the giddy volume 5

the bad plus anthem for the earnest - conspicuous activity
this needs to be heard on headphones.  this track shows up on an album that boasts a great arrangement of chariots of fire. the cool swoop at the beginning sounds so great, nevermind the production.  i can't say enough about this trio.  they are committed to the concept of ensemble, original music, creative takes on standard material from so many genres, and are delightful people to boot.  ethan’s solo is so good, the way he weaves in and out of tonal centers while stutter stepping his phrases.  the short fallout ending is fantastic; however, my favorite part is a double dip at 5:19.  i’m digging on ethan's right hand as he scrambles upwards in search of a resolution while king joyously swings through the same break. as far as i'm concerned, this band is where it’s at.

keith sweat i want her - make it last forever
i’ll admit – i own a copy of this on cassingle.  i’ve never really understood the attraction to this guy, but have forced myself to endure repeated listens to all of his hits.  i’m this way with sonny rollins and dexter gordon too… shhh.  he sounds like a poor man’s version of that guy from cameo, who is (surprisingly enough) a julliard grad.  this tune was the jam back in the day, so it was required material for school dances.  i don't quite understand the obvious identity crisis between the sevens on the minor chord in the hook, but it works somehow.  my favorite part is the “i want I want i want i want i want” at 2:05 in the top of the second chorus. 

david berkman not a christmas song - handmade
i have had the pleasure to meet and play a couple of shows with david, a wonderfully fresh pianist and fun composer.  this was his first album to make it into my grubby little paws.  tom harrell is wonderful all over this thing, and brian blade sells me on each tune.  this cut is representative of the consistent vibe throughout the entire album – thoughtful and in control.  the trumpet solo is divine and delivered with clear tone, but the piano solo is my favorite part.  i like the dry touch in the flitting sixteenth lines and how they unfurl into block ideas at 4:36 that eventually swing out.

frank sinatra the girl from ipanema
sinatra is a widely underrated musician.  most folks think his powerful social life is fascinating (and it sure is) while looking past his musicianship.  his time, his pitch, his delivery, his phrasing – all respectful and professional.  this is an interesting album, simply titled francisco alberto sinatra & antonio carlos jobim.  jobim sounds gorgeous on this cut, with his nylon guitar and cozy portugese.  i like the stacked fourths in claus orgerman’s orchestration that follow the first a, and i fall for frank at 2:30 when he efficiently omits all of the “ands” early in the last a.

tina brooks true blue - true blue
my grad school buddy russ is a big audiophile.  he knows every minute detail about every recording that has floated in front of him.  he turned me on to tenor saxophonist tina brooks and gave me my first bootlegged cdr. this album is all gravy, and falls into that hard bop record bin that i never would have dug through.  i'm into the catchy bass figure on this cut and love the way that tina froof froofs it as a call and response in the melody.  my favorite part is at the top of tina’s blowing at 0:56.  i really dig his long tone intro and the rhythmic displacement in the first four bars.

mf doom hoe cakes - mm...food
i bought this album with a gift card at the now defunct borders store down the street.  i thought i was getting the latest mos def and somehow picked up this album.  i soon realized that mf doom is beast.  the samples are great and he keeps it real with low-fi treatment of his grooves.  i like the rising bass part after “tattoo”, absolutely love the genius way the “s” rhythmically alludes to the full “super” sample, dig the line “never let her fry the ragu”, and am feeling those changes – so refreshing in contrast to most beat tracks that have no harmonic movement whatsoever.  my favorite part of this track is where he places “kiss it”, just behind beat four at 1:55.  brilliant record and killer mask.

my wife, the family breadwinner, played a four-week run of the uber-popular broadway show wicked.  we got cheap front row tickets to the show, so the boys and I spent a saturday afternoon with both witches.  we listened real hard for piccolo and flute riffs we had heard repeatedly from sonja’s practice sessions, but were bombarded with drums and keyboards.  the best song hands-down, defying gravity, has the same type of ebb and flow i remember from teenage romantic encounters, giving me that old sentimental indigestion of yesteryear.  the vocals are vibrant and the strength of the melodies is undeniable.  i’m a sucker for “look to the western sky” from the green witch at 2:56 from this live performance at the 2004 tony awards.  my family always lets me sing that part when we blast this track on family road trips.

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