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Playlist for finals week – Part 1

January 22, 2013

I’m going to keep track of all of the music I listen to this week while I grade finals, calculate semester grades, and prep for next semester.  I usually try to listen to entire records, bucking the trend of listening to individual songs and playlists.  I’m just going to list them with a brief comment here, adding in links at some point.  I’d love to know what your work / study music includes!

1- Outkast – Stankonia

  • This record has aged amazingly well – even though I think I still like Aquemini and ATLiens just a bit better from these masters of southern hip-hop.  I dig the new Big Boi record too and am secretly hoping for an Outkast reunion this summer even though Andre 3000 just denied all of the rumors this week.  Some may think it hard to grade to rap but with such massive beats and diverse range, this got me off to a great start.

2- D’Angelo – Voodoo

  • I didn’t expect to turn to this record, but the it arrived as part of my Light in the Attic subscription.  Back it the day it was the epicenter of the NeoSoul movement and it continues to be a great headphone record.  I cruised through a pile of essays with this on.  I’m looking forward to the supposed release later this year of his much-delayed new record.  ?uestlove has heard parts of it an glowing refers to it as the black version of Smile, but that D’Angelo “needs somebody to smack him and take the record away from him because it’s pretty much finished.”

3- Bobbi Humphrey – Dig This!

  • I might as well have had Dusty Groove records sponsor this list because of how much amazing music I always find digging through their website and racks.  This is a re-release on their house label of a great soul jazz killer from the early 70’s.  They describe it as sounding like a lost blacksploitation soundtrack – and I won’t think about disagreeing.  I dig her killer funky flute over this set of groovy sweet tunes.

4- Gary Bartz – Harlem Bush Music: Uhuru

  • Yet another Dusty Groove purchase (I’m a sucker for their great descriptions).  This one has political vocals (from the wonderful Andy Bey) over its mix of jazz and soul.  I feel like I need to spend time listening to this record more closely – I got lost in the great music and didn’t follow the lyrics.  But the same was true for Outkast – there’s only so much I can process while grading multi-text essays!

5- Heliocentric Counterblast – A Tribute to Sun Ra

  • I’d buy a slice of cheese if it said Sun Ra on it (who wouldn’t) so I was curious to see what this cd was all about.  It’s a German collective, and not all of the tunes are Sun Ra originals, but the spirit of Saturn shines brightly above this music.  They had me at hello, or in this case, “Ancient Aiethopia,” from the master’s Jazz in Silhouette record.  It works as a loving tribute to the energy and mystical wonders of the arkestra, even though I’ll turn back to his work sooner than this.

6- David Virelles – Continuum

  • I was tipped off to this odd jazz record by Ben Ratliff’s review in the New York Times.  I’m glad I paid attention (as I usually am to his reviews and articles) – this is quite a fascnating journey.  Several times while spinning this one I had to come to a complete stop and just listen to the fascinating mix of sounds happening here – spoken-word poetry, sparse piano, amazing drums from Andrew Cyrille, and free jazz, just to name a few.  This is another record I look forward to spending more time with, and am happy to have on my shelf (or in a pile on the passenger seat of the car).


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