Spider Sounds: Corinne Bailey Rae

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Mary (class of 2018) and features the 2006 self-titled debut album of British soul songstress Corinne Bailey Rae. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Mary!

Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne Bailey Rae

Corrine Bailey Rae

I picked this album because I am a big fan of Corinne Bailey Rae’s music.

"Like A Star" UK Single cover

2005 UK CD single cover for “Like A Star”

The first track called “Like A Star” is considered one of her biggest hits was first released as a single in 2005 and was so popular that it was re-released on her self-titled debut album. This song is generally considered a combination of soul, jazz and downtempo. The laid-back smooth tempo matched with Rae’s soulful voice and the sweet lyrics entirely written by her makes it one of my favorites to listen to on a summer night while driving.

"Put Your Records On" CD single

2006 CD single cover for “Put Your Records On”

The third track “Put Your Records On” is also another favorite of mine. It has a relatively faster tempo and a brighter feel compared to “Like A Star,” but still has the Rae’s soulful voice matched with precious lyrics that almost sound like she is talking directly to you as a close friend or a sister. As a young woman, I feel very encouraged and relieved by her sister-like tone of the lyrics in this song as she includes many phrases like “don’t need to worry” and “you’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow” along with positive and peaceful images of “three little birds” sitting on her window and summer coming like sweet cinnamon with her favorite music in the background. If you have had a long week and need some music to help you relax, put this song on and it will surely brighten up your day.

Spider Sounds: “Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of UR Music Department faculty member Dr. Gene Anderson. Dr. Anderson is the author of a number of articles about early jazz and the analysis of wind music. He has been kind enough to share a review of a recent biography about Louis Armstrong’s early career entitled Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism. Thanks, Gene!

Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism
by Thomas David Brothers

Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism book cover

Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism. By Thomas Brothers. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co., 2014.

It is difficult to imagine what more there is to know about Louis Armstrong. WorldCat lists over 9,000 works about the musician in over 17,000 publications scattered among libraries throughout the world. Besides two published autobiographies and dozens of unpublished autobiographical writings, Armstrong’s life has been recounted in a host of personal interviews, recollections by contemporaries and published biographies. Of the latter, Thomas Brothers’ Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism is the most recent, winning the 2014 Irving Lowens Book Award from the Society for American Music and becoming a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. Master of Modernism is the third Armstrong-related book by Brothers, a Professor of Musicology at Duke University, preceded by an edited selection of Armstrong’s unpublished writings, Louis Armstrong, In His Own Words (1999), and Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans (2006), of which this volume serves as a sequel.

The main thesis of Master of Modernism, which focuses on the period between Armstrong’s departure from New Orleans to join King Oliver’s Creole Band in 1922 to his successful transition into the swing era in the early 1930s, is that the trumpeter’s success “depended on his ability to skillfully negotiate the musical and social legacies of slavery,” and whose career, “can be understood as a response to these interlocking trajectories.” The fulfillment of such a thesis demands nothing short of a cultural history of the period, which Brothers eloquently and compellingly provides. Although the author contributes few new revelations to Armstrong’s well-known life story, he furnishes the most coherent narrative of these years to date by adding details and filling in chronological gaps by means of little-known archival photographs, first-person recollections from contemporaries and primary sources like black newspapers and periodicals.

Armstrong, armed with an exceptional ear, extraordinary memory and a nascent ability to read music, left his hometown with a thorough grounding in black vernacular music—its blues-infused aspects of collective improvisation, freak and obbligato playing (“playing second”) having been fostered variously by plantation music, the heterophonic singing of the Sanctified Church, King Oliver’s “monkeyshines” or “ragging the tune” to Manuel Perez’ leads, and the hawking of wares by street vendors, Lorenzo and Santiago. Most importantly, he was immersed in what Brothers calls the “fixed and variable model” of performance which “became the key ingredient in Armstrong’s mature style.”

Brothers concludes his investigation by summarizing the characteristics that made Armstrong a great melodist. The author’s stances on a few controversial issues have been addressed by others, but this exquisitely written and exhaustively researched work stands as an invaluable addition to the literature and will very likely come to be regarded, with its companion, Louis Armstrong in New Orleans, as the definitive study of Armstrong’s early career.

New CDs added in June!

New CDs for June 2016


Yizhak Schotten – The Elegant Viola
George Szell & The Cleveland Orchestra – Szell Conducts Mozart
UMass Wind Ensemble – Fatastique: Premieres for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble

Fantastique: Premieres for Trumpet and Wind Ensemble

Band Music

The President’s Own U.S. Marine Band – Flourishes and Meditations
The President’s Own U.S. Marine Band – Be Glad Then, America

Be Glad Then, America - U.S. Marine Band


Duke Ellington- The Nutcracker Suite

Duke Ellington - The Nutcracker Suite

Vocal Music

Teresa Stratas – The Unknown Kurt Weill

Teresa Stratas - The Unknown Kurt Weill

Spider Sounds: Diana Krall “Live In Paris”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” is by Julie (aka Xinyi), one of our student workers, and features a live album from Canadian jazz pianist & singer Diana Krall which was originally released in 2002 and won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Thanks, Julie!

