Sunday, April 24, 2016

Jazz for finals

With finals coming up for college students, I wanted to share 5 albums that help me study.


Read Jazz for Midterms and Jazz for Studying for my previous suggestions.

Jazz for finals 

1. The Ellington Suites by Duke Ellington

The Ellington Suites collects three suites composed by Duke Ellington for his orchestra: Queen's Suite, Goutelas Suite and Uwis Suite. Ellington wrote "Queen's Suite" for Queen Elizabeth II.

This album is perfect for studying because Ellington's themes are jubilant and reflective. This joy, along with the cohesive sound of his jazz orchestra makes a perfect backdrop to do chores or to help write an inspired paper for an English class.

Listen to "Sunset and the Mockingbird" the Queen's Suite:

2. Concert by the Sea by Erroll Garner

Concert by the Sea is a live album by pianist Erroll Garner, and probably his most well known work. What's amazing about this album is that it wasn't meant to be recorded officially - Garner was playing for soldiers at a military base, and someone happened to be recording the concert on a tape recorder. The end result is magical.

The live nature of the album gives each track added energy, which makes it great to listen to while reading a textbook or looking over notes. Garner's unique sound is crystalline, and helps me focus while doing my work.

Listen to "Autumn Leaves" from the album:

3. Someday My Prince Will Come by Miles Davis

Someday My Prince Will Come is a studio album by Miles Davis on Columbia Records. This album combines Miles Davis' original songs with well-known pop songs, such as "Someday My Prince Will Come" from Disney's Snow White.

Sometimes the hardest part of exam season is the stress and anxiety. This album is lyrical and expressive, making it perfect to clear your mind before a big exam so you can do your best. 

Listen to "Someday My Prince Will Come" from the album:

4. Brubeck plays Brubeck by Dave Brubeck

Brubeck plays Brubeck was Dave Brubeck's first solo piano album, and was actually recorded over two days at Brubeck's own house. The album consists of all Brubeck originals and contains some of his most famous works, such as "In Your Own Sweet Way."

Brubeck's playing on this album is cohesive and expressive. I especially love to listen to solo jazz piano while studying. Solo piano provides clarity and reminds me of classical music - Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Bach and Schubert are some of my favorites. This album's subdued nature would be perfect to listen to while doing a school project.

Listen to "In Your Own Sweet Way" from the album:

5. Sweet Rain by Stan Getz

Sweet Rain features Stan Getz on tenor saxophone, Chick Corea on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Grady Tate on drums. Unlike Getz/Gilberto which features bossa nova music, Sweet Rain is straight-ahead jazz and features freer improvisation.

Getz's tone is often called "The Sound," since it is full, round, and wispy. This album is perfect to listen to while writing a paper, since it has a searching and passionate quality to it. This quality could inspire any student needing to write a 5-10 page paper - or even the procrastinators needing to get work done right before class!

Listen to "Sweet Rain" from the album:

Final Thoughts: 
Good luck to everyone taking finals!


Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem and my musician website.

Since September 2015 I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene.  

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reasons why I love jazz - Jazz Day 2016

International Jazz Day (IJD) is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) in April, and is held annually on April 30th. IJD was started in 2011 by UNESCO in order to celebrate “the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.”

In order to prepare for IJD, and to celebrate JAM, I wanted to share some reasons why I love jazz along with some of the jazz I love.

John Coltrane



To learn more about IJD, click here. To learn more about JAM 2016, click here.


Watch Dee Dee Bridgewater and Anat Cohen discuss how jazz is a feeling:


Reasons why I love jazz - Jazz Day 2016

1. "Si tu vois ma mère" by Sidney Bechet

Because Bechet plays as if he's an opera singer. Because the song is flowing, and sentimental. Because in his autobiography Treat it Gentle, Bechet says, "I can be off alone somewheres, I can be sitting here and I can be sad and lonely, but all I got to do is think of some melody and I'm feeling better off."

Listen to "Si tu vois ma mère":

2. "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" by Coleman Hawkins

Because "music should always be an adventure." Because of Hawkins' lush tone and vibrato. Because the melody calls out as if someone is talking to me. Because it exudes a warmth and tenderness that makes the music breathe. 


3. "My Foolish Heart" by Bill Evans

Because it's introspective. Because it's lonely yet self-assured. Because Evans brings an aura of simplicity to the most complex phrases. Because of his touch of the piano and how each chord rings out like a bell. 

Listen to "My Foolish Heart":

4. "Skylark" by Ella Fitzgerald

Because of the beautiful arrangement with bird-calls and strings. Because Ella's ability to tell a story as if she lived through it herself. Because of the lyrics: "Oh skylark, I don't know if you can find these things, but my heart is riding on your wings."

Listen to "Skylark":

5. "I Hear A Rhapsody" by John Coltrane

Because of Coltrane's intensity and giant tone. Because of how the rhythm section highlights every line with accents. Because of the urgency in the song, and how each line pushes forward like a waterfall. 

Listen to "I Hear a Rhapsody":

6. "Peace" by Ornette Coleman

Because jazz can be music for peace. Because of how Coleman's tone seems to cry out for change. Because music doesn't need to have rules to be beautiful. Because self expression comes from internal freedom and strength. 

Listen to "Peace":


7. "Over the Rainbow" by Dave Brubeck

Because the song is so light and airy. Because Brubeck and Paul Desmond seem like one person joined by sound. Because the melody carries such depth. Because the song seems to be narrating a lifetime of joy. Because Desmond's tone is birdlike and crisp. 

