Album Picks

Julie London Sings the Standards, by Grant Stoner

Nov 26, 2018

My album pic for this month is “Julie London Sings the Standards” 2001 EMI Records CD. I started listening to female jazz vocalists more in the mid 90’s. My first love was Sarah Vaughn, followed by Ella and Billie. Then one day a few years ago, I was working out at the health club, listening to “Jazz Vocalists” playlist on Pandora (I know, an odd choice for lifting weights, but then I’m different). Then suddenly I heard this song “Sway” (unfortunately not on this compilation) with a woman singing I didn’t’ recognize. I thought, who on earth is this sultry seductress? The one and only Julie London. I since sought out everything I could find by her and she’s became one of my very favorites. She has a sensuality like no other. This compilation sounds quite good. All songs were recorded from the late 50’s to late 60’s. While some tracks have the vocals with some reverb sending the vocals to the back of the soundstage, some like “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and “Love Letters”, have the vocals so up front you would swear Julie was in your room singing to you. A really great CD performance and sound wise, highly recommended.

Cantate Domino, by Alón Sagee

Nov 26, 2018

Perfect audiophile Christmas LP. Listen to the track Julsang for the most beautiful choral arrangement I’ve ever heard, highlighted by Marianne Mellnas’s unbelievable solos. On a well configured system, you should be able to see her solidly placed on a stunning 3D soundstage as her voice fills the church. You will probably get a real sense of the size of the space as the subtle queues off the walls are presented. If you’ve ever thought you wouldn’t be caught dead buying an album with a pipe organ as the only instrument… make an exception for this one. Enjoy and happy holidays!

SFjazz Collective, by David Hicks

Nov 26, 2018

My Music pick this month isn’t a single album, but an entire catalog by the SFJAZZ Collective.  My knowledge of Jazz music is far from comprehensive, so I can’t recommend the SFJAZZ Collective’s catalog to you in any way other than to say I like their music.  But for me, that goes a long way due to the pickiness of my preferences for Jazz.  I was unfamiliar with their work until Jana Dagdagan’s visit to my home last month.  Jana’s partner is the group’s bassist Matt Brewer.  And, I’m not promoting the group’s albums on Jana’s behalf as Matt, being new to the group, doesn’t yet appear on any of the groups albums, though we can look forward to hearing him soon as the group releases a new CD at the end of each year’s performances, which happen not only at the SFJazz Center but include an expansive World-wide touring schedule.

Stravinsky, “The Rite of Spring & The Firebird Suite”, by Grant Stoner

Oct 26, 2018

My music pic for this month is Stravinsky “The Rite Of Spring“ and “The Firebird Suite” Leonard Bernstein conducts the London Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic,

Rickie Lee Jones, “Traffic From Paradise”, by Alón Sagee

Oct 26, 2018

I’ve loved Rickie Lee Jones’s music for many years, and have been continuously awed by how she uses her voice as an instrument that integrates with all the other musicians to create the rich tapestry of sound that is her trademark.

Tomasz Stanko Quartet, “Soul of Things”, by Grant Stoner

Sep 27, 2018

My album pic for this month is Tomasz Stanko Quartet “ Soul Of Things” ECM 2002 cd
I have a number of Tomasz albums and this is the most laid back.

Strunz and Farah, “Misterio”, by Alón Sagee

Sep 27, 2018

I am a big fan of guitar duo Strunz and Farah. One of my reference treasures is their album Misterio, an LP I’ve had for many years and can’t tire of.

Zoë Keating, “Into The Trees”, by David Hicks

Sep 24, 2018

Trees, trees, and more trees. Zoë Keating has been described as a One-Woman Cello Orchestra. I would add that sometimes her hair has appeared to look very tree-like.

September, 2018 Album Picks

Sep 24, 2018

Grant’s Pick

My album pic for this month is Oscar Peterson Quartet Night Child on Pablo records 1979 vinyl.   This album features Oscar Peterson on acoustic and electric,

August, 2018 Album Picks

Sep 24, 2018

Alón’s Pick

Patricia Barber, Modern Cool

Probably my favorite album by a living female vocalist.  Putting Patricia Barber in that genre is only for convenience,