Saturday, March 1, 2008

My music tastes are very eclectic. I grew up listening to the local Rock & Roll stations CKRC and CKY. When disco and hard rock came in during the late 70's, I switched to country on an FM station (CHMM FM) and stayed there till the late 80's when a friend got me listening to CBC and that got me listening to folk and light jazz. (Listened to some classical but drew the line with opera!) That eventually led me to my true love of nostalgia and big band - where I've been for about 15 years now.

Don't get me wrong, I still have a lot of those other genres on my media player and mp3, but the music of the big band era is almost always my first choice. I got an mp3 for Christmas and before you ask - NO, I do not walk around outside with the headphones on! I have it connected to my living room stereo so I can listen when I'm there or in the kitchen.

There is just something about that music that I find very appealing. There were so many talented performers of that era! Whether it was a ballad or something with a great beat, serious, or light it is really hard not to fall in love with this genre if you just give it a chance.

A few of my favourites are;
Glenn Miller - an incredibly talented band leader and arranger who gave us a wonderful collection of Big Band numbers in the few short years that he had. A genius who was taken far too soon. I have over 60 of his songs on mp3 and two of my fav's are "In the Mood" and "String of Pearls"

Rosemary Clooney - had an amazing set of pipes and gave us decades of beautiful music with songs like; "Hey There"; and "Half As Much".

Louis Armstrong - Satchmo never intended to be a singer, just a man with a horn. He was gifted in both areas. Whether he was on his own with songs like "What a Wonderful World" or doing duets with Ella Fitzgerald such as "Cheek to Cheek" his voice was unmistakable and his talent was obvious.

Nat King Cole - Talk about smooth! This man who gave us "The Christmas Song" ("Chestnuts roasting..") had a voice that truly is "Unforgetable"!

There are probably at least 50 more artists that I could name as I have about 575 songs of the era on mp3, but I will just list a few; Billie Holiday; Dinah Washington; Peggy Lee; Jo Stafford; Julie London; Bing Crosby; Al Jolson; The Mills Brothers; The Ink Spots;The McGuire Sisters; The Andrew Sisters; Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Chet Baker.

These were the kings and queens of the time. They brought the gift of music to a troubled world. Every generation has its stars and some shine brighter and longer than others. More than 50 years later, their music is still played and loved by millions. This is the music of my parents generation. I will freely admit that as a kid and young adult, I really wasn't crazy about it when I heard them play this type of music. It took a long time for me to come to appreciate and love this genre. It speaks of a simpler time - not all good - but a simpler time none the less.

Most of my favourites were recorded long before I was even born but I cook, clean, work out, relax and sometimes fall asleep to this music. I don't know if there really is such a thing as re-incarnation (a topic for a future post!) but I feel an incredible connection to this music. I feel very much at peace when I listen.

In the last few years there has been a great resurgance for this genre, thanks in part to the incredible success of Michael Bublé and Rod Stewart who have each put out several albums of the old classics and standards.

So, if you haven't listened to this style of music for awhile or are convinced that it really isn't for you, my advice is this; try it for a couple of days or better yet a week. You just might be surprised how good it makes you feel!


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