Jimmie Lunceford and his Dance Orchestra, “Rhythm Coming to Life Again,” “Rhythm Is Our Business,” “You Can’t Pull the Wool Over My Eyes,” “Moonlight on the Ganges,” “Nagasaki,” “Jazznochracy,” 1936
the first voice Whitney heard
Emily “Cissy” Houston (born Emily Drinkard), singer, 1933-
The Drinkard Singers (Cissy Houston, lead vocals), “Lift Him Up,” live (TV broadcast), c. early 1960s
Live (TV broadcast), 1970
“Be My Baby” (P. Spector, J. Barry & E. Greenwich)
“I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” (B. Bacharach & H. David)
listening room: (some of) what’s playing
• Ambrose Akinmusire, When the Heart Emerges Glistening (Blue Note)
• Johann Sebastian Bach, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, Pierre Fournier, cello (Archiv Production)
• Johann Sebastian Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier, Glenn Gould, piano (Sony)
• Johann Sebastian Bach, Partitas Nos. 3, 4, 6, Jeremy Denk, piano (Azica)
• Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonatas Nos. 14 (“Moonlight”), 8 (“Pathetique”), 23 (“Appassionata”), Rudolf Serkin, piano (CBS)
• Alfred Cortot, The Master Pianist (EMI)
• Claude Debussy, Pour Le Piano, Etudes Books 1 & 2, Gordon Fergus-Thompson, piano (Musical Heritage Society)
• The Dirtbombs, Ultraglide In Black (In the Red Records)
• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, John Tilbury, piano (London Hall)
• Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet, Aki Takahashi (piano), Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch)
• Mary Halvorson Quintet, Saturn Sings (Firehouse)
• Slim Harpo, The Best of Slim Harpo (Hip-O)
• Paul Hindemith, Benjamin Britten, Krzysztof Penderecki; Kim Kashkashian (viola), Stuttgarter Kammerorchester (Dennis Russell Davies, cond.), Lachrymae (ECM)
• Steve Lehman Octet, Travail, Transformation, and Flow (Pi Recordings)
• Jimmie Lunceford, The Complete Jimmie Lunceford Decca Sessions (Mosaic)
• Guilliaume de Michaut, Motets, The Hilliard Ensemble (ECM)
• Paul Motian Trio (with Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell), Sound of Love (Winter & Winter)
• Mudd Up!, WFMU-FM (DJ/Rupture, “new bass and beats”)
• Pee Wee Russell, Swingin’ with Pee Wee (Prestige)
• Pharoah Sanders, Karma (GRP)
• Pharoah Sanders, Live (Evidence)
• Giacinto Scelsi, Natura Renovatur (ECM)
• Arnold Schoenberg, Piano Works, Peter Serkin, piano (Arcana)
• Sinner’s Crossroads, WFMU-FM (Kevin Nutt, gospel)
• Craig Taborn, Avenging Angel (ECM)
• Toru Takemitsu, Peter Serkin Plays the Music of Toru Takemitsu, Peter Serkin, piano (RCA/BMG)
• Anton Webern, Complete Music for String Quartet, Quartetto Italiano (Philips)
• Anton Webern, Works for String Quartet, Emerson Quartet (Deutsche Grammaphon)
• Wild Flag, Wild Flag (Merge)
Best two minutes of the whole day?
Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra (with Jimmy Crawford, drums)
“White Heat,” 1939
It’s difficult to name one favorite drummer, because . . . I’ve got a lot of favorites. But Jimmy Crawford—they called him “Craw”—with the Jimmie Lunceford band? He was a motherfucker.
How should I not be glad to contemplate
The clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
And a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
But there is no need to go into that.
The lines flow from the hand unbidden
And the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
And the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
Watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.
—Derek Mahon, “Everything Is Going to Be All Right”