It was a fun and bountiful Christmas here at Chez Mack-Bain. Many wonderful gifts were exchanged — some expected, some genuinely surprising and delightful — and much good food and wine was enjoyed. I was excited to receive on Blu-ray a copy of one of my all-time favorite movies, Chinatown. But I was amazed when I saw how much music I had received this year, and how eclectic a selection it is.
The first two albums I received were BBC Sessions by Led Zeppelin and ABC 1974 by Rush. These are both obscure live recordings of two of my favorite rock bands, albums I’ve been keen to hear ever since I became aware of their existence.
Next I unwrapped the three-disc set of Charlie “Bird” Parker’s The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes. This is my jazz fix for the season, a collection of seminal recordings by one of the 20th-century masters whose work expanded and came to define the musical vocabulary of jazz itself.
My next musical gift was the digitally remastered, 20th anniversary edition of Paul’s Boutique by The Beastie Boys. I’d recently rediscovered my interest in this band, and my lovely wife indulged this curiosity by gifting me this milestone work of late-80s hip-hop.
Then I tore the paper from John Fullbright’s debut album, From the Ground Up. I’d already purchased via iTunes one song off the album, the beautiful and haunting “Nowhere to Be Found,” and I guess my adoration of that track led my wife to give me a chance to explore the entirety of this masterful work by a thoughtful and talented new country music artist from Oklahoma.
Rounding out the new additions to my music library are three movie soundtracks that I’m sure will be played often as I set to work next week on my next Star Trek novel: the deluxe version of Howard Shore’s score for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Hans Zimmer’s music for The Dark Knight Rises; and the newly expanded edition of James Horner’s famous score for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
And yet I wonder why Amazon.com has a hard time making accurate music suggestions for me….