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Vinyl Side of Midnight Playlist 12/28/2008

This is the playlist for this week’s Vinyl Side of Midnight, which can be heard on 89.7 FM WLNZ in the Greater Lansing area, or you can tune in internationally on the web on – hosted by Mike Stratton, Sunday nights, 9pm – midnight, Eastern Standard Time.


2008: 10 Favorite Discs of The Year (and they’re not all jazz…)

A couple of disclaimers – I haven’t heard everything released this year. There are many CDs that are garnishing outstanding reviews that I never heard. So, as hard as I try, I can’t hear everything. Second, I don’t believe in “Best of…” because it is all so subjective. These are ten discs that I listened to again and again, that found their way onto my i-Pod, that I had a hard time getting out of my car stereo. Four vocalists, some blues, a country singer covering Dusty Springfield, some outstanding improvisation, a curry flavored Miles tribute, a little good hard bop and a symphonic setting for an outstanding saxophonist round out this year’s selection. Oh yes, and a little home cookin’.

Derrick Gardner and The Jazz Prophets – A RIDE TO THE OTHER SIDE…OF INFINITY;  Owl
***** Evokes the best of the Messengers with a tight collection of hard swinging jazz originals. Trumpeter Derrick Gardner really makes his mark with this album, aided by his brother Vincent and saxist Rob Dixon. Add a tight rhythm section, led by in-the-pocket Rodney Whitaker, and this is music that is relentlessly fun. We’ll listen to Funky Straight and A Ride To The Other Side.

Cassandra Wilson – Loverly; Blue Note
***** I’ve been waiting for Cassandra to do something this strong since “Blue Light Til Dawn” and here it is. We’ll listen to tracks #2(Lover Come Back To Me), a swing tune with an off the hook piano solo by Jason Moran, #5 (Caravan), and #6 (Till There Was You).

Tim Warfield – One For Shirley; Criss Cross Jazz
***** Boy do I like this record. A great collection of soulful jazz, sounds straight out of a jazz fest, laid back, groovy and swinging. Every track is play worthy, not a stinker in the bunch, but tonight we’ll hear Oasis and The Beat Goes On.

Janiva Magness – WHAT LOVE WILL DO; Alligator Records
***** What a voice. What great arrangements. Crunchy guitar, fat saucy baritone, earthy blues from the best bar band in recent memory. We’ll play Bitter Pill, I Don’t Want You On My Mind and Don’t Do It.

Joe Lovano – Symphonica; Blue Note
***** Another masterpiece by Lovano, who has a put together a string of them this decade. I heard Lovano (again) at the Wharton this year and was really struck by his development, his tone and ideas and effortless mastery. Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins aren’t around anymore, but Lovano conjures that big sound. We’ll hear the Mingus composition, Duke Ellington’s Sound Of Love, with a gorgeous symphonic arrangement.

***** A country singer interprets Dusty Springfield with a set of understated arrangements. Sexy, spare, haunting. We’ll listen to Just A Little Lovin’, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me and The Look Of Love.

Charles Lloyd Quartet – RABO DE NUBE; ECM
***** Lloyd’s string of recordings for ECM have been consistently marvelous. This band features a little more of a groove, with Eric Harland and Reuben Rogers cooking up the riddims. And the addition of Jason Moran is a treat. We’ll play Booker’s Garden.

Sunny Wilkinson/Tom Garvin – A Gentle Time;
***** Playing this CD on the air prompted a long distance caller from California to ask, “Who is that pianist?” Another time I played the first track just before going on air, and I was too ver klempt to speak. A sublime collection with intimate intensity. Let’s listen to Heart, If I Were A Bell, O Cantador.

Dave Douglas & Keystone – MOONSHINE; Green Leaf Music
***** The mercurial Douglas has remained rooted in an electric Miles influence for  his last few efforts, and that suits me just fine. His ethereal tunes sound best when planted in some funky soil. We’ll play Scopes, Flood Plane and Kitten from this live album.

Various – MILES FROM INDIA; Times Square Records
***** What can I say? I’m a sucker for all things Miles. Bob Belden puts together a fascinating project with two groups of masterful musicians, alums from Miles’ various bands and Indian masters. The funny thing is, it all works. Let’s hear All Blues and Ife.

See you next year for the 2009 version of The Vinyl Side of Midnight!

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