MUSIC CLIP - Oscar Peterson, Moonglow
Welcome to Afterglow, I’m your host, Mark Chilla.
About every six months on this show, I like to check in on what’s new in the world of vocal jazz. And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these past six months have been quite odd for the music industry. With lockdowns in place, who knows how many artists were unable to record an album. However, some albums were still able to be released because they were recorded months, or even years, before the lockdown began. So that’s what we’ll be looking at this hour. Coming up, we’ll hear some recent releases by Gregory Porter, Diana Krall, and Lauren Henderson. We’ll also hear some singers from other genres diving into the world of jazz. And we’ll hear some unearthed live Ella Fitzgerald recordings, as well as a tribute to the first lady of song.
It’s Recent Releases for the second half of 2020, coming up next on Afterglow
MUSIC - KENNY WASHINGTON, “STARS FELL ON ALABAMA”
Singer Kenny Washington from his latest album called What’s The Hurry, with the Frank Perkins and Mitchell Parish standard “Stars Fell On Alabama.” Although based in San Francisco, Washington has been a frequent guest vocalist alongside the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Mark Chilla here on Afterglow. On this show, we’re looking at some new releases for the second half of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely had its impact on the music industry, from cancelling countless live performances to postponing an untold number of recording projects.
Many of the recordings I’ll be featuring this hour were able to be released sheerly out of luck—the artists were able to record them before lockdowns began. Although with some studio backing, they were also able to be completed by their deadline, albeit without an accompanying tour to go along with the release.
I’ll start with one of most anticipated albums of 2020, the sixth studio album of singer Gregory Porter called All Rise. Porter was lucky in two ways: not only was his recording completed mostly in 2019, but being the world’s best-selling contemporary jazz/soul artist, his label Blue Note had a pretty vested interest in getting the final product onto record-store shelves, or at least in online carts and on streaming platforms.
All Rise is an eclectic album, bouncing from jazz to R&B, gospel to soul, and to more traditional pop complete with lush strings provided by the London Symphony Orchestra. And like many of Porter’s earlier work, it consists of mostly original, and highly personal and emotive songs.
I’ll play one of his softer love songs from the album, featuring a jazz trio alongside strings from the London Symphony Orchestra.
Here is Gregory Porter with his original song “If Love Is Overrated,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - GREGORY PORTER, “IF LOVE IS OVERRATED”
Singer Gregory Porter from his new album from Blue Note records called All Rise, and his original song “If Love Is Overrated.”
Another album this year comes from singer and pianist Diana Krall. This album was a little more of a surprise. It was a self-produced album, however all the recordings were done back in 2016 and 2017, under the direction of Krall’s longtime producer Tommy LiPuma, who passed away in 2017. LiPuma was a bigwig in the music industry, producing many of the biggest jazz-pop records by Natalie Cole, George Benson, Bill Evans, and Miles Davis in the 1970s, 80s, and beyond. The resulting album from Krall, called This Dream Of You, is both an album of rarities and unreleased songs and a tribute to her friend.
Let’s hear two brief tracks from that album now. First here is Diana Krall on vocals and Alan Broadbent on piano with the Willard Robison song “Don’t Smoke In Bed,” on Afterglow
MUSIC - DIANA KRALL, “DON’T SMOKE IN BED”
MUSIC - DIANA KRALL, “I WISHED ON THE MOON”
Diana Krall, from her latest album This Dream Of You, recorded way back in 2016 and 2017 with the late producer Tommy LiPuma. That was “I Wished On The Moon,” by Ralph Rainger and Dorothy Parker, and before that “Don’t Smoke In Bed” by Willard Robison.
Let’s turn to another new album that was just released in the past few weeks, from singer Melody Gardot. Her newest album called Sunset In The Blue is a mixture of originals and standards, backed by an orchestra, plus some Latin-jazz inspired guitar. Gardot also provides some wonderful vocals on the album, channeling her inner Peggy Lee or Julie London by performing in a lovely hushed and intimate tone. While most of the album was recorded prior to lockdown, one track on the album was recorded in May with an international group of virtual musicians, recording from their own isolated studios and compiled together.
