Nordost Playlist – September 2022

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this September.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ


  1. Flower—Mega Bog—Life, and Another
  2. Got My Mojo Working—Muddy Waters—The Chess Box
  3. Black Hole Sun – Live—Norah Jones—‘Til We Meet Again (Live)
  4. Things Have Changed—Bettye LaVette—Things Have Changed
  5. Have You Ever Seen The Rain—Creedence Clearwater Revival—Pendulum
  6. Search and Destroy – Iggy Pop mix—The Stooges—Raw Power
  7. Somethin’ Stupid—Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra—The World We Knew
  8. Bag of Hammers—Thao, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down—We Brave Bee Strings and All
  9. That Third Thing—Kenny Beats—LOUIE
  10. Streets Of Your Town—DOPE LEMON—Streets Of Your Town

Nelson Brill Goes to the Chicago Blues Festival

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Nelson takes us to the oldest free blues festival in the world: The Chicago Blues Festival. Here, he gives us a detailed account of the outstanding performances made throughout the weekend by blues lions, old and young!


CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL 2022- ROCKING THE DOWN HOME BLUES

By Nelson Brill | August 5, 2022

The Chicago Blues Festival (“Festival”), the oldest free blues festival in the world, roared back to life this June 9-12th, presenting three days of performances held before thousands of blues fans gathered in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. The non-stop blues action took place at the Festival’s three stages: the spacious outdoor “Jay Pritzker Stage” and lawn (“Pavilion”), the “Mississippi Juke Joint Stage” (“Juke Joint Stage”) and at the intimate “Rosa’s Lounge Stage” (hosted by Rosa’s Lounge legendary owner, Tony Mangiullo, who has presented blues and jazz acts at Rosa’s Lounge in Chicago for more than 38 years; www.rosaslounge.com). Rosa’s Lounge Stage was nestled in the area of the Festival called “Blues Village” where several Chicago-based organizations, including Chicago Blues Revival [www.chicagobluesrevival.org a nonprofit supporting blues education and performances in the neighborhoods of Chicago) and the Mojo Museum (www.mojomuseum.com working to transform Muddy Waters’ Chicago home into a future blues museum) were soliciting support. The Blues Village was located near the famous outdoor sculpture, “The Cloud Gate”, (nicknamed “The “Bean”) by British artist, Anish Kapoor, that sits at the heart of Millennium Park. A captivating vision of our “true America” was captured in strolling past the “The Bean” during the Festival. While the blues swept through the air, a constant flow of multi-racial, international and multi-generational people strolled (and danced!) in and around The Bean’s metallic surfaces, creating a beautiful vision of humanity intermingling naturally and collectively soaking-up the positive energy of the blues.

Bob Stroger and Billy Flynn – Roman Sobus photo

Every act at this year’s Festival mined its own special vein within the rich soil of Chicago blues, ever-evolving and moving forward. The Festival’s daily Tribute Shows held at the Pavilion were special treats. On Friday, June 10th, an all-star band paid tribute to legendary bassist, composer and singer, Bob Stroger, (91 years young). Stroger, tucked into a dapper bright blue suit, lead his tight band with glee, his irrepressible grin accompanying his rubbery bass lines and dusky vocals. Guitarist Billy Flynn, an alum of countless Chicago bands, fired-up crisp runs and snappy string bends on his electric guitar while a sly “One-Take” Will Shackford twirled his chords on his funky keyboard. Formidable drummer Kenny Smith held down all the dancing grooves with combustible force, his big cymbal splashes and tight snare keeping the radiant beat flowing forth.

With joyful swinging facility, Stroger and his band performed Chicago blues classics mixed with new tunes taken from Stroger’s dynamic new album, That’s My Name, (on the legendary Chicago label, Delmark Records [www.delmark.com]. On his new album, Stroger ranges afield with his spirited Brazilian band, The Headcutters, in a strutting celebration from Ma Rainey to Eddie Taylor. In addition to new tunes from this album, Stroger’s joyful set at the Festival also delivered classic Chicago blues numbers including as a fiery version of “Nothin’ But The Blues!” and a bold version of Robert Johnson’s nugget, “Sweet Home Chicago”, taken at a locomotive pace with Stroger twirling in circles with his bass in giddy celebration.

