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Sound Ideas #36 - Magic, Piano, and Blues
Welcome to an hour of magic, piano, and blues. Thanks for stopping by.
Artist Track Album
Wynton Marsalis Free to Be The Magic Hour
Gene Harris Nice 'n Easy Funky Gene's
Patricia Barber Pygmalion Mythologies
Michele Petrucciani Face's Face Pianism
Louis Smith Val's Blues Here Comes Louis Smith
John Coltrane Mr. Day Trane Plays the Blues
Charles Mingus Duke's Choice A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry
Sonny Rollins Alfie's Theme Differently Alfie

Wynton Marsalis has been a serious contributor to the jazz scene for over 30 years. In fact, his career has been longer than many "masters" and "greats" of the past that were an influence on his as his craft developed and matured. This cut from the early 2000s has the combination of technical prowess, catchy melody, hip changes, and of course soul. It's title sums it up best, for this will be a magic hour.

Our second set focuses on the piano in a small group setting. The piano has a somewhat unique capabilities set in jazz: it can lead, accompany, act as a section, or go it alone. Gene Harris offers up the funky swingin' side of the piano of which he was a master, Patricia Barber delivers colors and a canvas of emotions along with her captivating vocals, and Michel Petrucciani sets of the technical fireworks in his unique style of playing that could fill a concert hall or be so quiet as to hear a pin drop.

Set three focuses on the blues derivation known as jazz. Louis Smith straddles the line between bebop and hard bop for a romping track; 'Trane illustrates once again his endless ability to improvise especially on the blues, which he never seems content to leave in its basic form; and Mingus' compositional prowess and emotional capture of the reality of the moment is on display as this master salutes another. This version of Duke's Choice is an earlier recording, not the one found on the more common album, Ah Um.

Sonny Rollins empowered by Oliver Nelson closes out the hour with the magic that was the soundtrack from the original movie, Alfie. In another mid-sized ensemble orchestration, we are treated to the not quite big band arrangement style that Nelson was so adept.

Some days it is difficult to find a free moment, let alone an hour, but if you do, these charts might just transport you to place that is less hectic, and fettered, and a bit more reflective. Each of these performances uniquely reflects a feeling and mood, perhaps one of them reflects where you are right now.