Monday, May 17, 2010

Streaming Kansas City

Like many music fans, I harbor a ghoulish desire to listen to the recordings of recently departed musicians. When I learned that pianist Hank Jones died yesterday, I didn't start filing through the "J" sections of my album and compact disc collection. I turned to Napster instead.

A marketing representative from Napster offered me a complimentary month-long subscription to the streaming music service. She suggested that I might dedicate a post to Napster. I'm pleased to oblige.

Thanks to Napster, I've finally been able to listen to a couple obscure Jay McShann albums I didn't already own. I discovered a late-period Count Basie session I didn't know existed. And I auditioned Megan Birdsall's MBird project.

Here's an incomplete rundown of Kansas City-affiliated jazz recordings available at Napster.

AfterGroove- 1 album; 7 songs

Alaadeen- 4 albums, 29 songs

Karrin Allyson- 12 albums, 167 songs

Count Basie- 113 albums, 1,717 songs
A lot of this is schlocky reissues, but a ton of good stuff is here too.

David Basse- 6 albums, 70 songs
The list of albums includes Leawood: Long & Green.

B.C.R.- 1 album, 10 songs
Speck of Dust from 2004.

Megan Birdsall- 1 album, 11 songs
Little Jazz Bird.

Bloodstone- 8 albums, 93 songs
I realize Bloodstone isn't a jazz act, but soul fans should be advised that the Kansas City group's first three '70s albums are here.

Miles Bonny- 10 albums, 118 songs
Dude makes it happen.

Chris Burnett- 2 albums, 12 songs

Diverse- 1 album, 12 songs
As I've said many times, Diverse is a most unfortunate band name. This fine album can only be found at Napster by entering song titles into its search engine.

Shay Estes- 0 albums, 0 songs

Angela Hagenbach- 1 album, only :30 second samples
It's too bad that just snippets of her new album on Resonance are available.

Kansas City Jazz Orchestra- 2 albums, 29 songs

Andy Kirk- 1 album, 27 songs

Julia Lee- 3 albums, 87 songs

Ida McBeth- 3 albums, 31 songs
Live On the Vine, Special Request and A Gift of Song.

Jay McShann- 16 albums, 210 songs

Will Matthews- 1 album, 9 songs
It's Count On Swingin' from 2009.

Marilyn Maye- 0 albums, 1 song
A major disappointment.

MBird- 1 album, 10 songs
Megan Birdsall's new Americana album is available. I like it.

Mike Metheny- 3 albums, 12 songs
His new release, reviewed at Plastic Sax in April, is not here.

Pat Metheny- 21 albums, 218 songs
Beware- Napster offers just 30-second snippets of Orchestrion. Both Nonesuch and ECM employ this same crummy tactic for many of their releases. Artists and labels need to realize that illegal full album downloads are always just a click away on file-sharing sites. (Not that I know anything about that.)

Matt Otto- 1 album, 8 songs
It's his 2005 album on Origin Records.

Charlie Parker- 82 albums, 1,610 songs
There are dozens of horrendously repackaged titles amid the gold.

Loren Pickford- 3 albums, 29 songs

Logan Richardson- 1 album, 10 songs

The Scamps- 0 albums, 5 songs

The Sons of Brasil- 1 album, 13 songs
It's the 2008 While You Were Out album.

Trio ALL- 0 albums, 0 songs

Krystle Warren- 0 albums, 2 songs
Great talent. Awful management.

Bobby Watson- 8 albums, 92 songs
Also of note- a 29th Street Saxophone Quartet album from 1994 is available.

Marva Whitney- 0 albums, 1 single
Her work with James Brown, including "You Got To Have a Job (If You Don't Work You Can't Eat)," is also available.

Claude "Fidder" Williams- 4 albums, 53 songs
I'd hoped to find his most esoteric titles, but only Williams' two live Arhoolie albums, the fine Bullseye release and a 1977 session for Black and Blue are here.

Mary Lou Williams- 18 albums, 263 songs
Physical copies of Williams' catalog are exceptionally hard to come by, so this is a godsend.

Lester Young- 56 albums, 811 songs
Amid the slipshod collections is The Complete Lester Young Studio Sessions On Verve. Ah, bliss...

There are also countless compilations like The Real Kansas City of the '20s, '30s & 40's.

Napster's annual subscription fee is $60. A month-long subscription is $7. In addition to unlimited streaming, subscribers are entitled to five MP3 downloads per month.

(Original image of antiquated compact discs by Plastic Sax.)

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