Cicero Blake – Marmoset Music

A second Tribute Show -held at the Pavilion on Saturday- was the “Chicago Soul Tribute” that featured a number of legendary Chicago blues singers backed by the swashbuckling Big Bad Blues Band, conducted by esteemed bluesman, Willie Henderson. One highlight from this rousing show was the appearance of Chicago’s elder statesman, Cicero Blake, singing with great charisma in his butterscotch-melting voice. Blake sang one of his famous tunes, “Dip My Dipper” (“I’d love to dip my dipper into someone else’s dipper!”) carousing his honeyed vocals in duet with the band’s trombone section, who added their romping low honks and soars to Blake’s sweet and sly vocals.

Peaches Staten – Roman Sobus photo

On Sunday, a final Tribute Show at the Pavillion featured another delectable treat: a celebration of Chicago’s great blues women artists in tribute to legendary performer, Mary Lane. Hosted by vivacious blues singer and entertainer, Lynne Jordan, the show ignited with a swinging all-women’s band playing a rollicking Memphis Minnie tune highlighted by Anne Harris’ fiery violin, a hot washboard solo by Peaches Staten and a burning slide guitar solo by the great Donna Herula.

Shirley Johnson – Roman Sobus photo

Vocalist extraordinaire Nora Jean Wallace, took to the stage in her flowing gown and belted out a sly blues ballad which, towards its conclusion, had Wallace shuffling wordless vocals in the deep recesses of her cheeks that created a soulful earthy edge to her powerful performance. The celebration continued with a bold Demetria Taylor (walloping a Koko Taylor-inspired “Stay Calm”) and an elegant Shirley Johnson, smoothly caressing a swinging version of “Take A Chance!” as the crowd sung and danced along to her glittering sway.

Lurrie Bell – Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

On its other stages, the Festival delivered astonishing treats from blues lions – old and young. One unforgettable highlight was the performance – on early Sunday morning at the Juke Joint Stage – by legendary Chicago bluesman, Lurrie Bell, accompanied by his two brothers – Jamie Bell on drums and Steve Bell on harp- accompanied by “Harry C” on bass.

Lurrie Bell- photo Kurt Swanson

From their first note of BB King’s “Everyday I Have The Blues”, Lurrie and his stellar band held the capacity audience transfixed. Lurrie played his electric guitar with effortless dazzle and soul. Its as f he pulled from the air, like an expert juggler, amazingly lithe and expressive twirls, runs and searing blasts on his guitar, instinctively knowing the placement of each note in his boogie blues or soulful blues ballad pacing. His fleshy touch on the chugging “Call Me On The Phone Sometime” was pungent and grooving, his husky vocals inhabiting his tunes with ease. The band ripped through heated versions of Muddy Waters and Junior Wells tunes with strident force with Lurrie scattering his alighting runs and propulsive bent strings in devilish glee. (At one point, he stung and hung onto a single high note for a full minute or more as it melted and swayed in the hot air). Steve Bell added his volcanic harp at every turn, utilizing his amazing circular breathing to expand and pound-down his bluster. At one point, he ventured into the crowd with his blasting harp, encouraged by the crowds surrounding him to search for the highest searing notes with raw tremulous power. In concluding their volcanic set, the band blasted away on a rocking version of “Sweet Home Chicago” and then tore up Jimmy Smith’s classic, “Got My Mojo Working!” with Lurrie a pell-mell frenzy on his glowing frets and his wiry brother, James, concussing the radiant boogie with his crisp hits of cymbals and dollops of huge bass drum.

Talking about great versions of “Got My Mojo Working”, I recommend a new CD release from the Muddy Waters legacy of recordings, Muddy Waters The Montreux Years [BMG]. Here’s a fabulous live recording that captures Waters and his stellar band at their raw rocking best. From the roguish “Nobody Knows Chicago Like I Do” to the fiery “Mojo Working” to a powerful “Same Thing”, this live nugget takes you into Waters and his great bands’ boogie and charms with tactile heat and a physical presence that begs for toe-tapping.

