Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Music - Jazz Vocalists

All Samuels Public Library cardholders are eligible for three free downloads a week from Freegal, a massive online database containing over 500,000 songs.  Sifting through such an enormous selection of music can be a daunting task, so we here at Samuels have decided to offer a few suggestions for the overwhelmed (or new) Freegal user.  All of this week's selections are from jazz vocalists:

Billie Holiday
“Billie’s Blues”
From The Essential Billie Holiday: The Columbia Years 

Holiday shows off her impressive songwriting skills as well as her wonderful vocal talent in this bluesy jazz number from 1936.  Lady Day suffuses the tune with a fascinating mixture of melancholy and tenderness when describing her complicated relationship troubles with her man.  The closing punch line is a doozy, both clever and touching: “Now if you put that all together/ Makes me everything a good man needs.”  
Frank Sinatra
“All of Me”
From The Essential Frank Sinatra: The Columbia Years

 “All of Me” conjures up nostalgic images of another era—handsome men in fedoras and well-pressed suits slow dancing with lovely ladies in satin and chiffon gowns under the moonglow.  The popular music landscape has shifted drastically from the days when Ol’ Blue Eyes crooned “You took the part that was once my heart/ So why not take all of me?”, though music lovers both young and old can still enjoy the romantic strains of timeless classics like this one.

Nina Simone
“I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl”
From Nina Simone Sing the Blues

Pianist/vocalist Simone’s take on this blues standard from the 1920s is smooth, sexy, and seductive.  There’s a depth of complexity added to the song by Simone’s skillful reading, her voice conveying shades of loneliness and longing not evident in the not-so-subtle lyrics.  Add to this a soulful sax solo and you’ve got the makings of a bona fide classic.  

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