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012: Arvo Pärt, ‘Cantate Domino’

In which Jeff gets a lesson in tintinnabulation and religious serenity from the contemporary Estonian liturgical composer Arvo Pärt. A little trip to heaven.

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011: The Idea of North, ‘Fragile’ (Sting)

“Art is a matter of taste.” No one has the right to say what’s ‘good’ and what’s ‘bad’. Everyone’s entitled to his/her/its opinion. Well, I guess I begrudgingly go along with the idea that everyone is entitled to vote. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that everyone has a right to an […]

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007: John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, ‘My One and Only Love’

This week I had the unique pleasure to spend a day with Kurt Elling, taking him on a day trip to Jerusalem, talking music with him, then attending his knockout show. I’m busy writing it up, and will share it with you soon. In the meantime, here’s some a posting from way back, very relevant to Mr Elling.
Johnny Hartman had a respectable though not brilliant career as a crooner contemporaneously with and then beyond Coltrane. His voice is so smooth it makes Billy Eckstine sound like Mick Jagger, Nat Cole like Joe Cocker. His acknowledged masterpiece is their joint venture, “John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman”. Only 30 minutes long, it’s enough of a classic to warrant an homage by as fine an artist as Kurt Elling.

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005: Glenn Gould, Toccata in Cm (J.S. Bach)

Performing artist too often walk through the score/play the notes/read the lines—rather than bringing to life what lies beneath. And it all goes right past my ear. The alternative is 100%, full-time, total engagément. Play no note, speak no line, dance no step, until you understand why it has to be. That kind of intensity is crazy, and it’s what I love in Glenn Gould’s performance of Bach’s Toccatas.

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003: Garcia/Grisman, ‘So What’

Chief Deadhead Jerry Garcia and Reb David Grisman merrily plucking their newgrass cover of Miles.

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001: Mint Juleps, ‘Don’t Let Your Heart’

A cappella soul from a British chick group.

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SoTW 27: Lennie Tristano, ‘Wow’

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Lennie Tristano. I’m probably not going too far out on a limb if I assume that very few of you have ever heard of him. Chicago pianist, blind from birth, 1919-1978. Moved to NYC 1946, at the height of the bebop’s popularity. Made a few recordings. Made friends and enemies with […]

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