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094: Brad Mehldau, ‘Martha, My Dear’ (“Live in Marciac”)

Brad Mehldau is young (big tattoo on his forearm), eclectic, handsome and shy and spiritual and articulate and spooky intelligent. Oh, yeah, and he plays with two different hands. I mean, they’re independent of each other, connected by chance to one torso. His left hand alone can play what most fine jazz pianists can do with both. Leaving his right hand to explore another alternative tonal world. So all you ‘I really don’t like too much jazz’ folks out there, do yourselves a favor – give Brad Mehldau a listen, anything at all – standards, Beatles, Radiohead, originals.

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091: Herbie Nichols, ‘House Party Starting’

Here comes the story of the most universally respected unknown jazz pianist from the 1950s. Herbie Nichols’ music is ambiguous, filled with warm dissonances and subtle rhythmic twists and harmonic turns. There’s a pervasive sharp intellect tempered with great warmth and a lot of resigned humor. His music, for all its complexity and intricacy, is really quite fun. You could even use it to start a house party.

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259: Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau: ‘Marcie’ (Joni Mitchell), ‘Don’t Think Twice’ (Dylan)

You don’t need Thile and Mehldau to justify the standing of Dylan or Mitchell. But their fresh new readings may still amplify and even enhance the originals.

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254: Vince Guaraldi/We Five, ‘Cast Your Fate to the Wind’

Life can be quirky.
So just cast your fate to the wind.
And don’t sit under ledges where pigeons are roosting.

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079: Miles Davis, ‘So What’ (“Kind of Blue”)

THE masterpiece, universally acknowledged . By rockers, by rappers, by jazzists, by aficionados and cognoscenti, by layfolk and by elevator riders. A monolith of lyric beauty and depth.
It is perfect.

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080: Tim Ries w. Norah Jones, ‘Wild Horses’

Norah Jones’ style really is her own—country jazz, with a twist of blues and an ample dose of pop hooks. Ear candy that doesn’t insult the brain. Not to mention a pair of lips and a pair of eyes and a figure and an attitude that can make a man lose sleep at night. A fetching beauty with a catchy song, what more could one ask for?
Jazz saxophonist Tim Ries toured extensively with The Stones, who sponsored his very fine, very varied Rolling Stones Project.

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065: Ella Fitzgerald, ‘Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most’

A beatnik musical (what??), an obscure jazz standard (oxymoron), and high school nostalgia (snore)–the convoluted paths we take to visit our past.

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055: Miles Davis/Gil Evans, ‘Concierto de Aranjuez’

In which a jazz recasting of classical favorite trumps the original. Gil Evans and a taste of heaven.

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