Diana Krall

Live In Paris

Diana Krall - Live In Paris

I picked the CD called “Live in Paris” by Diana Krall, because I personally prefer European-style music. This CD has many different pieces. The first one is called “I Love Being Here With You.” At the very beginning, the general rhythm sounds very lively and energetic. It provides me a happy feeling of living in Paris. Because of the quick rhythm and pace, I feel it encourages listeners to become more interested in living in Paris and assume living in Paris would be a colorful and interesting experience.

The second track is called “Let’s Fall In Love,” which has a very different mood from the first track and is much slower paced.
I think Paris is known as a romantic city, and the second track fits that “romantic” feeling quite well.

The other songs on this CD, in general, consists of alternating quick and slow tracks. I feel this is variety is good so listeners won’t feel bored when they listen to the whole album.

This album also is available to UR students, faculty and staff via our streaming service — click on this link to access it: http://librarycat.richmond.edu/vwebv/holdingsInfo?searchId=4353&recCount=25&recPointer=0&bibId=1455539.

New CDs added in April!

New CDs for April 2016


Johannes Brahms – Sonatas for Clarinet and Piano
Karen Gottlieb – Music For Harp
Mitchell Lurie – Mitchell Lurie, Clarinet

Mitchell Lurie, Clarinet

Mozart/Beethoven – Quintets for Piano & Winds
Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach – Genius – Music of Johann Sebastian Bach & Antonio Vivaldi

Quintets for Piano & Winds


Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn – Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise
Tamar Braxton – Calling All Lovers

Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn

Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi
Aretha Franklin – Aretha Sings The Blues
Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free

Aretha Sings The Blues


Karrin Allyson – Many A New Day
Louis Armstrong – Blow Satchmo Blow
The Bad Plus – The Bad Plus Joshua Redman
The Bad Plus – The Rite Of Spring

The Bad Plus - The Rite of Spring

Terence Blanchard – Breathless
Michael Dease – Decisions
Chris Dingman – The Subliminal and the Sublime
Gil Evans Project – Lines Of Color

Michael Dease - Decisions

John Fedchock – Like It Is
Marshall Gilkes – Ko¨ln
Scott Hamilton & Jeff Hamilton Trio – Live In Bern
Lionel Hampton – 50th Anniversary Concert – Live at Carnegie Hall

Lionel Hampton - Live at Carnegie Hall

Tommy Igoe and the Birdland Big Band – Eleven
Joe Magnarelli – Three On Two
Matt Ulery’s Loom – Music Box Ballerina
Matt Ulery’s Loom – Wake An Echo

Matt Ulery's Loom - Music Box Ballerina

Marcus Miller – Afrodeezia
Sun Ra and his Arkestra – In The Orbit Of Ra
Matt Ulery – By A Little Light
Matt Ulery – In The Ivory
Matt Ulery – Themes And Scenes

Sun Ra - In the Orbit of Ra

World Music

Andy Lau – Love: Special Edition
Amira Medunjanin – Silk & Stone

Amira Medunjanin - Silk & Stone

Electronic Music

Qluster – Tasten
Jane Rigler – Rarefactions: Compositions via Improvisations
Madeleine Shapiro – Sounds Nature: Works for Cello and Electronics

Jane Rigler - Rarefactions

New CDs added in March!

New CDs for March 2016


Helene Grimaud – Water

Helene Grimaud - Water


Giuseppe Verdi – Attila
Giuseppe Verdi – Oberto

Verdi - Oberto

Verdi - Attila


David Bowie – Blackstar

David Bowie - Blackstar


Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest – Sylva

Snarky Puppy - Sylva


Buddy Guy – Born To Play Guitar

Buddy Guy - Born To Play Guitar

New CDs added in February!

New CDs for February 2016


Alexsandr Scriabin – Complete Preludes
Jean Sibelius – Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6
Jean Sibelius – Symphonies Nos. 6 and 7: “The Tempest” Suite No. 2

Sibelius -  Symphonies 6 & 7


Joey Alexander – My Favorite Things

Joey Alexander - My Favorite Things


Florence + the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

Florence + the Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

New CDs added in January!

