My reviews of music released in 1940.
1. John Cage: “Second Construction” (10/10)
A revolutionary piece, in terms of form and rethinking the Western tradition.
2. Horace Henderson and His Orchestra: “Kitty On Toast” (9/10)
“Kitty on Toast” starts with a solo piano introduction that feels utterly out of place. And then the piano is joined by the rhythm and a violin! And it’s a pretty good solo too. It’s a shame that there isn’t more from this year on this compilation because this track is really out there.
2. Raymond Scott: “At an Arabian House Party” (9/10)
I can’t say enough about Scott’s rethinking of what was acceptable for a composer. Wild music that sounds exotic and like it was improvised even though it was written out commemphpletely. Crazy stuff.
4. Dmitri Shostakovitch: Quintet for Two Violins, Viola, Cello and Piano in G minor, Op. 57 (8/10)
Unfortunately I haven’t heard this all the way through yet.
5. Earl Hines’ Orchestra: “Boogie Woogie on St. Louis Blues” (8/10)
This is sort of what it sounds like: full blown boogie-woogie, though, because Hines’ band was a swing band, there are swing elements that punctuate the boogie-woogie piano, at first briefly and then they become more dominant. Out there, for sure.
6. Benny Carter: “Sleep” (8/10)
I didn’t rate individual tracks a the time.
6. Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Fish Fry” (8/10)
6. Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Night Hop” (8/10)
6. Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Pom Pom” (8/10)
6. Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Slow Freight” (8/10)
10. Benjamin Britten: “Sinfonia da requiem” (7/10)
Need to find my review.
11. Sidney Bechet: Blues in Thirds” (7/10)
This is a small group performance at the height of the big band era . That makes it rather notable, I didn’t realize that some of the older musicians were performing in small groups still. It’s a pretty trad ballad, though.
12. Earl Hines Orchestra: “Comin’ in Home” (7/10)
Solid swing track. Hines sounds like has matured as a pianist but that isn’t entirely a good thing – he is entirely in control here, and one of the great things about his earlier music is that it always sounds like he is about to lose the plot.