Sunday, April 16, 2017

Musical Interlude: Five 'Blue' Songs

1. Rhapsody in Blue - George Gershwin

To this day one of my favorite compositions. A brilliant example of modern storytelling through song. Simple, evocative melodies combined with powerful orchestrations in the form of a classic piano concerto - it just works so well. Endlessly enjoyable and always makes me a bit nostalgic for New York, my home town.

2. Blue Train - John Coltrane

I played clarinet and saxophone up through college. As a former jazz man Coltrane of course was a big inspiration. He wasn't just a great soloist; he was also a great writer and arranger. Blue Train, the title track, was written by him. I loved playing this song because of the double time sections on top of a fairly simple blues progression. Lots of fun for improvisation. That whole album is great thanks in no small part to Coltrane's creativity and the other very talented musicians he had with him (Paul Chambers on bass, I believe).

3. Blue - Yoko Kano

Cowboy Bebop is one of those animes for which I am unapologetic fangirl. I'll acknowledge it has some flaws, but music is not one of them. From opening theme, "Tank," to ending credits music, "Real Folk Blues," every episode of that show has brilliant original songs. "Blue," is one of the most powerful. The children's chorus really gives it a big boost, as Patrick Bateman would say.

4. Blue Moon - Frank Sinatra

I love Sinatra. I mean who doesn't? Blue Moon is an old standard but Sinatra really did I think the iconic version of it here. It has just the right blend of comfy jazziness and melancholy. This song practically made Fallout: New Vegas for me (well, this and Big Iron). I still love sniping death claws with the anti material rifle while this song is bumping.

5. The Beautiful Blue Danube - Johann Strauss II

Strauss is, of course, the undisputed waltz master. The Blue Danube is easily the best known, though it isn't my personal favorite of his. I always preferred the melody of Viennese Blood. Emperor Waltz is also amazing. Yet the Blue Danube endures I think because it is just so well-structured and memorable. I find myself listening to it frequently on plane trips and long train rides. It always puts my mind at ease and makes me want to do a waltz class with wifey.

Honorable Mentions

Blue Velvet - Bobby Vinton
Kind of Blue - Miles Davis (whole album)
Blue Skies - Ella Fitzgerald
Don't Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult (lol cowbells)
Blue Moon - The Marcells (another popular version)