Monday, September 03, 2007

Pool-floating music

Ordinarily my floating in the pool music runs to Vivaldi or Sinatra, though once in a great while I like Jimmy Buffet. But I've discovered a couple of CDs that just seem to go nicely with leisurely swimming and playing.

Even if Oprah likes him, I discovered trumpeter Chris Botti before she did. His 2005 album, "To Love Again," with guest singers ranging from Sting to Michael Buble to Gladys Knight to Paula Cole to Steven Tyler, is relaxing yet imaginative enough to hold your attention. Chris's treatment of "Embraceable You" and "What's New" may be my new favorite versions. Sting does quite well with "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" and Rosa Passos puts a lot of emotion into "Here's That Rainy Day." Perfect for floating and weatching clouds and trees.

Until I picked up "The Brandenburgs" on a whim I hadn't heard of Jacques Loussier, but judging by the liner notes he's done quite a bit of Bach fairly straight. This version, however is done by a piano-bass-drums jazz trio, and it's marvelous. All six of the Brandenburg concerti are here, in abbreviated versions. He usually starts playing it pretty much the way Bach wrote it, but with a bit of swing in the bass and drums, and then improvises nicely off the basic melodies, throwing in nice blue notes and ninth chords at just the right places. I've played it for several people who claim not to like classical music at all, and they've all loved it. It shows you just how susceptible Bach is to being tinkered with -- and I suspect ol Johann would have gotten a kick out of this version.

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