After chatting with my friend Ron, I went through some of my faves and made a list of music suggestions for him. It actually turned into a little bit of a project! I so enjoyed looking through everything and remembering what drew me to them in the first place that I decided to post it here in case anyone else is looking for some ideas.
I only bothered to list things that you might not be familiar with, so you won't find things like Beethoven, Black Sabbath, or Bob Marley. If you have some music recommendations for me, I'd love to hear them!
------------------------------ SYMPHONIC AND CHAMBER MUSIC - As you can see, I have a weakness for 20th century composers, from early (Holst) to late (Adams). John Adams / The Chairman Dances - One of my faves, he and Stephen Reich are of the minimalist school, so the music is subtle but wonderful. Aaron Copland / Symphony No.3 - Levi, Atlanta Symphony - There are probably dozens of good recordings, but this is just the one that I have. It's a telarc and pretty nice. Gustav Holst / The Planets, Dutoit - Listening to this, you can see that John Williams is just a cheap rip-off artist who stole all of this guys moves :-) Apocalyptica / Metallica By Four Cellos Apocalyptica / Inquisition Symphony - These guys are great, they really do some wonderful arrangements of stuff that most people wouldn't think of. If you like this, you would probably also enjoy the Kronos Quartet. ------------------------------ BIG BAND POWER JAZZ Stan Kenton / 7.5 On The Richter Scale Stan Kenton / Journey Into Capricorn Stan Kenton / Kenton '76 Stan Kenton / Stan Kenton Plays Chicago - I grew up with Kenton from my dad and it is amazing how many guys played or arranged with him. These albums are from the 70s when he was doings some neat things with smaller, but still powerful bands. His large bands in the 50s had horn sections that could do 2-12hp of stun damage per song! "Chicago" above is the band, not the city. There is a great Kenton site at kenton.crispen.org. Buddy Rich / Mercy, Mercy (Live At Caesars Palace) Buddy Rich / Big Swing Face - I've been really getting into Buddy Rich lately. These were recorded around 67 or so and were tight sets! Buddy Rich is like James Brown in the precision and groove he gets from the band. Williams Fairey Brass Band / Acid Brass - This might be tough to find but is pretty sweet. An English marching band that does arrangements of dance club, acid jazz songs. ------------------------------ SMALL COMBO JAZZ Stan Getz / Getz, Gilberto - This is the album that basically defined bossa-nova. Bobby Hutcherson / San Francisco - Vibraphone and cool jazz Trudy Pitts / Legends Of Acid Jazz - Mistress of the Hammond Organ Dizzy Gillespie - Stan Getz / Diz and Getz Dizzy Gillespie - Stan Getz - Sonny Stitt / For Musicians Only - No challenge here, all great stuff and very easy on the ears. Jimmy McGriff / Electric Funk Jimmy McGriff / Let's Stay Together Herbie Hancock / Head Hunters Herbie Hancock / Thrust - These albums from McGriff and Hancock are super funky 1970s jazz, or maybe some folks would call it fusion. Prime work. Gil Scott-Heron / Pieces of a Man - The music on this is nice, but it's all about his lyrics. This album has "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" while others have such gems as "Whitey on the Moon". See www.gilscottheron.com for a great tribute page with a discography and other info. Lalo Schifrin / Black Widow Lalo Schifrin / Mission_ Anthology - This Argentinian has done everything from play with Dizzy Gillespie to masses and concertos to hundreds of film scores, including music from Mission Imppossible. My favorite period was around 75-76, when he was doing Jazz/Disco on CTI records (Black Widow, Towering Toccata). Mission: Anthology is a collection of the music he did for the tv show and there are some great swanky bits in there. Check out the playlist for Lalo-themed show we did on WRPI for more listings and some web links. ------------------------------ FUNK / SOUL - In the previous section Jimmy McGriff and Herbie Hancock are funk, but from the jazz side. This is pure funk and Soul. James Brown / Hell James Brown / Reality James Brown / The CD of JB - The CD of JB has got all the main things you want, but Hell and Reality are both just so tied to the early mid-70s that you gotta love em. Curtis Mayfield / The Very Best of Curtis Mayfield - Curtis could groove with the best of them. VA / Funk Original Masters (vol 