Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Twenty Greatest Love Ballads Ever Written

La Quinta Lemon

Recently I googled the title of this post and I was somewhat surprised that I could not find any posting of a top 20 love ballads list that includes any of the spectacular songs from the "Great American Songbook". How can this be? In fact, on most of the list of ballads that I found, I was not familiar with many of the songs.  How sad that today's generation is only into "Pop" ballads and might never have the pleasure of listening to great love ballads that have survived more than a 100 years. This is not to say that there have not been some great love ballads written more recently because there has been many. There have also been some interesting recordings of classic "Great American Songbook" songs sung by young artists.

So I dedicate this list to both young and old who love great ballads sung by great singers.  It's a mix of new and old songs that should be on everyone's ballad playlist in no particular rank.

1. "Wild Horses"                                                       The Rolling Stones                            

2. "Just The Way You Are"                                     Billy Joel

3. "Body & Soul"                                                       Frank Sinatra

4. "Your Song"                                                           Elton John

5. "Unforgettable"                                                      Nat King Cole

6. "When a Man Loves a Women"                           Percy Sledge

7. "A Song For You"                                                  Leon Russell

8. "You Are So Beautiful"                                          Joe Cocker

9. "You've Changed"                                                  Eva Cassidy

10. "Something"                                                          Tanya Tucker

11. "The Shadow Of Your Smile"                              Tony Bennett

12. "Everything I Do, I Do It For You"                     Bryan Adams

13. "The Very Thought Of You"                                Tony Bennett & Paul McCartney

14. "I Will Always Love You"                                     Whitney Houston

15. "What's New"                                                          Nancy Wilson

16. "At Last"                                                                  Etta James

17. "Here's That Rainy Day"                                        Peggy Lee

18. "Smile"                                                                      Stephen Tyler & Chris Botti

19. "Evergreen"                                                              Barbra Streisand

20. "The Nearness of You"                                            Norah Jones

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Linda Tate: CD Review: Geography

I was at Backstreet Bistro a couple of weeks ago and I had the pleasure of listening to the wonderful voice of Linda Tate who sat in to sing a couple of standards with the group that was performing.  Before I left, Linda gave me a copy of her CD, "Geography". Linda loves to sing and she loves to travel just as much. So it seemed natural that Linda who is also an accomplished songwriter, should write some songs inspired by the actual places she has experienced.  All music, lyrics and arrangements on this CD were written by Linda Tate. In writing these songs, Linda quickly realized that "Wherever you go, you find things common to all cultures. And I realized that "Geography" is a much broader concept than landscapes, rivers, and mountains. It can apply to almost anything-ordinary objects: the human body:languages;the emotional terrain of relationships-they all have their own distinct geography.

Linda credits the inspiration for her own composing to elements of Folk and Jazz and personal heros like Joni Mitchell, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Fagen and Becker of the band Steely Dan (along with pathfinders of earlier generations, like Ellington and the Gershwins. Linda has produced a wonderful CD with songs that are fresh and inspiring.  She has also selected a fine group of musicians to join her on this CD:
        Ernie Adams: Drums and Percussion (2,3,10,14)
        Steve Eisen: Tenor Saxphone (3,7,10.14) Flute ( Congos (4,6)
        Larry Gray: Double Bass (
        Charles Rick Heath IV: Drums and Percussion (4,6,7,8,12)
        Curtis Robinson: Acoustic and Electric guitars (2,3,4,6,7,8,10,12,13,14) Vocals (10)
        Marlene Rosenberg: Double Bass (2,3,10,11,13,14)
        Preyas Roy: Vibraphone (4,6,7,8,12)
        Bobby Schiff: Piano (1,5,9)

"Geography" is Linda's fourth album, and it's the first to feature her own compositions. The CD was released in 2013 and you can preview and buy it on Linda's site:

Friday, May 17, 2013

CD Review: Ben Sidran's "Don't Cry For No Hipster"

Ben Sidran
Singer/songwriter/pianist/producer Ben Sidran has just released a new CD, "Don't Cry For No Hipster". I have to admit that I am no hipster and never have been one.  But something about the songs on Ben Sidran's CD are attractive to me. Even though I have never considered myself "Hip", the songs are "Hip", the lyrics are "Hip" and even a non-hipster can tell that Ben Sidran is "Hip". Consider this quote Ben wrote for the liner notes:"One must approach the hip experience with a lifetime of preparation: the true hipster is a warrior of the first order, a master of the chiseled cool, an outlier of the interior world, a cynic perhaps but an optimistic one, and, at all times, such as when stepping into an empty elevator shaft or jumping out an open window, prepared to go up rather than down".  Now that's "Hip" writing!

