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Christmas Gift for an NPR lover who somewhat likes jazz

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:41 am
by kitkat
Sorry to get pretty off-topic from Swing DJing, but I would really love input from swing DJs.

My dad generally listens to whatever’s on public radio, be it talking, music, news, etc.

He seems to have liked my boyfriend’s CDs (2 of gypsy jazz & 1 of New Orleans trad jazz) and listened to them in a regular rotation among my stepmother's CDs in the car.

Still, I don't think he's aching for more of that—he just found it pleasant.

Now it’s Christmas, and the man’s impossible to shop for! But today I remembered that it’s probably been a while since he had any music to put on when Public Radio got a little wordy.

I thought, “What would someone who liked gypsy & trad jazz just fine but didn’t love them want?” and realized that if that “American Roots” radio show has any mix CDs for sale, he might like them.

I’m still going to look into that, but that’s just one source. I’d like to ask my friends and you strangers in the swing DJ community, “What might you recommend for my dad as suburban commute music?”
(Mix CDs and small box sets preferred, since I’m on a budget.)

It doesn't have to be anything he'd love--just more music that he'd find "pleasant" and that, preferably, he hasn't heard much of (just as he hadn't heard much gypsy jazz before I gave him my boyfriend's CD)

Thank you!
-Katie from Minnesota

P.S. Back in the 60s and 70s, my dad listened to the kind of pop & rock that I’ve never been crazy about—later Beatles music, Grateful Dead, Chicago, etc. Perhaps that bit of background will trigger a brilliant idea, but I haven’t heard him listen to any of that since I’ve been alive, so it'd be unwise to try to pick him something he'd like that's actually from that era.

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:19 am
by sdswingr
Check out KCRW. they have a bunch of good compilations that Nick Hardcourt has put together

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:59 am
by Matthew
Harmonica blues. I was going to suggest Harmonica Blues Orgy, but that might not be something you'd want to give Dad. Instead of that, check out This Is the Blues Harmonica, which sounds similar.

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:07 pm
by SoundInMotionDJ
Time-Life Music has loads of 3-4CD boxed sets that feature music from the 60's and 70's. I see them on sale at various warehouse clubs for about $20...that's reasonably inexpensive if you can figure out a style - Classic Rock, Singers & Songwriters, etc, etc.

My uncle has musical tastes that sound similar to your dads. I gave him a couple CDs by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. There are several "Best Ofs" that are a good place to start listening. Most of the music is from the late 1970's...but the best description would be "Modern Latin Jazz" or maybe "Space Age Bachelor Pad Jazz."

If you search on for "Bachelor Pad Music" in the music section you will find a lot of compilation CDs that are light jazz styled music. Most of it sounds like it could have been inspired by Henry Mancini. Here is one that caught my ear: ... B000WS4OF2

Let us know what you finally decide to give him.

--Stan Graves

Edit: Fixed link.

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:40 pm
by kitkat
Well, again, I don't want to get him any mixes of music from the 60's & 70's. That comment was in fine print for that reason. I only mentioned it in case someone thought, "Oh--there's a narrated history CD that fed into the _____ band and mentions how the last tracks play on both the first tracks and work by the ______ band, but it's not at all pop or rock..."

That sort of thing.

I'm thiiiiiis close to even taking out that fine-print postscript.

Anyway, as far as bachelor pad music...I don't think he'd like lounge that much. He doesn't get any kick AT ALL out of 40's/50's lounge. I don't think he'd like the fast-paced, in-your-face, bleepity sound of modern electronica "lounge." I don't think he's the right age to enjoy that stuff--it was too fuddy-duddy when he was young and it's not anything like what he's been exposed to over recent years.
Thanks, though.

Does anyone know of "American Routes"-like compilations? I looked on their web site, and it seems they don't have any CD recommendations unless I go digging, listening to old shows. I know there are very good box sets about particular moments of American pop (such as Motown, Brill Building stuff, soul, etc.), but I haven't yet run into one specific era/genre that he likes enough to want to listen to a set of just it.

I have also seen box sets / mixes of "American music from 1908 to 1980!" and the like, but none of them have music as good as the stuff I've heard on radio shows. Has anyone run into any radio-show-like mixes that you can tell have been picked with tender loving care by a talented ear?

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:42 pm
by kitkat
Matthew wrote:Harmonica blues. I was going to suggest Harmonica Blues Orgy, but that might not be something you'd want to give Dad. Instead of that, check out This Is the Blues Harmonica, which sounds similar.
Hey, fun idea. I'll listen to it--I posted before I saw that you'd posted. Thanks for the suggestion.

