Category Archives: Jazz

Nat King Cole – Nature Boy (1948)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

‘Nature Boy’ was first recorded by Nat King Cole. Released as a single by Capitol Records in 1948, it is one of the earliest pop songs to feature on this blog. It was written by Eden Ahbez, an unusual chap by any measure. A beatnik poet and proto-hippie, Ahbez chose to wear long hair and Jesus kit. When Capitol Records sought Ahbez and the publishing rights, a deal was far from straightforward. Eventually they located him camping out beneath the first L in the “Hollywood” sign. The back story seems at odds with one of the smoothest sounds in the pop canon. Have a great weekend.

Tagged ,

Can – Vitamin C (1972)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

“Hey you! You’re losing your Vitamin C”. Despite the quirky lyrics, Can’s 1972 song ‘Vitamin C’ is best known for its kick-ass bass line and the precise drumming of Jaki Liebezeit, co-founder of the krautrock pioneers. The track featured on their 1972 album Ege Bamyasi and has been a staple sample since the era of block parties.

Tagged , ,

9 of the best – sounds of 2017

Samuelsounds begins a short hiatus this festive season. I leave you with my favourite sounds of 2017 in no particular order. See you in the new year.

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Over Everything

Dan Auerbach – King Of A One Horse Town

Dornik – God Knows

LCD Soundsystem – Call The Police

Future Islands – Ran

Father John Misty – Total Entertainment Forever

Arcade Fire – Everything Now

The National – The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness

Kamasi Washington – Truth

###

Honourable mentions also go to: Real Estate for ‘Darling‘; Foxygen for ‘On Lankershim‘; Mac DeMarco for ‘This Old Dog‘; John Mayer for ‘Moving On and Getting Over‘; Big Thief for ‘Shark Smile‘; Kevin Morby for ‘Come To Me Now‘; St. Vincent for ‘New York‘; Rex Orange County for ‘Edition‘; Public Service Broadcasting for ‘Progress‘; Lorde for ‘Green Light‘; and alt- J for’3WW‘.

 

Tagged ,

Louis Armstrong – Christmas In New Orleans (1955)

YouTubeAmazoniTunes Discogs

Louis Armstrong in New Orleans in 1955. Merry Christmas folks!

Tagged ,

Kamasi Washington – Truth (2017)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

This song is almost 14 minutes long, but who’s counting.’Truth’ is everywhere. This uplifting piece of art features on Kamasi Washington’s sophomore solo recording Harmony Of Difference. He makes jazz cool again. Have a great weekend.

Tagged ,

Wood, Brass & Steel – Funkanova (1976)

YouTube – No Amazon – No iTunes – Discogs

To some, Wood, Brass & Steel’s ‘Funkanova’ is an archetypal jazz funk track. To others, it’s simply a disco instrumental. To the clubbers that continued to dance to its tune many years after the band disappeared, it is verging on proto deep house. In 19767, the band recorded one album, self-titled its release on the Turbo label, and then promptly broke up. Have a good weekend.

Tagged ,

Mtume – Juicy Fruit (1983)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

Back to 1983, before I forget to say…”I’ll be your lollipop/You can lick me everywhere.” James Mtume was part of Miles Davis’s band, full of avant-garde, obscure fusion jazz. But the ’80s came along and he and his band started creating a far more commercial soul sound. I stumbled across ‘Juicy Fruit’ years after its release, via one of the Classic Mastercuts compilations that I came to love in the early ’90s. Then, when it was famously sampled by Biggie Smalls for his debut single, the song evolved from a certified slow jam groove into something far more juicaaay. Have a relaxing Easter break.

Tagged , , ,

Al Jarreau – Moonlighting (1987)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

al-jarreau

It’s a buttery start to the week for I’ve just learned that Al Jarreau died yesterday. His canon of work that so seamlessly bridged pop, jazz funk and R&B, is largely lost on me; mainly because it so seamlessly bridged pop, jazz funk and R&B. However, after much of his most celebrated recordings has passed, he wrote and recorded this Nile Rodgers-produced tune for a TV series that left an indelible feelgood mark on my memory. R.I.P.

Tagged , , ,

Ryo Fukui – I Want to Talk About You (1976)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

ryo-fukui

I watched La La Land with the family this weekend. In a promotional interview, I was impressed to hear that Ryan Gosling learnt to play the piano for a number of impressive one-take shots. But his achievements pale into insignificance compared to the feats of Sapporo-based jazz pianist Ryo Fukui. Fukui started teaching himself the piano at the age of 22 and released his first album, Scenery, six years later in 1976. The ambitions of that album were not insignificant themselves. He included a cover of Billy Eckstine’s ballad standard ‘I Want to Talk About You’ that had been made superlative by John Coltrane’s sax in 1958. Just listen to tit. Fukui died last in March last year – I hope it was with a smile on his face.

Tagged , , ,

Miles Davis, Robert Glasper feat. Erykah Badu – Maiysha (So Long) (2016)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

robert-glasper

New Year’s Day is part recovery and part celebration in my household. Enter Miles Davis. Last year, jazz pianist Robert Glasper reworked several soundbites of Miles Davis’ studio recordings for a tribute album called Everything’s Beautiful. One such recording is a remix of ‘Maiysha’ taken off a Davis performance found on the 1974 album Get Up With It. The revision features the vocals of Erykah Badu. We’re off for brunch. Happy New Year!

Tagged , , , ,

The King Cole Trio – The Christmas Song (1946)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

the-king-cole-trio

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….” The Christmas Song’ was written in 1945 by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé. The King Cole Trio first recorded the song early in 1946. Happy Christmas my blog-reading friends.

Tagged , , ,

Bill Evans – Peace Piece (1959)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

bill-evans

No time for samples today. I have a head cold. The therapy of Bill Evans’ ‘Peace Piece’ is what the doctor has ordered. With its shades of Debussy and Satie, the improvised piano composition featured on his 1958 album Everybody Digs Bill Evans. Have a great weekend.

Tagged , , ,

Shigeo Sekito – The Word II (1975)

YouTube – No Amazon – No iTunes – Discogs

shigeo-sekito

Sampling/borrowing lives strong in the strangest of places. In 2014, for his album Salad Days, Mac DeMarco used the shimmering “jizz-jazz” electronica of Shigeo Siketo, a Japanese musician who mastered the Electone. In 1975, Siketo released his Special Sound Series Vol. 2 collection on Columbia Records. The second track on the flip-side was ‘ザ・ワードⅡ’, otherwise known as ‘The Word II’. Enjoy – it is a thing of rare beauty.

Tagged , ,

GoGo Penguin – Hopopono (2014)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

gogo-penguin

Hailing from Manchester, Chris Illingworth, Nick Blacka and Rob Turner are GoGo Penguin. They create an ambient sound that is full of infectious piano melodies and rhythmic break beats. ‘Hopopono’ is the last track on their critically-acclaimed sophomore album, v2.0. Have a great weekend.

Tagged ,