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Monday, May 25, 2020

Playlist: A jazzy mix of new and old classics

By Drew Stuart

Are you tired of countless chillhop playlists polluting your Soundcloud and Youtube feeds? Do you want a slice of chill music that feels more substantial? Well, this week’s playlist will have you right at home with new and old jazz classics for your next study session.

 

1  Jazz (We’ve Got) – A Tribe Called Quest

This is an often overlooked Tribe track that instantly sets the mood for any relaxing evening or study session. The soft, melancholy beat, combined with some excellent lyrics by Phife Dawg and Q-Tip make this a classic for anyone who loves their hip hop with a strong jazz influence.

 

2  On & On – Erykah Badu

Anyone decently versed in their jazz knows who Erykah Badu is, and this is song that spread her name across the airwaves for everyone to hear. “On & On” features a minimalist production that focuses heavily on Badu’s vocal performance, supported by a muted piano melody and accented by a sharp cross stick beat. This track will worm it’s way into your head for days.

 

3 Fine Corinthian Leather – Charlie Hunter

Charlie Hunter is one of the best jazz guitarists alive today, and his most popular song is a perfect example of why. The vibrating distortion on Hunter’s guitar lends an otherwise keyboard-heavy production a rough edge that makes this track irresistible.

 

4 Camel – Flying Lotus

This song comes from the dark alcoves in the back of your mind. Flying Lotus consistently lays down abstract beats like this, which is why “Camel” has become a staple of experimental jazz for years. Listen to this song, but don’t let it too deep into your head.

 

5 Little Fly – Esperanza Spalding

Switching things up, next we have “Little Fly” by Esperanza Spalding. This song is sweet, sad and touching. It’s also a reprieve from the more R&B influenced tracks on this list, and provides a nice breathing point halfway through this playlist. You can keep it in the background, or take a moment to appreciate the beautiful lyricism and gentle production.

 

6 Elevators (Me & You) – OutKast

Before OutKast was big, they were just a rap group trying to make ends meet in Atlanta. “Elevators (Me & You)” perfectly captures that vibe with a late-night beat that tells the tale of their lifestyle and their aspirations with listener. Feel free to listen to this one on repeat for a while.

 

7 Bags & Trane – Milt Jackson & John Coltrane

Back in the ‘60s, Milt Jackson & John Coltrane got together and created one of the best jazz collaborations of all time. “Bags & Trane,” both the album and song, are masterpieces, utilizing Jackson’s immaculate vibraphone and the legendary Coltrane’s powerful saxophone to generate a classic song. It’s subtle, it’s clean, and it’s riveting.

 

8 Them Changes – Thundercat

Thundercat is the hottest new jazz artist out there, and his instant-classic song “Them Changes” shows us why. The funk influenced track sports a colorful, fat baseline, supported by Kamasi Washington’s excellent flourishes with the piano. It’s a crowd pleasure for certain, and a must-have for any playlist that needs some subdued energy.

 

9 Askim – Kamasi Washington

Speaking of Kamasi Washington, he’s one of the most talented jazz musicians out there today. “Askim” is perfect song to show you why he’s getting so much attention. The layers of production on this song will have you listening over and over again to appreciate the drums, careful melodies of the saxophone and the soothing piano underpinning the entire track.

 

10 Desafinado – Stan Getz

Most people everyone knows Stan Getz’s famous song “The Girl From Ipanema,” but fewer know that he’s created several jazz classics that can melt even the coldest of hearts. “Desafinado” is one of his best pieces, and the sweet, swaying rhythm will put you in the best of moods almost instantly.

 

Every Friday this quarter, a Western Front reporter will create a playlist for the week.

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