Let’s hear that track now. This is Melody Gardot with her original song “From Paris With Love,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - MELODY GARDOT, “FROM PARIS WITH LOVE”
Melody Gardot from her newest album Sunset In The Blue, with her original song “From Paris With Love,” recorded with an international, virtual orchestra compiled together from dozens of musicians recording in isolation.
Our next singer that I’ll feature is Lauren Henderson, a singer whose honey-sweet vocals and expressive vibrato is showcased perfectly on her album The Songbook Session. Henderson comes from the world of Latin jazz, and sings frequently in English, Spanish, and Portugeuse. As its title implies, The Songbook Session consists of all jazz standards. A highlight of this album is Henderson’s band, which includes the marvelous pianist Sullivan Fortner, known for his work with Cecille McLorin Salvant.
Let’s hear a duet between the two of them. It’s actually a bonus track on the album. Here is Lauren Henderson and pianist Sullivan Fortner with their version of the 1945 standard “Day By Day,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - LAUREN HENDERSON, “DAY BY DAY”
Singer Lauren Henderson and pianist Sullivan Fortner “Day By Day,” written by Axel Stordahl, Paul Weston, and Sammy Cahn. That’s from Henderson’s latest album The Songbook Session.MUSIC CLIP - Christian McBride Big Band, "Night Train"
Coming up in just a moment, we’ll hear some more recent releases, including a couple of singers from different genres—Paul Carrack and Loudon Wainwright—trying their hand at some jazz. Plus we’ll hear two new recordings that feature the late Ella Fitzgerald.
That’s in just a bit.
I’m Mark Chilla, and you’re listening to Afterglow
MUSIC CLIP - Peter Bernstein, "Simple As That"
Welcome back to Afterglow, I’m Mark Chilla. We’ve been featuring some new releases in the world of vocal jazz this hour. And now I want to turn my attention to a singer who comes mostly from the world of folk, trying his hand at some jazz.
It’s Loudon Wainwright III, folk singer, songwriter, humorist, occasional actor, and father to singers Martha and Rufus Wainwright. And his latest album called I’d Rather Lead A Band features his take on mostly songs written in the 1920s and 30s, with a fairly age-appropriate jazz band behind him.
While he features a few tried-and-true standards on the album, including “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “Heart and Soul,” and “Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” Wainwright also includes several deep cuts from the Great American Songbook, things like the songs “A Perfect Day” or “The Little Things In Life.”
Let’s hear his version of a somewhat more well-known song. This silly song fits Wainwright’s wry sense of humor, and it’s been performed by singers like Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Cab Calloway, and more. Although, Wainwright said he was inspired by a performance by a different Louis, Louis Prima.
Here is Loudon Wainwright III with his version of the 1929 song “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead You Rascal You,” on Afterglow
MUSIC - LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III, “(I’LL BE GLAD WHEN YOU’RE DEAD) YOU RASCAL YOU”
Singer Loudon Wainwright III with the 1929 song “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead You Rascal You.” That comes from his latest album called I’d Rather Lead A Band, an album of all songs from the 1920s and 30s.
The next singer I’ll feature is another performer from the world of pop, dipping his toes into the jazz waters. Singer Paul Carrack has been known in the music industry for years as the best singer you’ve probably never heard of. If the name doesn’t sound familiar at first, then you certainly know his voice. Carrack is a British journeyman vocalist with an expressive bluesy quality, who has performed for 1970s and 80s rock and pop groups like Ace, Squeeze, Mike and the Mechanics and more. He also had the ability to turn whatever group he was working for into hitmakers. The biggest songs from each of those groups, songs like “How Long” from Ace, “Tempted” from Squeeze, or “The Living Years” from Mike And The Mechanics, all featured Carrack singing lead vocals.
