Jazz bassist, Don Bagley, left us on July 26, 2012. He was 85. Born in Salt Lake City, he played with such greats as Shorty Sherock, Bill Holman and Stan Kenton. He also did session work with Nat King Cole and Maynard Ferguson. The tribute song I have chosen is a performance by Julie London, with Don being the only player accompanying her.
These songs are the ones that I will remember most from this year. It certainly appears that the world of music is beginning it’s move away from the pop artists that have been so prevalent and returning to the creation and production of some exceptional songs. About time I’d say. I attribute this to the web and the ability of many new artists to reach the public through such areas as Bandcamp, soundcloud, YouTube, Twitter etc. The advent of these devices has greatly expanded my musical horizons and will continue to do so.
I have chosen not to do a finite top ten list as I appreciated all of these songs and at certain times would have been my number 1. In addition, I have chosen songs new to me this year, meaning they could be from anytime, although the majority are 2012. I hope you enjoy.
Emm Gryner – Ciao Monday
I see great things from this Canadian singer-songwriter. Love this version, recorded live at CBC.
Graffiti6 – Free
This song reached and grabbed me by the ears and shook me to a musical high. Phenomenally written song, reaching one crescendo after another.
The Lumineers – Ho Hey
Another tune that grabbed me. The more I listened, the more I liked. This song will be around for years, in movies, on TV, in commercials. Instant classic.
Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
Iceland’s contribution to music this year, and a great video as well.
Alabama Shakes – Hold On
What a voice.
Caro Emerald – Back It Up
My favourite find of the year. I am really digging this act. Great voice, and different in a great way.
That’s a start, still have some more to pass on and will do so tomorrow. Don’t want to destroy your attention span.
- Listening To Canadians – Emm Gryner – “North” (therealcanadianmusicblog.wordpress.com)
- Song Of The Day – Caro Emerald – “Back It Up” (therealcanadianmusicblog.wordpress.com)
I think Norah hit a home run with this one. Definitely a bit different from most of her earlier releases. Say Goodbye is off her recent album “Little Broken Hearts”.
Kind of a fun song from the “Michael Jackson of The Netherlands”. Her most recent disc broke Micheal’s long standing record for biggest selling album (Thriller) in Holland.
Back It Up
The music world lost Abram Wilson June 9, 2012. He passed at the age of 38 of colon cancer. Far to early. I have explored jazz, and the trumpet in particular through an introduction to Donald Byrd, and discovered Abram in my travels. Spectacular player, absolutely amazing. He was born in New Orleans and lived in London, UK. Have a listen to the cuts I have included and then dig a bit deeper, satisfaction is guaranteed,
Abram Wilson Quartet
Halifax born Canadian jazz singer Holly Cole released a new album, “Night” on November 20th. This is her 16th release, spanning the past 23 years. Her sultry voice and stylings lend themselves to a wide range of music. She has released rock, country and show tunes in addition to her normal jazz repertoire. The song I have chosen to spotlight is titled “Walk Away” and is indicative of what she has made a career out of doing. Great song.
I heard this song in a tapas bar in Barcelona and it blew us away. The song is off a Donald Byrd album, “Places and Spaces” and was released in 1975. Donald was born in 1932 and has recorded since the 1950′s. An accomplished trumpet player, he has over 46 albums to his credit and many more as a sideman to such artists as Kenny Clarke, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. We need more players like this to be in the forefront of music. Makes a lot of today’s talent look imbecilic, doesn’t it.
Falling Like Dominoes
Andy Hamilton, a sensational jazz sax player, passed away on June 3 at the age of 94. Originally from Jamaica, he stowed away on a banana boat and travelled to the UK. He paid his dues ( a 14 day jail term for this transgression) and left jail to pursue his music. This guy was the real deal as you will hear in the 2 clips I have inserted here. Wow, wow, wow!!!!
Here he is playing his song, “Orocabessa” in 2007 at the age of 89.
June 1 saw the passing of American jazz saxophonist, Faruq Z. Bey . He was best known for his time with Griot Galaxy, a free jazz band from the 1970′s and 80′s. In the mid 80′s, he was forced to leave the band after a bike accident that left him in a coma for some time. He returned to playing in the mid 90′s. I have posted a couple of videos here in tribute to this outstanding musician. The first is with his band “The Northwood Improvisers”. The second is with the Griot Galaxy. Love Jazz.
Mystery of Love
Couldn’t leave without at least one tune. Be cool, be very cool, this song lays down an amazing groove. Heard it on Breaking Bad of all places. Best 2 minutes and 24 seconds you will have today, or this month, or year maybe.