1&2) - Get it at walmart. It has everything you ever want. VA / Pimps, Players & Private Eyes - All songs from various 1970s movies. Sex-O-Rama 2 (Oglio Records) - A modern studio band playing newly written funk music in the style of porn-film music. There originally was a Sex-O-Rama 1, but they were playing songs that were actually from porn films, but they had not cleared the rights and were forced to pull it from the market. Parliament Funkadelic / Parliament's Greatest Hits - P-Funk is required listening ... Kool & The Gang / Spirit Of The Boogie Kool & The Gang / The Best Of Kool & The Gang (1969-1976) - As is Kool & The Gang, and no, neither album has "Celebrate" :-) ------------------------------ TRUE LOUNGE Cal Tjader / El Sonido Nuevo Cal Tjader / Soul Sauce Cal Tjader / Several Shades of Jade & Breeze from the East - Cal is great! He is a Swede that totally understood what the 60s wanted in swanky Latin sounds. I really like the "Several Shades" album because he goes nuts in a bunch of musical styles. Henry Mancini / Mancini '67 - Nobody is smoother ... Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass / Classics Vol. 1 - C'mon, you know you listened to it. Everyone did. Yma Sumac / Mambo! - You'll find her on many of the Ultra-lounges. Her five octave range can kill the weak. Crime Jazz - Music In The First Degree Crime Jazz - Music In The Second Degree - Nice collections of crime jazz, also see the Crime Scene below. The recent Pixar movie The Incredibles had a nice sampling of the crime jazz style in it's music ... Ultra-Lounge - On The Rocks - Part One Ultra-Lounge - On The Rocks - Part Two Ultra-Lounge Vol. 01 - Mondo Exotica Ultra-Lounge Vol. 02 - Mambo Fever Ultra-Lounge Vol. 03 - Space Capades Ultra-Lounge Vol. 04 - Bachelor Pad Royale Ultra-Lounge Vol. 05 - Wild, Cool & Swingin' Ultra-Lounge Vol. 07 - The Crime Scene Ultra-Lounge Vol. 08 - Cocktail Capers Ultra-Lounge Vol. 09 - Cha-Cha De Amor Ultra-Lounge Vol. 11 - Organs In Orbit Ultra-Lounge Vol. 13 - TV Town Ultra-Lounge Vol. 14 - Bossa Novaville Ultra-Lounge Vol. 15 - Wild, Cool & Swingin' Too! Ultra-Lounge Vol. 17 - Bongo Land - The best lounge collections ever made. Capitol just kept raiding their vaults. All are good, but my personal faves are Crime Scene, Wild, Cool & Swingin Too!, and Mambo Fever. If you are looking for a swinging Christmas, don't miss Christmas Cocktails vols 1-3! They have a very retro website at www.ultralounge.com. Cocktail Mix Vol. 2 - Martini Madness Cocktail Mix Vol. 4 - Soundtracks With A Twist! - These are also very excellent collections. VA / In A Cocktail Mood VA / Shaken Not Stirred - These are big faves because they contain some great Bongo tracks by Jack Burger, versions of Sunny and Good Morning Starshine by Arthur Lyman and some spectacular arrangements of the James Bond Theme, Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice by a group calling themselves James Bond and His Sextet. VA / Fun & Lounging in Las Vegas - Lots of goofy singing stuff. ------------------------------ FAUX LOUNGE - For when you just couldn't get enough. Star Wars: Cocktails In The Cantina (Oglio Records) - Simply the finest disk ever. Star Wars theme music done in a variety of lounge styles, like the Princess Leia Bossa Nova or the Darth Vader Imperial March done in a zoot suit "Big Bad Voodoo Daddies" style. This was a zen find in a used bin because obviously it was originally purchased by someone who liked either Lounge or the Star Wars theme music but not both. Cocktail - Shakin' and Stirred (Oglio Records) - The second finest disk. Various 90's songs done in Lounge style. My personal fave is Alanis Morissete's "You Oughta Know" done in a perfect Esquivel style :-) Montefiori Cocktail / Raccolta No. 1 Montefiori Cocktail / Raccolta No. 2 - A pair of italian brothers who play in a loungy style with a slight electronica influence. Easy Tempo Easy Tempo Vol. 2 - The Psycho Beat Easy Tempo Vol. 5 - A Slammin' Cinematic Experience Easy Tempo Vol. 7 - Bikini Beat - Music from 60-70s italian films, with a touch of modern stuff thrown in here and there. ------------------------------ SINGERS Mel Torme / Mel Tormé Swings Shubert Alley - The Velvet Fog doing showtunes. Can't be beat. Nancy Wilson / The Jazz And Blues Sessions - I still hear her hosting on some NPR jazz show and after 40 years her voice is still smooth as silk. Michelle Shocked / Short Sharp Shocked Michelle Shocked / The Texas Campfire Tapes - After these two albums she went off in different directions, but these capture the folky honest songwriting that really set her apart from the crowd. Bobs / Cover the Songs of Bobs / Shut Up and Sing! Bobs / Sing the Songs of - Acapella group. Super witty and fun. They have put out quite a few albums, but I would start with the two "cover the songs of" ones to fully appreciate how they work their mojo. See www.bobs.com Kate Bush / Hounds of Love Kate Bush / The Dreaming - The Hounds of Love has been one of my favorite albums since it first came out in 1985, and The Dreaming is quite nice too. Perfect for when you are in a quiet thoughtful mood. ------------------------------ POWER ROCK Alice In Chains / Alice In Chains Alice In Chains / Dirt - Both are angry, griding rock that demands to be played loud. The Stooges (Iggy Pop) / Fun House The Stooges (Iggy Pop) / The Stooges - Detroit power rock from 69-70. Fun House is on my short list for desert island albums. Rob Zombie / American Made Music To Strip By - Some heavy rocking, a bit of remixing, some found sounds and you have serious slamming stuff. If you like, be sure to also check out the White Zombie albums "Astro Creep 2000" and "La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume 1" KMFDM / Attak KMFDM / Nihil - Industrial, but still dancey, not batshit crazy like Einstuerzende Neubauten can be. Apply in small doses. ------------------------------ GOOD OLD FASHIONED ROCK Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet / Dim The Lights, Chill The Ham Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet / Savvy Show Stoppers Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet / Sport Fishin' -- The Lure Of The Bait, The Luck Of The Hook - These guys have a real fresh style. They are from Toronto and provided music for the Kids in the Hall. They broke up a number of years back, but that hasn't stopped Taco Bell from using one of their songs ("The Zombie Compromise") recently. Dread Zeppelin / 5,000,000_ Dread Zeppelin / It's Not Unusual Dread Zeppelin / Un-led-ed - Dread Zeppelin does Zepplin covers in a reggae style led by an Elvis impersonator. It may sound strange, but it works real well! When the Levee Breaks is a thing of beauty. They also do some of their own. Living In Oblivion / The 80's Greatest Hits Vols. 1-5 - An excellent collection of all the one-hit wonders of the 80s New Order / (The Best Of) New Order New Order / Republic - These guys also came out of a reconstitution of a number of 80s bands (like Joy Division) but have remained quite fresh. Blake Babies / Earwig Blake Babies / Sunburn - Fun fresh college pop. Julliana Hatfield later went on to do solo albums, but never matched the bright cheeriness of these. Check out odd little cover of Iggy's "Loose" on Earwig Pizzicato Five / Made in USA - Not really rock, this threesome is what Japanese pop is all about! ------------------------------ RAP Public Enemy / Fear Of A Black Planet - If you are going to go for rap, Chuck-D is required, and this album, while a bit old, is one of the must haves. Check out the latest at www.publicenemy.com Beastie Boys / Hello Nasty Beastie Boys / Ill Communication Beastie Boys / The In Sound From Way Out - If you are still thinking of "Fight for Your Right to Party", just put it out of your head. These guys have moved light-years beyond that musically. They still do a bit of rapping, but it is backed up by some really varied and interesting stuff. The "In Sound .." is a completely instrumental album, in fact. ------------------------------ ELECTRONICA AND DANCEY THINGS - Sometimes a bit trancy, sometime rocking, these are things that have a real nice flow to them. When I am doing some hard core coding, deep in the Plak Tao (the code fever) you are likely to find one of these playing. Air (french band) / Moon Safari - A couple of french guys that put out some of the smoothest stuff you have ever heard. A little jazzy, a little electronic, some very velvety vocals. Be aware that there is also an american band called Air so you will usually see these guys listed as (french) or something like that. VA / Chill Out Lounge Vol. 1 - Various artists, but the same sort of smooth beats as Air. There are other volumes, but I haven't checked them out yet. Supreme Beings Of Leisure - Very trancy vocals with a mix of slow to mid-speed grooves. The cut "Never the Same" has been showing up here and there. More recent than Portishead below, and