Doudou Ndiaye Rose - Cheikh Anta Diop (0'05"-0'15")
Doudou Ndiaye Rose - Djabote (1992)
"This is a beautifully emotive masterpiece. It is also a very important historical document. A homage from the legendary griot Doudou N’Diaye Rose, to the renowned historian and physicist Cheikh Anta Diop.
The drums are talking, and although I don’t speak the language, this music speaks to me in many ways. The opening call from the master griot sounds distant and mystical, like the ancestor being venerated, Diop. In the background, waves from the Atlantic Ocean can be heard washing onto the Senegalese coastline. When the ensemble replies, they enter with an intensity and urgency that leaps out of the speakers. They hold a weight and presence that sounds larger than life, not unlike the pyramids of Kemet that Diop made groundbreaking research on, connecting the ancient and misunderstood cradle of civilisation to his homeland. This song comes full circle, paying reverence to the historian in his mother tongue." - Eddie Wakili-Hick
Ahmad Jamal - At the Perishing: But Not For Me (1958)
"Written by Nat Simon and recorded by many artists including
The Four Freshmen and Nat King Cole. I first heard Ahmad Jamal’s version when I was in college and fell in Love with the groove. The drum beat, courtesy of Vernel Fournier, is so understated and just bounces along in the pocket. It’s become one of my favourite grooves of all time!
Tommaso Cappellato - Pastlife Flashbacks (0'26" to 0'36")
- Aforemention (2016)
"I love the continuous heartbeat throughout the song. The way every detail that comes in and out of it work like a memory would. Energy spasms that take your ears in different directions and ask your brain to compose other meanings at every turn.I feel like it was during these particular 10 seconds that I started to build a story around the song. A great prelude to a 4:36 journey." - Sara Lima
Alhaji K Frimpong - Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu (0'30"-0'40")
Alhaji K. Frimpong
- K. Frimpong And His Cubano Fiestas (1976)
"I first heard this song in a basement speakeasy with a yellow door on
Dalston Kingsland Road. My Ghanaian friend screamed and ran to the white
DJ to ask him where he had heard this song. She went on to tell him it was her Dad's favourite song which she had never heard outside of her home and only closely associated with her Ghanaian heritage. Between being strongly captured by the horns and my friend's strong reaction I couldn't help but hold on to this song forever." - MA.MOYO
"This one is special because it’s the epitome of a free-flowing, unexpected moment that always happens when musicians connect. This recording is so organic you can hear and feel everything, and that moment...... every time I listen to it, I feel like I’m on the journey/part of the moment with them at this tension point they are exploring." - Lorenz Okello-Osengor
"I love Nina Simone's work and I've always found Sinnerman so compelling and evocative. It's a run and a chase. You can feel the manic pulsion of the character, trying to hide from their own sins, from themselves.
Nina's voice is saturated of emotion, motion and strength, her piano echoes her voice, (or the other way 'round?). The rest of the instruments are heard racing with her as lead. She took this Spiritual, lived it and gave it back to the world with an unusual power and her deep mark of distinction.
This 10-second section feels like the apex. Simone's plea to the Lord is a raw, sensual prayer; her broken voice, left alone with a few rarefied chords resonates as an intimate, one-sided dialogue between the sinner(wo)man and what's left of their faith at the end of the journey. - Jessica De Giudici
"Herbie plays the most beautifully conversational melodic line, and the interplay between him and Ron Carter is incredible- with Tony driving the momentum of the music. It’s like the perfect piece of rhythm section interplay for me- especially in light of the fireworks from Miles and Wayne that has come before." - Rory Simmons
"This is such an amazing moment from Freddie. You can almost hear his dedication and reverence for the music in this one phrase. It displays an incredible tone along with an assured sense of taste and poise. This record had a huge influence on me and I think I strive to be this genuine every time I pick up my instrument.” - James Copus
Toquinho & Vinícius + Quarteto Em Cy – Carta Ao Tom 74 (1'28"-1'38")
Vinícius & Toquinho (1974)
"This song contains what to me is possibly the most beautiful melody over chord changes I've ever heard. The song is short and really has no verse or chorus, just the same 20-bar structure repeated twice, sung first by Toquinho, joined toward the end by poet-singer Vinicius himself (aged 59 at the time of the recording), and then once by the four sisters of the never-to-be-underestimated Quarteto Em Cy, with their incredible vocal precision. The part at 1:28 is when the Quarteto Em Cy comes in and starts the melody again, with a string section coming in at the same time. I don't think I've ever not felt tears rise to my eyes at that moment in the song.
I first heard it in 2007 or so and was immediately struck by its beauty. Aside from the structure and melody, I'm also enchanted by the way - like a lot of Brazilian records from the Tropicalia and MPB eras - it pushes the vocals a bit more to the front of the mix and makes everything a bit hotter-sounding than contemporary records from North America/Europe, which gives it an added intensity and edge.
