Various - Watch The Closing Doors: A History Of New York's Musical Melting Pot, Vol. 1: 1945 - 1959

Compiled by journalist and author Kris Needs, this is a fascinating start to a five part series that will document New York’s musical output from 1945 through to the noughties. This entry covers jazz greats, rock 'n' roll, blues, Latin and beyond. 'Ripples' by Raymond Scott is close enough to avant garde modern day electronica that you may wonder if the guy owned a time machine; compounding this indulgence are long readings from poets John Cage and Allen Ginsberg. Still, while there’s a definite academic tone to the package (the full release will include substantial notes), this shouldn’t dissuade the newcomer. Nina Simone’s 'Little Girl Blue', with its 'Good King Wenceslas' melody steal, is beautifully melancholic and Miles Davis’ 'Summertime' is just one classic jazz piece included. Perhaps the most interesting tracks belong to the blues and folk genres, mainly documenting the hard life of the working man. Alamanac Singers’ 'Talking Union' might be rousingly political but it’s far from po-faced, while Dave Van Ronk couldn’t sound more like a direct ancestor of Captain Beefheart and Seasick Steve. Who said education can’t be fun? Needless to say, we eagerly await Vol. 2.

Overall

7

out of 10

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