Satin Doll / Windsong – Mundell Lowe

Mundell Lowe and Louis Stewart perform Satin Doll together with a string quartet.  It’s a unique treatment of the Ellington / Strayhorn classic, with the tender touch of one of jazz’s guitar icons.

Wind Song is a rhythmic, medium-up tempo tune featuring Mundell Lowe and Louis Stewart on guitars, Jim Doherty piano, Dave Gausden bass, Peter Ainscough on drums, augmented by a classical string quartet just to keep things interesting.

Bluesette – Toots Thielemans

Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor Baron Thielemans, known professionally as Toots Thielemans, was a Belgian-American jazz musician. He was known for his harmonica playing, as well as his guitar, whistling skills, and composing.  Possibly his most important contribution was in championing the ‘humble’ harmonica and making it into a legitimate voice in jazz.  His own composition, “Bluesette”, which Toots typically performs on harmonica or while playing the guitar and whistling in unison, has now become a jazz standard.  He said, “If there’s a piece of music that describes me, it’s that song.”  This rendition was recorded in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2009.

Skylark – Linda Ronstadt, Nelson Riddle

In Jazzcast #003 I pointed out the symbiotic relationship between jazz and other forms of music.  On Lush Life, the second in a trilogy of 1980s jazz albums with Linda Ronstadt and Nelson Riddle, Linda temporarily abandons her pop/rock stardom in favor of more traditional fare.  Her excellence in any genre becomes immediately apparent from the first few bars, with the album going Triple Platinum registering sales of over 3 million copies in the United States alone.

Autumn Leaves / Pete Kelly’s Blues – Beegie Adair

The Beegie Adair Trio provides a gentle swinging version of the jazz classic “Autumn Leaves,” written by Joseph Kosma (English lyric by Johnny Mercer), live at the Nashville Jazz Workshop in Nashville, Tennessee.  Listen for the way bassist Roger Spencer throws a few bars of “Suicide Is Painless” from M*A*S*H* into his solo!

Beegie is a huge but lesser known talent who never fully received the recognition she deserves.  She has been playing piano since the age of five … originally from Kentucky, she now lives in Nashville. Her rendition of “Pete Kelly’s Blues” (one of my favorites) is the best I’ve heard outside of the movie soundtrack.