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Eclectic Picks for the Millenium

Jackie’s Eclectic List of Suggested CDs for Gift Giving (11/00)

If you’re looking for the perfect musical gift, here are some ideas. Some of the recordings are new, some are old. All have been featured on Music for a Monday Afternoon, all have brought calls and e-mails from listeners, and all are personal favorites. Happy Listening!

Misia --- Garras Dos Sentidos --- (DETOUR) --- The new Fado singing sensation. Her voice is gorgeous, accompanied by just guitar, piano or violin. Fado is the ultimate romantic, dramatic, soulful music of Portugal.

Woman on Top: Music from the Motion Picture --- (SONY CLASSICAL) ---Yes, it’s a soundtrack from a film. But it’s great! A terrific collection of Brazilian music, featuring Paulinho Moska, Dori Caymmi and others. If you like the soft and light sound of bossa nova, this one’s for you.

Eliades Ochoa --- Tribute to the Cuarteto Patria--- (HIGHER OCTAVE) --- You know his wonderful singing and guitar playing from the Buena Vista Social Club. (He’s the one with the cowboy hat.) Now he’s put together an outstanding collection inspired by rural Cuban musical traditions and the legendary ensemble, Quarteto Patria.

Juan-Carlos Formell --- Songs From a Little Blue House --- (BMG) --- The critically acclaimed debut recording of a Cuban emigre, based in New York. Lyrical, gentle, heartfelt, diverse, lovely.

Latinas: Women of Latin America --- (PUTUMAYO) --- A new sampler of contemporary singers from Peru, Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic, and more.

Keur Moussa: Sacred Chant and African Rhythm from Senegal --- (SOUNDS TRUE) --- Whenever listeners hear this, they call. Best described as a fusion of western liturgical chant and African rhythms and instruments. Performed by the brothers of the Keur Moussa monastery in Senegal, it is both joyful and soothing.

Olu Dara --- In the World: From Natchez to New York --- (ATLANTIC) --- A unique mix of delta-inspired blues, folk, Caribbean, jazz and more, from a talented fellow who plays both guitar and cornet and sings. A wide range of material. Lots of fun.

The Two Tenors & Qantara --- Historic Live Recording of Arabic Masters --- (ARK21) – Reviewed on NPR. A beautiful recording, featuring traditional instruments and two noteworthy singers. “...a landmark world music recording.”

Ghazal --- Lost Songs of the Silk Road --- (SHANACHIE) --- Persian and Indian improvisations, with an ensemble of three, playing tabla, sitar, and some vocals. Soothing and peaceful.

World Playground --- (PUTUMAYO) ---- This new release is a good introduction to world music for kids and their families. An inspiring musical journey around the world.

Israel Kamakawiwol’ole ---Facing Future --- (MOUNTAIN APPLE) --- Yup. This is the CD with the big Hawaiian guy with the gentle voice who does “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World.” I get lots of calls about his music. He passed away a few years ago, but his music lives on in TV commercials, and in the hearts of public radio listeners.

Paul Simon --- You’re the One --- (WARNER BROS.) --- Hard to resist the latest from the master. One of his best. And the track “Hurricane” features the hammered dulcimer playing of North Country favorite Dan Duggan!

Kelly Joe Phelps --- Shine Eyed Mister Zen --- (RYKO) --- As featured on NPR and A Prairie Home Companion. Another one we got lots of calls about. Folk/Blues. One voice. One acoustic guitar. Musical movies. Mysterious. Highly recommended.

Asleep at the Wheel --- Ride with Bob --- (DREAMWORKS) --- Lots of Grammy nominations and awards last year for this great tribute to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. “The Wheel” is better than ever, with many guests including The Dixie Chicks, Willie Nelson, Manhattan Transfer and Lyle Lovett. If you love Texas Swing, this one’s irresistible

Diana Krall --- When I Look Into Your Eyes ---- (VERVE) --- Everyone loves her straight-ahead piano and elegant vocals. This one’s been on best-seller lists for quite a while, with good reason.

Andy Bey --- Ballads, Blues & Bey --- (EVIDENCE) --- A collection of jazz standards by one of the finest and least known jazz vocal masters.

Miles Davis --- Kind of Blue --- (COLUMBIA) --- From the NPR 100 List. One of the great jazz recordings of all time, now remastered and on CD. With John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Jimmy Cob and Paul Chambers. This really should be in your collection.

Modern Jazz Quartet ---  A Celebration --- (ATLANTIC JAZZ) – A 40th anniversary celebration concert, recorded in the early ‘90s, with outstanding guests, including Bobby McFerrin, Take 6, and the Marsalis brothers. Very nice. Very accessible.

Ella Fitzgerald --- Pure Ella --- (VERVE) --- A sampling of some of Ella’s finest and best-loved hits, including “Mr. Paganini,” “A Tisket, A Tasket,” and an astounding seven minute scat version of “How High the Moon.”

Keith Jarrett ---The Melody, At Night, With You --- (ECM) --- Just solo piano. Absolutely romantic and meditative. Lovely.

Louis Prima: Collectors Series --- (CAPITOL) --- What fun! Keely Smith and the great Louis ---and 26 of their best, including “Hey Boy, Hey Girl,” “Banana Split for My Baby,” and “Buona Sera.” Guaranteed to get you in a good mood.

Want more suggestions?  Check out Ellen's list!