The third installment of this mix-tape series features selections by Melissa Aldana
, Reinier Baas
, Zeno De Rossi
, Howard Fishman
, Bill Frisell
, Miho Hazama
, Jesse Harris
, Rudresh Mahanthappa
, Jason Palmer
, Tomeka Reid
, Eri Yamamoto
and Joanna Wallfisch
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].
If I have to think about music that can uplift or sooth my soul, there are many songs that come to mind. But they change daily. Today I would pick Sonny Rollins
' "Pent Up House." But I could have also taken any song from Guinga
's Avenida Atlântica
, the album he recorded with the Quarteto Carlos Gomes, or from Alan Hampton
's Origami for the Fire
. Or "Happy Talk" by Nancy Wilson
and Cannonball Adderley
Whenever I feel down, "Optimistic" by Sounds of Blackness always brings me to my feet! I hope you will read the lyrics as they are powerful, inspirational and full of love. We will get through this madness somehow, some way, and I'm praying that many of us will reflect on all that is happening and make some kind of change in how we operate day to day. I am definitely inspired to do so. Please take care, stay healthy and try your best to be optimistic! We can't go back to the way things were, we must create a better world for everyone because we are all connected! Love!
My heart goes with Aretha Franklin
's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" because it is a song about people helping each other, and hope. I was just listening to this song tonight. In this difficult time, her voice really uplifted my heart.
I have always loved the arrangement of this Ivan Lins
song from the album Harlequin
by Dave Grusin
and Lee Ritenour
. The version orchestrated by Vince Mendoza
for the Dutch Metropole Orchestra has even more colors and fun elements. Ivan's voice is so beautiful and soothing... It's a perfect song for me to get both uplifted and soothed.
The first song that comes to mind as one that always takes me to a beautiful place in my mind and spirit is "Ao Mar" by Vince Mendoza
} from his album Nights on Earth
. I love the whole album, but this particular song has a beautiful lilting drive to it, yet the instrumental arranging is so deep and rich. When the vocals come in, it takes on another life again. To me it is like a journey that sparkles.
The truth is that I wanted to suggest something off an album by Bud Shank
entitled Bud Shank and his Brazilian Friends
but it's not on any digital platforms (I have it on vinyl). So the first song that came to mind of an alto saxophonist playing something Latinand happywas Charlie Parker
's "My Little Suede Shoes," which I've always loved. I suppose I could have chosen one of Paul Desmond
's Brazilian-style tunes, but I thought of Bird first!
I'll nominate Ethan Lipton
Orchestra's "Bicycle." Ethan's songs have a way of lifting spirits in the darkest times, with their combination of gentleness, humor, and bonhomie.
I thought of selecting "Someone to Watch Over Me" performed by Ella Fitzgerald
. I love her! I've been playing and practicing this song over and over and over these past few days, finding little nooks and crannies that I'd missed. Then, yesterday, my friend and great bassist Don Falzone
told me about Jimmy Scott
's version from the album All the Way
with Ron Carter
, Kenny Barron
, Grady Tate
, and arranged by Johnny Mandel. It blew my mind. Seriously. Extraordinarily beautiful! I could have also chosen a couple of other tunes. "Nature Boy," which a few days ago my friend Hans Wendl reminded me of. The Nat "King" Cole
renditions of this song with his trio, and also with a larger orchestra, are so beautiful. But there also amazing interpretations by Django Reinhardt
, Miles of course, and even James Brown
! And then Frank Sinatra
's "New York, New York." I love listening closely to his phrasing. He really knows how to tell the story.
Zeno De Rossi
The music of Bill Frisell has been like a friend I could lean on whenever I have gone through a rough patch. Every time it has managed to take me to places which are full of beauty and positive energy. If I have to choose only one composition, I would go with "Is It Sweet?" from This Land
Rudresh Mahanthappa Pat Metheny
's "Two Folk Songs" from 80/81
. The melody of "#1" is like a triumphant uplifting anthem while Michael Brecker
's solo is introspective and dream-like. Jack DeJohnette
's solo makes me want to dance (and I hate to dance!). "#2" by Charlie Haden
is pensive and calming. This composition shines a positive and compassionate light during these troubling times.
I always turn to a couple of recordings, but lately I have been going back to a lot of Kurt Rosenwinkel
's albums. The one that has lifted me up over and over is The Remedy (Live at the Village Vanguard)
. Kurt has been one of my Modern Heroes and one of my biggest inspirations since moving to the USA. What amazes me the most is his own process of self-identity and how he is constantly evolving and taking different directions and chances in his music.
My choice is "Over Big Top" by the John Scofield
Trio featuring Bill Stewart
and Steve Swallow
. Such joy and lust for life!
- Jason Palmer: Sonny Rollins "Pent Up House" The Complete Prestige Recordings (Prestige) 0:00
- Tomeka Reid: Sounds of Blackness "Optimistic" The Evolution of Gospel (Perspective Records) 08:51
- Eri Yamamoto: Aretha Franklin "Bridge Over Troubled Water" Live at Fillmore West (Atlantic) 14:10
- Miho Hazama: Ivan Lins, The Metropole Orchestra "Arlequim desconhecido" Regência: Vince Mendoza (Biscoito Fino) 19:50
- Joanna Wallfisch: Vince Mendoza "Ao Mar" Nights on Earth (Horizontal) 25:02
- Jesse Harris: Charlie Parker and his Orchestra "My Little Suede Shoes" Fiesta (Verve) 32:47
- Howard Fishman: Ethan Lipton and His Orchestra "Bicycle" Honker (Muckraker) 35:50
- Bill Frisell: Jimmy Scott "Someone to Watch Over Me" All the Way (Warner Bros.) 38:19
- Zeno De Rossi: Bill Frisell "Is It Sweet?" This Land (Nonesuch) 43:45
- Rudresh Mahanthappa: Pat Metheny "Two Folk Songs" from 80/81 (ECM) 48:49
- Melissa Aldana: Kurt Rosenwinkel Group "Flute" The Remedy (Live at the Village Vanguard) (Wommusic) 1:09:30
- Reinier Baas: John Scofield Trio "Over Big Top" EnRoute (Verve) 1:23:43
The suggestions from musicians eager to share, in these trying times, the music they turn to when they need to uplift or sooth their souls keep pouring in. Here's the third volume of this immuno-booster jazz mix-tape series, featuring a compelling mix of jazz masters, contemporary jazz guitar heroes, latin tinge, soul and new gospel.