend. I happen to love the man's music -- most of it anyway -- and think he takes an unfair slagging from hipper-than-thou music critics and fans. Sure, he hasn't exactly helped his case with his less-than-stellar later material and his troubled personal life. But buried in 13 studio releases are some of the best pop music of the '70s and '80s. I've gone through those albums -- having listened to them for years -- and picked ten songs that represent Joel at his best. I've tried to avoid including his biggest hits, although in some cases those are his best songs. Enjoy! 1 -- "Don't Ask Me Why" (from Glass Houses, 1980) This is the tune...
If you pressed me to name my favorite jazz pianist of all-time, it'd be a tough call. But it's really a toss-up between Hank Jones and Vince Guaraldi. Neither of them sounded like the other, but I've never heard a piece of music from either that I didn't like at least a little. So today is Vince's day. It's been 35 years since Guaraldi died of a heart attack at age 47, and when I think of all the music he had left in him it makes me sad. But he did leave behind so much great stuff, like today's track. It's "Freeway," from his 1963 live album In Person. The album was recorded live in 1962 at Sausalito's Trident Lounge with Fred Marshall on bass, Eddie Duran on guitar, Colin Bailey on drums, and Benny Velarde on scratcher. It features Vince's sense of rhythm and melody that is often imita...
I don't have hard numbers to back me, but I'd wager that far fewer songs were written about fathers than mothers. But that's OK, as long as we have classics like Horace Silver's "Song for My Father." It's the title track to the pianist's excellent 1964 Blue Note release, and you just have to love that bossa nova swing! So happy Father's Day to all my fellow dads out there! Related articles The Three Best Songs Ever Written For Father's Day (929dave.radio.com) [List] 10 Rock Songs Dedicated To Fathers (kroq.radio.com) Top 20 Father's Day Country Music Songs! (wycd.radio.com)
It's been just over a year since jazz piano great Hank Jones died at the ripe old age of 91. As I've opined before on this site, Jones is probably the one musician most responsible for making me love jazz. So it's only appropriate this weekend to remember the Jazz Master, Hank Jones. This is a video about Hank compiled for his memorial service in June of last year. I encourage you to watch it, and then seek out some of his voluminous and always entertaining music. Related articles The Weekly Mixtape: 3/4/11 (Five-star jazz) (popdose.com) The Reading Party: Urbanity (slog.thestranger.com)
Had he never recorded a note for any of Charles Schulz's Peanuts specials, Vincent Anthony Guaraldi's legacy as a brilliant composer and pianist would still be secure. His joyful and supremely melodic style is as immediately recognizable as any in music, and more than thirty years after his death his admirers encompass a wide range of musicians and music lovers; from casual jazz fans to purists, and even to outright jazz haters who proclaim, "I don't really like jazz, but I love his stuff." For this primer of Guaraldi's recorded output, I've categorized his music into three main areas rather than go with a strictly chronological approach. These categories are not meant to be rigidly applied, but for the novice I think it makes more sense this way. There's great music to be found
Although I knew this day would come, it doesn't make it any easier to handle. Hank Jones, the man most responsible for sparking my love of jazz, has died at age 91. Jones' always tasteful and elegant brand of swing may not have blazed any musical trails, but it always made for good listening. The music was a reflection of the man - gentle, thoughtful with a touch of humor, and never self-important. Jones was the last surviving member of an immensely gifted trio of brothers - Thad (1923-1986) made a name for himself as much for his trumpeting acumen as for his compositional skills, and Elvin (1927-2004) was one of the most respected drummers in the genre. Hank's understated style made him the least flashy or famous of his brothers, but he was always my favorite. You can find an
It is tempting and easy to interpret the meaning behind the track order and title of Robert Glasper's latest album, Double Booked, as being a presentation of the artist's two separate sides - jazz and hip hop/R&B. Certainly, given that the first half of the record is billed to the Robert Glasper Trio while the second is credited to the Robert Glasper Experiment, that conclusion seems inescapable. But to look at it this way would be to miss the statement that Glasper has been making with his music since his 2003 recorded debut, Mood - jazz, R&B, and hip hop are not disparate elements to be combined or mixed by Glasper for mere novelty or effect; they are both integral and inseparable parts of his artistic vision. It's that vision, combined with his prodigious talent, that mak
Quite by chance, I caught Dr. Oliver Sacks' appearance on The Daily Show a few days ago, where he was promoting an episode of PBS's venerable science magazine Nova called "Musical Minds". Dr. Sacks is a British neurologist whose book Awakenings was the basis for the excellent movie with Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro. "Musical Minds", based on his 2007 work Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, boasted no such celebrities but was pretty interesting nonetheless. The bulk of the special was dedicated to profiling four people who have very deep but very different connections to music. Two of them (Derek Paravicini from England and Matt Giordano from upstate New York) have a high degree of innate musical ability that allows them each to seemingly overcome a significant neurologic
While he doesn't get the widespread acclaim of jazz pianists like Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, or Dave Brubeck, Hank Jones has nonetheless been producing music of a high caliber for decades. 1978's Tiptoe Tapdance, originally released on the Galaxy Records imprint (a subsidiary of the more well-known Fantasy label) came out when Hank was 60 years old, and as of this writing he's been playing pretty consistently for the 30 years since its release. Alas, the best image I could find (meaning the largest image that was also in decent shape) was from a used record site. For those under 30, those light circles on the cover are not part of the image; they're what's known in the business as ring wear. Admittedly, the clumsy cropping job at the wrist indicates that Galaxy probably didn't