While Miles Davis will always be known for his original compositions and for genre-busting, innovative records like Kind of Blue, E.S.P., and Bitches Brew, it's worthwhile to give a listen to his great performances of standards from his earlier career.
Jacob Adams teaches literature, composition, and communication studies at a public high school in the Chicago area. He holds degrees in English, music, and education from Indiana University. In addition to writing for PopMatters, he maintains his own personal blog called A Sea of Amusements (http://amusementsea.blogspot.com/) and writes about music and books for Spectrum Culture (www.spectrumculture.com). When he is not busy teaching and writing about all aspects of popular culture, he enjoys playing the saxophone. He is currently working on a series of scary jazz compositions with San Francisco Bay area bassist Rod Taylor.
Today we posted this new list and have created a handy Spotify playlist so you can enjoy all the tunes, or mix them up as you please.
01 Aug 2012
“B-Boy Bouillabaisse” is one of the great denouements in the history of pop music, a 12-minute suite that gives us a definitive, multifarious view of urban life in the late 1980s.
26 Mar 2012
The boys employ religious allusions on “Shadrach” in a similar manner as they have used the references to movies, kids’ cartoons, and cereal boxes. They’re simply trying to come at their subject from multifarious angles and provide variety and interest for the listener.
19 Mar 2012
“What Comes Around” is an ebullient three-minute track that highlights the Beastie Boys’ and Dust Brothers’ incomparable ability to create pleasant irony through perfectly-placed samples and humorous turns-of-phrase.
12 Mar 2012
Although the lyrical content feels a bit repetitive from previous songs on Paul's Boutique, the chill, soulful groove makes “Car Thief” memorable.
05 Mar 2012
The Beastie Boys give us “5-Piece Chicken Dinner”, a brief, bright roll in the hay, only to juxtapose it with “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun”, one of the darkest, dirtiest tracks on Paul’s Boutique--and also one of the best.
27 Feb 2012
On “Hey Ladies”, the Beastie Boys prove that their hip-hop collage approach to making tunes is applicable to the four-minute single format, resulting in a track that is both technically accomplished and danceable.
20 Feb 2012
Coming after the aggressive intensity of the end of “The Sounds of Science”, “3-Minute Rule” seems slight, like the Beasties went on a mini-vacation.
13 Feb 2012
“The Sounds of Science” is essentially a three-movement suite about hip-hop bravado. Rarely has science sounded hipper.
06 Feb 2012
Despite the more solemn subject matter, on “High Plains Drifter” the Beasties still give us the chance to play that old game “spot the pop-culture allusion”, with references to Clint Eastwood, Hunter Thompson, The Andy Griffith Show, and more.
30 Jan 2012
As if to prove that an accomplished work of art can be inspired by anything, no matter how trivial or adolescent, on “Egg Man” the Beasties turn their shell-cracking exploits into a mock-heroic epic full of faux pathos and legitimate laughs
24 Jan 2012
With “Johnny Ryall”, the Beastie Boys manage to challenge the audience’s ideas of what it has come to expect from hip-hop. The Beasties were no longer just rappers--they were crafters of one of the 1980s’ great short stories.
16 Jan 2012
The first Between the Grooves series of 2012 focuses on the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Beastie Boys’ postmodern, sample-heavy masterpiece Paul’s Boutique (1989). First, Jacob Adams explores how “To All the Girls” establishes a deceptively mellow vibe only to have “Shake Your Rump” groove the listener into a funky reality.
09 Jan 2012
While jazz’s complexity cannot be denied, much of the music remains accessible to all. The trick is just finding the right tunes and artists, those who have a universal appeal beyond the scope of the typical, admittedly somewhat limited, jazz audience.
07 Dec 2011
The Hold Steady's music represents a delightfully perverse amalgamation of the Rolling Stones’ unbridled sexuality, Jack Kerouac’s open-road spirit, and the Replacement’s independent sensibility. No doubt, any of these 10 songs would make a great “gateway drug” for anyone interested in discovering the charms of the group for the first time.
26 Oct 2011
If we are going to learn to grin and bear this year's enhanced, prolonged stormy activity, we need an equally stormy playlist to accompany the thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and whatever other maladies Mother Nature might throw our way during this summer season
15 Jun 2011
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