Welcome to Songs for Listening, a curated site for daily playlists from musicians, agents, managers, writers, scholars, and programmers.

05-01-19 | Songs for Listening | Josh Jackson

05-01-19 | Songs for Listening | Josh Jackson

Josh Jackson, program director and host at WVTF, picked songs for Wednesday, May 1 at Songs for Listening. Josh began his radio career at WWOZ New Orleans, worked as a production assistant at American Routes, and moved to New York to become the associate producer of Jazz From Lincoln Center with Ed Bradley. Josh joined the WVTF team in Fall 2014 as the station’s Program Director and Content Manager. He is also the host of Last Quarter, which runs Sunday nights on WVTF.

Josh was formerly the Vice President of Content at WBGO, the nation's most important public media jazz outlet. Josh was the founding producer of the multi-platform concert series Live at the Village Vanguard and The Checkout: Live, a live performance extension of the hourly music magazine he created, The Checkout. His efforts in multimedia production led to the creation of Jazz Night In America.

Josh is a two-time recipient of the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Broadcasting. He lives on a mountain in Roanoke, Virginia.

Here’s Josh’s annotations on his selections:

“2019 marks the centennial for both Nat King Cole and Art Blakey, and we love a tweetable number like 100 to melt the permafrost and release a ton of methane about how jazz is perma-fresh. But the newest fascination this year invokes the 1959 clause. Sixty years since Dave Brubeck’s Take Five, John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come, and Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue. All fine recordings, but I say so what. Charles Mingus carried the totality of the blues idiom with the essential protest message of black freedom, and he recorded THREE definitive sessions in 1959 — Blues and Roots for Atlantic, Ah Um, and Mingus Dynasty for Columbia. Have a listen to ‘Fables of Faubus’ and read the lyrics. We are fighting the same deniers. The climate hasn't changed much in sixty years.

If you need another reason to hate Nazis, consider how Führer and his cronies annexed and appropriated Anton Bruckner’s music, which effectively ruined it for a lot of people for decades. The passage of time and the conveyance of facts have positively rehabbed Bruckner. If you love Strauss, Mahler and yes … actual anti-Semite Wagner (it’s complicated) … then you owe yourself a session with Bruckner. Most of his music is a slow roll, but the patient shall reap the reward. I recommend the final movement of his Symphony No. 8, the last one he finished. Eugen Jochum’s cycle introduced me to Bruckner, but Karajan’s version of the Eighth makes me feel like I’m hang gliding over the Grand Canyon.

Those Bruckner horn parts sounded like organ pedals, no? Would it surprise you to learn that ol’ Anton is buried under the organ he played for many years in Sankt Florian? Growing up Catholic is probably the reason I feel so attached to liturgical music. I immediately thought about the massive organ in Notre Dame when I saw the marvel of Gothic architecture alight. Olivier Latry has been one of the house organists at Notre-Dame since 1985. I have been enjoying his recent Bach recording, which is the final commercial release recorded on the 8,000 pipe behemoth before the fire. The organ is undamaged but will undergo restoration. That’s important, since the French have such a strong tradition for organ music. Hope you have a subwoofer handy to enjoy Latry’s recording of Messiaen at Notre-Dame.

This Record Store Day, I managed to stop at two places on the way home to Louisiana.  Props to Wild Honey Records in Knoxville and For The Record in Chattanooga.  Those sidebars added an extra hour and change to what was already to a thirteen hour drive. However, I scored some real beauties like the mono version of Albert King’s Born Under a Bad Sign, the first time ever vinyl release of Otis Redding’s Monterey Pop concert with Booker T and the MGs, and this super dope record from drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie. This entire record is one sweet and soulful badass groove after another, but it’s all about the paean to “soul sister number one” for me. The strings, the horn lines, the vocals and Purdie’s mastery of the triplet feel are all here. Don’t miss that exhale at the end! The whole ensemble left it all in the studio on this tune.

Purdie isn’t on this last track, but he, Cornell Dupree and Chuck Rainey are all over the original recording of Amazing Grace. If you love music, then you need to watch the documentary.  No surprise the film was released on Easter weekend, since it took a savior-sized miracle to resurrect the Sydney Pollack footage, synch it and clear it for public distribution.  The benefit of having the complete music reissued is to hear ‘Never Grow Old’ in its untruncated form, including an extra five minutes of worship.  Aretha knew this song well, having sung it in her father’s church.  Reverend Franklin was at this occasion too, seated next to singer Clara Ward. His former music director at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, gospel singer James Cleveland, conducts the service with Aretha. Her eyes are closed the whole time. You don’t have to believe in anything to let this holy spirit move you.

Great music never grows old. It too comes from a place that is eternal.”

'Fables of Faubus' by Charles Mingus from 'Ah Um'
’Symphony No. 8 in C Minor, Mvt. 4, Finale: Feierlich, nicht schnell' by Anton Bruckner, performed by Wiener Philharmoniker, conducted by Herbert von Karajan
'La Nativite du Seigneur: 9. Dieu parmi nous' by Olivier Messiaen, performed by Olivier Latry from 'Messiaen: Organ Works'
'Song for Aretha' by Bernard "Pretty" Purdie from 'Soul Is ... Pretty Purdie'
'Never Grow Old' by Aretha Franklin from 'Amazing Grace: The Complete Recordings'

05-02-19 | Songs for Listening | David Kyuman Kim

05-02-19 | Songs for Listening | David Kyuman Kim

04-30-19 | Songs for Listening | Heena Patel

04-30-19 | Songs for Listening | Heena Patel