Monday, June 20, 2011

The Jazz Station: 5 CD Collection

     First off, there's a few things I need to get out the way. Firstly, how are you all liking the new design of the blog background!? Huh? Yes, I know it's dashingly cool. Secondly, as a follow-up to yesterday's new segment  we'll be reviewing a special one off compilation album, just to mix things up a bit! Lastly, thanks to Morgan for lending me all five discs from this monster collection of classic jazz! As a greatest hits album, this review will probably be relatively short, but c'mon, how can you snub jazz?
     The genre standards are all here, and still bring a smile to my face. Frank Sinatra's cover of the 1958 classic 'Jeepers Creepers' is there. There's also a  variety of Louis Armstrong tracks, from the live version of 'Hello Dolly' to the mesmerising 'St. James Infirmary'. It would be impossible to list every fantastic artists on this collection, but here's just a smattering. Charlie Parker's inspiring musicianship. Woody Hermann's eccentricity. Nina Simone. Glenn Miller. Dinah Washington. Billie Holiday. Every jazz great makes their presence felt amongst the folds of these records, as well as a few you mightn't have heard of, but will probably love. For me, the modern youth have lost touch with classic jazz. They're busy with rock music and electronic dance beats, which are all fine, but simply don't sooth and calm as much as listening to these tracks. There is a careless reminiscence that floats from the songs, which often makes you want to both laugh and cry. It's smokey black and white bar scene rocks and sways in it's muffled blanket of sound that you just want to curl up in and fall asleep with.Frankly, just stunningly beautiful.
     When I burned the cds to my iTunes, I found that many were muffled or crackly. For me though, this didn't matter. The old feel was, instead of smeared, amplified by the recording quality. There is a lot of variety within the albums as well, which was a surprise for me while listening through them. There are both crackly, and crystal clear recordings. There are both male and female singers. There are upbeat and then slower tracks, as well as studio and live recordings. The track order is set up in a way in which no song is exactly the same in tone or sound to the one directly after or before it. It was, instead of the labour I initially thought listening through all one hundred and one tracks would be, an absolute pleasure. Like I said, this is a pretty short review, but that shouldn't put you off checking out this collection. Jazz is a stunning form of music that for me, is lost with the modern generation. So all you teenagers who think jazz is a load of rubbish, give this a gander and tell me it didn't bring a smile to your face!