Billy Branch – Roman Sobus photo

Back at the Festival, Steve Bell’s blustering harp was not the only harp on fire. The legendary harp master, Billy Branch, recipient of a Living Legend Award by the storied Blues Foundation (www.blues.org], hit the Pavilion on Friday night with his Sons of Blues Band and rocked with a whiplash boogie focus. He presented some classic gems as well as tunes gleaned from his Roots and Branches – Songs of Little Walter album, a superb collection of powerhouse Chicago blues recorded on the legendary Chicago blues label, Alligator Records [www.alligator.com].

His version of “Boom, Boom Out Go the Lights” – taken from Roots and Branches– was a thrill with Branch’s harp shimmering and shaking up to its highest squall (Branch using his great circular breathing and his fingers clasped around the very tip of his tiny harp to squeeze his highest climb) while his swanking keyboardist, Sumito Ariyoshi, brewed funky flourishes and colorful chord changes. Branch’s vocals were strong and confident, partnered buoyantly with his harp in its tender moments, (such as on the swaying ballad “Down In The Deep Blue Sea”), and in its seismic bursts on the blistering “Blues Shock”.

Rob Stone – makingascene.com

Another young lion on the harp was Chicago’s own Rob Stone, who was performing at Rosa’s Lounge Stage, along with Andrew Diehl on guitar, E.G. McDaniel on bass and Willy “the Touch’ Hayes on drums. With his tight-knit band in tow, Stone’s jump blues and swagger were a dancing wonder. He cradled his harp in a circular dance, bowing and raising, to work the fast and slurry groove. The band achieved a swinging irresistible attack that had the crowd dancing and shaking their limbs.

For more blues harp heaven, check out the fantastic recordings by harp master Bob Corritore, in particular, his 2018 CD, Don’t Let The Devil Ride, [Vizztone Group Records; www.vizztone.com] where Corritore is joined by a stellar group of musicians recorded in several studios over the years. The recording is suffused with the ambient heat of these recording sessions where brilliant musicianship is captured in its comradely give and take. For instance, take a listen to “The Glide”, (with Sugarray Rayford at the vocal helm and Junior Watson on the guitar), for a bolt of great roadhouse blues or check out Big Jon Atkinson’s expressive heated guitar on any number of other great tunes on this recording. All the vocalists on this record are sensational, digging deep with their individual vocal styles and expressive power into the narratives of each song. Carritore’s glittering harp sings and soars through out, laying down bright and gutsy soul in all his creative blues paths.

Ronnie Baker Brooks -Chicago Blues Guide

Finally, so many great guitarists, both young and seasoned, graced the stages of this year’s Festival. Guitarist extraordinaire Dexter Allen performed a searing display of guitar wizardry on Saturday at the Juke Joint Stage, hurling funky glory and vocal charisma (“Put Your Blues On Me!) and earth-shaking pulse (on his burning version of Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign”). Rico McFarland and Ronnie Baker Brooks commanded the Pavilion with their assured tightly grooving bands, each player lightning quick in their guitar mastery. Both bands had the capacity audiences dancing in the aisles to their effortlessly spun melodies, rambunctious grooves and sway with their gutsy vocals – a perfect partner to their searing guitar creations.

Melody Angel – Chicago Blues Guide

And then there was the sensational performance given by the young Melody Angel, at the Pavilion late Saturday afternoon. This was the first time Angel had played before such a large audience and she was clearly inspired the moment she hit the stage. She played her electric guitar with an emblem of Jimi Hendrix blazed on its front and her version of “Hey Joe” was a volcanic treat. She strode to the sides of the stage; went down to her knees; plied her guitar with a wide grin and hurled each searing note into the air with total abandon and glee. On her version of Big Mama Thornton’s “Ball and Chain”, Angel pounced with gusto, her vocals strong and determined. Her band mates joined her perfectly with tight bass lines and cauldron drums with Angel’s mother contributed soulful backup vocals. Angel’s urgent “Dance With Me Baby!” and her dynamic version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful” (“I’m doing it my way!”) were earthy and powerful statements, highlighting the staccato lightness of her rhythm guitar skill and her creative use of wah-wah pedals and electronic effects to augment the emotional punch of her music. In the capacity crowds’ roaring ovations, you could tell that this young talented artist had connected with her audience in a special way: a shared exuberant moment in the glory and healing power of the blues.

