Here’s an old classic that I sometimes try to break out at gigs if the players are familiar with the original.
This winter I’ve been going through hundreds of old transcriptions I did with pen and paper when I was first training my ear to recognize melodies and chord changes. Some of them have egregious mistakes, but it brings back good memories to revisit my old files.
Ginseng Woman is an album by guitarist Eric Gale. It’s full of solid performances by great players, and it’s also a testament to Eric’s versatility and artistry as a “session” musician; even on his own record he doesn’t flaunt his considerable skills, but tailors his playing to serve the music. Chances are you’ve already heard Eric’s understated playing on some of your favorite jazz, funk and pop songs… I’m still discovering records in my collection that I didn’t even know he was on, from Paul Simon to Ashford and Simpson to Billy Joel and more.
From his first recording sessions in the 1950s to his last in 2014, Charlie Haden made deep, beautiful music. He played bass with confidence and style, and pretty much every album he graced as a sideman counts among the leader’s best work. Over the years his music got quieter and simpler without losing any of its profundity.
Charlie recorded this song many times, but my favorite version is on his 1995 duo album with Hank Jones, Steal Away.
Speaking of songs I like that aren’t in fake books, here’s a Jimmy Van Heusen song first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943.
I had some unexpected free time last week, so I decided to tackle a song that sneaks into my thoughts from time to time.
Egberto Gismonti is a prolific and versatile composer. A look through his extensive discography finds him playing rock, jazz, folk, chamber music and more. His 1991 album Infância is a collection of mellifluous pieces for cello, guitars (or piano) and bass. The music is sometimes somber, sometimes joyous, and always has a rhythmic flair that is distinctly Brazilian.
Happy new year! Hope your 2018 is happy and healthy. Here’s one from Freddie Hubbard.