Music Monday: Jazz

by Scott Lydon

 

Happy Music Monday! Because of the holiday last week, Scott managed to forget the birthdays of both Miles Davis and Sun Ra. So this week, he's making it right with a Music Monday all about jazz. Sadly, there's a lot of great artists he has to skip, so he's counting on you to make it right in the comments after. Here's his five to start you out...

Miles Davis - My Funny Valentine

 

Miles Davis, man. It's hard to think of any other artist who did as much, influenced as much, and made as much happen. Not even David Bowie conquered as many different styles as Miles Davis. So only picking one song? How could anyone make that call? Finally I chose My Funny Valentine because it's smooth, pretty, and won't freak out purists as much as this does. Happy belated birthday, Miles. And thank you for helping my record collection be cool.

Four more jazz artists to go, and then it'll be your turn to complain and judge. Isn't that what being a jazz fan is all about? See you after the jump.

As always, remember our Spotify playlist will be featuring a great selection from last week's Music Monday comments. The theme of the mix this time is Memories. Remember last week? Gosh, wasn't it great? But don't get caught daydreaming about the past. Check out our current Music Monday, right now!

Sun Ra - We Travel The Spaceways

 

There's a planet up there where Sun Ra actually came from, and their Classic Rock radio stations play things like this all the time. Sun Ra came to us from that planet, and anything else you read is just part of the cover-up. Seriously, who are you going to believe? Some Wikipedia page that talks about how influential he was? Or your own ears? For Sun Ra to be a mere human, we'd have to believe in a man who was half Douglas Adams and half Wu-Tang Clan. Surely someone like that would HAVE to be an alien!

John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman - They Say It's Wonderful

 

Okay, fine, you caught me. I couldn't help but find a way to sneak both these men in at the same time. But can you blame me? Hartman's warm, deep voice is a treat no matter what he's singing, but when balance by the undisputed genius of the sax? It's pretty much perfect. PS: This album is super cheap in mp3 form, and I can't recommend it enough.

Nina Simone - Feelings

 

There are a lot of artists who can do a really good song. True genius, however, can best be demonstrated by taking something that's terrible and making it into something brilliant. Nina Simone has greater ballads and more passionate songs but here she simply deconstructs a 70's crap-pop hit. By the end of it, you're listening to a song with real meaning. And it's not the song that's doing all the work.

Isao Suzuki - Aqua Marine

 

Okay, I'm totally being all hipster now, but there's a good chance most of you will never have heard this before. I myself only know of it because I got lucky and found it on a compilation by accident. That's why I'm skipping over other, more famous jazz bass players, in hopes you'll all get the rush that only comes from hearing something new. Because that's what jazz is supposed to be all about.

Okay, now it's your turn. Doesn't matter if you want to talk about John Zorn or Bing Crosby, post all the jazz heroes that Scott so rudely ignored. Then feel free to visit our Turntable.fm room and dig that crazy Music Monday enjoyment. Also, let us just remind you: some images come from the corresponding Wikipedia pages and are here under fair use.