262: Bob Dylan, ‘Went to See the Gypsy’ (“Another Self-Portrait”)

In 1970, Dylan seemed so intent on releasing his first terrible album that he left out all the good stuff.
Here’s the good stuff.
Welcome to Dylanland.

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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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261: Kurt Elling/Sting, ‘Practical Arrangement’

Love songs ain’t what they used to be.
Love ain’t what it used to be.
But Kurt Elling still brings it all to life.

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092: Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Zakir Hussain, ‘Babar’ (“The Melody of Rhythm”)

Alchemy 101:
Take a jazz banjoist, a classical double-bassist, and a percussionist of traditional Indian music, toss in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, mix vigorously. Waddaya get? A ménage a trois of a centaur, a mermaid, and a Toyota Prius? Nope! “The Melody of Rhythm” is as natural as the petal of a daisy — unforced, convincing and absolutely lovely.

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260: David Crosby/Joni Mitchell, ‘Yvette in English’

David Crosby.
Sometimes he gives you a high.
Sometimes he makes you want to jump off something high.
In 1993, he and Joni Mitchell wrote a beautiful, enigmatic song together.

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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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090: The Cyrkle, ‘Red Rubber Ball’

A shaggy-dog tail from 1966 of Paul Simon mistaking Jeff for his singing partner, a frat band playing in Atlantic City, reserve duty in the Coast Guard, The Beatles last tour, an Australian folkie, a Pepsi Cola factory, and that unforgettable hit, ‘Red Rubber Ball’, by The Cyrkle.

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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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