On Radio 4 there is a very long running program called Desert Island Discs which features a well known public figure ebing interviewed about their life and the program is annotated with record choices, a choice of book and a luxury item.
So you what are your Desert Island Discs. Choose the eight songs/ recordings which would want to have on your desert island. In the radio show you have to choose a single book, but I’m expanding it to four books, one luxury item (which cannot be an item to aid you survival or escape) and I’m adding a two films you would choose.
And to kick it off here are mine
1. John Coltrane: Blue Train. The title track from Trane’s only album on Bluenote Records, I first heard it when I was seventeen and the first minute or two caused a miniature orgasam in my ears. What the element was which appealed was I probably will never be able to say, but the moment has always stuck with me.
2. Fat Waller; This was a difficult choice as Fats had such a prolific output and honing down on one track would always be difficult, but the sentimental sandman of jazz could not not have some Fats on his Desert Island Play list. So I settled on his perhaps signature tune Ain’t Misbehaving, it’s full of the joy, character and sentiment fats was so brilliant at mixing.
3. Jaco Pastorious: Soul Intro/The Chicken. Is this cheating as its a two-in-one? It’s a perfect example of the way modern day big bands should of been playing, not that I’m dissing the big bands previous but there are only some many tributes you can listen too and frankly I’d rather listen to the originals. Funky, confident and it don’t half swing, the way to remember Jaco.
4. Duke Ellington: Chelsea Bridge. Maybe its the warm weeping tenor sax of Ben Webster or not, but the melody has a lingering haunting quality to me, it brings me the mental images of the ghosts of people who haunt those old sepia photos. Ironically the song’s title is a misnomer as composer Billy Strayhorn composed the song after looking a painting which was incorrectly labelled as the Chelsea Bridge. Many years later when visiting London he discover that the bridge in question was in fact the Albert Bridge.
5. Miles Davis: All Blues. This laid back waltz is crowning glory from the classic ‘Kind of Blue’ album, with John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderlay as sidemen you cannot go wrong.
6. Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers: The Preacher. Perhaps familarity should of bred contempt with this being a favourite of saxophone playing buskers the world over, but the infectious gospel blues rhythm never fails to keep my toes tapping. Trivia: the tune is based on the chords of the drinking song ‘Show Me the Way to Go Home”.
7. Bing Crosby: Stardust. Hoagy Carmichael’s classic song bought to a sentimental life by the bingle at his best and laying the foundations for the Sinatra, King Cole, Marten etc to come
8. Nat Gonella and the Georgians: Nagasaki. Noticing my list was lacking in British Jazz I had to tale of with the legend of BritJazz which was Nat Gonella, this was the first track I heard by him which like Fats Waller mixed great music with a good sense of fun. Gonella’s chirpy humour is consistent on all of his vocal recordings but don’t let that distract you from his excellent trumpet chops.
The Time Machine by HG Wells. The book which is the godfather of modern sci-fi, theprose style is dated slightly but the sprirt and iedas portrayed in this short book will last a life time.
Doctor Who and the Daleks by David Whitaker. An interesting adaption of the original Dalek story which while taking many liberties with the screenplay, tells the story in a manner totally suited to the medium. It may rewrite the series orgins but when its done so well… who cares. Fan of Dr Who or not I recommend you read this book.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. All the original stories in one place, nuff said.
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder. Amusing, intelligent and entertaining steampunk sci-fi, how can’t resist a book which features messenger Parrots with Tourettes? It is also a fine set up the Burton and Swinburne series.
Luxury Item, A set of playing cards.