A bit of Google Translate helped me learn the song's meaning for the first time today. In the lyrics, Vinicius is remembering how he and Antônio Carlos Jobim - the Tom of the title - wrote The Girl From Ipanema together at the beginning of the Bossa Nova explosion in the late fifties, and he seems to throw in a kaleidoscopic array of memories that go along with it. He starts with what sounds like the address of where they worked ("Rua Nascimento Silva, cento e sete"/"Rua Nascimento Silva, one hundred and seven") and later goes on to say ""Lembra que tempo feliz, ai que saudade."/"Remember happy time, oh how I miss you."
The song ends with an exhortation we could all use right now:
"When people say ‘that’s heavy’ they’re talking about a real physical feeling that can be brought on by music. It’s like a weight pressing on you from all angles. Others experience the feeling as the presence of God and I get it almost exclusively from music. This gives me whatever <i>that</i> is.
As such I don’t want to intellectualise this too much, there’s a tragic thing that happens as a musician when you discover a sound that provokes you, and demystify it - it loses its power over you. I don’t want to lose the crushing full-body intensity I experience when I hear this. It’s just too sacred." - Corrie Dick
"Björk's music is full of love and joy, it has a deep power. It’s like a volcano that needs to surrender and let go. “Undo” is a song that I could listen over and over on repeat! At 4:25/4:35 her voice expresses the paradox of love, so powerful and fragile at the same time." - Riccardo Chiaberta
"This track features my favourite jazz violinist, Zbigniew Seifert , who died way before his time, unfortunately. I love the composition overall, as it starts in phases, very sparsely with just ominous piano+synth, joined by Hans Koller with this odd repetitive undulating melody. How the entire line-up suddenly joins in is surprising and delightful which is why I chose this particular bit" - Johanna Burnheart
Pat Metheny & Ornette Coleman - Endangered Species (13'01"-13'11")
Pat Metheny & Ornette Coleman - Song X (1985)
"A monumental piece of free music. This is the final moment of release of a tension which has been accumulating for over 13 minutes.
Surely there are tons of other earlier and more seminal works of free music out there, but this particular one has always been a league apart for me:
the singleness of purpose throughout the track, the unhesitating energy, which stays unvariably dense, fast and fortissimo for the whole duration of the piece, did something for me that no other tune has ever done before, the first time I heard it, at a young age, and left a permanent mark on my musical direction, and my ideas of beauty in a musical performance" -Maurizio Ravalico
Vince Mendoza + London Symphony Orchestra - Esperança (6'35-6'45")
Vince Mendoza - Epiphany (1999)
"First recorded by his longtime collaborator Peter Erskine on his album As It Is in 1995, Vince Mendoza's "Esperança" was a beautiful, catchy jazz composition with repetitive, wave-like rhythms which lent themselves well to a variety of arrangements.
I fell in love the minute I understood that this song was an imprint on the human soul: its cyclical rhythms, repetitive 5-4 section felt like i was being lured into a never ending story of beautiful chaos. Esperanca, for me at least , is about change. It ' speaks' about what happens when one accepts change, the notion of finding comfort within , much like our own time.
The thrill of Michael Brecker's almost ecstatic solo right after the holy and spiritual pulse of the London Symphony Orchestra made me identify with the one constant that is deep within the lyrics of Kurt Elling's lyrical adaptation of Neruda's poem: "It's a hope, a sign, a measure of quiet rapture - of love and what may come after - it's letting go, and letting all answers be an answer". It gave me the embrace I needed to let go as a vocalist, and moreover, as a human being. If that isn't influence, I don't know what is.." - Lara Eidi
"John Coltrane's solo entry right after McCoy Tyner's solo....
I love this 10 seconds because right before Coltrane's entry, McCoy builds his solo so incredibly high - with the help of Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison - and its very hard to imagine it getting any more intense than it already is. Then out of nowhere Coltrane storms in with the most incredible soprano phrase and carries on the trajectory!
I have fond memories of dancing around to this track in my student house with my housemates whom I was studying with at the time. This ten seconds, for me, sums up the incredible amount of power and ecstasy that this quartet were able to reach together." - Tom Barford
"I was lying in bed in a house in Chertsey, I was suffering from terrible
lower back spasms and couldn't move. I had bought this album on vinyl and recorded it onto cassette (yes, it was that long ago) and it was the only cassette in the stereo in the bedroom. It was on loop play and I couldn't get up to switch it off or change it. I'm not saying the drugs had anything to do with it but I
was taking painkillers.
By the 3rd or 4th time around (it may have been the 13th or 14th) I was in the middle of the trio, in the club on the night of the gig. The interplay between these three is incredible and I was getting every nuance in my heightened state! When I could move again, I transcribed Isreal Crosby's bass line - I still have it -handwritten, old school. I really should learn it again..."" - Richard Sadler
Dinah Washington - There Is No Greater Love ("0'00" - 0'10")
- Dinah Jams (1955)
"The first ten seconds, and this entire performance of ‘There is No Greater Love’ by Dinah Washington is pure magic and effortless power!
I love Dinah Washington, I love how much of her attitude and energy is carried in this performance, it feels so personal and enchanting and somehow terrifying all at the same time. I love the way the band just falls in around her and that from the very beginning of this tune she just smacks you in the face with feeling.
Max Roach on drums just simmers behind, you can hear the audience in this live recording just in amazement of her opening line .. it’s one of my all time favourite jazz tunes! Love it!" - Allysha Joy