What music is good to listen to while doing yoga?

Whether you enjoy Hatha, yin, hot, Bikram, vinyasa, or aerial yoga, it’s undeniable that yoga improves strength, balance, and flexibility while also relaxing your mind and body. And after the year that we’ve had, relaxation sounds like something we could all use a bit more of! Here are some soothing songs to help you let go of negative energy, absorb the positive and ease yourself into some of those more challenging poses!   

Lorca Hart Trio – Here’s That Rainy Day

A good thing about yoga is that it can be done both outside and inside. So, don’t fret if it’s raining and gray outside! Just grab your mat, roll it out in the living room and get into an easy seated position. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, close your eyes and listen to the tenor sax while raindrops sprinkle softly against the roof. Visualize the deep gray clouds gliding lazily past, in no hurry to reach their destination. You are completely at peace just like the drifting clouds.

Bill Evans – Peace Piece

This simple piece, recorded in 1958 by the influential jazz pianist, Bill Evans, has a peaceful melody and meditative feel to it, which evokes a pastoral scene. Green meadows of daisies, cloudy blue skies and sun shining on your serene and strong tree pose. Feel the breeze on your skin. Keep yourself rooted firmly in the present moment. Nothing can knock you down.  

Thelonious Monk – Ruby, My Dear

This 32-bar ballad is a slow, moody song that was composed in 1945 and actually first titled “Manhattan Moods.” It was later retitled after Thelonious Monk’s first love and older sister’s best friend, Ruby. 

Monk’s percussive approach to the piano provides a perfect accompaniment for a deep spinal twist. With each strike of the piano, twist deeper into the pose. Monk was also famous for his idiosyncratic habit of stopping in the middle of a performance to stand up and dance for a few moments before returning to play, so this tune would also be a good one to listen to while holding the more difficult dancer pose!

WJ3 All-Stars – Cry Me A River

At this point in the yoga practice, some emotions may be bubbling up. No worries. That’s normal. As our bodies unfurl, so do some of those pent-up feelings. This bluesy jazz ballad will encourage you to accept and embrace all of your emotions, even the bad ones. Because that’s part of the therapeutic benefit of yoga—to release the negativity weighing you down. Let it slide off your body like drops of sweat while you hold tight in the intricate eagle pose. 

I hope that you enjoyed this yoga session and if you’re looking for more relaxing songs to guide your practice, I would recommend the album Colors of Jazz. With songs like “Introspection,” “Discoveries” and “Dew Drop” this recent release from the WJ3 All Stars will have you unwinding in no time! Colors of Jazz is available in our store now and on all major music platforms. 

What songs should you listen to while gardening?

Yay, it’s finally May! I don’t know about you but my favorite thing about this month is the
beautiful flowers that are blooming left and right. And if you’re a gardener, you’re probably
feeling especially satisfied right about now. There’s nothing like seeing and enjoying the fruits
of your labor. So, while you’re outside admiring and collecting an assortment of crocuses,
daffodils, hyacinths and tulips for a bouquet, turn on these lovely songs. They’ll whisk you away
into a flowery dreamland.

Freddie Hubbard – Up Jumped Spring

Freddie Hubbard, a jazz trumpeter from Indianapolis, had a signature tone that influenced the
new perspectives of modern jazz and bebop music in the 1960s and 1970s. This song comes
from his 1967 album Backlash, which was lauded for its “soulful modernism.” The soft yet quick
trumpet and the dance of the flute in this cheery tune reminds of the bright pansies and violas
that bloom in spring!

Katie Melua – Mary Pickford (Used to Eat Roses)

Inspired by the film actress from the 1910s, Mary Pickford, this light tune is be a pastiche of the
classic silent-film era song “At the Moving Picture Ball” because its rhythm and subject matter is
similar to the 1920 song. The folksy feel and fun lyrics, Mary Pickford used to eat roses / Though
that they’d make her beautiful and they did, / One supposes, will make you want to pluck one of
your own juicy red roses and pop the soft petals into your mouth!

Duke Ellington – A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing

This slow, smooth song from the brilliant jazz legend, Duke Ellington, evokes the buttery
yellows of daffodils and forsythia. Composed by Billy Strayhorn in 1941, this song has
essentially become a jazz standard over the years, and I can see why—nothing is more lovable
than a beautiful flower.

WJ3 All-Stars – Gee Baby Ain’t It Good To See You

Since flowers are lovesome things, then why not listen to a love song while gardening?
Especially a love song about reunion. This jazz standard was written by Andy Razaf and Don
Redman in 1929 and has been reimagined in 2020 by the world-class artists, Willie Jones III,
Ralph Moore, Steve Davis, Terell Stafford, Donald Vega and Gerald Cannon. Let yourself get
swept away by this beautiful love story because gee baby, after the long winter, ain’t it good to
see some flowers again?

If you’re looking for some more lovely songs to listen to while you’re gardening, arranging and
daydreaming, I would recommend WJ3 All-Stars newest release, Lovers and Love Songs.
Featuring modern and inspiring renditions of iconic jazz standards, this album will take you on a romantic journey through the ages. Lovers and Love Songs is available on all major music
platforms and in our store. And if you’d like to book one of our musicians for a spring event,
luncheon or tea party, please contact us today.

