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wonders never cease Wednesday, January 18, 2012

play list of the week: a jazzy met.

On this day in 1944, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City {then still located at the "old Met" location on Broadway} opened its grand doors to its first ever jazz concert. The performers on tap were jazz luminaries of the time, including Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Billie Holiday. So in an ode to that day in history, we pay tribute to those artists. Have a listen---it's the perfect winter night to open a bottle of wine, start a fire, and listen to classic smooth stylings.

1. Hey-Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Lionel Hampton
A 1940s hit, brought to life by Hampton's vibrant voice and his swinging band.

2. Out of Nowhere - Art Tatum
Mind-boggling ivory-tickling skill, from 1949.

3. There's a Lull in My Life - Teddy Wilson Orchestra
You don't hear much of Wilson's piano solo work here, but it's still a great track. Brings to mind a room full of GIs and girls with seamed stockings and flowers in their hair, doesn't it?

4. Caravan - Coleman Hawkins
First made famous by Duke Ellington, Hawkins's version is the perfect vehicle to show off his tenor sax prowess (the band's pretty tight, too).

5. Tiger Rag - Benny Goodman Sextet
The incomparable clarinetist from Chicago.

6. Jeepers Creepers - Louis Armstrong
The track from the Decca Records 1939 release of this song (incidentally, also on January 18).

7. Moonglow - Artie Shaw
Another jazz clarinet legend. (Wonder if he and Benny were good pals...)

8. Dark Eyes - Jack Teagarden
Who knew a TROMBONIST could swing like this?

9. After You've Gone - Roy Eldridge
Try NOT dancing to this tune, with the legendary Eldridge on trumpet.

10. Crazy Riffin' - Betti Mays, accompanied by Sidney Catlett and his band
Sometimes, there's nothing better than a little scat and the expert swing drumming of Sidney Catlett.

11. Steps Steps Down - Barney Bigard Trio
ANOTHER clarinetist? They must have had their own club.

12. Blues in the Closet - Oscar Pettiford Jazz Band
For something a little smoother, let's try Oscar Pettiford and his double bass.

13. Lady Sings the Blues - Billie Holiday
And finally, the legend herself: Billie Holiday. {Can you even IMAGINE this concert?!}

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