Ben Sidran has produced a sparkling body of work including being the host of National Public Radio's landmark jazz series "Jazz Alive" which received a Peabody Award.  He has recorded 35 solo albums, including the Grammy nominated "Concert for Garcia Lorca" and produced recordings for such noted artists as Van Morrison, Diana Ross, Michael Franks, Richie Lee Jones, Mose Alison and Steve Miller. He has authored two books on the subject of Jazz, "Black Talk" and "Talking Jazz"

Ben Sidran's lyrics on this CD could have easily been published as a series of poems. They tell simple stories of life in an understandable but hip way.  Ben Sidran is a hipster, and we all can benefit from his words and music.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Trish Hatley Returns To Woody's

Trish Hatley

Andy Fraga, Jr, Larry Holloway, Trish Hatley and Barney McClure

Andy Fraga, Jr, Larry Holloway, Steve Madaio and Barry McClure

Seattle singer, Trish Hatley returned to Woody's last week and the singing and the music was nothing short of wonderful. Hearing Trish sing for a second time proved to me that she is one of the best female singers performing today.  Her voice is strong and clear as a bell and her stage presence is evidence of her vast experience.  Tonight she was joined on stage with Barney McClure on Keys.  This was the first time I had heard Barney play and he turned out to be just terrific.  In talking to Barney between sets, he told me that he is moving to the Desert. Great news for all the Jazz lovers because Barney can really play and will be a valued addition to our stable of great players we all love.  Larry Holloway was on Bass and he just continues to provide solid intelligent solos that you just don't hear from many Bass players. Andy Fraga, Jr on Drums provided strong rhythm support for the group.

My good friend and superb Trumpet player, Steve Madaio was in the audience and Trish invited Steve up to play a few songs to the delight of the crowd.

It was a great evening of singing and Jazz and I hope we hear a lot more from Trish next season.  In talking to Trish, she told me she is thinking of moving to the Desert.  I hope she does as she would fit into our music scene perfectly.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pre-Release CD Review: "Toussaintville" By Swingadelic

Swingadelic is a swing band that is also referred to as a repertoire band.  They cover outstanding musical talents by doing tribute recordings that are first class.  On their new CD, "Toussaintville" Singadelic has chosen to honor the New Orleans performer, composer, arranger, producer, Allen Toussaint who celebrates his 75th birthday on January 11, 2013. The musicians involved with the recording of this new CD all have strong backgrounds in Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock'n'Roll and Latin Music.

Swingadelic really does swing!  The songs they perform on this CD are great classic Toussaint tunes, but the arrangements and big band sound give them a brand new feel. This CD honors the sounds and spirits of the music of New Orleans and brings it to a higher level. What a treat for lovers of swing bands that Swingadelic is still rolling out great CDs like "Toussaintville".

The release date for "Toussaintville" is May 14, 2013, and I strongly recommend you check out this great new swing band CD.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Jason Peterson DeLaire Is In The House At The La Quinta Resort.

Jason Peterson DeLaire

Jason and Brian Dewbenny

Brian Dewbenny
I first heard Jason Peterson Delaire sing and play Alto Sax and Keyboard at Backstreet Bistro when I was there listening to his talented mother, Linda Peterson.  Jason is a major part of the musically talented Peterson family of Minnesota. Jason is a highly sought after musician who is playing at The La Quinta Resort in Morgan's Restaurant in the bar area.  Jason will be playing and singing every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday night at the Resort through the balance of May except for the period of May 6 through May 19 when he will be touring in Europe with Michael Bolton.

When you first hear Jason sing and play Piano, you will find it hard to believe he was born and lived most of his life in Minnesota.  He has a perfect Rhythm and Blues raspy voice that is perfect for the Blues.  If I had to guess, I would have said he was born in the South and lived most likely in New Orleans. His style is purely his own and so is he approach to the wide variety of songs he likes to sing. The fact that is has recorded and will soon be touring again with Michael Bolton make a lot of sense. These two singer approach R & B, Blues and Pop songs with a very similar feel. But Jason's talents don't stop at singing and playing Piano or Keyboard. He plays major league Alto Sax and I am sure he will be playing a lot of Alto Sax on this tour with Bolton. Jason also is songwriter and producer.

The bar at Morgan's, the wonderful gourmet restaurant inside the La Quinta Resort is an excellent spot to take in Jason wonderful playing and singing.  There is plenty of places to sit either at the bar or at close-by tables and there is a full bar menu available that has all the great food that Morgan serves.  The bartender that served us at the bar is Brian Dewbenny and he is one of the most polished and experienced bartenders you will ever meet!  It's a great spot to savor some great food and at the same time chill out with some great sounds from Jason.

CD Review: Jenny Davis, "Rearranged"

Composer, Arranger, Bandleader and Jazz Vocalist, Jenny Davis has just released her 4th album as a leader.  This CD spotlights Jenn...