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