Melody Angel- Chicago Blues Guide

You can read more of Nelson’s concert reviews at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


Nordost Playlist – August 2022

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this August.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ


  1. Everybody’s Gotta Live—Love—Reel To Reel
  2. If Only I Could—Blues Company—X-ray Blues  
  3. We Bad We Know—ZOI, Byfox—We Bad We Know
  4. Love and Happiness—Marc Broussard—S.O.S.: Save Our Soul
  5. Keith Don’t Go (2 Meter Session)—Nils Lofgren—Jan Douwe Kroeske presents: 2 Meter Sessions
  6. As Easy As Rolling Off A Log—James Taylor—American Standard
  7. I See A Darkness—Johnny Cash—American III: Solitary Man
  8. Black Hole Sun—Chris Cornell—Songbook
  9. Give Me Back My Man—The B-52’s—Wild Planet
  10. Chicago—Sufjan Stevens—Illinois

Nordost Playlist – July 2022

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this July.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ


  1. Believer—Emily King—The Switch
  2. Last Night—Arooj Aftab—Vulture Prince
  3. Lilies of the Valley—David Byrne—David Byrne
  4. Small Worlds—Rayland Baxter—Good Morning
  5. Your Reality—Sylvan Esso—Your Reality
  6. Pride and Joy—Stevie Ray Vaughan—Texas Flood (Legacy Edition)
  7. Sally’s Pigeons—Cyndi Lauper—Hat Full Of Stars
  8. Eine Symphonie Des Grauens—The Monochrome Set—Compendium 75-95
  9. Franklin’s Tower—Grateful Dead—Blues for Allah
  10. Let Down (Remastered)—Radiohead—OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017

Nelson Brill Talks Trumpets – Both Live and Recorded Performances

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound. In this blog, Nelson gets into the swing of spring with reviews of amazing, live, local concerts and a few special recordings, featuring prolific trumpeters that bring the atmosphere of a live performance into your own home.


BOLD TRUMPETERS TAKE CENTER STAGE: NEW JAZZ CONCERTS AND RECORDINGS TO SAVOR

By Nelson Brill | May 11, 2022

As Spring erupts here in the Northeastern US, the sounds of jazz are once again bursting forth, like a sweet lilac flower. New adventurous recordings are on tap. There’s a whirlwind of new live shows including the resumption of great summer music festivals such as the legendary Montreal Jazz Festival [www.montrealjazzfest.com] and the Newport Jazz Festival [www.newportjazz.org]. Here’s a first report on recent jazz concerts in Boston – with a garland of audiophile quality recordings to share – to get the jazz joy flowing:

jazzmuseumharlem.org

Got trumpet love? A number of swashbuckling trumpeters strode onto Boston’s stages to ignite their shining horns in recent concerts. First up, esteemed trumpeter, keyboardist and composer Nicholas Payton sashayed into Scullers Jazz Club (“Scullers”) on March 11th and delivered his bracing funk, R&B and bluesy sway with the help of vibrant partners Russell Hall on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. It was great to be back at Scullers, (see www.scullersjazz.com for their calendar of upcoming shows) with its welcoming staff and buzzing atmosphere. In retrospect, the only sad news was that Payton’s show was one of the last shows engineered and produced by Scullers’ talented audio engineer, Matt Hayes, who tragically passed away in early April. Hayes will be sorely missed by his colleagues, the many musicians he worked with andthe audiences who were lucky to hear his audio artistry each night at Scullers.

NY Times

At their Scullers show, Payton and his dapper partners played with an easy-going camaraderie, digging deep into tunes from Payton’s newest recording, Smoke Sessions [Smoke Sessions Records]. Reflecting Payton’s evolution as an artist, his Smoke Sessions recording highlights Payton’s artistry at his keyboard more than on his legendary horn. This was the case at his Scullers performance. Payton spent most of his time at his alighting electronic keyboard and his piano, plying his trumpet as an accenting partner with short bursting solos. For instance, on the band’s swinging version of Benny Golston’s “Stable Mates”, Payton mixed a cluster of bluesy chords on his electric keyboard, swinging with twinkle and verve, adding the spice of a short trumpet solo bristling with crisp bursts and breathy descents. The bluesy swing concluded with a joyful Payton-Stewart conversation with Stewart burbling low on his drums and crackling rim hits and Payton caressing his shining horn in a rising and falling stutter-stepping dance – ending on a clarion, soulful call.

