What Larry’s Listening to This Month (April 2008)

March 17, 2012 by  

Tired of all the strife going on at his local Macintosh user group (It’s just a club, darn it to heck!), Larry decided to cool off by going through some of the things he’s been listening to, lately.

Jimmy and Doug Raney

After doing that profile on Jimmy Raney a few weeks ago, I went back through my collection of Raney material and came up with a pick that you can find on the iTunes Store:

Nardis (with son Doug Raney):

  • All God’s Children Got Rhythm
  • What’s New?
  • There Will Never Be Another You

Doug Raney and Chet Baker

Listening to that album headed me off in another direction–this time listening to Jimmy Raney’s son, Doug. Doug has been playing professionally for over 25 years now, and has lived and worked in Europe for most of that time. One of my all-time favorite albums was a trio recording of Chet Baker on trumpet, Doug Raney on guitar, and Niels-Henning Ørsted-Peterson on acoustic bass. Every cut on this album is equally brilliant. Baker, a long-term narcotics addict, really pulled it together for this recording date, and was sympathetically accompanied by Raney and Ørsted-Peterson. As I reported in my blog, Doug sounded so much like his dad on this recording that at first, I thought it was Jimmy. Unfortunately, this album is not available from the regular online sources (iTunes, emusic, etc.), but the CD, on the Steeplechase label, is available from Amazon.com, with used examples starting at under eight dollars. I can’t recommend this one highly enough. This is late-night, gettin’ your ladyfriend all warmed up kind of music.

The Touch of Your Lips

  • Autumn in New York
  • But Not For Me
  • I Waited For You

Louis Stewart

Louis Stewart is a mostly-unknown (to American jazz fans) jazz guitarist from Dublin, Ireland. His influences are very much in the vein of the great American players from the 1950s and 1960s, including Tal Farlow, Johnny Smith, Chuck Wayne, Joe Pass, and more. Fortunately, he has recorded extensively, and many of his albums are available for non-DRM’ed download from emusic.com. Additionally, Amazon.com has 36 non-DRM’ed tracks available. Two of his albums, Overdrive and Three for the Road can be obtained from the iTunes Store (these albums are also on emusic and Amazon). He has also recorded for the small German label Jardis, run by another great player, Heiner Franz. Unfortunately, none of those are available online, but worth the effort (and expense) of hunting them down.

Overdrive

  • Oleo
  • Body and Soul
  • My Shining Hour

Janet Seidel

Australian singer/pianist Janet Seidel did an album a few years ago with her guitarist, Chuck Morgan, who, it turns out, plays a mean jazz ukelele! No, seriously…you gotta hear this! Janet’s lovely voice, unsullied by the vocal gymnastics that contemporary singers feel compelled to bleat out, is perfect for a session like this. Think Doris Day, but jazzier. The album Moon over Manakoora is a whole lot of fun, and a really swinging session, to boot. Individual cuts can be downloaded from the iTunes Store, and the CD can be obtained from Amazon.com.

Moon over Manakoora

  • Linger Awhile
  • Whispering
  • When Lights are Low
  • All I Do Is Dream of You

Hot Club of San Francisco

The Hot Club of San Francisco plays in the style of Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France, but at the same time, it is not slavish to choice of tunes or arrangements. Recent albums have included some bebop arrangements and even a few underplayed Beatles tunes. For the former, I recommend “Jonesin'” from the Postcards from Gypsyland album, and the latter, “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” from the Yerba Buena Bounce album.

Yerba Buena Bounce is available in MP3 downloadable form from emusic.com, amazon.com, and the iTunes Store. Postcards from Gypsyland is available in MP3 downloadable form from amazon.com and the iTunes Store.

Yerba Buena Bounce

  • I’m Happy Just to Dance with You
  • Rythme Futur (think Raymond Scott’s Powerhouse)
  • Tickle Toe (your feet won’t stop moving!)
  • Hot Lips (ditto!)

Postcards from Gypsyland

  • Jonesin’
  • Spivey
  • Lover’s Leap
  • Melodie au Crepuscule

Bucky Pizzarelli and Frank Vignola

I’ll close with an album that I play all the time. It’s just so incredibly good, but it doesn’t jump out at you. The album Moonglow, performed by Bucky Pizzarelli and Frank Vignola, is like a window looking inside Bucky’s house in Paterson, NJ, where he and Frank just happened to pick up some of the many guitars lying around and then they just started to play some old standards. Frank, a Django devotee, but so much more, is the young fellow in these sessions, in his 30s, to Bucky’s 80+ age. Age hasn’t slowed Bucky (father to popular jazz guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarelli) a bit, and he plays his acoustic 7-string Benedetto archtop with grace and skill. Vignola plays a signature Benedetto guitar with technique that belies his young age. He is a versatile player, comfortable in nearly any style from gypsy jazz to shredding alternative rock. This is one of the most relaxed sessions I’ve ever heard. It’s available from emusic.com and amazon.com. The title track, “Moonglow,” is also available at the iTunes Store.

Moonglow

  • Deep Purple
  • I Can Dream, Can’t I?
  • I’m Confessin’
  • Sleepy Time Down South

Note, too, that many of these performers can be seen in videos on YouTube. Just do a search for their names. There are currently a number of rare Jimmy Raney videos available that are just priceless. The Hot Club of San Francisco has a number of videos on YouTube, as do Janet Seidel, Bucky Pizzarelli, Frank Vignola (check out his warm up video!), and Louis Stewart.