Monday, October 10, 2011

Listening to the Book: Spotify Edition

I interrupt my slow but steady process of providing audio links for most of my book's major musical moments to provide another, quicker, faster, and even hipper way to hear of the book's musical high points in one place. That place is Spotify and if you haven't checked out Spotify yet, you're missing out (no, I am not endorsed or paid by the Spotify people). In case you're unaware, Spotify is a music library comprised of thousands and thousands of songs that you can listen to...for absolutely free. You can burn anything to disc or put it on your Ipod, but you can listen to it on your computer or smart phone--my phone is still one of the dumber varieties so that latter doesn't apply to me but I do use it at work religiously, eliminating my Itunes library, Pandora and other ways I've used to play music at my desk.

(Quick example: last week I listened to a ton of the Jo Jones centennial fest on WKCR. It was great but I wanted to hear some of the rarer stuff again. I typed "Jo Jones" into Spotify and all sorts of good stuff came up that I did not own: his Black and Blue recordings, his duet album with Milt Hinton, an album with Sweets Edison, all his Vanguard recordings, you name it! Got to listen to it all for free. Not bad, right?)

Well, the good folks at Pantheon, my publisher, have decided to jump on the Spotify bandwagon and recently began asking authors to comb through the Spotify library to come up with relevant playlists to go with their books. I was thrilled to do this and jumped in head first....emerging an hour later with a playlist that featured 130 songs.

At that point, I realized other authors were handing in 10, 12 songs, so I didn't want to go overboard (like I normally do). So I went with 25 and made a conscious decision to avoid the big hits and anything else that's on a popular CD titled The Definitive Collection, which has the hits ("Hello, Dolly," "What a Wonderful World") but also some personal favorites like the 1953 Decca version of "Someday You'll Be Sorry" and the masterpiece from the "Autobiography," "When You're Smiling." That entire release is on Spotify so, since it's all free to begin with, I left it alone.

So what did I choose? A little of everything: "Rockin' Chair" from Town Hall, "Muskrat Ramble" from Symphony Hall (Sid!), the Gordon Jenkins arrangement of "When It's Sleepy Time Down South," a gorgeous "Pennies from Heaven" from Stockholm, a track from the new "Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl" release, a crazy nine-minute "Tiger Rag" from Copenhagen, "Black and Blue" from East Berlin, Louis singing "Dimmi, Dimmi, Dimmi" in Italian, tracks with Ella ("Stompin' at the Savoy"), Duke ("Azalea") and Dave Brubeck ("They Say I Look Like God"), as well as the Dukes of Dixieland ("Avalon")....the list goes on and on but all I can say is, download Spotify (did I mention it's free) then check out the playlist which is mentioned in this Pantheonstory and tell me what you think! The chapter-by-chapter recaps will resume shortly but definitely check out the Spotify playlist if you can because it really has a little bit of everything and demonstrates what a musical force Pops still was in those later years. Thanks

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A caution on Spotify. It is indeed a decent service, but recently they began requiring all new signups have a Facebook account. If you don't use Facebook, or are like me and get the creeps by Facebook's poor privacy record, you may wish to hold off on joining Spotify.

Frankly, when I choose to to business with a company, that business is between me and them - not me, them and Facebook.