AllAboutJazz

A special treat at this Scullers performance was getting the opportunity to explore the propulsive engine of Stewart on his sly and expressive drums. His creative pitter-patter of light snare, cymbal shine and rim hits was the perfect inventive companion to Payton’s musical territory allowing everyone to stretch out and groove. On another highlight, the band’s pulsating tune, “Jazz Is A Four Letter Word,” Stewart delivered a crackling rock beat with his concise snare and cymbal hits that strode forth to allow Payton and Hall to swing with rocking glee on Stewart’s slip-stream of sunshine, with the capacity audience chanting along to the song’s irresistible sway. On the band’s ardent encore, “Let Me Live Forever In The Place We Call New Orleans!” Payton strutted his trumpet with piercing joy- fast, slippery and slurry- to the top of his crisp register. His trumpet’s bursts of swing and sear (sweet and radiant), lead naturally into a pungent Hall bass solo plucking furiously at his rubbery strings (thwacking them against his instrument’s wooden body in percussive thunder) to dig deep into the band’s joyful “Second Line” groove.

Among his many adventurous projects over the years, Payton participated as an early member of the venturing SFJAZZCollective, (“SFJAZZ”), a band that has held true, since its inaugural season in 2004, to its mandate of being a “democratic composers’ workshop”. For a fine example of Payton’s early work in SFJAZZ, take a listen to SFJAZZ’s 2005 live recording [on the Nonesuch Records Label]. Of the many highlights on this stellar live recording, check out Payton sparring with his remarkable partners – saxophonists Miguel Zenon and Joshua Reedman- on a dazzling version of Ornette Coleman’s “Una Muy Bonita”. This jam session positively erupts with creative soloing and dashing dialogue, with Payton’s trumpet careening with playful sear and soar. These masterful players are joined by the great Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, Brian Blade on drums and Robert Hurst on his locomotive bass. This is one thunderous joyful ride, especially if your home audio system is up to the task of capturing the recording’s great dynamic flow, tactile heat and natural imagery of the players on their layered and airy stage.

SFJAZZ at Berklee, Celebrity Series – photo by Robert Torres

SFJAZZ continues to be a vital and brimming musical force as demonstrated in its recent concert held at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston on April 8th, presented by Celebrity Series of Boston. (See www.celebrityseries.org for a calendar of all upcoming concerts presented this cherished non-profit arts organization). The current members of SFJAZZ– saxophonists Chris Potter and David Sanchez, trumpeter Etienne Charles, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Brewer, drummer Kendrick A.D. Scott and vocalists Gretchen Parlato and Martin Luther McCoy –unfurled a dazzling display of collective brio and brilliant musicianship at their magnetic Celebrity Series concert.

SFJAZZ at Berklee – photo by Robert Torres

The playful camaraderie shared by these talented musicianswas clearly palpable – as was their collective glee in diving into original compositions from each member of the ensemble.Edward Simon’s contribution, his composition in tribute to George Floyd, was a soulful piece caressed by Charles’ soft uplifting trumpet curls and McCoy’s gentle vocals. Simon’s piano solo teemed with soft chordal clusters and velvety runs, tender in their understated strength. In contrast to this cathartic piece, other compositions this eveningflowed with glittering grooves and defiant funkMcCoy’s vocals, (with their malleability and burnished soulfulness), took dynamic charge of SFJAZZ’s romping cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”, transformed into a funky fest led by Sanchez’s boisterous tenor sax and Charles’ shining trumpet calls. On Potter’s venturing original, “Mutuality”, the dancing optimism continued with a sunny riff riding upon the slipstream of Gretchen Parlato’s wordless vocals. Parlato’s warm-as-a-breeze vocals (with her silvery changes in lithe perfect pitch) nestled beautifully in Potter’s alto sax caresses- his instrument a golden vehicle of expression with Potter belting out lowest honks, frenetic runs and soaring powerful chants. Scott’s fluid drums and Brewer’s pungent bass propelled this drama forward with their burbling, hunkered-down flow. Another highlight of this glittering concert was Parlato’s original, “All That’s Inside You” – another optimistic foray- in which Parlato and McCoy’s vocals roamed in carefree companionship, swirling around Wolf’s effervescent vibe solo. The concert concluded with a rollicking version of Sly Stone’s “I Want To Take You Higher!” with the capacity audience standing and singing as the band strode forth in gleeful action lit up by Charles’ trumpet (roaming crisply in the stratosphere) and Potter and Sanchez’s saxophones hurling bluesy, stutter-step calls to glitter the dance.

