In case you were wondering, today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lent season, leading up to Easter, for the Catholics of the world. Incidentally, it's also Chinese New Year. Today being Ash Wednesday does mean that I some how let Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday pass me by this year. How did I miss that fantastic celebration and the good music that goes along with it? We had a nice little discussion on Mardi Gras music last year (see post), but I guess we missed it this time around. Anyway, in honor of Easter anticipation, I've got a tune or two for you.
Harry Connick, Jr. is a champion of New Orleans and put out a few jazz albums (Oh, My NOLA and Chanson du Vieux Carre) in 2007. One track on Chanson du Vieux Carre, appropriately titled "Ash Wednesday", was recently nominated for Best Instrumental Composition and Best Instrumental Arrangement at the 2008 Grammy Awards, and is one of my favorites off that disc. It's been played here on KGB before, but this is another opportunity to give it another listen.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band are also New Orleans greats. They put together a remake of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On album and put together a fantastic version of Wholy Holy, which also fits will in this theme.
Finally, we have Jan Garbarek, a Norwegian saxophonist with an extensive discography. On that discography is the album Officium, which is in collaboration with the Hilliard Ensemble (a vocal quartet that performs "early compositions"). Now, I know you may not be into chanting (maybe you are, it's pretty sweet), but dig on the saxophone in this work. It is so smooth and blends in really well with the voices. When you're learning to play the saxophone, this is the type of sound you want in your head. This is what you try to match. Good stuff.
Harry Connick Jr - Ash Wednesday [buy]
Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Wholy Holy [buy]
Jan Garbarek - O Salutaris Hostia [buy]