Monday, May 17, 2010

Best of 2006-2010 in Jazz from Your Friends at The Jazz Connexion

Jazz fans, I wanted to begin by thanking you for listening. Not just to this show, but to jazz in general.

This radio show began freshman year as a way to relax. I doubt I will find anything I like more than simply sitting down and writing a good playlist. Over the past four years, however, your attention to the Jazz Connexion, and to all the programming on KWLC, has inspired me to discover a new set of motives for putting together a show. Playing songs and artists that could be both enjoyable to the lay listener and intellectually challenging to even the staunchest jazz critic strikes prime middle ground between expert educator and musically elite snob. I hope I have presented myself as the former through this program.

Over the past four years, I would get occasional comments about songs you liked, or didn't like, or that you just thought were interesting. I cannot describe the immense joy that I got when someone would come up to me the day after my show and say, Hey Pete, I really like the sound of that Brian Blade guy, or, Yea man, that Esperanza chick is incredible. This simple compliment, not only that you lisened but that you appreciated the music, meant that your palate could now be cleanzed and ready for the world of jazz. From Brian Blade, you can get into Kurt Rosenwinkle. From Esperanza Spalding, you can get into Francisco Mela and Lionel Loueke. From there, there is no telling which direction our tastes will take us. I hope that some of the music I have played has inspired at least a little bit of drive to explore jazz further in your own lives. If nothing else, I hope that, as a listener of the program, could listen past the initial "Oh, thats in Starbucks" reaction to hear the raw emotion and artful expression that exists in America's original artform.

In programming tonight's show, I had the average listener in mind. The playlist tonight is entirely made up of songs that I have played in the past, that you have commented on. It is also a "Best of the Past Four Years" (the entire playlist is made up of records that have been released since 2006 when I started as a DJ), so as to properly bookend my time at KWLC. These are songs that you liked, in addition to the fact that they will forever be in my head as the soundtrack of my time at KWLC.

I cannot tell you how much your listenership has meant to me, and I hope that you have been able to grow in taste and perception as much as I have in the past four years. It's been a good run. Thanks.

1. Mulatu Astatke and His Ethiopian Quartet - New York-Addis-London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975 - Shagu
2. Esperanza Spalding - Junjo - Mompouana
3. Joshua Redman - Back East - India feat. Dewey Redman*
4. Stanton Moore - III - Water From The Ancient Well
5. Herbie Hancock - River: The Joni Letters - River feat. Corinne Bailey Rae**
6. Happy Apple - Happy Apple Back On Top - Lefse Los Cubanos***
7. The Bad Plus - Prog - Tom Sawyer***
8. Jaleel Shaw - Optimism - If I'm Lucky****
9. Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band - Season of Changes - Stoner Hill
10. Revolutionary Snake Ensemble - Forked Tongue - White Wedding*****

*For my Father, Charlie
**For my Mother, Rita
***For my Friends
****For my boss, Jen
*****For Billy Idol, who may or may not be a regular listener

The Theme Music to the Jazz Connexion was pulled from my #1 Desert Island Album:
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen with Ulf Wakenius and Jonas Johansen - The Unforgettable NHØP Trio Live - You and the Night and the Music

Honorable Mention goes to the Esbjorn Svensson Trio for their domination of the jazz world from humble Scandinavia and for their progressive, approachable style. Their leader and pianist Esbjorn Svensson died in a scuba accident in Stockholm in this Summer of 2008. Their last album Leucocyte had been completed and was released shortly after his death.

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