With the sound of Etienne Charles’ shining trumpet still in my ears, I came home from this energizing concert to explore recordings from jazz trumpeters. First up was the discovery of a fresh voice on the horn – trumpeter Bruce Harris- whose new recording, Soundview [Cellar Music; www.cellarlive.com] is a shape-shifting delight. Harris surrounds himself with a stellar cast: pianist Sullivan Fortner, bassist David Wong, drummer Aaron Kimmel and vocalist Samara McClendon. Although the sound is a bit closed-in on this recording (with images placed a little too wide and compartmentalized in a space offering little air), the music is always fresh and compelling. Harris’ trumpet is a clarion vehicle of expression. His playing whimsically ranges from soft meditative calls (accompanying, for instance, the soulful vocals of McClendon on their stirring ballad “Bird of Red and Gold”) to crisp and swinging banter, as on the group’s swanking version of Randy Weston’s “Saucer Eyes” and on the playful exuberance of Hank Mobley’s “Hank’s Prank.”

Bruce Harris- YouTube

The band contributes their own tasty nuggets of swing and groove. Fortner, (one of my favorite young explorers at the keyboard) is a delectable force: his piano teems with bluesy swank and bounce at every creative caress and flourish. (Check out, for instance, his sprite carefree action on the group’s delectable “Ellington Suite”). Wong is a young master on his bass delivering several riveting solos of deep purple passion while Kimmel proves himself to be a fresh voice on his drums with his whiplash snare and cymbal combinations sharp and radiant.

Roy Hargrove-JazzTimes

A master of the trumpet who left us too early, (and who most likely is an inspiration for the young Harris), was the legendary trumpeter Roy Hargrove. We are now gifted with a fantastic new recording of Hargrove performing with his impeccable musical partner, pianist Mulgrew Miller, from their concerts held at Merkin Hall in New York City in January, 2006 and from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania in November, 2007.

This new recording, entitled In Harmony, is presented by the talented team at Resonance Records (www.resonancerecords.org), a favorite audiophile label that re-discovers masterful recordings by jazz artists (some recordings unearthed for the first time!) and presents these radiant sessions in the best possible re-mastered sound from their original master tapes. In Harmony is a brilliant addition to the Hargrove/Miller legacy and to the Resonance Records oeuvre. The Merkin Hall selections capture both players in true-to-life crackling presence and natural imagery, plying their magic in a layered and spacious acoustic. The selections from the Lafayette College concert are of a bit different in sonic quality (due surely to the recording techniques utilized at the original event): Miller’s piano is more recessed, there is a bit less body and bloom to both his piano and Hargrove’s trumpet and the recording has a less spacious soundstage.

Mulgrew Miller-photo Ben Lieberman

Regardless of these small sonic differences between the sessions, the glorious music generated by Hargrove and Miller on their In Harmony is open-eared, ever-adventurous and immersive. Highlights include the metallic fire of Hargrove’s trumpet (lighting up to the rear of Merkin Hall) on such golden beauties as “Just In Time” or the bluesy swank of “Blues For Mr. Hill”. His deft trumpet navigates effortlessly from tropical romps and slurring slides (on such great tunes as Blue Mitchell’s “Fungii Mama”) to the softest dignified rustle, as on the gracious “I Remember Clifford”. Miller’s piano undulates and sparkles in frisky dialogue with Hargrove’s trumpet at every turn. His piano has this beautiful swinging and singing quality, delivering the boogie stomp of the rocking encore, “OW” with glitter or using his expert colorist phrasing (and a soft athletic drive) to caress the unpredictable and angular strokes of “Monk’s Dream”. In Harmony captures this tête-à-tête between these two maestros with ease and joy, their dialogue sweeping us along into an immersive world of spiky-sweet swing, meditation and toe-tapping fun.

