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Playlist for thirsty ears

by Roberto Friedman

Playlist for thirsty ears

Even though this is an end-of-year playlist, not one of these 10 recordings was released in 2018! How's them apples! Still, here's music that quenched our aural thirst as we worked through the year.

Blossom Dearie, "Blossom Dearie: Four Classic Albums Plus" (2 CDs, Avid, 2009), comprising "Blossom Dearie," "Blossom Dearie Plays for Dancing," "Tracks from her group album The Blue Stars of France," "Once Upon a Summertime," "Give Him the Ooh-La-La" and one track from "King Pleasure Sings."

Cirque du Soleil, "Volta" (CDS, 2017). Cirque scores are often characterized by endless synthesizer noodling and nonsense vocals. But music for the latest spectacle under the Big Top next to the ballpark was composed by Anthony Gonzalez of the French electronica band M83 ("Hurry Up, We're Dreaming"). More than a handful of tracks hold our interest as electronica, even without the gyrating acrobats and lithesome gymnasts.

Keith Jarrett, "A Multitude of Angels" (4 CDs, ECM, 2016). Solo improvisatory piano in four Italian cities: Modena, Ferrara, Torino and Genova. On track 2 in Modena, it's as if Jarrett constructs an elaborate, multi-tier cake, then pushes it right off the banquet table. Smashed sweets for all.

Morrissey, "Low in High School" (BMG, 2017). "Jacky's Only Happy When She's Up on the Stage." We all know a Jacky.

Roberto Musci, "Tower of Silence" (Music from Memory, 2016). African folk melodies whose strength is in their gentleness. Lesson for 2019.

Frank Ocean, "Channel Orange" (Universal, 2012). It's not a new album, so imagine our crazy delight when Taylor Mac sang a spirited rendition of "Super Rich Kids" as part of his "Holiday Sauce" mash-up this year at the Curran. "Too many bottles of this wine we can't pronounce,/Too many bowls of that green, no Lucky Charms./The maids come around too much,/Parents ain't around enough./Too many joy rides in Daddy's Jaguar,/Too many white lies and white lines./Super rich kids with nothing but loose ends,/Super rich kids with nothing but fake friends."

In the orange album's "Lost," Ocean takes it all away. "Lost, lost in the heat of it all,/Girl, you know you're lost,/Lost in the thrill of it all./Miami, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Spain, lost./Los Angeles, India, lost on a train, lost." And truly found.

Max Richter, "The Blue Notebooks" (DG, 2014), "uses music to keep alive the idea that there is somewhere to go next, a new place to think, and a new way to listen," liner notes by Paul Morley.

Roches, "Moonswept" (429 Records, 2007). "I had that chance to leave this mess,/but isn't it funny how I stayed put,/saddled up and harnessed, caught horse./Instead I chose to call it love, this hard drive./I am riding into the sunset." ("Instead I Chose," words by Suzzy Roche, music by Terre Roche.)

Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld, "And Still They Move" from "Never Were the Way She Was" (Constellation, 2015).

Hiroshi Yoshimura, "Music for Nine Post Cards" (Import, 2017).

Out of the darkness, into the light! Onward & upward to 2019 ~ OT.

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