Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I've been thinking of changing my twitter handle, because people think I'm a jazz-playing linguist rather than studying the linguistics of jazz, and thus only jazzing vicariously. Nevertheless I do like a bit of jazz and through my jazz-studied/playing brother and CD-buying dad, I've discovered a few favourites. Lately, I've gone back to listening to my jazzstudycool playlist and thought I'd share. I've included links to their websites as well for your convenience and edification.


Avishai Cohen
Instrument: bass
Trio & solo
Fav albums: "Continuo", "Aurora"
Fav songs: "Calm", "Remembering" etc. etc.
Why: I don't necessarily like modern jazz but I love a lot of Avishai Cohen's stuff. 'Calm' and 'Remembering' are the most appropriately named songs I've ever heard. There's sweetly melancholic songs, non-standard rhythms, complex musical development or simple repetition, on Aurora he sings in English, Hebrew, Spanish, but the other albums are instrumental with middle eastern, african and jazz influences.
Clip: Remembering

Brian Bromberg*
Instrument: bass
Fav album: "Wood"
Fav songs: "Star-spangled banner" "Come together"
Why: Great album with the upright bass as a lead melodic instrument. Only got the one album at the moment, may have to find more. I'm not american but I love his version of "Star-spangled banner".
Clip: Come together
*website temporarily unavailable at time of publishing

Oscar Peterson Trio
Instrument: piano
Album: "We get requests"
Why: jazz piano great playing jazz standards. Cool enough to be calm, jazz enough to keep you moving and occasionally make you smile involuntarily. Not as much for those who don't like a 'traditional' jazz sound.
Clip: Corcovado (Quiet nights of quiet stars)

Jacques Loussier Trio
Instrument: piano
Fav album: "Air on a 'G' string"
Why: Bach played by a jazz trio. Pure classical music doesn't work for me but this has a nice jazz kick to it.
Clip: Air on a 'G' string (Bach)

Jazz vocal

 Michael Buble
Instrument: vocal
Why: I've winnowed out the songs that are too cheesy for me. Sometimes you need some of that pop-jazz-swing-big band to make the study less dreary. In fact, nothing like some hugely dramatic music like the clip below to make everything seem significant, or insignificant as the mood may take you.
Clip: Cry me a river

Jamie Cullum
Instrument: vocal/piano
Fav songs: too many, but lately "If I ruled the world"
Why: His voice is less smooth than Buble's, he chooses more obscure jazz standards to reinterpret as well as pop songs to cover and writes originals too. Again, sometimes that pop-cool is great for a bit of cheer, but the sweetly-melancholic or ironically-upbeat or pensive music also provide a great study vibe.
Clip: I'm all over it

Non-jazz vocal

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

Album: "Gurrumul"
Why: I go through phases when I skip the tracks from this CD, but I always respect it. His voice is unlike many others, most of his songs are sung in Gumatj and emote a non-urban, non-office environment.
Clip: Wiyathul

Album: "Beautiful imperfection"
Fav song: "Be my man"
Why: One of those artists I have trouble identifying the genre. Lovely voice, singing in English and another language. A bit of vocal joy to wake you up.
Clip: Be my man

Lisa Mitchell
Album: "Wonder"
Fav song: "Oh! Hark!" "Neopolitan Dreams"
Why: Although originally an Australian Idol contestant, her songs have that indie-sound, not all sugar-sweet, not all pop-cliche, not all romantic love.
Clip: Oh! Hark!

Cara Dillon
Album: self-titled
Why: She sings Irish folk as it's meant to be sung. Sweet or sad, always strong.
Clip: Black is the color

Album: "Le fil"
Fav song: "Ta douleur"
Why: Quirky yet quality vocals, "Ta douleur" is a fun song extending the use of the voice as an instrument, looping and beatboxing.
Clip: Ta douleur

1 comment:

  1. I liked Ta douleur and Wiyathul best. Remembering started well but didn't sustain my interest.

    I heard Cara Dillon's Black is the Colour a few years ago when she did Womadelaide. I couldn't listen to it at the time because it made another version of Black is the Colour round my head & the two versions clashed. (Won't argue which is better; depends if you value vocals or instrumentation.)

    Of note: she sings "the sweetest face" where other versions have "the sweetest voice". Haven't checked if both are traditional, but remember wondering if perhaps she prefers "face" because singing about a loved one with a sweet voice is too close to home, a little embarrassing, given she's promoted on the strength of her own voice. (OTOH, variations are ten a penny in traditional songs.)

    My own collection’s mostly folk; closest thing I have to jazz is Afterglow by Stewart Dudley. Check out Sweet Encounter (track 6 on playlist) for beautiful music with obvious jazz influences.

    (FTR, you know me as @GoldHoarder on Twitter.)