New CDs for January 2016


Herbie Hancock – Future Shock



Adele – 25

Adele 25

Aerosmith – Honkin’ On Bobo
Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color

Sound & Color

Drake – If Youre Reading This Its Too Late
Elle King – Love Stuff
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

To Pimp A Butterfly

Lamb of God – VII: Sturm und Drang
Bettye Lavette – Worthy
Mark Ronson – Uptown Special
Mavis Staples – One True Vine

Mavis Staples - One True Vine

Tame Impala – Currents
Taylor Swift – 1989
The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness

The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness

New CDs added in December!

New CDs for December 2015


Susan Allen – Postcard From Heaven
Franz Schubert – The Unauthorised Piano Duos, Volume 3

Postcard From Heaven

Early Music

Psallentes – Missa Transfigurationis

Missa Transfigurationis

Film Music

Carmine Coppola and Francis Coppola – Apocalypse Now Redux
James Newton Howard – Snow Falling On Cedars

Snow Falling On Cedars


Various Artists – Soul Of Sue Records
Various Artists – I’m A Good Woman – Funk Classics From Sassy Soul

I'm A Good Woman


Lafayette Harris, Jr. Trio – Bend To The Light
Jacob Fischer- … In New York City
Donald Vega – With Respect To Monty

Bend To The Light

Band Music

The President’s Own U.S. Marine Band – Elements


World/Folk Music

George Wassouf – The Best of George Wassouf
Various Artists – Teen Dance Music From China and Malaysia
Voices of Ireland – Lord of the Dance and Other Famous Irish Songs &

Teen Dance Music From China and Malaysia

“Lights, please … ” – “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and the Music of Vince Guaraldi

A Charlie Brown Christmas - Title Card

The animated TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas made its debut on December 9th, 1965 on CBS.

The special was atypical for most cartoons at the time because of its contemplative message, its use of real children (some of whom were too young to read) to voice the characters as opposed to adult voice actors and its LACK of use of a laugh track. (Peanuts creator Charles Schulz refused to allow one saying he wanted to “let the people at home enjoy the show at their own speed, in their own way.”)

A Charlie Brown Christmas - cast

A Charlie Brown Christmas was also noteworthy for its holiday-infused jazz soundtrack created by musician/composer Vince Guaraldi.

Jazz musician/composer Vince Guaraldi

Jazz musician/composer Vince Guaraldi

Guaraldi became involved with the Peanuts before the start of production for the Christmas special. Producer Lee Mendelson heard Guaraldi’s 1963 radio hit “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” while traveling by taxi on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and initially commissioned Guaraldi write a jazz soundtrack for a television documentary about Charles Schulz called A Boy Named Charlie Brown that wound up never being broadcast. According to Mendelson, the first performance of “Linus & Lucy” occurred over the phone during the production of the documentary. Fortunately, the Christmas special allowed the piece to find a home.

Peanuts characters dance to Guaraldi's iconic "Linus & Lucy"

Peanuts characters dance to Guaraldi’s iconic “Linus & Lucy”

The jazz soundtrack to the special was initially a hard sell, both to Charles Schulz (who was not much of a jazz fan at the time) and to the network since jazz had never been used in an animated special before. Despite Schulz’s initial feelings about jazz, he pushed for Guaraldi’s music to be included because he believed it created a perfect “bubbly, childlike tone” for the show.

Interestingly, the song “Christmas Time Is Here” was something of a happy accident. According to Lee Mendelson: “For the Christmas Show, [Vince] wrote an original melody that wasn’t in the documentary. It was a beautiful melody that opened the scene where the kids are skating. When we looked at the final cut, it seemed to me to be very slow. I said, ‘Let me see if I can find some lyricists to put some words to it.’ I couldn’t find anybody. I sat down at my kitchen table and in 10 minutes I wrote a poem called ‘Christmas Time Is Here’ to the melody. I wrote all the words down, handed it to Vince, and said, ‘Find a choir of kids to sing this.’ He had been working with a choir to do a jazz mass in San Francisco. He rushed them all together, about two days later. So that whole thing was written and recorded in about over a two-day period and then rushed into the final mix [of the special].” The song has gone on to become a holiday standard and has been covered by many artists including Tony Bennett and Diana Krall.

In fact, it is hard to imagine the holiday season in the US now without the beloved special and its music!

Charlie Brown Christmas album art

Univeristy of Richmond students, faculty and staff can stream the soundtrack to the special by logging into the Alexander Street press database to which the library subscribes. They can also access Guaraldi’s Grace Cathedral Jazz Mass (which also celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015) as well as several of Guaraldi’s other albums.

Grace Cathedral concert

A Charlie Brown Christmas has become the second longest running animated Christmas special of all time (behind 1964’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) and the soundtrack album was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2011.


The Parsons Music Library has a special display about A Charlie Brown Christmas and Vince Guaraldi that you can visit through the end of the year — come check it out!