Friday, March 31, 2017

National Recording Registry Additions: 2017

Every year 25 recordings are honored by the National Recording Registry for preservation by the Library of Congress's National Recording Preservation Board.   Songs, albums, and spoken recordings can be nominated by members of the public.  You can nominated up to fifty titles!

Those selected for the Class of 2016 include Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow" and Don McLean's "American Pie."   To see the list of all titles selected for preservation, click here.

Most of the albums and songs honored this year are available on CD in the Music Collection:

Albums:
Signatures, by Renée Fleming (1997, opera arias)
Compact Disc 4870

Vespers, by Sergei Rachmaninoff, performed by the Robert Shaw Festival Singers (1990)
Compact Disc 4954

Straight Outta Compton, by N.W.A. (1988)
Compact Disc 19863

Remain in Light, by The Talking Heads (1980)
Compact Disc 12736

Treemonisha (opera by Scott Joplin, conducted by Gunther Schuller)
Compact Disc 5414

Their Greatest Hits, 1971-1975, by The Eagles (1976)
Compact Disc 3437

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, by David Bowie (1972)
Compact Disc 18136

The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery (1960)
Compact Disc 13856

Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins (1956)
Compact Disc 12270

Singles:
American Pie, by Don McLean (1971)
Amazing Grace, by Judy Collins (1970)
In the Midnight Hour, by Wilson Pickett (1965)
People, by Barbra Streisand (1964)
Hound Dog, by Big Mama Thornton (1953)
Over the Rainbow, by Judy Garland (1939)


What songs or albums do you think should be preserved?   List them in the comments or nominate them!
https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/recording-registry/nominate/


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Women's History Month: Women in Jazz



International Sweethearts of Rhythm
Women in Jazz

Jazz was formed by several threads in Southern American music, threads that were the purview of male musicians.  Many of the developments in early jazz took place in bars and brothels -- places where women from good families just shouldn't go!  Despite the domination of men in jazz, a few women took their place alongside men in the early years, sometimes as their spouse, too.  Lil Hardin married Louis Armstrong, for example, but continued her own career after their divorce.

In the 1920s dance "orchestras" became popular, leading to the famous big bands of the 1930s and 1940s.  Few of these organizations hired women except as singers.  Especially during World War II, jazz vocalists fronting big bands would be a woman or an all-female group. "All girl" bands were  novelty acts but were also an outlet for many talented women.   The most famous were e the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

For interviews and performances watch The International Sweethearts of Rhythm documentary via kanopy.com.  (Log in required from off campus)

Ella Fitzgerald
In the 1950s, jazz returned to its roots in small ensembles and improvised soloing, leaving aside the smooth melodic pop songs with big band backing that dominated in the 1940s. The new style, bebop (or "bop") celebrated instrumental virtuosity, for the most part scat singing -- using nonsense syllables in place of words for improvisation, gave vocalists an equal footing in the new style.  Both men and women excelled at this type of singing.  Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan were among the most famous singers of scat.
displacing vocal jazz and the women who sang it.  Soon, though,

Jazz has continued to evolve along with society, and now there are more women than ever performing and recording professionally.  Check CDs by these artists from the Music Collections:

Instrumentalists:
Regina Carter

Toshiko Akiyoshi
 (piano)

Regina Carter (violin)

Alice Coltrane (saxophone)

Marian McPartland (piano)

Maria Schneider (big-band leader)

Hazel Scott (piano)

Esperanza Spalding (bass)

Mary Lou Williams (piano)


Singers:
Diana Krall

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Betty Carter

Ella Fitzgerald

Billie Holiday

Diana Krall

Madeleine Peyroux
Lee, Peggy

McRae, Carmen

Madeleine Peyroux


Dianne Reeves

Diane Schuur

Nina Simone

Cassandra Wilson
Sarah Vaughan

Washington, Dinah

Brenna Whitaker

Cassandra Wilson



For more about women in jazz, check out these books:
Jazzwomen: Conversations with Twenty-One Musicians
ML395 .E572 2004

Swing Shift: "All-Girl" Bands of the 1940s, by Sherrie Tucker
ML82 .T83 2000

Madame Jazz: Contemporary Women Instrumentalists, by Leslie Gourse
ML82 .G69 1995

Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen, by Linda Dahl
ML82 .D3 1984



Friday, March 10, 2017

1967 in Music: A Counter-Culture Goes Mainstream


It's been fifty years since the "Summer of Love" in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco.  In the summer of 1967, the counter-culture community swelled in numbers as baby boomers on their college break trekked to San Francisco for a utopian, drug-inspired experiment in communal living.   Peace and Love ruled the day.  Hippies explored altered states through drugs and Eastern meditation.   "Flower Power" would spread from this hub through the rest of the country as the 1960s progressed.   "San Francisco," a hit song byScott McKenzie, contains the iconic line:  "If you go to San Francisco, be sure to wear flowers in your hair."  The Beatles sang "All you need is love" on their Magical Mystery Tour album.

Musicians of the era drew from diverse influences.  The folk revivalists of the 1950s and early 1960s inspired new singer-songwriters such as the Mamas and the Papas and Simon and Garfunklel.  The Grateful Dead, a San Francisco band, released their first album in 1967.  The Troubadour, a club in Haight-Ashbury, became the center for this style.

Artists inspired by the folk tradition include:
(click links for library holdings)
Mamas and the Papas
Simon and Garfunkel
The Grateful Dead
The Byrds
Buffalo Springfield

Advances in techniques available in recording sudios made "psychedlic" rock possible.  The Beach Boys's 1966 album, "Pet Sounds," raised the bar for music production.  Portable equipment allowed the style to penetrate music festivals too.  The movement impacted musicians in England as well.  An artist colony in Chelsea perfected the psychedelic look of the 1960s; the Beatles "dropped acid" (LSD) and released the album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; and Pink Floyd released The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

Artists inspired by psychedelic drugs and electronics include:
Cream
Pink Floyd
The Doors
Jimi Hendrix
Jefferson Airplane
Procol Harum
Strawberry Alarm Clock
The Velvet Underground
The Who
Frank Zappa (and the Mothers of Invention)

Many of these musicians appeared during the 3-day International
Monterey (California) Pop Music Festival in June of 1967.  The
festival kicked off the "Summer of Love" and inspired the
organizers of the Woodstock Festival.   Both seasoned and
budding stars contributed to the festival, which was filmed.

For more about music from 1967 and the 1960s counter culture, 
check these out:

Hair, a Broadway musical based on hippie counterculture,
premiered in October of 1967:
Compact Disc 17232 or Compact Disc 17306  (Broadway cast album)

DVDs in the Educational Technology & Resources Collection
The Monterey Pop Festival
DVD 388 (3 DVDs plus guide)

Summer of Love (PBS)
DVD Video 4661

From the General Collection (2nd - 4th Floors)
American Hippies
HQ799.7 .R66 2015

Baby Boomers and Popular Culture
e-book

The Haight-Ashbury: A History
HN80 .S4 P47 1980

The Harvard Psychedelic Club
BF209 .H34 L38 2010

The Psychedelic Experience:  A Manual Based on
The Tibetan Book of the Dead, by Timothy Leary
BF207 .L4 2007

Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era
N6494 .P79 S86 2005

The Summer of Love: Haight-Ashbury at its Highest
F869 .S35 A57

We are the People Our Parents Warned us Against
HQ796 .V68

Monday, February 20, 2017

Black History Month: Caribbean Styles

Enslaved Africans were sent to the Caribbean Islands during the colonial era, and due to separation from other cultures and enslavement by different countries, developed individual musical styles.

Haiti is known for music that most closely resembles the Yoruba people.  Though officially Catholic, for centuries the people practiced an African version of the religion, Vodou or Vodoun.  Through music, spirits enter the body of practitioners.

ML1038.S74 S65 2012
Trinidad is best known for steel drums, or steel pan drums.  African slaves had long used various percussion instruments, and slaves deprived of traditional instruments innovated with the materials at hand.  This tradition persisted in modern cultures, and Trinidadians developed pitched instruments from steel pans (usually from oil drums) that are now popular instruments worldwide.

Jamaican Reggae evolved from a genre called Rock Steady, and is most closely associated with Bob Marley and the Wailers, whose most famous songs sing of freedom with a Jamaican accent.  His son, Ziggy Marley, continues the tradition.

