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Lazy luscious Rap with big horns & strings… I love it 🙂

Via LeFtO

It’s my birthday today, and even though I have heard many many different versions of ‘Happy Birthday’, in all my 31 years I hadn’t heard this one till today. And I love it.
So big thanks to my colleague M for posting it on my facebook wall today, and to every other birthday girl & boy: Happy Birthday, and Many Happy Returns!

one love.

A lovely little video with a simple concept and excellent excecution from DJ Shadow and featuring Little Dragon:

DJ Shadow “Scale It Back” from Ewan Jones Morris on Vimeo.

In light of yesterday’s post, I couldn’t help but look up one of my favourite Billie Holiday recordings, ‘Fine And Mellow’, for CBS in 1957. I always used to play this song at the start of my sets, not in the least because it’s a nice tempo, but also because it gave me enough time to get into the mood, get myself together, take in the room, and arrange my records according to the vibe of the people.

The recording was made for ‘The Sound Of Jazz’, and was broadcast on December 8, 1957. Included in the impressive rollcall of legendary musicians are: Ben Webster – tenor saxophone / Lester Young – tenor saxophone / Vic Dickenson – trombone / Gerry Mulligan – baritone saxophone / Coleman Hawkins – tenor saxophone / Roy Eldridge – trumpet / Doc Cheatham – trumpet / Danny Barker – guitar / Milt Hinton – double bass / Mal Waldron – piano / Osie Johnson – drums

My favourite part of this performance is when Lester Young gets up out of his chair to perform his solo, and you can see the perfect synchronicity between him and Billie in a single wry smile and a nod. there is o much expression in her eyes, and in his play, that you can hardly believe that these two performers hadn’t even spoken to each other in years. This is also, as far as I know, the last time they shared the stage. Lester Young died in 1959, Billie four months afterwards.

Last Saturday I went to Brussels with my new flame to drown in each other’s company, soak up some culture and drink good wine, and to enjoy a Billie Holiday retrospective by José James in the Ancienne Belgique. Joined by Richard Spaven on drums, Takuya Kuroda on trumpet, Michael Campagna on tenor saxophone, Kris Bowers on piano, and Solomon Dorsey on bass, they gave what in my opinion was one of the best jazz performances I have ever seen. The talent of these six men is undeniable, and what happened on stage that night was mindblowing. Duo solo’s by Kuroda and Campagna on ‘Loverman’ (Kuroda was on fire…), Spaven’s layered brush drumming throughout the entire show, Kris Bower’s exceptional playing, a playful Solomon Dorsey on bass, it almost made me think that James was being outdone by his band.

That was, until he played the encore: Billie’s signature song ‘Strange Fruit’.

The song in itself is undeniably powerful, but because I’ve heard it so often it can sometimes sound trite and common. But James stripped it bare, singing an a capella version sampling and looping his own voice into a field holler and a spiritual that was as harrowing as it must have been when Billie first sung the song. He made ‘Strange Fruit’ poignant and relevant.

Thank god that this show (which was a one-off) was recorded, and that James has put ‘Strange Fruit’ on his tumblr. Go listen to it and see if you can keep your eyes dry. José James couldn’t, and neither can I.

Via Inthedarknesswemakelove

The full concert can be viewed here (Via Ancienne Belgique)

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