I’ve been wondering what the first summer of Reiwa Era would be like. Amid scorching heat looking back on the charming sights of morning glories and the sound of wind bells back in old days, which seem to be something we enjoyed a long time ago, I am introducing three nostalgic pop albums together with Viotti’s masterpiece.
Giovanni Battista Viotti was active from the latter half of 18th century to the beginning of 19th century, and his “Violin Concerto No. 22” was said to have inspired Beethoven and Brahms when they wrote violin concertos. Among the 29 violin concertos the Italian composer composed during his life, “No.22” is particularly famous, and its beautiful tune is outstanding.
Even though we remember the fabulous performances of Grumiaux, a superb performer, or Lola Bobesco, a female violinist, the first time I listened to this music was the one played by Salvatore Accardo, the famous violinist born in Napoli, Italy, the land of songs, on the RCA disk. I felt the bright sunlight form the Mediterranean Sea directly from the sound of violin. It is the magnificent performance showing the cheerful and generous atmosphere of Viotti’s music. Rome Symphony Orchestra’s supports are the perfect match to this music. The RCA disc is currently still out of production, but the aforementioned Italian disc is available.
This is the solo album released in 2006 by David Gilmour, the guitarist and the vocalist of “Pink Floyd,” representing the progressive rock. It makes us feel Pink Floyed’s fantastic sound and spectacular musical development, and at the same time, the personal world of David is shared with us gently. Time goes by slowly with the performance. It is the true sound of David Gilmour forming the distinctive characteristics of undeniable “Pink Floyd,” whose guitar performance makes us feel like going beyond the future with the melodic simplicity.
David Crosby and Graham Nash join the chorus for the eternally romantic title song. Following the solemn introduction, from <On An Island>, singing memories of a small island on the Mediterranean, to <Where We Start>, describing each day as it ends, the plentiful music is played as it depicts various scenes in our lives. It is the fantastic work with high degree of flawless perfection as a rock album, and we can strongly feel the dignity of David Gilmour.
The title piece, <The Summer Knows>’s melody was created for the movie carrying the same title by Michel Legrand, the maestro who left behind many masterpieces of film music. The signature tune with subtle pathos produced poetically an adolescent boy’s unforgettable memory of the summer for life. Such Legrand’s melody matches perfectly with Art Farmer, and the lyrical beauty seems to be written just for him is magnificent.
It is a piece we can be intoxicated with the glamorous poetic performance by Art Farmer, which is just as poetic as the beautiful album artwork itself. Although Art Farmer is a trumpeter, he is blowing a Flugelhorn creating a gentle tone here. Needless to say, the charm of art having lyrical taste as a principle will be developed further by playing the Flugelhorn. There are other beautiful tracks such as <Manhã de Carnaval>, jazzy performance to the beat of bossa nova, and <Alfie>, a ballade.
George Benson is a guitarist who is enjoying the reputation of a superstar. He became suddenly popular when his album, “Breezin” won a Grammy Award in 1977, however, this album was recorded in 1971, the time he was started to be recognized in the world of jazz. Since it was released from CTI label produced by Creed Taylor who was quick to have his eye on Benson’s talent, the perfection level of the album is high, and we can fully enjoy his melodic charm.
Having Jay Berliner playing an acoustic guitar adding a bit of Spanish touch makes it even more variable to listen to. The super performer, Don Sebesky, is the one who arranged the woodwind and brass section. The title track suddenly starting with trumpet’s fanfare is the hit tune of the rock group, Jefferson Airplane, in ’67, and idea of making the original psychedelic piece in flamenco style is fantastic. Furthermore, <California Dreamin'>, the hit tune of The Mamas & the Papas, with fully plangent arrangement was magnificent. Wes Montgomery, also a guitarist and Benson’s senior, recorded his album with the same tune as the title, I find this Spanish version more impressive.
Surrounded by various kinds of music from his childhood, Masamichi Okazaki joined Waseda University Modern Jazz Club. He started contributing articles to music magazines when he was a student. He covers wide range of music not only trad, modern and contemporary jazz, but also from pops to classics. He writes liner notes for CDs and LPs, and is a regular contributor to JAZZ JAPAN, STEREO, and others. He joined a big band, Shiny Stockings, as a saxophone player. He is a director of The Music Pen Club Japan (MPCJ).