1959 in Music

My music reviews for music released in 1959 Aka The Year of Jazz, or The Year Jazz Changed, or something profound like that.

1. Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (10/10)

2. The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out (10/10)

2. Ornette Coleman: The Shape of Jazz to Come (10/10)

4. Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um (10/10)

5. Chuck Berry is On Top (9/10)

A compilation but one of singles not yet released on LP, so I guess that makes it a normal LP… Read the review of Chuck Berry is On Top.

6. Bernard Herrmann: North by Northwest (8/10)

Unlike so much of what I’ve been listening to of Herrman’s music, this is actually the original performance of the score. This recording is rather short – 37 minutes – and it’s hard to know what happened to the rest of it, since I haven’t seen the movie in a really long time. Anyway, this is the “official” score.

Though hardly as iconic as Psycho or Vertigo, this is still pretty strong stuff by Herrmann. Distinctive and memorable themes that take maybe a little more time to get in your head but, once there, produce a few more thoughts than more instantly memorable stuff.

Not among his greatest, but still very good.

7. Ritchie Valens (8/10)

The Latin twist makes it a little unique. Read the review of Ritchie Valens’ self-titled debut album.

8. Jazz Portraits: Mingus in Wonderland (8/10)

A good, stripped down live set. Read the review of Mingus in Wonderland.

9. The Genius of Ray Charles (7/10)

A left turn into mainstream jazz pop. Read the review of The Genius of Ray Charles.

Not Ranked:

New Symphony Orchestra of London, Alexander Gibson: Witches’ Brew (6/10)

This is one of those “Spooky classical” things that is generally entertaining but hardly anything more. Read the rest of the review.


1. Buddy Holly: “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” b/w “Raining in My Heart” (9/10)

Holly’s pop makeover shouldn’t work. It’s too over-the- top. But Holly is too good a performer to be dominated by the stupid string arrangement. And Paul Anka wrote a great song. (I never thought I’d say that, by the way.)

The b-side is less effective.

2. B.B. King: “Mean Old Frisco” (9/10)

This is is a super up-tempo blues with a really long instrumental beginning and just a great saxophone solo in the middle.

3. Ray Charles: “What’d I Say (Part 1)” (9/10)

A really early use of the electric piano propels this. There’s a vaguely Latin beat to it too. It’s pretty iconic. And the crowd noise is a nice touch.

4. Buddy Holly: “Peggy Sue Got Married” b/w “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” (8/10)

Two songs Holly recorded right before his death, they were spruced up by sessions musicians, which probably wasn’t necessary. The surf guitar on the a-side is a neat twist, though. And there’s a similarly odd (for this era) guitar part on the b-side.

James Brown: “Good Good Lovin'” (??/10)

Bo Diddley: “Crackin’ Up” (??/10)

Bo Diddley: “Say Man” (??/10)

Bo Diddley: “The Story of Bo Diddley” (??/10)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.