[Monday’s Notes No. 104] Dollar Brand’s music is rich in spirituality and brings us the sounds of his native South Africa. Together with double bassist Johnny Dyani, Dollar Brand performs a duet dedicated to the prophet Ntsikana, who was among the first to translate and explain Christian ideas to the Xhosa people (South Africa).Continue readingDollar Brand and Johnny Dyani, Ntsikana’s Bell. Two voices from Africa
[Monday Notes no. 94] Jackie McLean is one of the most original and modern alto saxophonists, perhaps the one who most continued Charlie Parker‘s experiments. Hip Strut is an excellent example of his unique position between tradition and innovation. It is in fact a classic blues progression, which Jackie McLean nevertheless transforms in his own…Continue readingJackie McLean, Hip Strut. A very unusual blues
[Monday Notes no. 19] Elvis Presley was rock’s first great rock hero. A whole generation recognised themselves in his provocative dancing, his flamboyant look, his songs full of energy and rhythm. Let us analyse his song Jailhouse rock.Continue readingElvis Presley, Jailhouse Rock. The birth of rock and roll
[Monday’s Notes No. 80] The picture of the slacker who stays at home drinking while his wife works to support the family is recurrent in the blues. In fact, in certain historical periods it was easier for a black woman to find work as a servant than for a man. Thirsty Mama Blues by Hot…Continue readingHot Lips Page, Thirsty Mama Blues. A classic blues tale.
[Monday Notes no. 79] Pete Johnson was one of the greatest boogie-woogie pianists, Roll ‘Em Pete was one of his favourite pieces. On this recording he is accompanied by singer Joe Turner, another blues specialist. The two musicians provide an outstanding performance, a duet that sums up the most salient features of the blues.Continue readingRoll ‘Em Pete, Pete Johnson & Joe Turner. Simply, the blues.
[Monday Notes no. 70] Cab Calloway was an extraordinary singer, dancer and showman. After early successes at the Cotton Club where he filled in for none other than Duke Ellington’s orchestra, he continued to perform throughout his life until he was over eighty years of age.Continue readingSt. Louis Blues, Cab Calloway is always center stage.
[Monday Notes no. 65] Sonny Red is the stage name of Sylvester Kyner, a saxophonist who has had rather limited recognition despite having played with great musicians such as Barry Harris, Donald Byrd, Curtis Fuller, Bobby Timmons. Jelly Roll is one of his pieces that celebrates the great Jelly Roll Morton.Continue readingSonny Red, Jelly Roll. A blues for Jelly Roll Morton
[Monday Notes no. 60] Among the many outstanding musicians Miles Davis chose for his bands, one of the lesser known is certainly Wynton Kelly. In Miles’ lineups, Wynton Kelly came after Bill Evans and immediately before Herbie Hancock. Let’s listen to his No Blues, taken from the album Smokin’ At The Half Note, which he…Continue readingWynton Kelly & Wes Montgomery, No Blues
[Monday Notes No. 51] Tenor Madness is the most classic of blues, the piece that beginners play in jam sessions. In this performance we hear an amazing duet between Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane.Continue readingSonny Rollins and John Coltrane, Tenor Madness. Dialogue of giants
[Monday Notes No.48] Georgia on My Mind was composed by the great songwriter Hoagy Carmichael in 1930, but Ray Charles’ interpretation in 1960 surpassed the original in popularity, the pianist-singer turning it into one of his biggest hits.Continue readingGeorgia On My Mind, Ray Charles and soul music