Pete Cosey, guitarist extraordinaire, passed away on May 30, 2012. He was 68. He was a session guitar player at Chess Records until 1973, playing on recordings by Etta James, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, among many others. In 1973, he joined the Miles Davis Band and played with them until 1975. When the band broke up in 1975, he pretty much disappeared, surfacing from time to time to play on someone’s record. He resurfaced somewhat in 2001, forming a band, The Children of Agharta. Check out the clips I have included. The guy was amazing.
Pete Cosey Jamming
This tune is a bit different from my usual, but I just love the groove. Thievery Corporation is a DC based duo who play with a variety of supporting artists. A touch of Jazz, a morsel of electronica, a dash of reggae, they all combine to create a terrific song. And the song, Lebanese Blonde may bring back memories of a certain hashish from back in the day.
Thievery Corporation on Facebook – who cares
It is a great day to be swept away by a singer with exceptional talent. The late great Sarah Vaughan was such a singer. This track was taped in 1958 and is Sarah’s version of “Lover Man”. A standard jazz song that has also been recorded by such greats as Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James. Norah Jones, Billie Holiday and, strangely enough, Michael Jackson. The song was written for Billie Holiday in 1941 by Jimmy Davis, Roger Ramirez and James Sherman. The original by Billie was inducted to Grammy Hall of Fame in 1989.
Actress, singer Janet Carroll passed away on May 22. She was 71. Better known as an actress (think Tom Cruise’s mother in Risky Business and Gary, the owner of the shoe store Al Bundy worked at on Married…With Children) she was also an accomplished singer with many credits on Broadway and with a wide variety of jazz bands. Her career spanned over 40 years. Here is a sample of her work with The Hot Frogs Jumping Jazz Band, recorded in 1988.
That Terrific Rainbow
Carrie Smith, a terrific jazz and blues singer was taken from the world of music on May 20. She was 86. Her career spanned 50 years and she was still recording as recently as 2002. In this period she recorded at least 13 albums and appeared with many contemporaries. Here is a terrific example of her style.
Am I Blue
A second song. This one shows the depth of her classic blues voice. A terrific band as well. And check out the tap dancing.
This interpretation of the classic “Wade In The Water” by the late Eva Cassidy (1963-1996) is a staple on my iPhone. What a great song. She was an adept singer whose repertoire covered pretty much everything from pop to gospel. A superb singer, taken far to early.
Wade In The Water
Song of the Day dedicates this post to Joe Muranyi. He passed away on April 20 at the age of 84. Joe was a jazz player, who specialized in the clarinet and was also a vocalist. His career was highlighted by a stint (1967-71) with the Louis Armstrong All-Stars, where he played clarinet. He was also a producer, a critic and created liner notes for many albums. The attached song is from 2008.
Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans
- Remembering Joe Muranyi (oup.com)
- Joe Muranyi, Clarinetist With Louis Armstrong, Dies at 84 (nytimes.com)
Jazz vibraphonist, Teddy Charles passed away on April 16. He was 84. Dion, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis are some of the people he played and recorded with in his career. His main period of creating was the 1950′s. In his later years, he was captain of a Caribbean charter vessel, and had returned to music over the last few years, releasing an album as recently as 2009. I have attached two videos here, the first is off a 1956 album, the second is an interview done in relation to his 2009 release.
- Teddy Charles – Musician and Caribbean Boat Skipper – Passes Away (repeatingislands.com)
Jazz pianist Rodgers Grant died on April 12. He was a jazz pianist and composer, best known for his work with Mongo Santamaria in the 1960′s. His compositions have been recorded by Mongo Santamaria, Stan Getz, Hubert Laws and Georgie Fame. His song “Morning Star” was the title track of the Grammy nominated album of the same name by Hubert Laws. Rodgers was 76.
Morning Star is a very beautiful piece.
A classic tune. This one will take us all back in time.
April 12 saw the passing of sax player Andrew Love. He died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 71. Andrew was an artist that we have all heard at one point in our life. He and trumpet player Wayne Jackson did session work at (anything that had horns in it was him) Records. They played on recordings by Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Sam and Dave among others. Wayne and Andrew formed The Memphis Horns and began freelancing for sessions. In this period they recorded with Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Al Green, U2 and Dusty Springfield. They also hooked up on tours by the Doobie Brothers, Jimmy Buffet and Robert Cray.
This video is part interview (with Ann Peebles).
This is a great live performance of Satisfaction by Otis Redding, with the Memphis Horns supplying the brass.
As a unit, The Memphis Horns released 9 albums, mostly in the 1970′s.. As one could expect, they specialized in a funk sound. The group received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Grammys. Here is a sample of their work.
