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by Seth Colter Walls

May 23, 2014

Summer Jazz Favorites

by Seth Colter Walls  |  May 23, 2014

OK, so "Summertime" is an easy call here. But our mix, full of swinging tunes that are perfect for an afternoon barbecue or a late-night hang, doesn't just give you the obvious-but-excellent Miles Davis version. We also present free-jazz titan Albert Ayler's early-career take (which is bluesy as well as unmistakably in Ayler's unique instrumental voice). For other selections in our mix, we took our cues from titles, such as Frank Sinatra's hit "Summer Wind" and Nat King Cole's "Summer Is A-Comin In."

We're including Cecil Taylor's early recording of "Get Out of Town" on the working assumption that you might be getting out of Dodge yourself this summer. (Or if not, you could at least go to a local park and take Duke Ellington's suggestion, "Let's Go Fly a Kite.") Still other track names — like Louis Armstrong's "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" — seemed right for the hottest months of the year. And speaking of Satch, he played no small role in the iconic documentary of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, Jazz On a Summer's Day, so we included his suite of songs from the movie, as well as other key tracks from its original soundtrack. Don't even wait for your 4th of July vacation; might as well click play and start feeling jubilant (and patriotic) right now.

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