Raised on the Radio

Because growing up on 70s television didn't kill me. It just made me who I am today.


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A Swinging Jazz Christmas Playlist

 

christmas_lights_jazz

The table is set, the lights are turned down just the right amount to make the room sparkle and the cheesy Christmas decorations are hidden in another room – leaving only the very tasteful decorations you share with company.

Now shove the kids in another room with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and enjoy one night as an adult.

Hit shuffle on your Christmas Party Playlist and in the words of my favorite Jazz DJ Larry Smith “Sit back, relax, and let’s swing together.”

 

A Swinging Jazz Christmas Playlist

The top links go straight to YouTube (at the bottom is the complete YouTube playlist)

The starred links* go to  iTunes so you can download your own

 

Merry Christmas Baby – Kenny Burrell and Richard Evans
*Merry Christmas Baby – Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas

Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Bill Evans
*Santa Claus Is Coming to Town – Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas

We Three Kings – Ralph Sutton, Jim Galloway, Milt Hilton and Gus Johnson*
*We Three Kings – Christmas Jazz Greats (Extended Version)

White Christmas – Oscar Peterson
*White Christmas – An Oscar Peterson Christmas

Silent Night – Ellis Marsalis
*Silent Night (feat. Bill Huntington & Jason Marsalis) – A New Orleans Christmas Carol (Gold Edition)

What Are You Doing New Years Eve? – Ramsey Lewis
*What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – Sound of Christmas

I’ll Be Home For Christmas – The Four Freshman*
*I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Snowfall

The Christmas Waltz – Beegie Adair
*The Christmas Waltz – Jazz Piano Christmas

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman – Butch Thompson*
*God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Yulestride

Oh Good Grief – Wynton and Ellis Marsalis
*Oh, Good Grief! – Joe Cool’s Blues

Christmas is Coming – David Benoit*
*Christmas Is Coming – 40 Years – A Charlie Brown Christmas

O Christmas Tree – Russell Malone
*O Christmas Tree – Martha Stewart Living Music: Jazz for the Holidays

Christmas Time is Here – Vince Guaraldi
*Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) – A Charlie Brown Christmas (Expanded Edition)

We Three Kings of Orient Are – Oliver Jones
*We Three Kings of Orient Are – A Celebration in Time

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Oliver Jones

Jingle Bells – Jimmy Smith
*Jingle Bells – Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas

The Christmas Song – Peter White
*The Christmas Song – Songs of the Season

 

Or listen to most of the list here by clicking play!

Thanks for listening!


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Martini Lounge Christmas Playlist

christmas balls with snow, isolated on white background

‘Tis the season. Whether you partake or not, you can’t help but tap your toes to this special brand of Christmas music. So pull up a chair, grab a martini and enjoy yourself at the Raised on the Radio Christmas Lounge.

A Martini Lounge Christmas

YouTube on the top, bottom links go straight to *iTunes for your permanent enjoyment.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus/Jingle Bells Bossa Nova – Ultra-Lounge – Christmas Cocktails, Pt. 1

We Wanna See Santa Do the Mambo – Santa’s Vintage Xmas & Holiday Playlist

‘Zat You, Santa Claus? – Yule Be Miserable

Winter Wonderland (2006 – Remaster) – Christmas With Peggy Lee

Jingle All the Way – Merry Christmas from Lena Horne – EP

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo – Christmas Eve (Jazz Christmas)

Jingle Bells Mambo – The Ultimate Mambo Collection

The Christmas Waltz (Remastered) – Merry Christmas, Baby – Romance and Reindeer from Capitol

Cha-Cha All the Way – Ultra-Lounge – Christmas Cocktails, Pt. 1

Holiday on Skis – Al Caiola
Holiday On Skis – Swinging Christmas, Vol. 3

Christmas Trumpets/We Wish You a Very Merry Christmas – Ultra-Lounge – Christmas Cocktails, Pt. 1

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town / White Christmas – Christmas Jazz & Blues

Jingle Bells – Esquivel – to me this is the definitive. I cannot find this on iTunes, because it is out of print, but I know the album is available on amazon, if you have adblock off you should be able to see this link. Esquivel! Merry Xmas From the Space-Age Bachelor Pad

 

In my search for the perfect Martini Lounge Christmas Playlist for our listeners I happened upon an artist I thought was pretty cool, his name is Geoffrey Leigh Tozer. He’s not ultra-famous, but he’s pretty darn good. His Christmas tunes are not on YouTube so this iTunes link will have to do. Also feel free to check him out over at his website Swanktown. He’s a story-teller and a music maker, if you like, won’t you buy it on iTunes? He’s just a guy, sharing his awesome music with us. Here’s a taste:

*update! I contacted Geoffrey and look what he made just for us! A YouTube video of Deck Martinis With Green Olives!