When is Father’s Day 2021?

Father’s Day is celebrated annually on the third Sunday in June, so this year, that means Father’s Day is on June 20th! The holiday was founded in 1910 in Spokane, Washington by a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd wanted a day to honor her father, a Civil War veteran who raised six children as a single parent, so she proposed the idea to her church. Initially, Dodd wanted the day to land on her father’s birthday, June 5th, but the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, so they decided on the third Sunday in June instead. 

Well, now that you know some of the history behind Father’s Day and its observation time, you might be wondering, what kind of music and what songs should you listen to during the celebration of paternal bonds? Well look no further because we have a playlist that’ll impress any dad!

The Temptations – Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone

An award-winning dad deserves award-winning music, like this 1972 Motown classic, which was the number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and the winner of not one, not two, but three Grammy awards. Featuring a variety of instrumental textures, like the plucked bass guitar solo, the hi-hat cymbal drumming, wah-wah guitar and electric piano, this groovy, soulful tune will be sure to get your dad’s head nodding. 

George Strait – Love Without End, Amen

If your dad is a country music fan, he’ll definitely be familiar with this tune from the “King of Country,” George Strait. The song is about a boy who was sent home from school one day for fighting. He told his father what happened and stood there on those tremblin’ knees, waitin’ for the worst. But the boy’s father surprisingly said, let me tell you a secret about a father’s love… daddies don’t just love their children every now and then, it’s a love without end, amen. The sweet, sentimental lyrics might just make you and your dad tear up this Father’s Day—I know my eyes are watering! 

James Brown – Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag 

With its rhythmic innovations, this 1965 tune was formative in the development of funk music as a distinct style. Brown sings about an old man who was brave enough to get out on the dancefloor and try something new by busting a move. Maybe this is the tune that’ll finally get your dad to put his dancing shoes on and show y’all what he’s made of! 

Janis Siegel, John Di Martino & Lonnie Plaxico – Always on My Mind

Your dad is bound to know this iconic song, which has been covered by everyone from Elvis to Loretta Lynn, and of course, the most popular version from Willie Nelson in 1982. But has your dad ever heard a jazz ballad treatment of “Always on My Mind”? The answer is probably no, at least not until now. In this jazzy rendition, Janis Siegel and John Di Martino highlight the bittersweet regret and remorse, and also feature a lovely flute solo by Aaron Heick. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but your dad might just love this new version of the classic tune!

And if you’re fretting over what to get dad this Father’s Day, we have a suggestion: Cryin’ in My Whiskey. This album features country classics, like, “Always on My Mind,” “Where Do I Put His Memory?” and “I Fall to Pieces,” that are all spiced up with a fresh jazzy twist—perfect for the dad who might want to try something new without straying too far away from his country music comfort zone! 

“Cryin’ In My Whiskey” is available in our store right now and on all major music platforms! 

What songs were popular during World War II?

In honor of D-Day—the decisive Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 that led to the liberation of France and western Europe from Nazi control—we’re going to take a look at the type of music and the songs that were popular during WWII. 

With the advent of the radio in the 20s and 30s, American music was very accessible to everyone, so when the United States went to war in 1941, swing and jazz music provided comfort to families at home and soldiers abroad. Unlike the militaristic and patriotic songs of World War I, popular music during WWII centered around romance and strength. Now, let’s listen to some of the songs that boosted the morale of our veterans!

Glenn Miller – Chattanooga Choo Choo

Written by Mack Gordon and composed by Harry Warren in 1941, this song was originally recorded as a big band/swing tune and was featured in the movie Sun Valley Serenade. The tune opens with the trumpets and trombones imitating a train whistle and the whole band sounding like a train rolling out of a station. 

Next, we get a dialogue between a shoeshine boy and a passenger. The passenger describes the route from New York through Baltimore and North Carolina until finally reaching Chattanooga, where he plans to settle down for good with a woman he knew from earlier in life. With the fun instrumental imitations of a train’s “choo choo,” it’s no wonder that this became the first song to receive a gold record for selling 1.2 million copies!

Johnny Mercer – G.I. Jive

Johnny Mercer wrote and performed this song in 1944 with the intention of making something that the soldiers would like, and boy did it hit it on the head! This tune became the biggest hit of all the songs that revolved around soldier life during World War II. Roodley-toot, jump in your suit, make a salute! 

When the Lights Go On Again – Vaughn Monroe

This hopeful and calming song, which reached number one on the charts in 1943, looked forward to the time when the boys are home again all over the world and rain or snow is all that may fall from the skies above. A time when a kiss won’t mean “Goodbye” but “Hello to love.” This song really shows the power of music to raise one’s spirits and to unite people from all around the world. 

King Cole Trio – Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good to You

This love song was originally written in 1929 but became popular in 1944 with the recoding from the King Cole Trio. IT reached #1 on the Harlem Hite Parade, which charted the top songs in the Harlem district of New York City. And now, the classic tune has been reimagined by the legendary WJ3 All-Stars! 

If you’re looking for some more modern renditions of classics from the 20s, 30s and 40s, look no further than Lovers and Love Songs, WJ3 All-Star’s most recent release. The album is available inn our store and on all major music platforms!