- Andrew Love: Saxophonist with the Memphis Horns (independent.co.uk)
- Andrew Love, Saxophonist in Memphis Horns, Has Died | Video (current.com)
Noted alt-sax, flautist and clarinetist passed away on April 11th at the age of 81. As well as leading his own band, Hal played and recorded with people like Woody Herman, John Coltrane and George Russell. Tremendously talented, his style was definitively 50′s jazz. I have included several tracks for us to enjoy, perfect Sunday morning music.
Give Em Hal
- Hal McKusick: Cerebral jazz saxist and composer (independent.co.uk)
Warren Luening passed away on March 18, 2012 at the age of 70. He was an outstanding trumpet player who was always in demand as a studio player. His career spanned many famous icons, meaning you likely have heard him play, without knowing him. He played with Lawrence Welk for several years. He was the soloist on soundtracks such as King Kong (2005), The River and That Thing You Do. He also played in the orchestras for the Emmys, the Oscars and Dancing With The Stars. Enjoy.
Through the vagaries of Canadian content regulations, the band Blood Sweat and Tears became Canadian, although the only member (and not an original member) of the band who is Canadian (born in the UK) was David Clayton Thomas, the singer on most of their hits. The band was originally led by Al Kooper (not Alice Cooper) and was formed in the 1960′s. Harry Nilsson sang on their album “Child is Father to the Man“, which contained such classics as “Without Her’ (Nillson) and “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”, by Al Kooper.
After this album, the band underwent a radical line up change as Al Kooper left the band. Original members Bobby Colomby and Steve Katz began a search for a new singer and based on a recommendation by Judy Collins, who had seen him sing, hired David Clayton Thomas. Thus, Blood Sweat and Tears began their career as a Canadian icon. Their first album as the reformed group, “Blood Sweat and Tears” was a major hit, even beating “Abbey Road” out as album of the year at the 1969 Grammys. The album contained the hits “You Made Me So Very Happy”, “Spinning Wheel”, and “And When I Die”.
The band has undergone many changes in its lifetime and still maintain a heavy touring schedule. David Clayton Thomas had 3 stints with the band, 1968 to 1972, 1974 to 1981 and 1984 to 2004. The band spawned a new genre of rock, outside the acid rock and anti-establishment types of the era. The bands in this grouping included Chicago, Ides of March and Atlanta Rhythm Section to name a few.
The video is a live version of Spinning Wheel, recorded in 1969.
- Chilliwack = A Canadian Classic (therealcanadianmusicblog.wordpress.com)
Michael Kaeshammer, German born, he moved to Canada at age 19. In Germany, he studied classical piano, and the discovered boogie woogie in his early teens. He toured extensively on his arrival in Canada in 1996, playing jazz an blues festivals across the country. My personal experiences with him consist of a discovery on CBC2 and a concert Lori and I went to a few years back. The concert was in a 400 seat theatre in Calgary and was phenomenal. Good story. We heard he was coming and checked out ticket availability. There were a handful of single seats still available, so we figured it was a lost cause. Lori tried once more, 2 days before the concert and, unbelievably, the person on the other end of the phone says, yes, of course, we just had 2 seats open up in the FRONT row. Lori scooped them right then and sure enough, we were in the front row, about 6 feet from the drummer, the same drummer as in the video.
Michael puts on a great concert, very personable guy with a great feel for the audience. The back and forth with the other band members was excellent. A thoroughly enjoyable experience. If you have the chance to see him play, do it.
His current tour dates are:
|09/23/11||Cerritos, CA||Cerritos Centre for the Performing Arts||United States|
|09/24/11||Pleasanton, CA||Firehouse Arts Centre||United States|
|09/26/11||Bakersfield, CA||Rabobank Theatre||United States|
|09/28/11||San Diego, CA||Anthology||United States|
|09/30/11||Kirkland, WA||Kirkland Performance Centre||United States|
|10/01/11||Portland, OR||Jimmy Mak’s||United States|
|10/02/11||Redmond, OR||Redmond High School Auditorium||United States|
|10/06/11||Madisonville, KY||Glema Mahr Centre for the Arts||United States|
|10/07/11||Chattanooga, TN||Hunter Museum||United States|
|10/08/11||Franklin, TN||Franklin Theatre||United States|
|10/14/11||Sault Ste Marie||Algoma Fest||Canada|
|10/22/11||Ottawa, ON||National Arts Centre||Canada|
|11/04/11||Boothbay Harbor, ME||Opera House||United States|
|11/05/11||Fryeburg, ME||Leura Hill Eastman PAC||United States|
|11/07/11||Minneapolis, MN||Dakota Jazz Club||United States|
|11/09/11||Evanston, IL||SPACE||United States|
|11/11/11||Ashland, OH||Hugo Young Theatre||United States|
|11/12/11||Greenville, OH||Henry St Clair Memorial Hall||United States|