Deck Martinis With Green Olives – A Very Swank Christmas!

And here’s the whole playlist on YouTube so you can just sit back and sip!


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Thanks Dad, For Raising Me on The Radio

michelle liew.jpg

The site happens to have an apt title that resonates with me,because I was almost literally raised on the radio by parents who were, and still are, drawn to the music of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. The literal edge of being raised on the radio stems from the fact that Dad, Tony, is a lead guitarist in several bands and jams professionally at musical events and functions. I suppose piano lessons, including those in jazz and pop, also allow me to call myself a “radio baby.”

Being raised by a musician was quite akin to a ride on Disneyworld’s Space Mountain. I never quite knew what thrills or spills to expect.  I never knew where dad’s next gig would take us to or who we would end up meeting. It is the same today. One can describe being raised by him in any number of ways, but one thing it was certainly not-ordinary. Being his daughter meant encounters with a few of Singapore’s radio and musical personalities.

“Raised on the radio”, as far as I am concerned, equates with a little pressure. Dad used to, and always sets, high standards. It can be a challenge living up to his expectations, especially of musicianship. With that pressure came the opportunity to learn, grow and embrace the new, certainly different types of music.

Many thanks to Dad for raising me on the radio. I have put together a Raised By Dad’s Radio Mixtape of songs I was raised with! I hope you’ll enjoy this selection!

The Way You Look Tonight

Originally performed by the Fred Astaire cum Ginger Rogers pair and featured in the song Swing Time, The Way You Look Tonight won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936. Written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, it has become a standard for swing.

The song certainly emotes, and has unsurprisingly spawned cover versions by Bing Crosby and the latest by Michael Buble. Let’s go a little retro and view the original, shall we?

Going Out of My Head/Cant Take My Eyes Off You

This hit medley for the Lettermen in 1968 showcases the soothing vocals of these fine singers with a little pomp.

With 16 Top Ten Singles including a number 1 on the Billboard Charts, the close-harmony group has scored 5 grammy nominations and 11 gold records. Eclectic harmonies ensure that their tunes cannot be done without.

Dindi

If one has discounted the medicinal of jazz, surely he has to listen to this. Written by Antonio Carlos Jobim for the Brazilian singer Sylvia Telles, nicknamed Dindi, who unfortunately met with a fatal motor accident in 1966.

Soothing and haunting, this is a good number to prompt a little romance or simply lull the senses into soothing sleep. I include a cover version of the song by none other than our favorite swing singer, Ol’ Blue Eyes.

Girl from Ipanema

Again by the musically illustrious Antonio Carlos Jobim, the sexy bossa nova charm of this piece makes it a to-die-for draw. The Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius De Morales give the song a mysterious, sensual edge that has not been lost till this day.

The version performed by Astrud Gilberto became a US hit in 1964, peaking at number 5 on the hot 100 and was at number one for two weeks on the Easy Listening chart.

I seem to have a little affinity with Frank, so include a version sung by him.

Just the way you are

When I interviewed my father viz his favorite song choices, I almost did a war whoop when he picked one of my eternal favorites, Just the Way You Are. What draws me to this Billy Joel number is its meaningful lyrics that stress unconditional acceptance in relationships with others.

From his 1977 album, The Stranger, the song was Joel’s first US Top 10, reaching number three on Billboard. It made a positive change for Joel’s career, giving it the long-lasting success that it has had.

Many thanks to dad for suggesting 5 great songs and to my friends at Raised on the Radio for allowing me to make a guest contribution this week! Do enjoy this playlist!

About the Author:

Michelle Liew is a literature cum ardent pet lover who simply loves music! Fiction and poetry make her tick! Read her wonderful blog Getting Literal


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Sunday Playlist – Dinner Party Music

swinging dinner party

Whether you are relaxing at home or heading out, I hope you have great music to listen to.

We all know that music sets a mood, when you are visiting with friends and family the last thing you need is jarring music in the background.

Dinner Party Music should uplift without being noticed, you should have that feeling of being in a good mood and not knowing why. If the mood of the party is talkative (not too loud) and happy, then you know you’ve done your job. I suggest hi-jacking the playlist to ensure an amazing night.

I set my personal Dinner Party Playlist to shuffle, here are the first 10 songs. I didn’t cheat – except one song I could not find anywhere to link. And by the way, if you watch Woody Allen movies, you might recognize – not the songs – but the mood.  Click on the songs are hotlinked to take you straight to the song in YouTube. Take the time to listen, you won’t be sorry, this is a go to list for me. #5 is a jem, a classic French song, don’t miss it.