I can’t let this trumpet glory from a master like Hargrove pass-by without also mentioning another recording gem from three other legendary trumpeters – Clark Terry, Freddie Hubbard and Dizzy Gillespie- who gathered in a small studio in 1980 to create The Alternate Blues, captured in all its splendor on vinyl by the impeccable team at Analogue Productions [APR 3010; www.acousticsounds.com]. Find this LP and you will never tire of exploring the beauty and groove of this session where each of these trumpet maestros take their glorious time in exploring these informal takes. The individual and collective charisma is only made sweeter by the incomparable rhythm section here: Oscar Peterson on piano, Ray Brown on bass, Joe Pass on guitar and Bobby Durham on drums. This LP is a cherished keeper in any vinyl lover’s collection.

Charles Mingus- NYTimes

This year we are also celebrating the centennial of the birth of dazzling bassist and composer, Charles Mingus, and what a treat it was to hear another stellar young trumpeter, Jason Palmer, soar his piercing trumpet into New England Conservatory’s (“NEC”) airy Jordan Hall in celebration of Mingus’ music. At this NEC celebration concert held on April 19th, Palmer joined the NEC Jazz Orchestra, conducted by their peerless director, Ken Schaphorst, in a fiery version of Mingus’ “Meditations on Integration”. Palmer’s trumpet was in great kinetic form: his solos crackling in frenetic runs, sharp dancing bursts and blossoming in golden hues.

Jaon Palmer- AllAboutJazz

This same effusive spirit infused the NEC “House Band” and the NEC “Joe Morris Ensemble” in bold performances of Mingus’ “Orange Was The Color of Her Dress” and Mingus’ legendary “Fables of Faubus”- highlighted by NEC student trumpeters Zoe Murphy and Isaac Dubow blowing their horns in gutsy and fiery bursts. There were also some very special solo piano performances at this NEC Mingus celebration. Eminent NEC faculty member and legendary pianist Ran Blake performed his own composition, “Mingus Noir”, with incomparable soulful expression. Another brilliant and intrepid pianist, Jason Moran, explored the rollicking spirit and swirl of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” with barrelhouse and grooving energy while young NEC student pianist Jonathan Paik held the audience in Jordan Hall spellbound with his meditative deep dive into Mingus’ ballad, “Myself When I Am Real.” (See www.necmusic.edu for more fabulous free concerts coming this Fall).

Mingus’ genius – as a bass player and composer- is heard in all its seismic beauty on a new recording that gifts us with a beautiful re-mastering of the complete legendary concert by Mingus and his band presented at Carnegie Hall in 1974 [Atlantic Recording Group label]. The new recording delivers all the layered air and soundstage of Carnegie Hall and has a “you-are-there” tactile energy and presence. Mingus and his band are bold and fiery – their energy is irresistible and their musicianship ardent and volcanic. They exchange audacious musical conversations swirling with vital and reveling sounds – from the deep blasts of Hamiet Bluiett’s careening baritone to the snap and spunk of Dannie Richmond’s alighting drums. Unfurling above all the delicious action is the young trumpeter Jon Faddis, pushing the stratospheric limits of his instrument with searing force, layered deep in the soundstage. In the second set’s “battle of the saxes”, legendary saxophonists George Adams, Charles McPherson, John Handy and Rahsaan Roland Kirk join with Bluiett, Faddis and the rest of Mingus’ brilliant band to fire-up every intrepid thrill in Mingus’ music. A bravura spirit to heal the world!

