Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Reader Question: A Playlist


A Reader Question: 
One of my favorite TDP/SWNE posts was the Christmas playlist.  I am hosting an open house for family and friends in early May.  What music do readers think captures the feel of this blog (I visit every day!) for a Spring playlist that I could use in the background?

43 comments:

  1. Depends on the vibe you're going for, but my go-to background for parties for elegant background music is Bill Evans. Jazz can be tricky, sometimes you suddenly get your gentle background noise interrupted with a whaling trumpet solo... or newer stuff can verge on synthesized elevator music territory. But classic Bill Evans Trio is primarily piano, so you avoid both those fates. Putting "Bill Evans" on Shuffle on Spotify will give you hours of uninterrupted piano. If you wanted to curate more rigorously, I'd start with his "Finest Hour" album** and add in other things to your taste.

    **Note, this album also works for quiet non-party evenings at home with a martini ;-)

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    1. his Village Vanguard recordings are incredible

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  2. Bill Evans...yes and maybe bit of him with Tony Bennett. Now I'm a 50s R&R, R&B and Blues kinda guy deep into that era but I'd suggest the Beatles songs. My favorite Beatles music cd is by Trio Rococo but I also have a bosa nova one that I enjoy along with a couple of from the likes of the Royal Philharmonic and others. You could keep the Beatles going for hours with such a variety. I like it when in the midst of conversation, someone's eyes light up as they recognize one of the songs.I even have a great bluegrass Beatles album and my favorite is Ray Charles rendition of Elenor Rigby but I'm not suggesting those for a typical open house/drop in. If you try it sometime, I think it'll be a success and remember that the suggestion came from a guy that predates the Beatles. Great question - I can hardly wait for some really fine suggestions/comments. Thanks for the post.

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  3. A Lark Ascending - Ralph Vaughn Williams

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    1. This isn't for Christmas, but I have a playlist called "Englishness," which has RVW's Tallis Fantasia, Greensleves Fantasia, The Lark Ascending, and Serenade to Music — and then shifts gears to Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance, and Parry's Jerusalem. It finishes, of course, with God Save the Queen.

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  4. I believe Stacey Kent would give you another vocal option with traditional jazz appeal. Her voice is clear and gentle. But what draws me to SWNE is how well they recreate the esthetics and pace of life in one of America's treasures. The sights and sounds exude from the pages. Perhaps when a break in the music is needed, let the sounds of the waves, gulls, children playing -- and even a wind chime or two if the breeze cooperates -- fill the air. All the best.

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  5. Jazz?, most certainly not!

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    1. OK, so how about a suggestion?

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  6. In keeping with the jazz themes suggested so far, anything from/by early Chet Baker came immediately to mind.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  7. While I'm a HUGE fan of jazz, here's a different (if slightly obvious) suggestion: anything Bach. I'd go with the Goldberg Variations, Casal's take on his Cello Suites, or the Brandenburg Concertos (I like Trevor Pinnock's.) Or if your crowd skews more towards the Gen X/Millennial crowd (like mine), love island music like Vampire Weekend...

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  8. As well as Maggie Rogers (from the Eastern MD shore) and Meghan Trainor (from Nantucket)...

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  9. I would add to your playlist songs from Vince Guaraldi. Great, unobtrusive music and people will be able to pick out some of the songs. Add in some upbeat tunes from Ella Fitzgerald and Rosemary Clooney. Throw in some old crooners like Joe Williams, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and you got a great party playlist. Have fun!

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  10. Antonio Vivaldi Four Seasons concerti. MGC

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  11. You Must Believe In Spring- Bill Evans... fitting.

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  12. I don't know how well it captures the feeling of this blog, but we play Steely Dan in the background. It reminds my cohort of their youth, the young peeps seem to like it and there's not really anything to offend delicate sensibilities.

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    1. Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac came to mind.

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  13. Yacht Rock Radio. Always think of SWNE when I tune in, in the best way.

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  14. I know this won't be popular here, but we almost always have a Grateful Dead show on in the background of our parties. We keep the volume low so it doesn't interfere with conversation.

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    1. I would like it! Invite me!