more upbeat, but similarly contemplative. Portishead / Dummy - Very trancy vocals, big hit was Sour Times which remixed Lalo Schifrins Danube Incident. If electronica went a bit goth, you might get something like this. Lords of Acid / Our Little Secret Lords of Acid / Farstucker...Stript Lords of Acid / Voodoo-U - Raw, raunchy and rocking. Lately they have been releasing "Stript" versions of albums with just music -- no lyrics. I enjoy that too, but the lyrics are part of the fun. MC Honky / I Am The Messiah - I think I first heard this guy on NPR and checked him out. Some real oddball things on here but fun to listen to. Skeewiff / It's All Gone ... Skeewiff - I found this in Japan, although they are a British duo. A very diverse mix of Starsky and Hutch type rock with found sounds, funk and generally groovy stuff. See www.skeewiff.com Propellerheads / Decksandrumsandrockandroll - These guys have only produced one album, but if they ever kick out another one, I would buy it sight unseen. I was walking through the town of Whistler on a ski trip and heard a remix of "On Her Majestys Secret Service". I had no choice but to buy it. They had also managed to convince Shirley Bassey to record new material with them and came up with "History Repeating", and another track called "Spybreak!" that was later used for the massive assault scene in the original Matrix film. Shirley Bassey / Diamonds Are Forever_ The Remix Album - The success of the "History Repeating" in the previous album spawned an interest in all of the great songs Shirley Bassey had done, which then led to this album. She didn't record anything new for this, but it has a few nice remixes by various groups. VA / Verve Remixed 2 VA / Bond, Beat & Bass - Like the previous album, remixes of various lounge classics and Bond film music. Many are really well done, others are just paying the bills. If you liked the original songs, think about these too. Prodigy / The Fat of the Land - This was a must have in the late 90s and songs from it are *still* showing up here and there. For example, "Smack My Bitch Up" was in the original Charlies Angels movie. Crystal Method / Vegas - Another must have from the late 90's (1997). I used to just leave this on repeat play and crank out code all night. Technotronic / Pump Up The Jam - After fifteen years, the beats may not be that complex, but they still get the job done with room to spare :-) ------------------------------ WORLD BEAT Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Michael Brook / Night Song Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Michael Brook / Star Rise - Nusrat is basically the Elvis of Sufi gospel music and Michael Brook is a DJ that got him to collaborate on some mixes of his singing with Brook providing the base music. Night Song is just the two of them and more mellow, while Star Rise has other DJs come in and do more uptempo remixes of things. This is what you would call "World Beat" Tabla Beat Science / Tala Matrix - More world beat type of stuff. Mostly indian tabla with a light bit of electronica mixed in. Extremely trancy. Cubanismo! with Jesús Alemańy VA / New York Latin Sounds of the 60's - Being in Florida, you probably have a direct line into the latest Cuban grooves, but if not, these will make you close the curtains and dance around the living room. If you want like to try some Javanese Gamelan music, let me know and I can recommend a couple of good disks. ------------------------------ VOICE Charles Bogert / Sounds of North American Frogs - A Smithsonian Institute scientific record from the 50s, recently re-released on CD. It has ~70 tracks of frog calls and explanation. The largest frog is the American Bullfrog, Rana Catesbiana. It's bass voice can be heard in ponds and streams ranging from northern Canada to the Quazocoalcos river at the Isthmus of Tehuantipec. Check out Smithsonian Folkways for this and other great stuff! Ken Nordine / Colors Ken Nordine / The Best of Word Jazz, Vol. 1 - Before he sold you Tasters Choice coffee, he did some real oddball spoken word jazz. William S. Burroughs / Spare Ass Annie - This is a collaboration with spoken word from Burroughs and remixing and loops from guy from the Disposable Heros of Hiphopracy. Negativland / Escape from Noise Negativland / Helter Stupid - Not so much voice as found sounds, tape loops, finding the limits of "fair use" and other such creative prankstering. All is revealed on Negativworldwidewebland