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088: Lizz Wright, ‘Old Man’

Here’s a gift — Lizz Wright’s cover of a typically shallow and affected and annoying Neil Young junker. Her treatment reeks of rural Georgia blues gone west via Memphis to be reborn in an LA studio. It displays a harmonic and hormonic candor that’s charged with enough electricity to frizzle your synapses, guys.

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067: Musica Nuda, ‘I Will Survive’

I’ve always been a fan of minimalism in music. In jazz it’s pretty easy because the default is four or five players. But my predilections in classical music are almost exclusively for solo or chamber music; or in The Beatles, Rubber Soul over Magical Mystery Tour. I like to hear what I’m listening to. To […]

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059: The Real Group, ‘Joy Spring’

Joy Spring, Walking Down the Street, There Will Never Be Another You Ok, I confess. I am a member of a cult. A proud, card-carrying, dues-paying proselyte, full of missionary zeal, collaring unsuspecting wedding guests, subjecting them to my fanatic preaching of The Word. Or, in this case, The Music. A cappella (unaccompanied vocal) jazz […]

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047: Bobby McFerrin, ‘The Garden’ (“VOCAbuLarieS”)

I had the pleasure of seeing Bobby McFerrin in concert last night. I was blown away, as always, by his immeasurable virtuosity; and charmed by his warmth and class. I hardly had time to wonder “Where’s the beef?”

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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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