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Desert Island Discs

Band Archive > 2008

Desert IslandDiscs - Dave James 2008

I so enjoyed the ego massaging effect of publishing the annual music awards in the last newsletter, that I have decided to take part in the ultimate conceit of imagining that I have been invited to select my desert island discs. So here they are. Are you ready Kirsty Young?

1. St Louis Blues. The Dave Brubeck Quartet .
From the first notes that Paul Desmond played on this tune, on that night many years ago at the Colston Hall, I was hooked, and my life’s plans changed for ever.

2. Morning from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No 1 .
The first bit of “serious” music I ever bought, and still hugely evocative.

3. My FunnyValentine/Carioca The Gerry Mulligan Quartet .
OK I cheated and this is two tunes, but they were back to back on a 78 I virtually wore out on our old radiogram (with steel needles). I can sing every note.

4. Milestones - The Miles Davis Sextet
One of the most perfect musical performances of all time in any style. The form is superb, and the genius of all the soloists (improvising on 2 scales rather than a chord sequence) is matched by the faultless rhythm section. Exquisite.

5. Introduction &Allegro for Strings – Elgar
Forever associated with Ken Russell’s black and white film of Elgar riding his bike over the Malvern Hills. The melody I find myself humming more than any other.

6. June Tabor - A Place Called England
I first heard June Tabor live, a couple of years ago. Her voice is stunning, and you believe every word she sings. This is a “protest”song of hope and optimism, that in a mad polluted world dominated by consumerism and greed , there are pockets of hope of a better way. I get quite emotional when I play it. From the album A Quiet Eye.

7. The Beatles - Penny Lane
One of the best of all “pop” songs. Howard Goodall did an analysis of it in one of his channel 4 series. He liked it too.

8. The Modern Jazz Quartet Django
Another jazz classic. Just listen to the structure of the solos after the opening rubato theme statement. There are many published versions of this tune by this group, but they never matched the pure grace of the original.

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