Song Of the week

134: Lee Konitz, ‘Duende’

“Duende” in Spanish denotes both an evil little goblin and ‘a certain diabolical magic’which Lorca called “a sort of corkscrew that can get art into the sensibility of an audience.” The Lee Konitz ‘Duende’ (written for him by Chick Corea) has remained an obscure bluenote in a legendary career. But it wrenched my heart the first time I heard it, and has done so every time since.

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118: Brian Wilson, ‘Surf’s Up’ (“SMiLE”)

The Beach Boy’s unreleased 1966 “SMiLE” was rumored to be Brian Wilson’s unfinished masterpiece. Its legend grew larger than the Loch Ness monster, more beautiful than Shangri-La, more elusive than the Yeti, richer than El Dorado, more profound than the Shroud of Turin, more holy than the Grail. Now it’s been reassembled and issued, 37 years later. Was it worth the wait?

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101: Kurt Elling, “Li’l Darlin'”

I think 43-year old Kurt Elling is the finest male jazz singer ever. So you can imagine my pleasure at having the opportunity recently to take him and his band up to Jerusalem to visit some incredible sites in the Old City. Along the way we had an in-depth discussion about jazz singing and jazz singers, then in the evening I saw a bang-up show. Here’s a long article describing that exceptional day.
https://jmeshel.com//?p=2169
In Song of The Week, I compare Kurt’s version of Count Basie’s “Li’l Darlin'” with that of his musical mentor Mark Murphy, explaining why I think this young man is the best. Ever.

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100: Luciana Souza, ‘Chorinho Pra Ele’ (“Brazilian Duos”)

Luciana Souza recorded two albums of traditional Brazilian popular music accompanied by a single guitar. She’s consummate artist, relying neither on gimmicks nor on sex appeal, but on a refined, passionate, soulful aesthetic. Listen to her singing ‘Chorinho Pra Ele’. If you aren’t charmed out of your chair, you’re either dead or shouldn’t be listening to music.

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088: Lizz Wright, ‘Old Man’

Here’s a gift — Lizz Wright’s cover of a typically shallow and affected and annoying Neil Young junker. Her treatment reeks of rural Georgia blues gone west via Memphis to be reborn in an LA studio. It displays a harmonic and hormonic candor that’s charged with enough electricity to frizzle your synapses, guys.

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