Monday, September 04, 2006

Diversifying the Portfolio

Bobby Timmons – “This Here” – The Best of Bobby Timmons, 2004

This sounds a little like Herbie Hancock on “Watermelon Man” and “Cantaloupe Island”, but not quite as cool and casual. That’s not a knock on Timmons at all, it’s still a great song, just not quite as, “hey woman why don’t you just sit down here on this couch and tell me a little about your fears and I’ll chase them out of you with my agile love weapon” kind of cool and casual. Herbie Hancock’s piano is an agile love weapon, that’s just his thing. Timmons is good, but not like that. It has the same kind of repetitive piano riffs and soft drums as Herbie, but just doesn’t quite coalesce as well. The piano actually ventures at times into what sounds like boogie woogie or ragtime almost. I would rate it an 8 on my “white boy no knowledge jazz scale” (WBNKJS from now on) where I just like the way it sounds and the mood it creates. You’ll probably like it, especially if you like hanging out in a casual, laid back environment and feeling really cool as much as I do.

John Scofield – “Let’s Go Get Stoned” - That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles

This song is swanky and sultry and cool. And the name has that kind of ultra-hip, forgivably unsavory mystique that appeals to some (listen to it and you’ll see how it plays). Play this song if you’re ever dressed up really nice and sipping liquor after a formal event or something. Or if you’re taking your girl out (not a first/second/third date kind of a thing) to a nice dinner and you all are dressed up and driving (preferably with skyscrapers and city lights somewhere in the background). It’s got that easy swagger that reminds me of people from the 1920’s strolling around and smoking cigarettes and just being all formal and casual at the same time. WBNKJS Rating: 9, because it’s just so cool sounding. If you had this playing inside your head when you went to a party you would easily attract the hottest girl in the room over to talk to you, and then say “I’ve gotta go, but maybe I’ll see you later.”

Eddie Jefferson – “Disappointed” – There I Go Again, 1955

Eddie Jefferson was murdered in Detroit, MI on May 9, 1979. Gruesome, sad, yes…but also intriguing. The song has horn lines that just kind of swoop around in an easy way, very relaxing and, if the situation is right, hip. For some reason I get a mental picture of a big bird gliding around and just kind of bobbing his head around when the chorus riff goes on this song. It has a nice piano trio behind it. Eddie starts singing about a pretty woman who left him after a little while…but it’s more like he’s talking you through it, boppin’ a little bit and almost rapping eventually. It’s really unique and interesting. He actually invented a style of singing called "vocalese". This is a good example of it. The horns are gone in the end, but the background is cool, kind of like a real version of Mike Meyers’ jazz thing in So I Married an Axe Murderer, but not cheesy at all. And Jefferson's vocalese is pretty awesome. WBNKJS Rating: 8.5.


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