We are pleased to share our first #SundaySoundtrack Isolation Playlist with you. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia's First Trombone Amos Miller describes his selection: 'I am totally obsessed with listening, and have compiled around 50 playlists so far. This one is a stream-of-thought “First-come, first-served” of music I have been loving recently'.
1) I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter – Fats Waller
I’ve always loved this tune and the solace-in-tricky-times that it gives; I wish I’d written the words (never mind the tune!). Fats Waller was an amazing character whose drinking exploits were only outweighed by the most incredible gift for tunes and stride piano skills that laid the basis of much modern jazz piano.
2) The Two Pigeons Act 2: VIII Le Retour – Messager
Possibly my favourite bit in any of our beloved Birmingham Royal Ballet repertoire played here by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. The big tune (8’50”ish) is a moment when the sentimentals in the trombone section suddenly find the air in the pit more than usually dusty… I think I was still on trial for my job with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia when we recorded this at the late lamented Angel studios with Barry Wordsworth, and I remember being so surprised that something so beautiful was (and still is) such a stranger to the concert hall.
3) A Stork Crosses the Danube, in the Company of a Raven - Taraf de Haidouks
This Romanian band are jaw-droppingly virtuoso. No bar is quite 4/4 or pitch interval is quite traditional, and the energy levels are breathtaking: The moments at 2’15” and 4’08” always make me want to yell! Great tune if you need energy… Urge you to see them live if possible; Ferociously exciting musicians.
4) Can’t Imagine Love Without You – Take 6 featuring Stevie Wonder
Take 6! Don’t know where to start with this gospel acapella group: Could have picked any number of tunes, but picked this as it had the bonus inclusion of Stevie Wonder who is just the guv, and warrants 23 more playlists to himself.
5) He Has Made Me Glad (I Will Enter His Gates) – Cory Henry
Cory Henry may be familiar to some through his outrageous synth stylings on “Lingus” by Snarky Puppy which went a bit a viral (sorry, not a great word at the moment), but this is him back to his gospel roots, playing some Hammond Organ. His sense of time is just unbelievable: and remember the bass is all done with his feet. There is a great live vid of this on YouTube too. I defy you not to get to your feet at 3’56”
6) Hold Out for the Sun – The Impossible Gentlemen
Such an uplifting groove to this tune; had this in the car on repeat for weeks. Smiling music.
7) A Rita – Rita Payés, Elisabeth Roma
This tune was a highlight discovery of 2019 for me, and a rare example of the YouTube algorithm coming up trumps. Catalan artist Rita Payés was about 18 or 19 when she recorded this: Her mum Elisabeth Roma is on guitar and Rita sings and plays trombone. Jaw-droppingly gifted and the soul in the voice is just something special for any age. And her trombone playing makes me want to practice (or give up, haven’t quite decided!).
8) 4 Songs, Op.39: Les Roses d’Ispahan, Op.39, No. 4 – Fauré
Just a beautiful song from song-master Gabriel Fauré, sung exquisitely by Carolyn Sampson.
9) Virgo – Benny Green
Swing!! A devotee of the great Oscar Peterson, Benny Green is one of the most melodious and fluent improvisers I’ve ever heard: Makes the ridiculous sound easy (check out the octaves from 2’20”). And all this swingeroo without a kit player! And the bowed bass solo from Christian McBride is astonishing too.
10) Tosca / Act 2: Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore – Puccini
In honour of her recent passing, the incomparable Mirella Freni, in one of the best bits, from one of the greatest operas. What a voice. RIP.