Updated--I'm laughing because as I listened to it, I really thought about getting "This Is Blues Harmonica" for Dad--I think he'd like most of the tracks on it, musically.

Then suddenly it occurred to me that the subjects were getting repetitive, and that he'd just crack jokes about the paucity of topics covered by his new CD. :roll:

I think he'd like almost every one of those tracks--each thrown into a mix CD with instrumentals and songs about subjects outside the typical blues repertoire. Thanks for the start. (I don't think I have time to buy him 10 albums, put them on random, & remix them into 10 mix CDs by Christmas, but perhaps next year's present can be such a mix!)

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:45 pm
by lipi
i am not sure this is the kind of thing you are looking for (since i don't know the show you mention), but i think everybody should own the "o brother, where art thou?" soundtrack.

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:31 pm
by J-h:n
This is completely out of the blue, but I can't imagine anybody who enjoys soulful rootsy american music not liking Solomon Burke's 2002 comeback album Don't Give Up on Me. Very pleasant listening, but with an edge to it, and the diverse line-up of songwriters makes for some nice variety. Great Allmusic review, check it out!

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:22 pm
by remysun
I tried to get some suggestions in before, but the post got deleted when I had to reauthenticate. Seeing as this thread is also useful for your dad's birthday and Father's Day, I thought it'd be worthwile to try again....

Given that your Dad's gone from 70's music to public radio, finding gypsy jazz pleasant, I detect an urge to feel that music is still fresh and worth listening to. My first suggestion is Pink Martini, because of their orchestral nature, eclectic style, and China Forbes' vocals are a beautiful reminder of the daughter that gave him this gift.

Next is Rare on Air, a series of live aucoustic performance compilations from San Diego's public radio station. I have Volume One, and I know there's at least a second one out there. It has a good dynamic, ranging from alternative easy listening to blues.

If your Dad still likes the artists, but has tired of the old songs played to death, Bruce Springsteen's We Shall Overcome:The Seeger Sessions is a testament to America's history, music, and folklore. I don't have this album, but it's on my list, because the subject matter keeps the Bruce from feeling Over-The-Hill on this recent album.

Finally, one of my Desert Island Discs, Steve Tyrell's A New Standard. IMO, it's much better than anything Michael Buble's put out. Rod Stewart's doing the American songbook because he's getting old, while Buble is 20 years too late to do what Harry Connick Jr. did 40 years too late 20 years ago. Instead, through his rough and smooth vocals, Tyrell makes a song like "Give Me The Simple Life" seem like the story of his own life, and I think that's why some of his songs were featured in the Steve Martin remake of Father of the Bride.

That's it for now. Clip and save, and you still need to tell us what you eventually got him... :)


Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:32 am
by Eyeball
remysun wrote:
Finally, one of my Desert Island Discs, Steve Tyrell
You really like him? He stinks.

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:50 am
by SoundInMotionDJ

What'd you end up getting?

--Stan Graves

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:25 pm
by remysun
Eyeball wrote:
remysun wrote:
Finally, one of my Desert Island Discs, Steve Tyrell
You really like him? He stinks.
His other albums aren't as great, but my clients wouldn't complain if I had it playing in the background, and that's what counts, because I can't otherwise get away with a lot of big band or jazz, and definitely not rock or rap (sometimes for my sake). For me, he sounds like he's doing the songbook, not covering a tune.

My other DIDs include Pizzicato Five, anime, Brazillian music, and John Mayer's Room for Squares-- stuff just for myself that could get me through an indefinite period of solitary confinement. I would through Indigo Swing in there, but the swing scene ruined it for me.

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:48 pm
by kitkat
SoundInMotionDJ wrote:Bump.

What'd you end up getting?

--Stan Graves
Thanks! I'd meant to come back and post.

For Christmas:
Butch Thompson, Lincoln Avenue Blues, ordered directly from the artist (but I forgot to ask for a signature!) Found it on my own.
Don Ross, Huron Street. Recommended after I'd already ordered Thompson's CD, of course. CD picked as the first I liked in the list of Amazon results.

For his birthday:
Leo Kottke, Essential. Artist recommended by the same person who recommended Don Ross. CD picked because it seemed like the best one available at Cheapo records on my way home from work tonight, based on the 6 tracks the machine would let me listen to!