It’s my last night in Europe and it’s an incredibly bittersweet feeling to have to go back to Seattle tomorrow. Excited and relieved, but it’s been such a fulfilling and telling trip I can’t help but feel sad. I’ve written A LOT since I’ve gotten here but haven’t had the inclination to publish any of my writings. SO in honor of me pulling an all nighter tonight to reduce jetlag once I’m back in the land of Uncle Sam, I will publish my writings in bulk tonight! Starting from the most recent to the least (that way if you read in my blog you’ll read the least recent first, then it’ll be in somewhat of a chronological order, capiche?). Anywhoo, to kick things off, I thought I’d start by sharing a little something I hold dearly to my heart: jazz music. As with any kind of traveling experience, obviously homesickness is a thing. What I’ve found out recently is that jazz music helps me deal with it quite a bit. It’s weird to discover that now, considering I’ve probably gone through over 1000 instances of homesickness in the past five years and I’ve loved jazz music for even longer than that. Still, that’s kind of a nifty thing to find out while I’m here. Here are some tunes that has made my travels from Sorrento to Lille to Paris to Florence to Rome that much more special, and every place I stayed at that much more homey. Note: the following includes individual tunes as well as whole albums (with some specific song recommendations). Please note that my Spotify doesn’t work here so I couldn’t link some of these through to Spotify, so Youtube will have to do if that’s the case.


1. Koop Islands by Koop

This whole album is wonderful and I listen to it all the time. It never fails to make the world that much more rosy. Every tune in here is lovely, but I do recommend “Koop Island Blues,” “Strange Love,” “Come to Me,” and “Whenever There is You.”

2. “April in Paris” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

Although I listened to this in August, I was still in Paris so that still works, right? Also Ella + Louis = life.

3. Billie Holiday

Just anything by her really. Although my favorites are “These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You),” “Moonglow,” “All of Me,” “Love Me or Leave Me,” “Summertime,” “I’ll Be Seeing You (1944 Single),” and “Autumn in New York.”

4. Nina Simone

Also anything by her, but some specific loves: “Love Me or Leave Me,” “Wild is the Wind,” “See-Line Woman,” “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” “Sinner Man,” “Four Women.” Nothin gets me goin about art/life/politics as well as Nina’s passionately relevant tunes.

5. Cheek to Cheek by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

This whole album. I love everything. Nuff said.

6. “Everytime We Say Goodbye” by Chet Baker and Caterina Valente

Chet Baker’s trumpeting is already bae. We all know that. But add Caterina Valente’s smooth vocals and lightly accented pronunciation and you will melt.

7. “Almost Blue” by Fay Claassen

She covered Chet Baker’s songs in honor of his 75th birthday, and they will both make you either a. fall in love or b. want to fall in love. Oh and Chet’s version of “Almost Blue” is also tdf.

8. The Bridge by Sonny Rollins

The sound of saxophones. Enough said. His rendition of “God Bless the Child” and “You Do Something to Me” are two of my favorites.

9. Amy Winehouse

Ah, the late, great vocalist. Her covers of “Moody’s Mood for Love,” “Someone to Watch Over Me (Demo),” and “The Girl from Ipanema” makes me swoon.

10. Songs from Woody Allen’s Films by Various Artists

I know what you’re probably thinking. Woody Allen? Ugh. I get it and I feel the same way, but you also can’t deny the man can choose tracks for his movies like no other. Recommended: “Si tu vois ma mère” by Sidney Bechet (from Midnight in Paris), “Moonglow” by Artie Shaw (from Annie Hall), and “Sunrise Serenade” by Glenn Miller (from Curse of the Jade Scorpion). Other songs from those artists will also do.

Those are only a sliver, and there’s so much more I haven’t mentioned! Like big band swing music are great, Dave Brubeck’s great, Van Morrison’s great, and so much more. Bottom line: listen to more jazz. You need it in your life.

Also look out for more of my posts soon por favore.