jazz

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Happy Birthday Billie!

If Billie Holliday were still alive she would have turned 100 on April 7. Sadly underappreciated in her lifetime, she died at age 44, chained to a hospital bed facing drug charges, with only $1,000 to her name. She worked with legends, was named "Lady Day" by tenor saxophonist Lester Young, had a brief stint with Count Basie, and competed with Elle Fitzgerald for popular attention (and they later became friends). She is without a doubt one of the very top vocalists to have ever lived and changed the way music was performed and appreciated.

Live at My Father's Place by John McLaughlin

One of my favorite concert experiences in the past couple years was getting to see John McLaughlin play with his new band. He has returned to the electric jazz fusion that I first came to love him for. While the library hasn't acquired the recording of the the show I saw yet (but I'm so excited it was recorded and released already - look for it on Spotify - McLaughlin live in Boston), I did just find this amazing gem that was released in August of 2014.

A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio

Get in the holiday spirit with one of my favorite holiday-themed albums of all time. The perfect balance of melancholic nostalgia, tight jazz improvisation, and plenty of space to think about falling snow. I get tired pretty quickly listening to the songs that sprout like weeds this time of year, but I've never grown tired of this album. I picked up the sheet music a few years ago and try and bang out some of the parts on my piano at home. I like both the original numbers (Christmas time is here, Skating) as well as the arrangements of familiar tunes (esp.

WomanChild by Cécile McLorin Salvant

With a sound that could have been recorded by Blue Note in 1954, this album is sure to delight vocal jazz fans. Three years after winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocalist competition this twenty-something rising star has been lauded by luminaries including Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau, and Dianne Reeves.

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