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Starbucks Goes Hip and Jazzy On Venti Release Slate

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Music for Little HipstersIf you’re looking for a little music to go with your grande toffee nut latte, Starbucks has recently unveiled a number of new audio offerings to kick off 2014.  In addition to its annual Sweetheart disc – an anthology of new(ish) artists playing old(ish) love songs including, this year, songs by John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Harry Nilsson – the coffee giant has curated a selection of Music for Little Hipsters, sets dedicated to Women of Jazz and When Jazz Meets Guitar, and an Opus Collection volume for the one and only Dusty Springfield.  Here, you’ll find the scoop on the first three of those releases; watch this space for our all-Dusty special coming soon touching on four new releases from the late soul queen!

Music for Little Hipsters is one set that’s as intriguing as its title.  Its sixteen tracks share in common a childlike sensibility that crosses generational and genre divides; hence, Devo’s upbeat if ironic “Beautiful World” sits alongside The Free Design’s sunshine pop confection “Kites are Fun.”  The Beach Boys’ “Vegetables” (in its Smiley Smile recording) comes a few tracks after Booker T. and the MG’s “Soul Limbo,” appropriate for both adults and children on the dancefloor!  The compilation also showcases lesser-known “hipsters” from France (Franck Monnet’s tasty “Goutez-Les”), The Netherlands (Arling and Cameron’s ode to the “W.E.E.K.E.N.D.”), Florida (The Postmarks’ “Balloons”) and Seattle (Caspar Babypants’ “Stomp the Bear”).  A couple of tracks here have found a following on Nickelodeon’s offbeat Yo Gabba Gabba, including “Balloons” and I’m From Barcelona’s “Just Because It’s Different Doesn’t Mean Scary.”  The loopy, eclectic Music for Little Hipsters isn’t the usual coffeehouse fare.  On the reverse of its track-by-track liner notes you’ll find puzzles and word finds; a set of stickers is also included in the digipak.

When Jazz Meets GuitarWhen Jazz Meets Guitar is a more straightforward set, with thirteen tracks representing undisputed guitar greats such as Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, John McLaughlin and Pat Metheny.  As each of these gentleman’s styles is singular, the disc serves as a Jazz Guitar 101-style primer.  Christian, Reinhardt and Les Paul represent the early practitioners of the art form, with “Solo Flight,” “Anniversary Song” and “Somebody Loves Me,” respectively.  Barney Kessel, a versatile member of the famed L.A. studio “Wrecking Crew,” offers up Henry Mancini’s “Something for Cat” from the score to Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Grant Green and Kenny Burrell also represent the swinging sixties with selections from Blue Note Records outings.  Two of producer Creed Taylor’s trademark pop-jazz amalgams appear via the legendary Wes Montgomery’s “Bumpin’ on Sunset” and Montgomery disciple George Benson’s reinvention of The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’.”  The underrated Joe Pass is heard on “How High the Moon” – popularized by Les Paul and Mary Ford – and tracks by modern masters including Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin show how the art form has developed while still building on the foundation laid by heroes of the past.  Steven Stolder provides informative track-by-track notes.

After the jump, we’ll take a peek at Women of Jazz!  Plus, we have track listings and order links for all three titles!

Women of JazzStarbucks’ Women of Jazz sampler emphasizes diversity, spotlighting sixteen very different female vocalists.  The expected big names are here – among them Ella Fitzgerald (“Smooth Sailing”), Sarah Vaughan (“Time After Time”), Billie Holiday (“I’ll Look Around”) and Nina Simone (“Tell Me More and More and Then Some”).  But more surprisingly, Women of Jazz makes the case for the tight, delectable harmonies of The Andrews Sisters on “I’ll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time” and for the modern sensibility of Fiona Apple on a cover of Cy Coleman and Joseph McCarthy’s “Why Try to Change Me Now.”  (Apple also appears on the 2014 Sweetheart volume with her jazz-cabaret-singing sister Maude Maggart doing “I’m in the Middle of a Riddle.”)  Trailblazing Hollywood legend Lena Horne is heard on Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn’s “Love Me or Leave Me,” and stage and screen star Eartha Kitt positively purrs on her signature “C’est Si Bon.”  Anita O’Day and Blossom Dearie might not be as well-known as the previously named artists, but they’ve earned a place on this – and any – “females in jazz” compilation; producer David Legry has included their renditions of “Them There Eyes” and “Tout Doucement,” respectively.  South Africa’s Miriam Makeba is another deliciously unexpected choice, as is Canada’s Chantal Chamberland, the latter with “La Mer” – otherwise known as “Beyond the Sea.”  Legry has written the track-by-track notes.

All three Starbucks titles are in the chain’s coffeehouses now, and can be ordered at the links below!

