Sunday, December 9, 2018

Helen Merrill John Lewis


John Lewis | Helen Merrill - John Lewis | Helen Merrill When my sister went to Arizona State University she got a bunch of jazz albums from their LP collection. They owned A Shade of Difference (which I need to buy) and this. I have to admit I rarely listen to an artist past their prime. I know it's something I need to stop. They could still make good music. Since I wasn't familiar with Helen Merrill's excellent earlier period maybe I was more open to it. Anyway, I just bought this because I have good memories of this record. She does a wordless vocal on "Django." Her cover of "Angel Eyes" is the best thing on this album. John Lewis provides the piano and there's also a good flute player Hubert Laws who does a good job on "Close your Eyes."

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Ella Fitzgerald Christmas album


Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas I'm not much of a Christmas music fan but I liked this album. When I was 20 I listened to Ella Fitzgerald and didn't care for her. Now I'm 35 and I like what I'm hearing. She has a unique warm inviting voice. Most of the songs are uptempo. This album doesn't drag. My favorite moment is Sleigh Ride. I watched the documentary "Ella Fitzgerald Something to live for". It showed her as a humble person always willing to give money to relatives. Despite being one of the greats of jazz she was insecure about her appearance. The documentary made her human and inspired me to listen to her again. I can't wait to try her songbook material.