CD REVIEW

Yet another peek into McCartney’s smoochy side

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Paul McCartney

“Kisses on the Bottom”

Hear Music/MCA Music

You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs. Paul McCartney’s latest album, “Kisses on the Bottom,” is not only another peek into his smoochy side; it is actually a reverential nod to 1920s and ’30s era music—the kind that he and John Lennon heard from their parents.

Some of the songs that the Lennon/McCartney tandem wrote and recorded as The Beatles come from that very rich period of American music. How ’60s rock was infused with the verses of the old era is evident in the unmistakable melodic influence in many Beatles tunes, like “When I’m Sixty Four,” “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” “Honey Pie,” or “You Gave Me the Answer.”

“Kisses on the Bottom” is a romantic collection of rarely covered material from the Great American Songbook, and includes three McCartney originals. Most of the tracks were recorded at the iconic Capitol Records Tower, in the very same studio where Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin recorded. Talk about getting into the groove!

McCartney admits he was initially intimidated with having to work with jazz musicians, on top of doing vocals on Cole’s venerable mic. But the sessions turned out to be an open and organic exchange, which McCartney now says was exactly how it was working with The Beatles.

The album title is a line lifted from the first track, “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” (first recorded by Fats Waller in 1935)—which puts the listener in an easygoing mood, as does another track, “Bye Bye Blackbird.”

Other notable cuts are the poignant “More I Cannot Wish You” (from the musical “Guys & Dolls”), McCartney’s “My Valentine” (featuring Eric Clapton on acoustic guitar), and “Only Our Hearts” (with Stevie Wonder on harmonica).

The CD’s de luxe version comes with three postcards and includes two additional tracks, “Baby’s Request” (from 1979’s “Back to the Egg”) and the jazzy “My One and Only Love.”

It would be kind of surreal listening to this album with the TV series “Boardwalk Empire” playing on mute. Instead of Steve Buscemi, imagine instead yourself with friends in a club after work.

Or picture a lazy afternoon with your mom or elder sister (not Lady Gaga—remember this is laid-back) tinkering with the piano.  Let the music take you back to a world when time drifted by oh-so-slowly.

David Garrett

“Legacy”

Decca/MCA Music

Performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, “Legacy” is German-American classical violinist David Garrett’s rendition of Beethoven’s violin concerto, as well as a homage to the contemporary Austrian violinist Fritz Kreisler—credited for bringing this under-appreciated Beethoven composition back into the concert halls in the early 20th century.

Mozart may be remembered for five violin concertos, but it is Beethoven’s moving and multi-faceted “Violin Concerto in D major op. 61,” that Garrett considers the ultimate masterpiece of the violin repertoire, what he also calls “every violinist’s dream recording.”

Each movement of the concerto has a unique character—from the rhythmical first movement and its majestic buildup, followed by the pastoral beauty and almost religious quality of the second, to the lively, animated third movement.

Kreisler’s unique contribution as composer-arranger, and Garrett’s admiration of him are showcased in the track that features a lyrical variation of Paganini by Rachmaninov, and a track on Corelli in the style of Tartini.

Two other beautiful cuts are the romantic “Caprice Viennois” and the Broadway- sounding “Tambourin Chinois.”

Garrett has recaptured old masterpieces, adapted them to modern form, and demonstrated that great music is timeless.

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December 18, 2014

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