Have you ever wondered what your favorite musicians are listening to, or the recordings that influenced them? “Take Five” is a look at the music that inspires and excites them. It’s difficult to choose ONLY five recordings!

On his new album Sunday Morning Put-On, Andrew Bird presents his take on the Great American Songbook. The renowned artist, songwriter, and virtuosic musician replaces saxophones with violin solos and showcases his signature vocal prowess as he reimagines standards by Rodgers & Hart, Ellington, Cole Porter, Lerner & Loewe, and more.

“Under the jazz banner we are blessed with some of the greatest moments in the history of music,” says Bird. Think of this record as an homage to mid-century, small-group jazz, or just think of it as Andrew Bird plays music he likes.

Here are Andrew’s Take Five selections:

Lester Young — The Jazz Giants of ‘56
Late career masterpiece from tenor jazz great. Every solo is an understated masterpiece. His phrasing is so transcendent. I couldn’t copy it if I tried.  It defies analysis.

Vince Guaraldi Trio
The Art of the Piano Trio. All of Guaraldi’s non-peanuts albums are sorely overlooked and overshadowed by his deservedly classic Charlie Brown classics. He’s as identifiable on the piano as Miles Davis is on his horn.

Sarah Vaughan Live at the London House
I think it was hard for the vocalists to keep up with the dizzying harmonic language of bebop while delivering lyrics. Sarah Vaughan was so wild and inventive and virtuosic. She’s right there alongside the best instrumentalists.

Chet Baker Sings
A perfect album. You get to hear Chet play a brilliant solo and then sing in his strangely intimate head voice so the listener follows the through line between his two instruments.

Commodore Jazz Classics — The Influence of Five
Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Don Byas, Chu Berry. All the great Tenors here. A standout is Don Byas’ duet with Slam Stewart on “Indiana”

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