Watermelon Man Mongo Santamaria unearths his namesake 1963 hit (Watermelon Man) for a slightly extended version on his 1965 album, La Bamba. This Latin Jazz collection of 12 tracks is an uplifting, cha-cha-inspired insta-dance party on two, 33 1/3 rpm sides of wax. It also contains both flute and tenor sax contributions from the famous Hubert Laws, WELL before the time of his famed CTI Records success. This record is solid from start to finish, is perfect for mid-afternoon shuffles around the office or living room, and is well worth the hunt.
The Other Side of Abbey Road is a delightful little interpretation by legendary jazz guitarist George Benson of 1969’s famed Beatles album, Abbey Road. Released via CTI Records just a year after the original, The Other Side of Abbey Road features just five tracks, but takes careful consideration to combine up to three individual Beatles tracks into one Benson montage (take Something / Octopus’s Garden / The End, for example). George Benson’s guitar work is second to maybe Harrison himself, and as a whole The Other Side offers a fresh take on a classic, overheard album. Certainly not one to pass up.
It’s always an exciting and rewarding adventure to go record shopping with the wife for a variety of newly discoverable reasons. Our tastes vary, quite differently, for starters, but that’s all part of the charm. Case in point, this all-star jazz live recording of CTI veterans performing at the Hollywood Bowl from 1977. I’d never think to look for this, but couldn’t be happier with my wife’s decision. Discovering new music through the eyes, and ears, of others. Happy Thursday, kids.
Let’s take a little look-see through this colorful back catalog to the now defunct A&M Records, shall we? As noted before (I think…), A&M Records was started by Mr. Tijuana Brass himself, Herb Alpert. Groovy, no? If you look closely, you’ll notice a few CTI Records scattered about (Wes Montomery’s A Day in the Life and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Wave), and let’s not forget that CTI Records (Creed Taylor Incorporated) started as a subsidiary of A&M before spreading their independent wings and going solo in 1970, which places this insert somewhere between 1967 and 1970… for what that’s worth. Sidebar, I’m rapidly running out of inserts, and this deeply saddens me. The hunt shall undoubtedly continue.
Wes Montgomery and his nonchalant approach to classical guitar on this CTI Records / (SP-3001) smooth-jazz release needs no outlandish introduction. Kicking shit off with his interpretation of A Day in the Life, and including Eleanor Rigby on this here b-side, Mr. Montgomery’s interpretation of radio classics stand, in their own right, as adversaries within the crafted medium… or some type shit. This is a good album, is all I’m saying… happy Monday.
ABC-Paramount Records: Full color fidelity on a two-tone sleeve. Established in 1955 under the variation, Am-Par Record Corporation (the music collateral of American Broadcasting Company, which was then titled American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters… the more you know), ABC-Paramount Records was home to some of the most prominent voices (I almost went with paramount) the late 50s and early 60s had to offer. With Fats Domino and Ray Charles leading the pack, other lesser-known artists (just because they’re less known doesn’t make them less than) like Mario Escudero, Sabicas, the Les Djinns Singers and Roy Smeck were given a platform with which to proclaim their love for the gift of music.
1961 saw the label branching out (far out, man) into the audacious world of Jazz with their subsidiary label, Impulse (featured in the photo above). Home to the likes of Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Duke Ellington, the Milt Jackson Quartet and John Coltrane, Impulse was managed by none other than CTI Records himself, Creed Taylor.
The label was eventually sold to MCA Records in 1979, and the relatively short-lived ABC-Paramount Records was discontinued shortly thereafter. As an aside, MCA Records was absorbed and rebranded as Universal Music Group in 1995, and has become the nation’s largest music corporation. The rest, as they say, is big fish eating little fish history (fishtory?).