Carrack’s latest solo record, called Another Side of Paul Carrack, teams him up with the SWR Big Band, one of Europe’s most prominent jazz bands. On the album, he sings a few jazz standards as well as swinging versions of some of his past pop hits.
Let’s hear one of those pop songs, performed pretty convincingly in a jazz style. This is a classic rock radio staple, the 1974 song “How Long,” originally by Carrack’s band Ace, sung by Paul Carrack and the SWR Big Band, on Afterglow.
MUSIC - PAUL CARRACK, “HOW LONG”
Singer Paul Carrack, originally from the world of rock, singing some pretty impressive jazz with the SWR Big Band. That was the song “How Long,” a song he originally sang with his band Ace back in 1974, a track on the 2020 album Another Side of Paul Carrack.
The next new album I want to feature comes from television producer, actor, and cartoonist Seth MacFarlane, who’s moonlighting career as a traditional pop vocalist continues to impress. Sure, MacFarlane has the income to back recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios and a team of great musicians and arrangers like Bruce Broughton to accompany him. But he also has the vocal chops to keep up, not to mention the taste for rarities from the Great American Songbook. His latest album, called Great Songs From Stage And Screen, features exactly that from familiar songwriters like Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Jimmy Van Heusen and Jerry Herman. But his choice of song from these great songwriters tends toward the obscure, which makes it an exciting listen.
Let’s hear his version of one of the lesser-known songs from the 1965 Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner musical On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. This is Seth MacFarlane with “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - SETH MACFARLANE, “WHAT DID I HAVE THAT I DON’T HAVE”
Seth MacFarlane, from his latest album called Great Songs From Stage and Screen, with the Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner song “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have,” originally from the musical (and film) On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. That Nelson-Riddle-esque arrangement comes from arranger Bruce Broughton.
While many new releases were put on hold for the second half of 2020, there were some archived live performances that did see the light of day. I want to end this hour with recordings from two different live performances, both centering around the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald. The first recording comes from a 2016 tribute concert celebrating the life and music of Fitzgerald, in honor of her centennial. This concert featured an all-star lineup of Patti Austin, Cassandra Wilson, Lizz Wright, The Count Basie Orchestra and more performing her songs, and took place at the theatre that made a 17-year-old Ella Fitzgerald famous in 1934, the Apollo.
The other recording comes from Ella herself, from a performance that took place in 1962 in Berlin, a city where she recorded a Grammy-award winning live performance two years earlier. This 1962 concert was also recorded, but the tapes were sealed and unopened for nearly 60 years, now unearthed and restored as the Lost Berlin Tapes. It’s a marvelous concert that shows off the singer’s skill and charm, and in just a moment, I’ll play one of her frequent concert closers, a song that she first made famous back in the 1930s.
But first, let’s hear from that Ella 100 tribute at the Apollo. This is singer Lizz Wright performing a song that Fitzgerald recorded with Duke Ellington, “Love You Madly,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - LIZZ WRIGHT, “LOVE YOU MADLY”
MUSIC - ELLA FITZGERALD, “MR. PAGANINI”
Ella Fitzgerald live in Berlin in 1962 with one of her famous concert closers, “Mr. Paganini.” That comes from the brand new, recently unearthed recording known as The Lost Berlin Tapes. Before that, we heard singer Lizz Wright from an Ella Fitzgerald tribute concert in 2016 with Duke Ellington’s song “Love You Madly.” Both of those recordings were released this year.
Thanks for tuning in to this look at some recent releases for the second half of 2020 on Afterglow. And just a reminder, in this difficult year for the music industry, I hope you do your part to support the musicians that you love.
MUSIC CLIP - Josh Johnson, "Simple Song"
Afterglow is part of the educational mission of Indiana University and produced by WFIU Public Radio in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. The executive producer is John Bailey.
Playlists for this and other Afterglow programs are available on our website. That’s at indianapublicmedia.org/afterglow.
I’m Mark Chilla, and join me next week for our mix of Vocal Jazz and popular song from the Great American Songbook, here on Afterglow.