Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Music Muse Day - Gerry Mulligan and Johnny Hodges, Les McCann and Eddie Harris

This week's Sunday Music Muse Day finds the weather turning cooler in definite hint of fall in the air. All the more reason to cue up so warm jazz. First up, Gerry Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges, the excellent set described in the liner note by famed jazz critic Nat Hentoff as "particularly attractive in the wholly casual air. There's is no stain, no trace of pretentiousness."  This could be labeled West Coast jazz, recorded in LA, as Gerry Mulligan well known baritone saxophone player leading his own groups in the "cool jazz" of that time, 1959. While Johnny Hodges was still a featured saxophonist with Duke Ellington.  Apparently, they admired each others play a long while before getting together for this session. The session features three tunes from each of them.  Well worth listening to, while settling in with a warm drink on cool afternoon.

Next is a re-issued classic, Les McCann & Eddie Harris Swiss Movement, the Montreux 30th Anniversay Edition, released by Rhino Record and Atlantic Record. I usually resist buying a CD of music I already own on vinyl record but this has an extra unreleased track. By all account this historic recording should have been a disaster. A live recording of musicians, Les McCann (piano and vocals), Eddie Harris (tenor sax), Benny Baily (trumpet), Leroy Vinneger (bass) and Donald Dean (drums), who barely knew each other, thrown together at the last minute, with no planned music, no rehearsals, "no time for a sound check, and the PA system is feeding back", against all odds Swiss Movement became one of the most popular jazz album ever record. As noted on Wikipedia, "The album was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of best jazz performance, small group. It reached No. 1 on Billboard's jazz album chart, No. 2 on the R&B chart, and No. 29 on the LP chart." Compared to What, the best known tune, sold millions as a single.  The music is still fresh as it was in 1969.

Winter is coming, but lets not rush and just enjoy the coming fall weather.  I personally like the change of seasons, for the sense of rest and renewal. Enjoy

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