Lovely Recordings Hosted by Patrick Burnette

I've loved music since I was five and proudly taking a tiny plastic record player everywhere I went (I think it had to “disappear” eventually to preserve the relative sanity of the adults around me). I wasn't especially attuned to quality of sound until about fifteen years ago and am still a piker in terms of equipment and analysis compared to most of the posters and readers here. Anyway, here are four recordings I love for musical reasons that also boast at least decent sound.

The Bill Smith Quartet: Folk Jazz (Contemporary Records, 1961)
I remember lying on the living room couch ten years or so ago listening to Bill Smith's album Folk Jazz and thinking – this isn't only a great album, it's also a really great sounding album. Released on Contemporary back in 1958, Folk Jazz boasts the can't miss lineup of Bill Smith, clarinet; Monty Budwig, bass; Shelly Manne, drums; and Jim Hall, guitar. It's folk songs done in the cool jazz manner and the directness of the material keeps everybody on point and swinging. Delightful as a glass of lemonade.

Available from Qobuz

Sophie Faught: Three Muses (2015)
Sophie Faught is a young Indianapolis-based tenor saxophonist whose influences include Hank Mobley (you may hear something of his "round" sound in her conception, though it's definitely post hard-bop) as well as Coltrane and Henderson. Her album Three Muses includes material inspired by the paintings of Steven Sickles and sustains a unity of mood that delights and soothes me. It's a trio album (tenor, bass, drums) and sounds great—especially for an independent production. I always enjoy catching Sophie and her group Wednesday nights at the Chatterbox in downtown Indianapolis, and if you're a jazz fan, you will too.

Available from Bandcamp

Living By Lantern: Old Myth / New Science (Cuneiform Records, 2012)
A much more recent acquisition – Living By Lantern's release Old Myth / New Science – is a collection of performances based on unreleased tapes by Sun Ra. The co-leader Jason Adasiewicz isn't just a good spelling-bee challenge name – he's a fantastic Chicago area vibist with a distinctive sound (hits the bars with mighty force and loves to play with reverb). I lived in Chicago much of the nineties and wish I could have stayed to hear the flowering of the second generation progressive jazz scene there. You'll miss this recording if you aren't careful due to the oddly-named ensemble, but it's really beautiful stuff. Mary Halvorson's guitar solos alone make it a must buy.

Available from Bandcamp

Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge, 2007)
Finally, a pop entry – Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. This band took me a long time to get into. They seemed short on melody and too simplistic at first. Now I love their stuff – even Gimme Fiction, which seemed to take the approach too far, grew into a favorite. Ga x 5 is a great place to start. The spare instrumentation and laser like focus makes every Spoon album a treat for the ears.

Available from Tidal

Patrick Burnette lives in the Midwest and enjoys listening to music, playing saxophone, writing short fiction, and napping. He podcasts with his best friend from college, Mike, twice a month about jazz. The Jazzbastard podcast can be downloaded from iTunes or AudioStream does not endorse the Jazzbastard podcast, which has some adult language (and juvenile moments).

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Frank Hardly's picture

Thanks for sharing. Don't know these, except for Spoon which I love, but will look forward to trying some different jazz.