Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
For the past several installments our Friday night ‘forget about the crazy week and enjoy some good music’ blogs have featured the sounds of the season.
With Santa back at the North Pole it’s time now for some contemporary releases. Let’s get rolling.
You may not know Ed Calle but you’ve probably heard him. Calle is a Latin Grammy Award Winner and five-time Grammy nominee. This talented musician, composer, orchestrator, scholar, and professor has appeared on more than 1,700 albums, almost 10,000 singles, and numerous television and movie soundtracks.
Here’s his remake of a Dionne Warwick smash hit. Since it’s an instrumental, some lyrics you surely remember.
The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you
And while I’m combing my hair now
And wondering what dress to wear now
I say a little prayer for you
Warwick did the original recording. Songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David heard Warwick singing backup for The Drifters, and the light bulb went on. She had the perfect voice for their songs and they proceeded to have a string of hits with her.
Calle’s cover version appears onan album that also has guest vocals from KC of the Sunshine Band and the bilingual Jon Secada.
In 2021 Billboard named LA-based guitarist Nils the contemporary jazz airplay artist. No stranger to the airwaves.
About Nils’ newest album that was in the works during the pandemic the website The Urban Music Scene writes:
While music was helping all of us collectively cope with the great anxieties of the past few years, writing and producing Cool Shades was helping him keep his sanity, process and heal and get his mind off the heaviness of traveling back and forth multiple times from Los Angeles to his hometown of Munich, Germany to care for his ailing mother and his father Kurt Jiptner, who fell ill and passed away in October 2021. Nils, who wrote many of the 13 tunes in a studio he set up in the basement of his parents’ house in the summer and fall of that year, dedicates the 13-track collection to the memory of his father.
“This album was harder for me to write and overall not as lighthearted, with a lot of ballads that expressed these deeper emotions I was feeling during this challenging time, serving as a healing tool for me,” says Nils. “I won’t sugarcoat it. I was distracted from my usual creative process by a lot of heaviness. So, I set up the studio and forced myself to work on music, and I found it very helpful.”
The website describes the single as “brass-fired, high energy, funky, strutting and playfully swinging.”
And a bit of the blues.
Every Saturday Nils produces a weekly online 45-minute performances that he started doing during the 2020 lockdown.
“It’s a great way to stay in touch with my loyal superfans when I’m not doing regular live shows. I find that the discipline it takes to do these sets from my studio every week helps my guitar playing overall. I started out shooting with just my iPhone and now have a more elaborate setup with three cameras.”
MORE pandemic-related news. In the liner notes of his latest album guitarist Chris Standring reveals that shortly before the recording he began working on during March of 2021 he found himself in the emergency room after experiencing chest pains.
Just 60 years old, Standring kept fit, ate well, exercised, and never smoked. Standring recovered successfully from a heart attack with a new appreciation for what would become the title of his new recording: “Simple Things.”
“We have all heard cliches like ‘who knows what tomorrow may bring’ and ‘don’t forget to stop and smell the roses,’ but we usually don’t take those old aphorisms to heart. To suddenly come face to face with my own mortality made me think about what is really important to me and how I want to live out my third act. Ultimately the answer came down to a just few basic things – spending time with loved ones, being present in the moment, and doing things with joy.”
Standring is a big fan of Prince.
“I wrote the opening track, ‘Shadow of Doubt,’ after hearing a particular bass line by Prince that I really liked and wondered what I could do with something similar.”
Can you believe Standring spent his childhood on a farm, driving tractors and feeding sheep?
Lucky for him that he began studying classical guitar when he was just six years old. Standring has had 13 Billboard Top 10 singles and 6 singles that reached number one on the chart.
In the late 90s, the late Steve Raybine received encouragement from Rick Braun, his friend and former band mate in the famed 70’s progressive jazz ensemble Auracle. A longtime fan of the veteran vibraphone master, percussionist and influential, award-winning educator, Braun suggested, “Why don’t you try to do for vibes what I’ve done for trumpet?”
Raybine embarked on an extraordinary 20-year career as a solo artist, releasing four multi-faceted Smooth Jazz albums and scoring a multitude of radio hits. An album of his greatest hits has been released. One of the tracks follows. Imagine George Benson on the vibes.
Raybine was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on June 18, 1954. He earned a BA in percussion performance from the prestigious Eastman School of Music, an MA from UW-Madison, and a doctorate in music theory and composition from the University of Iowa.
The vibraphonist passed away peacefully with family at his side on December 3, 2021, in Omaha, Nebraska, following a year-long battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
Why not head out and buy a CD?
Interesting twist to close out.
Session drummer Pat Petrillo leads his group of jazz, R&B and rock all-stars, The Big Rhythm Band, on the group’s latest album THE POWER STATION SESSIONS, named after the recording facility where the sessions took place.
It won’t be long before you recognize this oldie but goodie revisited nearly 60 years later.