A Jazz Immuno-Booster: Part 2

Ludovico Granvassu By

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Our sequestration continues. But so does this mix-tape series featuring music selected by jazz musicians to whom we have asked to share one song they rely on when they need to be uplifted, or soothed, and to make us fly beyond the walls that keep us protected from the greatest pandemic of our generation.

The second installment of this mix-tape series features selections by Yazz Ahmed, Duke Amayo of Antibalas, The Ahn Trio, Luca Aquino, Lakecia Benjamin, Steven Bernstein, Michael Blake, Camille Bertault, Erik Friedlander, Wayne Horvitz, James Brandon Lewis and Krystle Warren.

Happy listening! Stay safe and sane with the help of great music!

For details on the tunes see the playlist below. If you're curious about the rationale behind these choices, here is what the selectors had to say [comments listed in chronological order, by reference to the songs they refer to].

Michael Blake
Once I heard this Stevie Wonder cover of "We Can Work It Out" I thought it was the best cover ever of a Beatles tune. Apparently The Beatles felt the same way. Or at least Sir Paul did. It's all there in the title! The arrangement is amazing, then we hear one of the greatest instrumental solos of all time followed by the breakdown. This track has lifted my spirits in all sorts of tough times. It never fails to make me feel joy.

Duke Amayo
I have chosen George Benson's "Moody's Mood" because of these two lines: "when we are one" and "find a good place to keep a loving state of mind..." The tune echoes this moment, if we shift our perspective quickly from disparities to opportunities. We can get through this as one, with the mindset of what we do for Love! It's a moment of deep mass meditation, going inside ourselves, reconnecting to the source of our infiniteness. At this point we can be one strong force of Good. I feel we gonna come out of this a stronger people.

The Ahn Trio
With Pat Metheny's beautiful song, we can all send a "Letter from Home" in our hearts to one another. So many things we wish to share with one another, with words of kind encouragement and gratitude to all the healthcare workers and others risking their lives for the ones home. Thank you!

Wayne Horvitz
There is this tune, "Lalene" from Keith Jarrett's first solo record, Facing You... I was thinking of transcribing it recently—before this all happened—but now I have listened to it over and over again. It's truly beautiful in every way, especially the first few minutes. Bittersweet but completely inspiring.

Camille Bertault
Voz e sour by Nana Caymmi and Cesar Camargo Mariano is an amazing album for any kind of mood. It might be my all time favorite record. It's quite rare and not easy to find or hear on the radio. A very intimate and personal work. In general, I love duos, but this one is off the charts! I also love it because it has some imperfections... at times Nana sounds slightly off key and Cesar's Fender Rhodes has a very old-fashioned sound, but perfect because it conjures up a special atmosphere. So it comes across as very natural. It feels as if it was just two friends getting together and playing without any intention to make a perfect recording. And these imperfections make it perfect!

Erik Friedlander
"Stolen Moments" by Oliver Nelson always puts a smile on my face.

Luca Aquino
The rendition of "On the Sunny Side of the Street" played by Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins is brilliant. It is impossible to listen to it without a smile, or a glass of good italian wine. It is so peaceful!

Lakecia Benjamin
I listened to this song by Abdullah Ibrahim every day when I lost three family members in one week. The harmonies, color and depth of this piece always remind me no matter far away I am from other people Our souls are still connected.

Yazz Ahmed
I've recently discovered a band called Moonchild, which, when listening, makes me forget about all that is going on around me. I'm not sure which is my favourite track but I really enjoy listening to "Wise Women" from the album Little Ghost.

Krystle Warren
I've been thinking long and hard, and while there isn't a tune I go to for comfort per se, I do have one tune in my life that never fails to make me feel light and airy; like the perfect, lazy afternoon, and that's "Everybody's Jumpin," by Dave Brubeck. It's just perfect in every way.

Steven Bernstein
Try not to smile and groove when you listen to Charles Mingus' "Eat That Chicken," if you can!


  • Michael Blake: Stevie Wonder "We Can Work It Out" Signed, Sealed and Delivered (Tamla/Motown) 0:00
  • James Brandon Lewis: William Parker / Raining on the Moon "Corn Meal Dance" Corn Meal Dance (AUM Fidelity) 3:10
  • Duke Amayo: George Benson "Moody's Mood" Give Me the Night (Warner Bros) 11:30
  • The Ahn Trio: Pat Metheny Group "Letter from Home" Letter from Home (Geffen) 14:54
  • Wayne Horvitz: Keith Jarrett "Lalene" Facing You (ECM) 17:26
  • Camille Bertault: Nana Caymmi, Cesar Camargo "Velho Piano" Voz e sour (EMI) 25:42
  • Erik Friedlander: Oliver Nelson "Stolen Moments" Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse!) 29:21
  • Luca Aquino: Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins "On the Sunny Side of the Street" Sonny Side Up (Verve) 38:04
  • Lakecia Benjamin: Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya "The Mountain" The Mountain (Kaz) 43:44
  • Yazz Ahmed: Moonchild "Wise Women" Little Ghost (Tru Thoughts) 46:44
  • Kristle Warren: Dave Brubeck, "Everybody's Jumpin'" Time Out (Columbia) 50:30
  • Steven Bernstein: Charles Mingus "Eat That Chicken" Oh Yeah (Atlantic) 54:52

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