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Back to popular demand! Here's some more musical therapy for these trying times, the fifth installment of this popular mix-tape series, featuring selections by Tim Berne
, Theo Bleckmann
, Stefano Bollani
, Tommaso Cappellato
, Taylor Ho Bynum
, Dominique Fils-Aimé
, Mats Gustaffson
, Maya Keren, Brad Mehldau
, Aaron Parks
, Rosa Brunello
and Ben Wendel
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].
Taylor Ho Bynum Henry Threadgill
's "Bermuda Blues" is so fierce! The double drum vibe with Pheeroan AkLaff
and Reggie Nicholson
is ridiculous. Another choice would be Sarah Vaughan's "What is This Thing Called Love" from the album Sassy Swings the Tivoli
. It is so joyful it got me dancing around the kitchen the other day.
Maya Keren Solo Monk
has been an album close to my heart for as long as I remember. Each song feels so weighty in its own way, and listening to the entire album always makes me remember why I play music. I recently learned about the word "apricity" which means the warmth of the sun in the winter. That's exactly what "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)" song feels like to me. This track comes right after "Ruby, My Dear," which always makes me weep. After what feels like losing sense of time, space, and self, "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)" feels like sunlight on my upturned face, the sweetness after a deep cry. I think that's what we all need right now.
Tommaso Cappellato Branford Marsalis
' "Mo' Better Blues" has been making me smile since my teenage years!
Music speak for itself. This is nowhere clearer than in the case of "There Is a Balm in Gilead" from Archie Shepp
's album Blasé
featuring, among others, Jeanne Lee
and Lester Bowie
. Everything about this song is amazing. The arrangement, the trumpet and tenor saxophones lines, and the voice changes my DNA every time I listen to it...
Aaron Parks Alice Coltrane
's "Jai Rama Chandra" is like water from a deep, deep well. A lush environment of beautiful and mysteriously gliding synths and strings. Her singing: somber but steadfast. As I listen, I find myself in a contemplative and tender-hearted state. And it helps.
I go to Bob Marley
's "Natural Mystic" when I need a reminder that the only constant is change. It helps me perceive and embrace change as the magical thing it can be. Another song that also feeds me light in strange times is "Energy" by Sampa the Great, with lyrics like "Pour up the love let the healing begin" this song goes straight to my soul.
It's really hard for me to choose only one song that is helping me during these hard times. I go through so many different moods each and every day... sadness, positivity, anger, and so on... I'm listening to a lot of Brazilian music, by people like Monica Salmaso, Josyara, Anelis Assumpcao, Baiana System, Forro in the Dark, Luedji Luna, etc. But when I just need to dance and get the energy out, I always return to the good old Italian hip hop-reggae group 99 Posse, and songs like "Sfumature" or "L'anguilla" make my stress disappear!
The opening track off Sidsel's masterful record Exile
is a daily reminder to counter my fear, anger and frustration with compassion, empathy and a sense of detachment, so as not to be swallowed up by it all in the end. "And mercy, and mercy... and yes, we are, capable of any crime to lighten the burden."
My selection is "Leora" a composition that Julius Hemphill
recorded for his Big Band
, released on Nonesuch in 1990. It is a gorgeous piece with a stunningly beautiful solo by Julius.
- Taylor Ho Bynum: Henry Threadgill "Bermuda Blues" You Know the Number (Novus) 0:00
- Maya Keren: Thelonious Monk "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)" Solo Monk (Columbia) 9:22
- Tommaso Cappellato: Branford Marsalis "Mo' Better Blues" Music From Mo' Better Blues (CBS) 11:57
- Mats Gustaffson: Archie Shepp "There Is a Balm in Gilead (feat. Jeanne Lee)" Blasé (BYG) 15:34
- Stefano Bollani: Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong "Cheek to Cheek" Ella and Louis (Verve) 21:38
- Ben Wendel: Blue Nile "Over the Hillside" Hats (Linn) 27:29
- Aaron Parks: Alice Coltrane "Jai Rama Chandra" Turiya Sings (B.Free) 32:29
- Dominique Fils-Aimé: Bob Marley "Natural Mystic" Exodus (Island) 38:31
- Rosa Brunello: 99 Posse "L'anguilla" La vida que vendrá (Musica Posse) 41:54
- Theo Bleckmann: Sidsel Endresen "Here the Moon" Exile (ECM) 46:14
- Tim Berne: Julius Hemphill "Leora" Big Band (Nonesuch) 48:33
- Brad Mehldau: John Coltrane "After the Rain" Impressions (Impulse!) 54:29
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