Al Jarreau – Glow (1976)

 

Al Jarreau – Glow
1976 Reprise MS2248
This reissue, late-80’s German CD pressing

There has been another round of recent deaths of talented people in the arts, and I might be tempted to print another list here or to work up a bunch of “tribute” posts on this blog.  But my last post here was a bit ‘heavy’ and I thought I would change things up again for something more upbeat and life-affirming.  If you are the kind of person who sees the tag “vocal jazz” and are about to skip this post, please reconsider.  Many of the best jazz vocalists use their instrument to compliment an ensemble rather than dominate it, and the early Al Jarreau records fall into that camp.  Anyone who only knows Jarreau from his slicker, pop-oriented records from the 1980’s might even be taken aback but just how extremely funky his earlier work could be, yet he was always attuned to popular but soulful melodies that were ripe for improvisational riffing.  Continue reading

Abbey Lincoln – A Turtle’s Dream (1995)


The great Abbey Lincoln has been slated for some attention on this blog for years. At various points I have had one or another record from her early career lined up in the proverbial queue and yet they somehow missed the train.  I’ve had a bit of melancholy and existential blues lately and her music is just the right thing for it.  The title track in particular may become my new anthem. The album also features a cover of “Nature Boy” (meh) followed immediately by the Leo Ferré song “Avec Le Temps” (well, that was a pleasant surprise).  Charlie Haden holds down the bass on most of the cuts except for two tracks featuring Christian McBride and the recently-departed Roy Hargrove, who really gets to shine on “Storywise.”

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