Will Downing and Gerald Albright topped the charts 20 years ago today

Will Downing and Gerald Albright 1998 photo by Eric Johnson

The Will Downing and Gerald Albright collaboration, Pleasures of the Night, was the best-selling contemporary jazz recording according to the October 31, 1998 issue of Billboard. At the time, Downing said, ““This is a departure for us both. It’s pretty much a traditional sounding record with flavorings of contemporary jazz sprinkled in so as not to exclude the audiences we’ve already built up over the years. It gives both of us an opportunity to stretch out more than our own records. It’s not often that you have the opportunity to do exactly what you want to do, no holds barred.”

Here’s the complete Top Contemporary Jazz Albums for that time:

  1. Will Downing and Gerald Albright – Pleasures of the Night
  2. Kenny G – Greatest Hits
  3. Rick Braun – Full Stride
  4. Down to the Bone – From Manhattan to Staten
  5. George Benson – Standing Together
  6. Fourplay – 4
  7. Keiko Matsui – Full Moon and the Shrine
  8. Marc Antoine – Madrid
  9. Various Artists – KKSF Sampler for AIDS Relief, Volume 9
  10. Medeski, Martin and Wood – Combustication

Also of note in that top ten is that the debut recording of Down to the Bone was in its 37th week on the chart.

Chris Botti on recording today

Chris Botti, touring right now, hasn’t put out a recording in six years and has a new deal with Blue Note Records. But he doesn’t appear to view it as a priority, stating that “the record business is over.”

“Unless you’re bubblegum teen pop, it’s over. What’s the point? It’s a very tricky time right now. The record company can’t even keep the lights on. They’re all going out of business. But I’m lucky to have a solid touring career. But next year I’ll make the record, and hopefully people can enjoy it on Spotify, and it’ll be good.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Yellowjackets raising their voice?

Raising Our Voice by Yellowjackets

The new Yellowjackets recording, Raising Our Voice, supposedly is “subtly taking a resistant stand against the status quo of the cultural and political undercurrent of our times.” But I don’t even hear any subtle stand.  No resistance, protest, or even a song title that indicating the current times other than maybe “Strange Times.” It’s the great Yellowjackets sound with Luciana Souza on vocals on most tracks. Just disappointed that they really didn’t say anything.

Aretha Franklin has passed

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, passed away today at age 76. The cause of death was “advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.”

Indisputably a legend, she impacted many lives. Here’s what some jazzers had to say:

From the time that Dinah Washington 1st told me that Aretha was the “next one” when she was 12-years old, until the present day, Aretha Franklin set the bar & she did it with the professionalism, class, grace, & humility that only a true Queen could.

I treasured every moment that we spent together from working in the recording studio, to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, or simply hangin’ in the kitchen, & I will miss her dearly. RIP Ree-Ree…You will reign as the Queen forever.

The world has suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Aretha Franklin. She was a dear personal friend, kindred spirit, passionate advocate of civil rights, the arts and freedom of expression.

Aretha had a sound that touched the deepest part of your being and she will be forever in our hearts.

  • Herbie Hancock
  • Sad day…. Aretha Franklin was a bolt of the most beautiful and soulful light that only comes around every couple of million years. Her ability was so immense. I wish The Queen safe travels.
  • Stanley Clarke

RIP #ArethaFranklin, an inspiration to countless artists from Dr. Lonnie Smith who covered “Think” on his 1968 Blue Note debut to Norah Jones who says Aretha’s version of “You Send Me” made her want to be a singer. Everlasting RESPECT to the Queen of Soul!

We all feel the loss of #ArethaFranklin today deeply and with such sadness. Love and Prayers to her family and friends Such gratitude for all she gave the world thru her music and so much more.