Rahsaan-Roland-Kirk in Copenhagen, 1964-Post Daily

You can read more of Nelson’s concert reviews at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


Nordost Playlist – May 2022

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this May.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ


  1. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)—Angelique Kidjo—Oremi
  2. Red Clay—Craig Pilo—Just Play
  3. Too Late Now—Wet Leg—Wet Leg
  4. Good To Be (Home Again)—Keb’ Mo’—Good To Be…
  5. Tell Her You Belong To Me—Beth Hart—Better Than Home (Deluxe Edition)
  6. Space Oddity – Live—Natalie Merchant—Live in Concert
  7. Feel It Still—Pentatonix—PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. I
  8. I Love Being Here With You – Live—Diana Krall—Live In Paris
  9. Tower Of Song—Tom Jones—Spirit In The Room
  10. The Medium—Toro y Moi, Unknown Mortal Orchestra—MAHAL

Nordost Playlist – April 2022

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this April.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ


  1. Satellite Man—Satellite and the Harpoonist—Satellite Man
  2. Summer Nights—Lonnie Liston Smith, The Cosmic Echoes—Visions of a New World
  3. Love You Inside and Out—Pat Van Dyke, Melinda Camille—Nautilus / Love You Inside and Out
  4. All About You—Sophie Zelmani—Soul
  5. Flat Beat—Mr. Oizo—Flat Beat
  6. It Happens Suddenly—Kaito—Trust
  7. One of These Days—Bedouine—Bedouine (Deluxe)
  8. Le soleil levant (house of the rising sun)—pijama land—le soleil levant (house of the rising sun)
  9. RHODODENDRON—Hurray For The Riff Raff—LIFE ON EARTH
  10. Today—Tom Scott, California Dreamers—The Honeysuckle Breeze

Nordost Playlist – March 2022

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this March.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ


  1. Mariella—Khruangbin, Leon Bridges—Texas Moon
  2. Lonely Sometimes—Oh He Dead—Oh He Dead
  3. My Babe—Spoon—Lucifer On The Sofa
  4. The Waters Of March—Susannah McCorkle—From Bessie To Brazil
  5. Show Me Your Pretty Side—Tamar Aphek—All Bets Are Off
  6. Life On Mars—Miguel Atwood-Ferguson—Modern Love
  7. Do I Ever Cross Your Mind—Chet Atkins and Dolly Parton—Chet Atkins-The Master And His Music
  8. Let’s Go Get Stoned—Big Mama Thornton—Stronger Than Dirt
  9. All the While—The Pines—Dark So Gold
  10. The Loop—Toro y Moi—The Loop

Nordost Playlist – February 2022

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this February.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ


  1. Answer Me, My Love—Swamp Dogg—Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune
  2. Everybody Knows—Leonard Cohen—I’m Your Man
  3. Even If It Hurts—Tei Shi, Blood Orange—La Linda
  4. Cry Everything—Kindness—Something Like A War
  5. It’s Your Thing—Christian McBride, Dee Dee Bridgewater—Conversations with Christian
  6. Murmuration—GoGo Penguin—v2.0 (Deluxe Edition)
  7. Better By Now—Abby Holliday—Better By Now
  8. Club Nine—Nicolas Godin—Contrepoint
  9. One Fine Morning—Bill Callahan—Apocalypse
  10. Giorgio by Moroder—Daft Punk—Random Access Memories

Nordost Playlist – January 2022

Nordost products are designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite performances as they were intended to be heard. All of us here are passionate about great music, and want to share our passion with you. Each one of us has our own style… We listen to a wide variety of artists and genres but, in a way, we appreciate them all. We thought that we would share a few of the songs on our own personal playlists with you each month. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your tastes, but we hope that there is something here for everyone.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this January.


You can now listen to our monthly playlist here:  TIDAL  | SPOTIFY  |  QOBUZ


  1. Bottle Tops—Ritual Feat. Mononoke—Every Night Another But Not You
  2. Stimela (Coal Train)—Hugh Masekela—Still Grazing
  3. After Hours—The Velvet Underground—The Velvet Underground
  4. Delores’ Boyfriend—Allen Toussaint—American Tunes
  5. Cotton Fields—Harry Belafonte—Belafonte Sings The Blues  
  6. Love Ain’t Enough—The Barr Brothers—Sleeping Operator
  7. cloud castle—Luna Li—jams EP
  8. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?—Bing Crosby, Lenny Hayton & His Orchestra—They Essential Bing Crosby
  9. Unhate—Cat Power—Unhate/I’ll Be Seeing You
  10. Let Me Roll It—Wings—Band On The Run