Rather than attempting a Lincoln and Washington themed playlist this month, I’m going with a Valentine’s vibe and lining up a couple hours of lovey-dovey songs or otherwise heart tweaking entitled tracks.
My Baby Just Cares for Me – Nina Simone
Here’s some really fun piano, globally warm vocals and, superb shuffle.
I Wish You Love – Gloria Lynne
Landing in to the groove following the rubato introduction is such a nice feeling. Somebody please tell me which rhythm this is. Sounds similar to Mancini’s Lujon.
Makin’ Whoopee (Instrumental) – Oscar Peterson and Stéphane Grappelli
Kenny Clarke and N.H.O.P are freaking in the pocket! Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen gets a sound out of his bass that was “it” for me as a teenager. I believed other bass players weren’t doing it right if they didn’t get that kind of bite and sustain
The Look of Love – Stan Getz
It’s the mid 1960’s! The vocal backing sounds synthetic almost to me. Now, for comparison….
The Look of Love – Diana Krall
Originally intended to be an instrumental, Diana Krall sings the Hal David lyrics added to Burt Bacharach’s tune. That’s the London Symphony Orchestra laying down the Claus Oberman sustained, gentle, aural tensioning. Presumably, those are Ms. Krall’s fingers on that reverberating piano.
If You Really Love Me – Stevie Wonder
I love the first four notes of the recording. Start out with the phrase-glue. Brilliant! Wonder’s vocal rubatos provide an alternating contrast to the groove. Clap along on two and four on the last chorus through the fade out.
I Loves You Porgy – George Duke
This has elments so much like Oscar Peterson’s treatment of the same song but, it is very much George Duke, who passed away a year or two ago.
Easy to Love – Gene Ammons
Alright, let’s settle in for four and a quarter minutes of straight ahead swing.
Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Suite No. 2, Op. 64: I. Montagues and Capulets – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
If Shakespeare could have somehow stolen the Romeo and Juliet story from West Side Story, Montagues and Capulets might be inspired by The Jet Song. here is a short excerpt from the Prokofiev piece that highlights the forte fortissimo parts!
Crazy on You – Heart
A pretty tight arrangement is heard here, Heart’s debut release.
Strawberry Letter 23 – Shuggie Otis
A very interesting and listenable recording. The story is that the title refers to the scent from strawberry perfumed love letters. The other story is that the first story is not true.
You Don’t Know What Love is – Sonny Rollins
Precise and soulful playing. You may have heard the stories of Sonny Rollins practicing on the Brooklyn Bridge. I don’t know if they are exactly true but, there is no doubt that a monster of a player, a colossus, is at work here.
When I Fall in Love – Carmen McRae
Carmen McRae has what it takes! Her phrasing is stunning. The open spaces between words as well as the unexpectedly long notes knock me out! Listen for “when I give my heaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaart”
The Man I Love – Peggy Lee
Believe it or not, the Nelson Riddle arrangements heard on this album were conducted by Frank Sinatra.
All You Need is Love – The Beatles
All you need is to count some of the meter here. If you don’t, you will probably not notice the Bacharach-like departures from common time.
Lover Man – Marian Petrescu
A luxury vehicle to showcase the virtuosity of Rumanian pianist Marian Petrescu. Anyone else hearing echos of Oscar Peterson? Andreas Öberg on guitar.
Genius of Love – Tom Tom Club
Two words for you “Smokey RobBINson”
Where is the Love – Bobby Broom
The love is all over this playlist. I know I’ve heard the popular version of this song but, I can’t tell you anything without looking it up. Alright then, to the Wiki I go…So it was Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway singing this in 1972. What interests me, is that this cut is in three quarter time.The original was in common time and, quite a bit more up tempo.
I’m in the Mood for Love – Julie London
I just want to hear more of the consonant blends captured from Julie London’s voice situated inches from some very nice ribbon microphone. Oh yeah, the vowels are awesome too!
Strawberry Letter 23 – The Brothers Johnson
The more popular rendition of the Shuggie Otis hit. Oddly, it is a full minute longer than the Shuggie Otis original. I have not done the analysis to tell you what is in that one minute.
What the World Needs Now is Love – Sergio Mendez
Holy uptempo Sergio! Alright, I don’t even like this recording but, I was struggling to hit my two hour duration target for this playlist so, at press time, this one is staying in.
Sunshine of Your Love – Mongo Santamaria
Yes, this one displaced the Cream original in this playlist . This Mongo Santamaria rendition sounds more like sunshine than the original. Barry sax baby, I wish the mix had the big horn a little more in front. Christopher Walken would be happy, we have plenty of cowbell here.
Love for Sale – Toni Harper with the Oscar Peterson Quartet
You have to hang in through two and a half minutes of rubato before gently swinging with the quartet for the remainder of the track.
May This be Love – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
I don’t know how I discovered this one. I have the feeling the metadata is wrong and that this song is really entitled “My Waterfall” I enjoy how Mitch Mitchell’s drumming contributes to the psychedelic feel.
My Funny Valentine – Sarah Vaughn
I have to include at least one rendition of My Funny Valentine in the February playlist. I had considered Elvis Costello’s, Chaka Kahn’s and Carmen McCrae’s treatment before settling on this one.
Love Train – the O’Jays
I admit it. I watched Soul Train on at least a few Sunday’s as a young teenager.
Moody’s Mood for Love
The key to listening to this, is to hear the singing for what it is, lyrics set to a melody that is really an improvised saxophone solo from another recording
You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine – Lou Rawls
I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a voice like Lou Rawls. You’d wake up in the morning, get in the shower, open your mouth and four octaves of amazing, soul healing sounds come out! Dig the percussion at the beginning as well as the iconic, rumbling ascending piano glissandos.
O Grande Amor – Stan Getz with A. C. Jobim
Oh, the upper register of Getz’ tenor is unique and it’s placement with Jobim’s voice on this quiet tune really works. I heard that Getz adopted the style of playing up there so that his sound would cut through the other instruments in larger bands. Here, his sweet edge sparkles on the Brazilian background. Amazing really.
There is No Greater Love – Gloria Lynne
To close us out this month, how about vibes, brushes, guitar and bass behind Gloria Lynne’s magnificent voice fed through some dripping wet reverb?