Records of the Month – Jazz and Soul – November 2020
Jazz and Soul Subscription Records of the Month!
Our musical elves have sifted through thousands of archives of music and listened to hours upon hours of albums to bring you 3 incredible records this month! Not only that, but a dedicated team of historians tried their absolute best to give you a little background on each one! All part of a day’s work here at Vinyl Wings!
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Born in Indiana, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard moved to New York in 1958 at the age of 20, where he was quickly recognised by fellow musicians as an exciting talent. Pretty soon he was performing with legends including Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy and Quincy Jones to name a few.
Throughout the 60s, Freddie amassed a huge body of work with appearances on some of the most legendary jazz albums including The Blues and the Abstract Truth (see our August Records of the Month), Speak No Evil, Out to Lunch!, and Maiden Voyage. In 1962 he replaced Lee Morgan in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and recorded a number of albums with them until his departure in 1966.
Freddie made great use of the trumpet’s lyrical potential and became a masterful ballad player, but where he really shone through was in his more up-tempo soloing. Teaming up with alto/flute player James Spaulding and pianist Herbie Hancock, Hub-Tones brings an outstanding example of Freddie’s skill as a band leader in the post bop era.
Our favourite tune remains the title track – a jaw-dropper of a tune so technically difficult it’s incredible to listen to it be tamed by the masterful Hubbard!
Pieces of a Man, 1971
Scott-Heron is in our view one of the greatest urban poets to have lived. We like to think of him as a funkier, groovier Bob Dylan sprinkled with a generous amount of soul. The themes which Gil sang about were influenced by the brutal reality of his time and his surroundings in New York and the US more broadly.
Take Home is Where The Hatred Is, or The Needle’s Eye– both of which explicitly describes the inner conflicts in a drug addict’s mind – kick it, quit it, never go home again. Coming off the heels of the civil rights movement, there were very powerful political shifts taking place which Scott-Heron was able to tap into in a way for people to understand.
Aside from the social commentary and satire, Gil simultaneously laid the foundation for hip hop to develop as a major musical movement.
We’ll leave you with this quote from the genius – “I think everybody has six senses, and the sixth one is your sense of humor. And that’s my most valuable one. I can imagine myself without the other five, but I can’t imagine myself without my sense of humor.”
Nice ‘n’ Easy, 1960
The year is 1960. The world is about the enter a decade which will set social and economic wheels into a motion that will change the course of everyday life for millions of people. Frank Sinatra is in his golden age, coming off the successes of his prior Come Dance With Me and Come Fly With Me albums.
Nice ‘n’ Easy, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, steered away from the prior swing jazz and instead brought a breezy, easy-going set of standards. The arrangements written by Nelson Riddle are fantastically charming and are as much of a pleasure to listen to as is Sinatra’s silky voice.
The opening title track sets the mood for this record – … let’s take it nice and easy, and is probably the swingiest of tunes in the set.
Our favourite remains I’ve Got a Crush on You, the timeless Gershwin composition which is only topped by the fact that it’s Sinatra performing it!