NOAHJAZZ - NB PONTIFICATES

MY REFLECTIONS ON MUSIC, LIFE, FOOD AND WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE . . .

Tag: blues and R&B

Top 10 Favorite B.B. King Tracks

I suppose I knew it was coming, but I can’t really imagine a world without B.B. King (1925-2015) in it. We all know he was one of the great voices on the blues guitar, but he was much more than that. As a singer, songwriter, bandleader and pioneer for enduring success with non-commercial black music he made a huge mark and his guitar playing far transcends the blues, as can be heard in the generations of R&B, blues and rock guitar players who have adapted his style. In the interest of expediency, there are fewer discographical notes and less commentary than usual, I just wanted to highlight 10 of the performances that have most impacted me.

Top 10 Favorite Neville Brothers Tracks

Some of my most formative music-listening moments have come through the Neville Brothers. I got to see them live on two occasions as a teenager, while listening incessantly to what I’d consider their two truly groundbreaking albums, Yellow Moon (1989) and Brother’s Keeper (1990). The grooves were like nothing I’d ever heard before, the social conscience was dramatically overt yet poetic and the combination of the four lead voices (Aaron’s angelically high voice, Cyril’s gruff tenor, Art’s low-toned and often partly-spoken vocals and the unique saxophone style of Charles) meant that there was someone there to cover pretty much any job.

Top 10 Favorite Jack Bruce Tracks

Jack Bruce finally succumbed to his liver woes yesterday at the age of 71. I’ll always be a fan of his most famous work with Cream, and could certainly have done a Top 10 list of just those tunes. But as a person interested in jazz, rock and the sometimes nebulous crosshairs between them, I find Jack Bruce to be a particularly important (dare I say unique?) figure, with credibility in both worlds and a long track record of exploring the intersections. This list was compiled with a particular slant towards showing his diversity in that regard.

Top 10 Favorite Isley Brothers Tracks

I love the Isley Brothers, and their place in my heart is as unique as their place in music history. I’m hard pressed to think of many other artists who’ve produced strong work with such a diversity of sounds and a consistent evolution over such a long period of time.

Top 10 Favorite Bonnie Raitt Tracks

Hooboy I loves me some Bonnie Raitt . . .

Top 10 Slide Guitar Solos

I have a particularly strong soft spot for slide guitar, and here is the result of my agonizing attempt to narrow down to a Top 10 list.

Top 10 R&B Keyboard Performances

One of the purposes of my Top 10 lists is to discuss the music that moves me, whether the influence is obvious in my own music or not. This is a case where the connection is a bit more direct, since I’ve taken a lot from classic R&B/soul records and worked to incorporate it into what I do without casting aside the authentic elements of jazz. Here are some tracks/players that have helped open my ears and expand my vocabulary.

Top 10 R&B Male Vocal Performances

J.B., Rev. Al, Bobby “Blue”, Brother Ray and 6 more . . .

Top 10 Stevie Wonder Tracks

I love Stevie Wonder so much that coming up with a Top 10 list for him is really hard – hard to even know how to approach it. So I have ultimately decided on approaching it as the top 10 tracks I cannot imagine living without.

Top 10 R&B Duo or Group Vocal Performances

Marvin and Tammi, the Isleys, Four Tops, Impressions and some surprises . . .