How to pick great dinner music.
January 4, 2012 5:56 AM   Subscribe

Help me find some great music to listen to during dinner.

So my last question involved finding some great music for a road trip and I got some great feedback. This time around I'm looking for some good songs to listen to while having dinner. My girlfriend and I typically put on some Classical music so that we have some nice music in the background of our conversation.

Does anyone have any specific recommendations? We would be interested in all types of music, especially classical and jazz. The idea is to be able to have some great tunes in the background, but not something that would overshadow conversation with lyrics.

Thank you!
posted by modoriculous to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Michael Nyman's soundtrack to The Cook the Thief, his Wife and her Lover. Bon appetit!
posted by rongorongo at 6:05 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am a classical music person, but when I want to listen to music during dinner, especially with other people, I turn on the radio and tune it to the "smooth jazz" station. I set the volume just to the point where the music is easy to hear but doesn't dominate the dinner. It's soothing and mellow and just nice.
posted by Dolley at 6:11 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

During quiet dinners, my partner and I like to listen to Zoe Keating and A Winged Victory for the Sullen. Some of the Nine Inch Nails Ghosts tracks are nice, as well.
posted by neushoorn at 6:14 AM on January 4, 2012

We've been listening to Chic Gamine whenever we have people over, and have had several different sets of people go out and buy the CDs after hearing them at our house. The vocals are significant, but it also makes great background music.
posted by SeedStitch at 6:21 AM on January 4, 2012

MJQ Django is a fave of mine.

But really you can't go wrong with any of Verve's "finest hour" releases for this purpose. Excellent musicians, interesting works, but a lot of them will be familiar enough that they won't stop conversation. Ramsey Lewis; Stan Getz; Bill Evans; Charles Mingus; Lionel Hampton; Oscar Peterson . . . any of them, really, other than the vocalists, since that's not what you want, otherwise totally worth having.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:22 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does your cable provider offer MusicChoice? The Soundscapes channel (last one on this list) has been our dinner soundtrack for sometime, and everybody seems to love it, even folks who wouldn't otherwise be drawn to new age music.
posted by jbickers at 6:23 AM on January 4, 2012

Okay, bear with me here but the music accompaniment for the newest Zelda game (Skyward Sword on the Nintendo Wii) is just beautiful (some orchestral, operatic, etc). The game is actually selling with a separate audio CD so you can enjoy the music without playing. If you know anybody with the game see if you can borrow it.
posted by MustardTent at 6:24 AM on January 4, 2012

Miles Davis's Kind of Blue is the greatest album to listen to with your lady.
posted by General Malaise at 6:26 AM on January 4, 2012

Wow, per usual I have some great stuff to check out already! I especially like the diversity of options here with things like the Soundscapes channel, music from Zelda, and the smooth jazz radio station! Thanks everyone and keep them coming. This will give me several hours of research to do later.
posted by modoriculous at 6:30 AM on January 4, 2012

I've recommended Jan Johansson's Folkvisor on here before, and here I go again -- but it really is perfect, if a tad melancholic.
posted by AwkwardPause at 6:34 AM on January 4, 2012

I'm going to go with a slightly out there suggestion, but here's a guy whose music I came across last time I was in St. John's, NL. Duane Andrews plays jazzy guitar versions of both gypsy-type music, as well as some newfoundland reels. His stuff has that sort of 20's jazz sound, and it's awesome.
posted by LN at 6:39 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Getz/Gilberto by João Gilberto and Stan Getz is wonderful "light" jazz, uptempo and sweet without being smooth jazz. It contains the Girl from Ipanema which really is a beautiful little gem of a song, the rest of the album is in a similar vein. A very nice flow from one piece to the next that always puts me at a really cool party somewhere in Brazil.

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman and The Tony Bennett Bill Evans Album are both brilliant collaborations between masters. Contemplative and dramatic (and amazing) without ever being boring or insincere.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:41 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

My wife and I love the soundtracks for both Amelie and Vicki Christina Barcelona. Not quite sure how to describe the former, other than it's done by Yann Tiersen and is pleasant and beautiful. The latter is really relaxing Spanish guitar and Flamenco music. Both are charming and delightful.
posted by taltalim at 6:55 AM on January 4, 2012

Anything by Dave Brubeck.
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 6:55 AM on January 4, 2012

The Mozart string quintets are my favorite background music for when you want to feel smart and/or sophisticated but without too much distraction.
posted by drlith at 8:08 AM on January 4, 2012

Excellent, and thank you again everybody! These are all great recommendations!
posted by modoriculous at 8:28 AM on January 4, 2012

"Tango Bitter Sweet" by Quadro Nuevo is nice uplifting background music.
posted by leigh1 at 9:38 AM on January 4, 2012

I've enjoyed listening to "Bridge to Terabithia", read by Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson from "dr.House).
posted by leigh1 at 9:45 AM on January 4, 2012

Sorry, wrong post. Admins, please delete.
posted by leigh1 at 9:46 AM on January 4, 2012

You might enjoy Glenn Gould playing Bach: The Goldberg Variations.
posted by nathaole at 10:13 AM on January 4, 2012

Try the minimal sometimes jazzy electronic music of Pan American (the key album is 360 Bypass) and their associated act, Labradford.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 10:21 AM on January 4, 2012

This is seriously awesome. I already started checking all these out. Thank you everyone! I'm super pumped to start enjoying some sweet dinner tunes.
posted by modoriculous at 11:32 AM on January 4, 2012

"Solo Piano" by Gonzales is a staple at our house. Here is a sample song.
posted by teriyaki_tornado at 11:52 AM on January 4, 2012

Vitamin String Quartet is great fun--I first heard their version of "You Shook Me All Night Long" during dinner at a restaurant, and subsequently bought the full "Rock & Roll Wedding Collection."
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:52 AM on January 5, 2012

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