Kate Eastwood’s 5 Favorite Jazz Albums

I should preface my post with the information that I grew up a classical musician.  I started playing violin at age seven, and participated in many orchestras until I was 34, including the Minnesota Youth Symphony and the Beach Cities Symphony in Redondo Beach, CA.

I have also been a singer, chorus and church, for many, many years.  In addition, I did community musical theater when I was younger and loved it.  Singing is really what lifts me when I need to be lifted.

My jazz exposure as a young person was listening to music that my mother played at home.  Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Nat King Cole.  I heard more than that, I’m sure, and never knew that it was ‘jazz’ music.  I have been amazed at the number of pieces that I’ve recognized at the Bistro, played by many of our wonderful guest artists.

I don’t have the full list of 15, but I can share my thoughts on the albums I do have.  And yes, they are albums, vinyl, and old, like me!

5.         Lou Rawls – All Things in Time

I’ll admit that Rawls’ voice is one of my favorites.  Always warm, and at times gravelly.  I started listening to him in high school.  I love the track “Groovy People.”  Very upbeat and very much a part of the ‘70s, especially the title!  “Need You Forever” is the other favorite on this album.  Sultry Lou.

4. Lou Rawls – When You’ve Heard Lou, You’ve Heard It All

Another Rawls album.  Nevertheless, what good stuff.  “Lady Love” came off this album.  Honestly, how many of you who heard this song didn’t dance to it at some point?  Come on!  “That Would Do It For Me” has Lou’s inimitable swingin’ style.  And that voice, wow!

3.         George Benson – Living Inside Your Love

What can you say but, ‘awesome album?’  The title track was a giant guitar rift.  This may be the only album that I, a girl, ever played air guitar on.  I couldn’t help myself!  And of course, “Unchained Melody” was without a doubt one of George’s best-known tunes.  A great way to display his talents.

2.         Al Jarreau – Jarreau

Again, a singer.  I know!  I saw Jarreau in concert in my 20s, and was amazed at what he could do with his voice.  There was nothing like it.  This album had me dancing and singing to “Boogie Down,” even when I was by myself!  “Not Like This,” another track on this album, allowed us to hear the subtle nuances of Jarreau’s instrument, and just to listen.

1.         David Sanborn – As We Speak

I own several Sanborn albums.  I bought this one back in 1982, just loving the sound.  The title track is full of wonderful rhythms, and the track entitled “Rain on Christmas” was one I listened to, blanketed in snow in MN, on Christmas for many years.


Needless to say, music is my heart.  Thanks!

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