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A Jazz Immuno-Booster: Part 6

Ludovico Granvassu By

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The Jazz Immuno-Booster mixtape series continues. This sixth installment features musical therapy selections by Thana Alexa, Francesco Bigoni, Terri Lyne Carrington, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Kris Davis, Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura, Alexander Hawkins, Will Holshouser, Ha-Yang Kim, Michael Mwenso, Jessica Pavone, Mark Turner,

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].

Mark Turner
Coltrane's Sound is uplifting at any time! I don't know why. It just is. Maybe it is because the sound, compositions and playing on this record have an uplifting determination about them. Somehow, Coltrane says to us everything is ok because if we fall we can just get back up dust ourselves off and jump back in the game of life. I love the whole album, but since I have to pick just one tune, I'd go with the opening track, "The Night has a Thousand Eyes."

Ha-Yang Kim
"The Wind" by Yusuf/Cat Stevens, is a brief beautiful song. In essence, it is a prayer, a personal vow to finding and living an authentic inner peace, and dedicating oneself to that pursuit in the brief life time that we are here on this planet. During this highly uncertain, perilous time with so much of our future unknown and a dangerously profound absence of wisdom from the US president, this song reminds me to seek comfort and solace in prayer. An abiding prayer for peace within, and for us all.

Alexander Hawkins
Even though I love the studio version recorded in New York City in the mid-1940s, this live 1964 version of "I Get a Kick Out of You" by Erroll Garner really is the sound of joy! Another pick could be the Ludwig Van Beethoven's Symphony No.4, conducted by Carlos Kleiber which you can also find on YouTube. Kleiber's recording with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester is also incredible, and I could have gone with that one, but on the you get to see the great man in action. It's not a space we necessarily associate with Beethoven (he goes there for my money also in the 7th symphony), but this symphony is again joy unbridled.

Jessica Pavone
There is something I really enjoy about someone else deciding what I am going to listen to. The element of surprise, and often exposure to sounds that I may not already be familiar with. I don't have a television in my home so I already have the radio turned on a fair amount anyway. Typically on WKCR, Columbia University's non-commercial radio station in NYC. However, I recently have been making an event of sitting by the radio as an entertainment source. I recently re-watched Woody Allen's Radio Days and on a few occasions, especially the days of Duke Ellington's birthday broadcast and the Ella Fitzgerald's birthday broadcast, I just spend the evening sitting by the radio with my 1000 piece puzzle making a night of it. After a while of being quarantined alone in an apartment, my imagination took advantage of its newly founded space and freedom to expand beyond its regular boundaries, similar to how wild animals have been spotted roaming freely with the recent absence of humanity's dominance. Perhaps playing make-believe and emulating that I am actually living in the time of Allen's Radio Days, a completely alternate reality has been a means of coping with the current reality? All that is to say, most recently, big band and swing have been the greatest source of comfort, and when programs come on highlighting that time period, I keep the dial locked and just sit down and listen.

Michael Mwenso
So many different thoughts come into my head throughout this time. For me, that influence within determines what I listen to. As of now, I'm finding solace in the music of pianist and composer Eubie Blake, especially his composition "Roumania." He is able to create such mixed but calm emotions. I am thankful for the spirit that Music conjures.

Will Holshouser
One recording that always makes me feel good is Air's version of "The Ragtime Dance" by Scott Joplin, from their 1979 album Air Lore (Henry Threadgill, Fred Hopkins, Steve McCall). They take Joplin's great composition on a thrill ride... melody meets freedom, and exuberance meets intensity, at the corner of joy and swing!

Sarah Elizabeth Charles
My choice is "Here's to Life," the song written by Artie Butler and Phyllis Molinary, as performed by Shirley Horn and arranged by Johnny Mandel. It was releaed on the 1992 Verve album Here's to Life. This song and this recording are amongst my favorites of all time. There's a vulnerability and a toast to simplicity present in the aura and message of this song that I feel is essential to remember in this moment. When I listen, it helps me gain more presence in my body, mind and spirit and I'm super grateful to Shirley for this.

Kris Davis
I'd like to suggest "For Bunita Marcus" by Morton Feldman. It has been a while since I have listened to Morton Feldman and this piece is providing some solace. I am finding that worry and sadness hit me at strange times of the day. I put "For Bunita Marcus" during one of these moments and it had a serious calming, meditative effect... Great therapy, highly recommended listening!

Francesco Bigoni
I have a predilection for musicians that know how to channel the depth and richness of the jazz tradition in its entirety. Franco D'Andrea is one of them: he is a friend, a mentor, and I was lucky enough to co-produce this album: here is "Lush Life/Two Colors," some dense musical thought in this strange moment!

Terri Lyne Carrington
Well, Ned Rothenberg chose a different version of my pick, "Spirit in the Dark" [for the first part of this mixtape series]. My favorite version is on Live at Filmore West album. I feel transported to San Francisco in 1971, mesmerized by her unparalleled vocal abilities. And her keyboard playing is not too shabby either. The cherry on top is Ray Charles sitting in on the reprise -you have to hear the whole thing! Anyone that has not heard this album is in for a treat.

Thana Alexa
No matter what kind of mood I'm in, Michael Jackson's "Rock with You" always manages to lift my spirits... If I'm feeling funky it keeps my inner groove going. If I'm feeling down, it lifts me up. If I'm alone, it makes me feel like I'm surrounded by energy, and when I'm in a group of people it just makes us all dance! On a more personal note, the last text message I ever got from my late brother (who passed away in April 2010) was him telling me to listen to this song. In his text he said listening to it would make me feel good. Listening to this song makes me feel like my brother is watching over me and trying to get me to crack a smile... It's been a "go-to" for me for years.

Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura
We both love this piece. It reverberates in the soul and penetrates the heart.

Playlist

  • Mark Turner: John Coltrane "The Night has a Thousand Eyes" Coltrane's Sound (Atlantic) 0:00
  • Ha-Yang Kim: Yusuf/Cat Stevens "The Wind" Teaser and the Firecat (Island)6:47
  • Alexander Hawkins: Erroll Garner "I Get a Kick Out of You" Brussels 1964 (YouTube) 8:27
  • Jessica Pavone: Ella Fitzgerald "If I Ever Should Leave" (YouTube) 12:13
  • Michael Mwenso: Eubie Blake "Roumania" Home Again Blues (Acrobat Music) 15:24
  • Will Holshouser: Air "The Ragtime Dance" Air Lore (Arista Novus) 18:54
  • Sarah Elizabeth Charles: Shirley Horn "Here's to Life" Here's to Life (Verve) 28:11
  • Kris Davis: Morton Feldman, "For Bunita Marcus -Beginning M.289" For Bunita Marcus (Mode) 33:45
  • Francesco Bigoni: Franco D'Andrea Quartet "Lush Life/Two Colors" Half the Fun (El Gallo Rojo) 44:09
  • Terri Lyne Carrington: Aretha Franklin, "Spirit in the Dark" Live at Fillmore West (Atlantic) 56:32
  • Thana Alexa: Michael Jackson "Rock with You" Off the Wall (Epic) 1:10:25
  • Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura: Abdullah Ibrahim "The Praise Song" Desert Flowers (Enja) 1:14:04

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