Friday Music

Really not looking forward to performing at KCRF’s Media Party in the rain for a second year in a row, so here’s some music to lift spirits….

I can’t believe that I’ve gone this far into Friday Music entries without posting any jazz. So, here are two of my favorite compositions from my two favorite periods of jazz: First, a gem from the 1930s big band swing era: Duke Ellington – “Take the A Train.” And, from the beatnik hipsters of the late 50s/early 60s: Dave Brubeck – “Take Five.”

Freddie Mercury dabbled with his interest in opera in several Queen songs, notably “Bohemian Rhapsody”. In the 80s, though, he decided to use one of his solo efforts to completely immerse himself, and collaborated with soprano Monserrat Cabelle, producing this amazing piece: Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Cabelle – “Barcelona.” (The link can be slow to connect at times, but once it does, the download is fairly quick.)

A lot of things led to the development of hip-hop as a genre. One of them was this: Gil Scott-Heron – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Scott-Heron performs his spoken-word poetry over a backing funk instrumental. This is from 1974, and directly influenced the development of rap which would spring out of the South Bronx within the next 4-5 years. His material is aggressively political, which is something that mainstream hip-hop wouldn’t see for quite a while (until “The Message” from Grandmaster Flash, and the eventual debut of Public Enemy), and which I wish more hip-hop was today.

I heard this track earlier this week, and it’s been on constant rotation on my playlist ever since. Andy Bell, the lead singer of Erasure, has a new solo album coming out, and this is the lead single: Andy Bell – “Crazy.” I can picture the gay discos going nuts over this one already.

I used to go to gay dance clubs when I was in high school…for one thing, they had the best music. For another, they were often juice bars, which means that we could get in without being 21. Third, a lot of straight women go to gay clubs, so a straight guy is a rare commodity, and highly prized. :) I remember hearing this more than once: Eurythmics – “Love is a Stranger (7″ Mix)”

Another track from the 80s — whose smooth sound and great instrumentation are always ignored in favor of talking about the lead singer’s hair, or the band’s goofy name: Kajagoogoo – “Too Shy.” If that’s not the coolest opening bass riff EVER, then it’s at least in the top 10.

More trip-hop: My favorite track from Zero 7. The “buzz clip” of this song on MTV2 is what introduced me to this band. Zero 7 – “Destiny” I love the opening lyrics: “I lie awake, I’ve gone to ground…I’m watching porn in my hotel dressing-gown.” –which is an incredibly real way to start a love song about missing one’s soul-mate.

There you go. Now, off to prep for standing in the rain. AGAIN.

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