1953 in Music

My list of music reviews I’ve written about music put out on record in 1953.

1. Hank Williams: Memorial Album (9/10)

A compilation one but a pretty essential one. Read the review of the Hank Williams Memorial Album.

2. Jay Jay Johnson with Clifford Brown aka The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson (9/10)

This is some extremely solid bop featuring all around great playing from a great trumpet player, a decent tenor – also plays baritone, which is cool – and the man some consider the greatest jazz trombonist ever. Johnson doesn’t get as much time as the reissue title (or his role as leader) would suggest, but his solos are still good and he’s ably assisted by the other horn players.

Nothing to dislike here, for sure.

Lukas Foss: Piano Concerto No. 2 (8/10)

This piece was written in the late ’40s and published in 1951, I think, but then revised in 1953. I assume I am listening to the 1953 version.

This piece gets off to a far more aggressively modern start than the first concerto, so it’s far more up my alley immediately. (Though I came to quite like the first concerto.) There are still traditional elements mixed in – such as baroque-sounding melodies – but they far less dominant in the first movement.

This is the kind of aggressively modern stuff that hints at the past that I really enjoy. It feels both bold and playful at the same time, yet it’s still melodic enough to (presumably) not scare off those who are afraid of out-and-out modern music (i.e. atonal or serial stuff).

Maurice Durufle: Chant Donné: Hommage à Jean Gallon (5/10)

This is an extraordinarily brief piece not worthy of much comment. What do you say about something that lasts 75 seconds? It’s nice.


B.B. King: “Woke Up This Morning”(9/10)

This is a solid blues with a bit of a Latin vibe; to my knowledge a pretty early example of this kind of thing (my knowledge being very limited here). It’s a cool track, with a time change in it and everything. Excellent stuff.

B.B. King: “Please Love Me”(9/10)

Now this is what I’m talking about. This is the kind of blues I thought I’d be listening to when I picked up a BB King compilation. Now part of his appeal is his range, but this track shows he can straight up electric blues with horns just about as well as anyone else.

B.B. King: “Please Hurry Home” (8/10)

This is a strong fusion of blues and R and B, with a blues intro but more R and B in the verses and back to the blues in the choruses (though still with that R and B bounce). Good stuff.