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    2. I agree 100% that a live Dead show makes perfect background party music. I've long associated the Dead with the preppy ethos, not only because they pass the authenticity test, but because many of the bona fide preppies I've know through the years were deadheads.

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    3. “... Contrary to some people’s image of the Dead, they were huge in my hometown of
      New Canaan, Connecticut.” Ann Coulter

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    4. Great call-- and totally agree with the Dead suggestion as well as the other supporting replies! It's amazing how their music is familiar to (and appreciated by) people from varying ages and walks of life.

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    5. God Bless The Grateful Dead.

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    6. Well I stand corrected. My suggestion was more popular than I thought it would be. As Jerry Garcia said, the Grateful Dead are like licorice. It's not for everybody, but the people that like licorice, really like it. GLH

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  15. Anything from the Great American Songbook is appropriate, of course, as it is the canon of traditional, American music. However, I am also partial to 80s New Wave music.

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  16. Bill Evans is a great suggestion. He also dressed like a preppy. His Village Vanguard album is pure genius. Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond are others from the genre that is easy listening bop era jazz.

    I also enjoy Paul Weller’s Style Council for non challenging background music. He often wears a Harrington jacket as well.

    Lark Ascending is great but I think of Chamber Music more for ambient classical. Bach and Vivaldi are my favourites here.

    David J. Cooper

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  17. Bill Evans is a great suggestion. He also dressed like a preppy. His Village Vanguard album is pure genius. Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond are others from the genre that is easy listening bop era jazz.

    I also enjoy Paul Weller’s Style Council for non challenging background music. He often wears a Harrington jacket as well.

    Lark Ascending is great but I think of Chamber Music more for ambient classical. Bach and Vivaldi are my favourites here.

    David J. Cooper

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  18. How bout some classical ? Vivaldi Bach Mozart

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  19. She is not well known and I'm not certain how we discovered her, but jazz pianist Beegie Adair does great music for such events. You can sample her music on Amazon.

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  20. Chopin in the morning. String quartets or British pastoral in the afternoon (Delius, Vaughan Williams, Elgar, Holst). Stephane Grappelli in the evening. Then Ein Kleine Nachtmusik when you want to wind it down.

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  21. I'll second the Bill Evans and Chet Baker suggestions.

    Regarding Baker, Live in London Volumes I and II, released in 2016 and 2018, respectively, based on newly discovered and restored audio tapes of his 6-night engagement at The Canteen in 1983, is outstanding.

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  22. Those of a traditional bent often enjoy Big Band music -- Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, and so forth. Even young people who have never really been exposed to this genre seem receptive to the good stuff.

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  23. Motown classics, the Big Chill soundtrack - anything that would go over well on the dance floor at a classic 1980s family wedding.

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  24. I’m glad that readers of this blog have better taste in clothing than in music!
    Motown?

    Old Bostonian

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  25. No vocals, please. Instrumental only.
    Classical, preferably.

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  26. I am a big fan of anything Windham Hill Records but especially George Winston's albums: Winter into Spring, Summer, Forest, Plains, and Montana.

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  27. I'm surprised that anyone could answer this question given that an open house isn't a one size fits all occasion ( as indicated by the varied responses). Some events are more lively and less formal than others. There are too many factors that influence my musical choices at any given time but I always choose music that will be respectful of and enjoyed by all. I agree with Anon above about the big band music being neutral. I also enjoy some Motown classics and Madeleine Peyroux. But again, it all depends on the atmosphere, activities and people involved.

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  28. Some great suggestions here. I want to be invited to Anon April 16, 4:49's get together, very classy. I have a friend that uses a CD of classical adagios quietly playing in the background that works really well. It's spring, but don't use Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring". (which I just studied in a University music class)

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  29. Somethings Gotta Give sountrack (Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton)

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  30. Anthony Weller, classical and jazz guitarist. Sure, a party can flow over and around Mr. Weller's music, but you'll also want to listen closely.

    Mr. Weller has a website. He also has a story--a profound one.

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  31. Balearic beat, e.g.: https://soundcloud.com/gintonic-6/news-from-ibiza

    Unfortunately most people are not familiar with this style of music but I think the newer generations with a keen ear for good music will appreciate.

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