1001 Albums 0033-0034

Published March 01, 2013

My continued journey through the albums featured in the book
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

0033: Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd: Jazz Samba (1962)
An album I’ve already heard

I love the bossa nova - I just can't get enough of it. If I had my say the entire world would have the bossa nova as its soundtrack. I want to hear it in clubs, bars, airports, department stores, food stores - everywhere that music is played in public. So needless to say I really love this album.

Although the 1959 film Orfeu Negro is credited with making the bossa nova known outside Brazil, it seems that when a famous American jazz musician such as tenor saxophonist Stan Getz adopted the genre - he would have plenty of success with bossa nova albums over the next couple of years - it gained an even wider audience.

On this album, perhaps some passages get a bit to free-formy-jazzy for my tastes, but that's a very minor complaint. Music seldom gets more beautiful, light, rhythmical and engaging than this.

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0034: Ray Price: Night Life (1962)

However hard I try, I can't recall ever hearing any recordings by Ray Price before this album. Consulting my Top Country Singles chart book, I see that he's regarded as one of the greats, ranking as the 9th most successful artist on that American chart. After listening to Night Life, I can really see why, for he is a wonderful singer and this is a truly excellent collection of songs.

The album, described in the 1001 Albums book, as a c&w version of Frank Sinatra's In The Wee Small Hours In The Morning, features songs of heartbreak and loneliness. But the thing is, Price is not overtly wallowing in his misery. The vocal performances and musical arrangements exude confidence and pride, while all the sadness is in the lyrics - that combination gives the album an air  of ”I’ve been hurt but you’re not gonna catch me crying”, which somehow makes it all the more emotionally engaging for me.

Any less successful moments? Well, Price sounds a little uncomfortable on the over-long spoken introduction: they could have skipped that without losing anything. Apart from that, this album was a really nice surprise and one that I definitely want to own.

Verdict: Five out of five

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Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd: Jazz Samba.


Ray Price: Night Life.