Reggae would become popular worldwide, especially in Africa.  Artists such as Lucky Dube and the Refugee All Stars of Sierra Leone adopted the genre, using it as a means of protest from an African point of view.

DVD Video 413
Read about Reggae in Oxford Music Online / Grove Music or Music Online: The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. (log in required from off campus)

Cuba, colonized by Spanish slave masters, developed diverse styles as freed slaves mastered Colonial styles.  Retaining the percussive aesthetic of African music, Cuban jazz is often referred to as "Afro-Cuban."  Latin-tinged jazz of the 1950s derives from American musicians' fascination with Cuban music.  Cuban musicians who became famous in the 20th Century include Xavier Cugat and Pérez Prado, the "Mambo King."   More recent performers are Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés and Ibrahim Ferrer.      For more sabór de Cuba, check out the famous video of the Buena Vista Social Club.

ML3532.5 .R44 2009
Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans of New York, developed Reggaeton, which is more closely related to rap than to reggae.  Popular artists include Daddy Yankee and Wisin & Yandel.  This Latin-tinged rap music sprang from the
Puerto Rican DJ community first in Puerto Rico and later also in
the in the Bronx and the American West Coast.
It reached its peak of
popularity ca. 2005-2010.

***~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * * * * * * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * * * * * * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * * *

To search for the music of a specific country or style, use the Libraries' Media Finders. (http://www.bsu.edu/library →  (Research) →  Media Finders.  There is one for World Music and one for Musical Recordings (Other than classical).

The World Music finder searches for books, DVDs, and musical instruments (Educational Technology and Resources Collection) as well as recordings:


The "Music Other Than Classical" media finder allows you to choose country and style, for example, jazz from Cuba:





Friday, February 3, 2017

Black History Month: Recording Labels and the Musical Entrepreneur

Today's music listeners are probably well aware of record labels devoted to music by African-Americans.  Russell Simmons  and Rick Rubin launched Def Jam Recordings in 1984.  Cash Money Records, founded in 1991, launched the careers of Drake, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.  In 1989, in conjunction with major label Arista Records, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Antionio "L.A." Reid launched LaFace Records, which has since been absorbed by RCA.

This isn't a new phenomenon.  Since the beginnings of the recording industry, black entrepreneurs launched many successful labels which in turn launched the careers of many artists who otherwise may not have found an audience.

The Music Collection has CDs and information about many of these labels.

1921: Black Swan Records is founded in Harlem by Harry Pace.  It was the first black-owned record label that produced music by and for black Americans.  Pace recorded ground-breaking artists such as Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra, one of the first great dance bands, and songstress Ethel Waters.  Composer William Grant Still was one of the regular accompanying instrumentalists.  The label was short-lived but its impact continues to this day.

During the 1930s and 1940s, black artists recorded for white-owned labels, many making a lot of money and becoming superstars of their time.  Records marketed to black audiences were called "race records."  Okey, Columbia, Paramount and Decca made millions from this market.

In the 1950s artists and the recording industry rebelled against the polished pop sounds of the post-war era.  In jazz, small bebop combos recalled the earliest days of jazz, when improvisation within small groups gave artists such as Louis Armstrong creative freedom.  There was also a folk music revival, which brought rural sounds to the fore.  White artists such as Pete Seeger and The Weavers popularized white folk music, the blues of rural black America experienced a renaissance that eventually resulted in the new genre of rock 'n' roll.  The Library of Congress's folklore programs brought both black and white folk music to urban consciousness through its records (Most now available on the Smithsonian-Folkways label)

Motown, named for the Motor City, Detroit, was the first big label dedicated to and owned by African-Americans.  Founded and run by Barry Gordy in a two-story house, the label produced many superstar artists, and the label became synonymous with the soul sound of 1960s African-Americans.  It also became synonymous with self-affirmation in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. "Power to the Motown People" is a compilation of songs from 1968-1975 that expressed the varied feelings of artists during turbulent times.  The label continues to produce African-American artists' work.

Selected CDs in the Music Collection:
Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection

A Cellarful of Motown: The Rarest Detroit Grooves
Catalog Subject Search:  Motown Record Corporation

Read more about the African-American recording industry in The Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (log in required from off campus)