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Showing posts from December, 2006

The Best CDs of 2006

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A Very Good Year - The first four CDs below are all album of the year material. The musical styles may vary, but all four have beautifully written songs, superb performances and the best production imaginable. Each of these albums is as good as a record could possibly be. While it might be difficult to rate one better than the others, the ranking reflects the relative proportion of the year that each one made me mental (in a good way). 1. Melody Gardot - Worrisome Heart (MelodyGardot.com) Melody Gardot's first full length CD has such exquisite songwriting, such soulful, heart-rending vocals and such simple and perfect production that it's hard to imagine that this incredibly talented Philly Local artist will remain such for long. This record began killing me several months before it came out when Melody pressed up a preview EP that she offered at her August performance at Ortlieb's Jazzhaus in Philadelphia which turned out to be one of the best live concerts I caught all ye

Corinne Bailey Rae - Housing Works Used Book Cafe, NYC, 12/15/06

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Three time Grammy nominee Corinne Bailey Rae played a special benefit show tonight at New York's Housing Works Used Book Cafe with a stripped down band consisting of acoustic guitar, electric piano and two great sounding backup singers. The simplified arrangements only enhanced the exquisite beauty of her songs. CBR is blessed with an amazing gift for melodic songwriting and it was pure joy to hear her sing her songs in such an intimate setting. She's over here from England not on a formal tour but to do lots of television appearances; she's been on all the late night talk shows and today taped a segment for Oprah that will run early in 2007. Interspersed are a few key shows like this one and a full band show a few nights ago at New York's Town Hall. Tomorrow morning after performing on CBS Saturday Early show, she's off to L.A. for a benefit concert which is a Stevie Wonder tribute. After mentioning this, she did the most amazingly gorgeous cover version of St

Chiara Civello - The Living Room, 12/11/06

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First big thanks to Dave who happened to catch Chiara Civello at the Living Room recently and was so knocked out he insisted that I come check her out at the next opportunity. Chiara is Italian, originally from Rome and now based in New York. She's a gifted singer songwriter whose style is varied with significant leanings toward jazz and Brazilian jazz/pop. She's got a beautiful voice, great songs, and an excellent band; it seemed like a rare privilege to be able to hear such a quality performance in such a small and intimate venue as The Living Room. I'd have to say that I was easily as knocked out as Dave was. Chiara writes the majority of her songs, even got to co-write a song with Burt Bacharach for her record which also features two covers, one of an excellent Rosa Passos tune and the other, the now classic-sounding "Caramel" by Suzanne Vega. After graduating Berklee College of Music, she landed in New York and was discovered by Russ Titelman who produced a d