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Posts Tagged ‘percussion’

Song of the Week – Kurt Elling “Where I Belong”

November 20th, 2009
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Kurt Elling, jazz vocalist

Kurt Elling, jazz vocalist (photo credit: Christian Lantry)

One of my all time favorite jazz vocalists is the inimitable Kurt Elling. He has been voted Male Vocalist of the Year for 10 years in a row by critics in Downbeat magazine and for 5 years by the Downbeat readers’ choice awards.

Kurt Elling has done some really incredible recordings, and I am definitely going to go out and try to complete my collection and get all 8 of his albums.

The current JazzPianoCafe song of the week is Kurt Elling’s recording of his very romantic original song, Where I Belong. It’s from his 1998 album This Time It’s Love. Here are the lyrics, courtesy of Kurt Elling’s website:

Lyric by Kurt Elling

I hear the woman like a song / dancing down a long corridor
Reminding me I belong where I am

I see the singing in the rain/ the rhythm at my windowpane
Reminding me I belong where I am

There is a light in the silence of loving things
And when I look in my baby’s hopeful eyes
It’s like the sound just before ever morning horizon
Light comes to life

It’s like a magnet of loving sound / turning me rightside down
Keeping my two feet firmly planted on the ground
Reminding me I belong where I am.

You can listen to the song on iTunes for 99 cents, or listen for free on imeem (free account registration required). You can also purchase the CD or MP3’s online from Amazon.

Kurt Elling - This Time It's Love - Where I Belong

This recording of Where I Belong features the following stellar musicians: Kurt Elling voice, Laurence Hobgood piano, Rob Amster bass, Michael Raynor percussion, Dave Oderdonk guitar, Paul Wertico drums, and Brad Wheeler soprano saxophone.

The track opens with burst of warm sound. A simple riff on the soprano sax is echoed by the piano, accompanied by drums, acoustic bass and guitar. The riff is repeated once and then Kurt Elling enters with his sparkling and luscious baritone. A hypnotizing bossa nova ensues, with an exciting and tasteful soprano sax solo well shaped to a gentle climax before the final vocal melody restatement. The outro is a vamp on the original intro riff, ending with a bit of Kurt Elling’s whistling on the fade out.

Highly recommended! Hope you enjoy this song and check back again next week for another JazzPianoCafe “Song of the Week”.

-Geoff Peters (Birds in the House Productions)


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Song of the Week: “Your Amazing Grace” by Marcus Miller feat Chaka Khan

September 28th, 2009
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Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller

The JazzPianoCafe song of the week is “Your Amazing Grace” by Marcus Miller featuring Chaka Khan.

It’s from Marcus’s 2001 album M2 (find Marcus Miller M² on Amazon.com).

The song features a stellar cast of musicians:

The track starts off with a soft synth patch and a triangle wave lead that repeats a catchy little riff, which is echoed by Marcus Miller’s bass clarinet as it enters. The bass clarinet then plays the familiar melody from Amazing Grace, still over top of the synth pad. A drum and bass rhythm programming begins, but it is low in the mix (although it is well textured and contoured using cutoff filters). Chaka Khan’s soulful voice enters and after introducing herself musically, begins on a totally different melody that is “Your Amazing Grace” – Marcus Miller’s original composition. Kenny Garrett plays a killer alto-sax solo, and the song modulates keys, adding even more energy. An extended outro section keeps the music happening right ’till the end.

Listening to this song can excite something spiritual within me. I love how it’s a fusion of electronic and acoustic, of jazz, soul and drum and bass. (Marcus Miller even adds a reggae-style bass line in the outro.)

The track is available on Imeem (free account registration required), or you can purchase the CD which it’s on, M2 (“M Squared”), from Amazon. I’ve also included a streaming player below which should play the full version of the song.

Your Amazing Grace – Marcus Miller feat.Chaka Khan

Stay tuned for another great Song of the Week from JazzPianoCafe.com!

If you have any suggestions on a future song of the week, please email me at geoff@gpeters.com.

Take care and until next time,
Geoff Peters

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Interview with “Mr. Bongo” – Jack Costanzo

July 6th, 2005
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Found a fascinating interview with the one and only “Mr. Bongo”, Jack Costanzo. From his own web site (which contains MP3 samples from his album Back from Havana):

Jack Costanzo is known and responsible for the popularity of the bongos all over the world. He introduced bongos into American music when he was with the famous Stan Kenton Band, which shot him to jazz fame overnight. Jack recorded with Stan such favorites as The Peanut Vendor, Bongo Riff, Cuban Carnival and about fifty other recordings.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

JV: How was Kenton to work with?

JC: Marvelous! He let you stretch out. “Play what you feel Jack,” he’d say. I remember the opening night at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa. It’s a little island he’d worked for years. It’s opening night, his return, and he’s going to show off his new band. So we start with Stardust and you know the tempo is real light and he gives Laurindo Almeida a guitar solo, then points to me. I looked at him like ‘what am I supposed to do with this tempo?’ So Shelly yells ‘pick up the tempo’ so I did these really fast runs and Kenton is yelling ‘that’s what I want!’ (laughter)

[…]

JV: Tell us about your jazz experience.

JC: I went through bebop and cubop. When I went to Birdland, which I did fairly often, I was playing with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Percy Heath, Curley Russell, and before he died, Fats Navarro. Playing with Lester Young was probably one of my favorite experiences. But I really didn’t play Latin and that’s why I was so well-liked by the musicians at Birdland because I could play jazz. I remember Bud Powell saying finally we have a conga drummer that can play jazz.

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