Various Artists, When Jazz Meets Guitar (Starbucks Entertainment B0019485-02, 2014)

  1. Benny Goodman and His Orchestra feat. Charlie Christian – Solo Flight
  2. Django Reinhardt – Anniversary Song
  3. Les Paul – Somebody Loves Me
  4. Tal Farlow – Nuages
  5. Kenny Burrell – Chitlins Con Carne
  6. Barney Kessel – Something for Cat
  7. Grant Green – Tico Tico
  8. Wes Montgomery – Bumpin’ on Sunset
  9. George Benson – California Dreamin’
  10. Joe Pass – How High the Moon
  11. Al DiMeola – Mediterranean Sundance
  12. John McLaughlin – Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
  13. Pat Metheny – One Quiet Night

Track 1 from Columbia single 36684, 1941
Track 2 from Fremeaux FA 314/Classics 1001/Verve 835 418-1/Verve 516 931-2, rec. 1947
Track 3 from The Trio’s Complete Decca Recordings Plus (1936-1947), rec. 1947
Track 4 from Chromatic Palette, Concord Jazz, 1981
Track 5 from Midnight Blue, Blue Note, 1963
Track 6 from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Reprise, 1961
Track 7 from The Latin Bit, Blue Note, 1962
Track 8 from Tequila, Verve, 1966
Track 9 from White Rabbit, CTI, 1972
Track 10 from Virtuoso, Pablo, 1973
Track 11 from Elegant Gypsy, Columbia, 1977
Track 12 from My Goal’s Beyond, Columbia, 1970
Track 13 from One Quiet Night, Warner Bros., 2003

Various Artists, Music for Little Hipsters (Starbucks Entertainment OPCD-8774, 2014)

  1. The Postmarks – Balloons
  2. Franck Monnet – Goutez-Les
  3. Arling and Cameron – W.E.E.K.E.N.D.
  4. Lisa Loeb and Elizabeth Mitchell – Catch the Moon
  5. The Free Design – Kites Are Fun
  6. I’m From Barcelona – Just Because It’s Different Doesn’t Mean Scary
  7. The Shanghai Restoration Project – The Schoolboy (Du Shu Lang)
  8. Miho Hatori – A Song for Kids
  9. Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band – Bongo Rock
  10. Booker T. and the M.G.’s – Soul Limbo
  11. Caspar Babypants – Stompy the Bear
  12. Great Lakes Swimmers – See You on the Moon
  13. The Beach Boys – Vegetables
  14. Devo – Beautiful World
  15. Devendra Banhart – Hey Mama Wolf
  16. Boukman Eksperyans – Mayi a Gaye

Track 1 from The Postmarks, Unfiltered, 2007
Track 2 from Quand on arrive a Malidor, Warner Bros., 2007
Track 3 from Music for Imaginary Films, Emperor Norton Records, 2000
Track 4 from Catch the Moon, eOne, 2004
Track 5 from Kites Are Fun, Project 3 Records, 1967
Track 6 from Yo Gabba Gabba: Music is Awesome, Filter U.S., 2008
Track 7 from Little Dragon Tales, Cheng & Tsui, 2011
Track 8 from Ecdysis, Rykodisc, 2006
Track 9 from Bongo Rock, Pride/MGM, 1973
Track 10 from Soul Limbo, Stax, 1968
Track 11 from Hot Dog!, Aurora Elephant, 2012
Track 12 from See You on the Moon, Paper Bag, 2006
Track 13 from Smiley Smile, Capitol, 1967
Track 14 from New Traditionalists, Warner Bros., 1981
Track 15 from Cripple Crow, XL, 2005
Track 16 from Kalfou Danjare, Island, 1992

Various Artists, Women of Jazz (Starbucks Entertainment B0019181-02, 2014)

  1. Betty Carter – Open the Door
  2. Ella Fitzgerald – Smooth Sailing
  3. Dinah Washington – Baby Did You Hear?
  4. Blossom Dearie – Tout Doucement
  5. Chantal Chamberland – La Mer
  6. Billie Holiday – I’ll Look Around
  7. Eartha Kitt – C’est Si Bon
  8. Lena Horne – Love Me or Leave Me
  9. Abbey Lincoln – Brother, Where Are You?
  10. The Andrews Sisters – I’ll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time
  11. Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks – Holilili
  12. Anita O’Day – Them There Eyes
  13. Sarah Vaughan – Time After Time
  14. Fiona Apple – Why Try to Change Me Now
  15. Alice Coltrane – Turiya and Ramakrishna
  16. Nina Simone – Tell Me More and More and Then Some

Track 1 from Inside Betty Carter, United Artists, 1964
Track 2 from Decca single 27693, 1951
Track 3 from Mercury single 5736, 1951
Track 4 from Blossom Dearie, Verve, 1959
Track 5 from The Other Woman, Governess Music, 2008
Track 6 from Decca single W 73498, 1946
Track 7 from Eartha Kitt, RCA Victor, 1953
Track 8 from RCA Victor single 47-6073, 1955
Track 9 from Abbey is Blue, Riverside, 1959
Track 10 from Decca single 3622, 1941
Track 11 rec. 1956, included on Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks Vol. 1, Gallo CD CDGSP 3130, 2008
Track 12 from Anita Sings the Most, Verve, 1957
Track 13 from Musicraft single 462, 1946
Track 14 from The Best is Yet to Come: The Songs of Cy Coleman, New West, 2009
Track 15 from Ptah, The El Daoud, Impulse!, 1970
Track 16 from Pastel Blues, Philips, 1965

Written by Joe Marchese

February 17, 2014 at 14:28

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