Jazz records to be inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame

By Matt Micucci

The Recording Academy has announced the newest additions to its Grammy Hall of Fame. Among the 26 new entries are several jazz-related titles.

In order to qualify for the selection, a recording, which can be either a single or an album and belong to any and all music genre, must be at least 25 years old and “exhibit qualitative or historical significance”. With the 26 new titles, the list, now in its 43rd year, currently totals 1,013 recordings and is on display at the Grammy Museum at L.A. LIVE.

One of this year’s jazz related inductees is Ella and Louis. The legendary 1956 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, in which the duo was accompanied by the Oscar Peterson Quartet, was released on Verve Records in 1956. The duo had previously collaborated on Decca in the forties. The album includes many popular standards, and is easily among one of the most popular jazz albums of all time. Among its most beloved hits are Cant We Be Friends?, They Can’t Take That Away from Me, The Nearness of You and April in Paris.

Another record featured in the list is First Take, the debut album by jazz singer Roberta Flack released in 1969 on Atlantic Records. The album was reportedly recorded in a mere ten hours, and the famous track The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face became a number one hit in the United States as a result of it being included in Clint Eastwoods’s 1971 film Play Misty For Me.

Lush Life is also included in the list. The famous John Coltrane record was released in 1961 on Prestige Records, and was assembled from reissued results of three separate recording sessions between 1957 and 1958. Despite the fact that it was part of the vast array of unissued recordings released by Prestige without Coltrane’s input or approval, Lush Life is highly regarded among fans of the great saxophonist’s best works for Prestige, also thanks to the interesting personnel and great lineup that included Earl May on bass, Art Taylor on drums – a trio lineup that gives the record a more intimate feel.

A Miles Davis album also made the list – Miles Smiles, released in January 1967 on Columbia Records. It was the second of five albums Davis recorded with his second great quintet, which featured saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams. It has been called an essential album by many critics, with Down Beat stating that it is “simpler, drier, more austere […] unrehearsed, rough” and claiming that this very fact made it a true jazz record.

There are also a number of singles related to the jazz world that are featured on the list.

One is Don’s Sit under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me), a popular song made famous by Glenn Miller. The version inducted in the Hall of Fame is that by the Andrews Sisters, who turned it into one of the most popular tunes durng the World War II, no doubt due to the lyrics by writers Lew Brown and Charles Tobias. The subjects in the song were two lovers, pledging fidelity while one of the m was away serving in the war.

Another is This Train, by Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The singer guitarist recorded and released the song in the late thirties, more precisely in 1939. This is perhaps the most famous version of the traditional American gospel track also known as This Train is Bound for Glory, and is a song that picked up different meanings throughout the ages.Tharpe would go on to release a more secular version of the song in the early fifties, after switching to electric guitar, and this is a version regarded as a precursor to rock ‘n roll.

(What Did I to Be So) Black and Blue, is the third and final jazz related single to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. A 1929 jazz standard composed by Fats Waller, the version inducted is Louis Armstrong’s one, which he recorded with his orchestra, and released on Okeh in 1929. Armstrong performed and recorded the song sereval times, especially throughout the early part of his career.

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