Listen to "Over the Rainbow":

8. "Lush Life" by Billy Strayhorn

Because of the integrity and truth behind each word Strayhorn sings. Because of the honestly and absoluteness of Strayhorn's shaky vocal. Because of the vulnerability of the lyrics: "Life is lonely again and only last year everything seemed so sure." 

Listen to "Lush Life":

9. "Sophisticated Lady" by Duke Ellington

Because of the way the song paints a picture of sophistication. Because of Harry Carney's deep tone and complete jubilance. Because of the intimacy and connection between Duke Ellington on piano and Harry Carney on baritone saxophone. 

Listen to "Sophisticated Lady":

10. "When You're Smiling" by Louis Armstrong

Because Armstrong is a pillar of hope. Because even with everything Armstrong had to go through to become an international star at that time, he carried himself with joy. Because, at the end of the day, smiling is what lets us get by. Because "when you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you."

Listen to "When You're Smiling":

Final Thoughts: 
Jazz means so much to me, and I am so grateful to share it with all of you. Happy Jazz Appreciation Month, and International Jazz Day! 

Leave a comment down below: why do you love jazz? 

Louis Armstrong

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem and my musician website.

Since September 2015 I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene.  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Every possible musical idea

This week I wanted to share some videos by pianist Oscar Peterson as a source of inspiration. Peterson released over 200 recordings, won eight Grammy Awards, and is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time.


Every possible musical idea

In the following video Peterson gives a piano lesson, where he exemplifies each style of jazz piano. He goes through styles such as stride, and shows the framework behind famous pianists such as Nat Cole and George Shearing. In addition to playing each style of jazz piano, Peterson is able to articulate what exactly goes into each style to make it sound special.

Watch a piano lesson with Oscar Peterson here

This video is especially eye-opening, as Oscar Peterson is such a unique voice in jazz - yet he can pinpoint the style, sound, and framework behind all the greats. In this way, he showcases how much research and work goes into every phrase - everything he plays has care and meaning. 

Watch Oscar Peterson play, "C Jam Blues":

What's also special about Oscar Peterson is his jubilance with everything he plays - in fact he even once quoted: "I believe in using the entire piano as a single instrument capable of expressing every possible musical idea." 

Watch Oscar Peterson play, "Body and Soul":

To learn more about Oscar Peterson and his career, listen to the NPR Jazz Profile, "Oscar Peterson: Piano Master."

Final Thoughts: 
Even the masters were once students - and it is inspiring to know that they never stop learning! Because, even when you conquer one musical idea, there are still infinite possibilities for the imagination. 

Watch Oscar Peterson play, "Hymn to Freedom":

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem and my musician website.

Since September 2015 I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene.  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Jazz YouTube Channels 3

This week I wanted to build off of my previous Jazz YouTube Channel posts, and share some more channels dedicated to music.

Read Jazz YouTube Channels and Jazz YouTube Channels 2.



Jazz YouTube Channels 3

1. Monk Institute of Jazz 

The Thelonious Monk Institute is a nonprofit music education organization dedicated to jazz education. The Institute has an annual competition, hosts a graduate-level program, and organizes education programs in public schools throughout the United States. The Monk Institute YouTube channel has footage from past competitions, as well as a few masterclasses. My favorite video on the channel is a masterclass with drummer Max Roach where he teaches public school children about improvising.

Watch the masterclass with Max Roach here:

2. NYU Steinhardt Jazz Studies

New York University is an American college with an active jazz program. Its YouTube channel is an invaluable resource to learn about jazz and it contains many interviews with jazz musicians, including Joe Lovano, Herb Alpert and Wayne Shorter. My favorite video is an interview with saxophonist Wayne Shorter where he talks about the power of superheroes.

Watch an interview with Wayne Shorter here:

3. International Jazz Day

International Jazz Day is an annual event hosted by UNESCO to celebrate jazz as a tool for peace and unity among world cultures. This year the event will be hosted at the White House with President Obama. The International Jazz Day YouTube channel promotes this event, as also has footage from past events. One of my favorite videos on this channel is a video from the 2012 festival, with vocalist Lalah Hathaway, bassist Esperanza Spalding and trumpeter Roy Hargrove.

Watch the International Jazz Day video here:

4. My Music Masterclass

My Music Masterclass is a YouTube channel dedicated towards providing online musical lessons. This channel is a great resource for musicians, beginning or professional, since the videos share insights on all aspects of playing music. One of my favorite videos from this channel is saxophonist Dave Liebman's masterclass where he talks about how melodies have a clear beginning and ending.

Watch Dave Liebman's video here:

5. Loyola University Film and Music Industry

Loyola University in New Orleans and hosts a College of Music and Fine Arts. The YouTube channel for this division of the college has videos of masterclasses, lectures, and workshops with various musicians including Ron Carter, Rufus Reid, and Gary Burton. One of my favorite videos from this channel is a masterclass with bassist Ron Carter where he speaks about his personal journey as a musician.

Watch the masterclass with Ron Carter here:

Final Thoughts: 
YouTube is a great resource to discover music through online masterclasses, lectures, concerts, and workshops. 

Please subscribe to Kind of Pink and Purple by email (top right of the page) and follow on other social media: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoogle PlusPinterest. Also, please visit my jazz poetry blog, Without a Poem and my musician website.

Since September 2015 I have been the JazzBoston newsletter writer-editor. Please sign up for the monthly newsletter to learn more about the Boston jazz scene.