The Way You Look Tonight – Michael Buble

(Gettin’ Some) Fun Out of Life – Madeleine Peyroux

Let’s Never Stop Falling in Love – Pink Martini

The Look of Love – Dusty Springfield

Que Reste T’il De Nos Amour – Charles Trenet

Whisper Not – Bobby Hutcherson

Why Think About Tomorrow – Itzhak Perlman and Oscar Peterson

You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To – Nancy Wilson

Girl Talk – Howard Roberts

Samba de Mon Coeur qui Bat – Coralie Clement

Hope you have a fabulous Party, or quiet evening, listening to these tunes.

Jen Kehl is the Music Director of her universe. She created Raised on the Radio after she realized her missed callings in life, were actual jobs – Boss of Music or Radio DJ. Now Raised on the Radio helps her live her dream. Since Woody Allen lives in her mind, there is the possibility he may be attempting to escape through music, don’t mind him, he’s harmless. If you’d like to live your dream, drop us a line by clicking Like To Be Our Guest?


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Lessons Learned From a Cheap Trick Concert

ravinia fest

It’s the end of the summer; we try and make it to as many concerts at our local Ravinia Festival during their short season. It’s a completely unique venue, sprawling lawn lot’s of giant trees shading the area, planted in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It was originally built in the 1940’s as the summer home for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The sound is simply amazing for a place so big. This year, we saw 7 concerts, and for our last concert of the season – we planned to see Cheap Trick.

I’m not going to lie, I was burnt-out. My sister and I leave the house at 1:00 to wait in line to be the first in the park to run our butts off to get what we think is the best possible spot on the lawn. It’s like the running of the bulls. And by concert #7 I was wondering if we even wanted to go.

Amazingly, the husbands stepped up. They didn’t want us to blow off the show, and they were willing to wait in line for 3 hours and then sit in our perfect spot for another 3 until the show started. (now don’t get me wrong, we do it up. Wine, cheese, beer, salted caramel chocolates…. you name it, we have it. Books and card games too)

Still, I wasn’t expecting much.

During sound check – the beauty of early arrival, my husband called me and tried to hold the phone up. All I heard was a lot of noise, I was not impressed. Although I am a lover of all things music, I only have a few favorite Cheap Trick songs. And since they haven’t been on my radar, I was not aware of the surprise to come.

Cheap Trick was performing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety.

cheap trick sgt pepper

Actually, our husband’s told us this, but we figured they were full of it. Imagine our surprise when Rick Nielsen came out and announced they would be doing Sgt. Peppers, some Cheap Trick and then more Beatles! Well now they had my attention! And with a full orchestra? That called for a shelving of outside entertainment.

The show was amazing, the talent of the band was still strong, the Chicago Philharmonic was flawless and Gingger Shankar on the double violin was breath-taking!

The magic of this concert brought up these thoughts:

  • I am of a generation that never got to see The Beatles live and never will (duh). (btw I’m 43, so there’s that)
  • It must have been a mind-blowing experience to hear these songs performed live if hearing Cheap Trick perform them was borderline mind-blowing.

The most important thought:

  • No one listens to albums anymore. It occurred to me that ever since the iPod became a regular part of my life in 2002 I haven’t listened to an album from first song to last. (OK maybe a few in the beginning, but certainly not in the last 5 years)

The age of album rock and concept albums is basically dead. Sure you can create one, and you can even hope to have some people care enough to buy it. But really? When you can have the instant gratification of downloading that one song you just love without buying the whole album, what’s your motivation?

And by “providing” this service we are encouraging mediocrity. While once upon a Beatles time, an album was conceptualized from first song to last. Now all you need is a few hits and the rest is “filler”, because really, whose going to buy the whole album anyway? Our children will never understand, or even think about the choices a band made in the order of songs. They will never know what a b-side is. They will never need to buy a whole album just to own their favorite song.

I left the concert feeling energized and frustrated. Frustrated by the fact that as I attempt to raise my son with a deep appreciation of music, I have been going about it all wrong. Energized by the fact that it’s never too late. I never tossed all of those CD’s I uploaded into iTunes. The day after Cheap Trick, I popped in the first disc that’s been in my car’s CD player ever. The Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s is in rotation. All my son will hear for the next few weeks in the car is that same album over and over, that’s how we did it (but on a record player in the living room). I am thinking the next CD in rotation will be some Jazz. He already loves the jazz mixes I’ve made, but I can guarantee you that every Jazz album I own was meant to be listened to from beginning to end. I am making a promise to myself to seek out new musicians that are making music for the music and not for the highest number downloaded.

Just to give you an idea of the caliber of musicianship that was part of this amazing concert here is a video of Gingger Shankar playing the double violin. She is an amazing artist and composer. She has played with The Smashing Pumpkins and she wrote the score for The Passion of the Christ, she has done so much more, and continues to be a prolific composer and artist. Go click on that link up there and check her out.