My Albums of the Week #4: Elton John, Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Corea

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.

Chick Corea Elektric Orchestra, The Chick Corea Elektric Orchestra (GRP, 1986)

TRACKLIST (Favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Rumble / 2 – Side Walk / 3 – Cool Weasel Boogie / 4 – Got a Match? / 5 – Elektric City / 6 – No Zone / 7 – Kings Cockroach / 8 – India Town

At some point, we’re just going to have to stop thinking of ’80s FM Synth sounds as outdated cheese and begin to think about them as vintage awesome. If you are interested in taking that leap, you could do much worse than The Chick Corea Elektric Band. I can see where detractors are coming from. However, there’s so much to like about this album, including the talents of this stellar lineup. And, I’m sure, that even the most passionate detractors of this LP will appreciate “Got a Match?” as one of the most important fusion tunes of this period.

Ella Fitzgerald, The Lost Berlin Tapes (Verve, 2020)

TRACKLIST (Favourite tracks underlined): 1 – Cheek To Cheek / 2 – My Kind of Boy / 3 – Cry Me a River / 4 – I Won’t Dance / 5 – Someone to Watch Over Me / 6 – Jersey Bounce / 7 – Angel Eyes / 8 – Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! / 9 – Taking a Chance on Love / 10 – C’est Magnifique / 11 – Good Morning Heartache / 12 – Hallelujah, I Love Him So / 13 – Hallelujah, I Love Him So – Reprise / 14 – Summertime / 15 – Mr. Paganini / 16 – Mack the Knife / 17 – Wee Baby Blues

A real joyful set, with Ella’s vocals right front and centre, backed by trio. I understand why it was not released… she makes quite a few mistakes, lyric-wise. Not that it matters because even when she forget the name of the city she is playing in, she makes a quick recovery. The First Lady of Song truly was one of a kind!

Elton John, Caribou (MCA, 1974)

TRACKLIST (Favourite tracks underlined): 1 – The Bitch Is Back / 2 – Pinky / 3 – Grimsby / 4 – Dixie Lily / 5 – Solar Prestige A Gammon / 6 – You’re So Static / 7 – I’ve Seen the Saucers / 8 – Stinker / 9 – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me / 10 – Ticking

It probably doesn’t deserve the bad rep it gets. Caribou includes a great rocking tune like “The Bitch is Back” and a beloved ballad like “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Ok, the rest kind of goes right over my heard, with the exception of “Dixie Lily” and “I’ve Seen Saucers.” I see “Solar Prestige a Gammon” gets a lot of hate and I understand why. But to me, it’s positively weird and a cool tribute to The Beatles.



Here’s the list of songs played on the last episode of THE ART MOVEMENT – the weekly radio show about arts and culture, where all art forms and free thoughts are allowed, hosted by Matt Micucci. (To listen to the full show, scroll to the bottom of the page.)

  • IGGY POP, I’m Bored
  • THE BEACH BOYS, Wouldn’t It Be Nice
  • SUDAN ARCHIVES, Come Meh Way
  • DESIRED, Wake Up
  • BARRY MANILOW, Copacabana (At the Copa)
  • BLACK FLAG, Rise Above
  • DICK DALE, Misirlou
  • PET SHOP BOYS, Being Boring
  • ELLA FITZGERALD, Mack the Knife
  • MORRISSEY, The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get
  • CHARLIE PARKER, Scrapple from the Apple

Listen to the full show via the player below.

Download the full radio show HERE.

My Spotify Release Radar: March 18, 2020

Release Radar is a playlist of new music created by Spotify and based on your personal taste. I have widely ignored it in the past but in the interest of constantly discovering new music, I have decided to start regularly engaging with it. For this feature, I listen to five random songs on the playlist and provide some feedback on each track.

Ella Fitzgerald, “Somewhere in the Night” (Live)

Ella Fitzgerald is known as the First Lady of Song for good reason. Her impeccable vocals are clearly on show in this intimate piano duet with Tony Flanagan recorded at a 1964 French gig. Part of a new expansive compilation titled The Complete Piano Duets, this version of the relatively little-known Mack Gordon song “Somwehere in the Night” is not only a showcase for her purity of tone but also shows how she could have fun performing a piece. The audience appreciates and even laughs, charmed, at the end.

Nina Simone, “Liberian Calypso”

Nina Simone spent quite a bit of time in Liberia, and this song is inspired by her stay in the West African country in the mid-’70s. It is one of the upbeat, danceable tracks on the Fodder On My Wings – indeed, it describes an incident when she went to a discotheque and danced naked on the tables for hours on end. Simone actually regarded Fodder on My Wings as one of her favorite albums that she made. It had fallen under the radar and been underrated among the many gems of her discography but recently got the re-release it deserves.

The Strokes, “Bad Decisions”

The Strokes was one of the bands of my teens and early twenties. It’s nice to see they’re still around and going strong. Their new single, “Bad Decisions,” is relatively simple yet effective. It remains true to their identity as a garage band. It is also complete with jaunty indie guitar-work, a danceable drum beat and a melody that is both catchy and delightful. Not quite as ingenious as much of the material on Is This It but certainly a noteworthy addition to The Strokes songbook.

Bill Evans, “When You Wish Upon a Star”

Bill Evans is one of the most influential jazz pianists of all time. This version of the Disney Classic, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” was originally featured on his in 1963 quintet record Interplay. Yet, it makes this month’s new release list because it appears on a brand new set highlighting recordings from the career of electric guitar pioneer Jim Hall, who steals the show bringing in the recognizable melody of the original tune in the final part of the 5-minute take. Much of the rest is a enchantingly brooding.

JP Saxe, “If the World Was Ending” feat. Julia Michaels

A JP Saxe song inspired by a recent Los Angeles earthquake, which provides the backdrop for what sounds like a half-assed proposition for a little Netflix-and-chill. It wouldn’t be such a bad song if it wasn’t also so damn annoying with all the production tinkering and voice alteration that are distracting for no good reason. Less is, sometimes, best. This song comes across as annoying as Julia Michaels’ peculiar enunciation. The worst part of the song is when she is awkwardly introduced in the second verse.