So today, Kim asked us to share “Songs where a particular instrument has moved you – whether it’s a favorite vocal sound, bass line, drumming/beats, piano, guitar solo…” I never quite follow the instructions here, because there are a few places where I named more than one instrument or instrumentalist. But, you know what? I like these, and all of them move me, and that’s what counts.
- Blood, Sweat & Tears, “Snow Queen/Maiden Voyage” Maybe the only reason to own BS&T’s 1972 New Blood album is the almost 12-minute final track (two tracks, really, but they blend so nicely together) matching Carole King’s “Snow Queen” with Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” The horns are on fire here (Lew Soloff and Chuck Winfield, trumpet; Dave Bargeron, trombone; Lou Marini, saxophone), Larry Willis’s keyboard work anchors the rhythm section throughout, and he does a tremendous solo starting at about 2:45, and Georg Wadenius does an extended voice-and-guitar solo during the “Maiden Voyage” section. This is what jazz-rock should sound like.
- Django Reinhardt, “Limehouse Blues” How Django Reinhardt did all that he could do with the ring and pinky on his left hand essentially unusable blows me away.
- Toots Thielemans, “Bluesette” Having played guitar all those years ago, I can tell you that one of the hardest things to do is try to solo and sing the notes along with your soloing. Georg Wadenius did it in “Maiden Voyage,” above, and now we have Jean “Toots” Thielemans, not singing, but whistling as he plays guitar. He originally wrote it for the harmonica, by the way.
- Chase, “Open Up Wide” Bill Chase was a jazz trumpeter who decided to put together a rock band with four trumpets up front. This is the first track off of their 1971 eponymous debut album. There is some incredible trumpet in this, but listen to the job Dennis Johnson and Jay Burrid are doing on the bass and drums. That’s what’s incredible here.
- Vince Guaraldi Trio, “Samba de Orpheus” Monty Budwig, on bass, starts this one by playing the melody, and when Vince comes in, he seamlessly makes the transition to supporting player. Listen to what he’s doing behind Guaraldi. It’s incredible.
- Julie London, “Cry Me A River” Julie has this voice, you know? But it’s the tasty accompaniment by Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass that makes this track unforgettable.
- June Christy with the Ernie Filice Quartet, “Taking A Chance On Love” Arlee Bird used this in a Battle of the Bands a while back, and I think my exact words were “damn, that quartet behind her swings!” Now, there are five guys there, but I always heard that they don’t count the bass player, which, as a former bass player, I think that sucks. June is just lovely, isn’t she? And what a voice…
- Chicago, “Poem 58” The jam between Terry Kath on guitar, Peter Cetera on bass, and Danny Seraphine on drums that takes up the first five minutes of this is … I don’t have the words. Just, wow.
- Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “Blue Collar” From their debut album, this is the largely-forgotten single that only reached #68 on the Hot 100. It has some of the jazziest guitar work in a rock tune I’ve heard, especially the last minute and a half.
- Paul Jackson Jr., “It’s A Shame” Paul Jackson Jr. takes a song written by Stevie Wonder and originally done by The Spinners and works his guitar magic. Listen especially at 2:45, the way he transitions out of solo mode and back into doing the melody.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for April 15, 2019. Hope you got your taxes done…