From time to time I have been asked about CDs that would good just as basic dinner party listens. These would CDs that I don't necessarily think are that great but are worth having around for those friends who can't stand to listen to a 45 minute Miles Davis electric era or John Coltrane latter spiritual album.
Try these recent CDs out the next time your looking for something palatable and to impress party goers.
1) Melody Gardot (My One And Only Thrill/Verve): Melodic and heavily Billie Holiday influenced. Good orchestration and decent songwriting. While I think Madeline Peyroux does this much better My One And Only Thrill is still worth the download.
2) Manu Katche (Neighbourhood/ECM): The debut from this consummate sideman drummer. It features a stellar cast including Jan Garbarek and Tomasz Stanko. It's relaxing and upbeat in the right places and doesn't disappoints from start to finish.
3) Jacob Young (Sideways/ECM): A veteran guitarist whose sounds is starting to come into its own. This release is probably the most distinctive so far and shows the promise of great things to come.
4) Jim Rotondi (Blues For Brother Ray/Positone): A smokin' trumpeter in the vain of Freddie Hubbard. He is also member of the band One For All with the outstanding saxophonist Eric Alexander and pianist David Hazeltine. This release is has a crisper production than many of his previous outings but is a perfect listen for newcomers and party goers alike.
5) Minsarah (Minsarah/Enja): This will be the most difficult to find in physical form but you can get it from iTunes. A quartet led by pianist Florian Weber. The writing is very well performed and mellow like a Sunday morning coffee. The do a wonderful cover of a Bjork tune "New World". Definitely worth the listen.
I hope you and your friend enjoy the choices. Till next time...