Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NPR's Weekly Jazz Sampler


I just discovered this and I have a feeling I'll be tuning in regularly. Every week the NPR site picks a Jazz Theme and streams five songs tied to that theme. This week is West Coast Cool: The Jazz Sound Of '50s California and I highly recommend all five tracks, especially Stardust by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. I always enjoy music so much more when I understand it's context and the site does a great job of briefly, but effectively, providing a context. Here's what they wrote about Stardust:

Unlike most of the musicians associated with the West Coast jazz sound, Dave Brubeck is actually a native Californian, as was his most important collaborator, saxophonist Paul Desmond. Both were born in the San Francisco Bay area, and the music they made together remains some of the most lyrical and popular jazz ever recorded. Brubeck was one of the first musicians to bring jazz to college campuses; his Jazz At Oberlin, recorded in 1953, is one of the quartet's earliest and finest live recordings. In their version of "Stardust," no one in the group ever plays the melody: Desmond and Brubeck imply the melody and explore it beautifully in their improvisations without specifically stating it. This recording is thought by many to be one of the best examples of Desmond's exceptionally lyrical playing.

Link - Take Five: A Weekly Jazz Sampler

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