This copy of Jingle Bell Jazz was sought out by my better half, and contains jazz-tastic renditions of holiday favorites by Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Chico Hamilton, among others. Recorded between 1959 and 1969, Jingle Bell Jazz was originally released by Columbia Records in 1962 (Frosty the Snowman by the Dukes of Dixieland was replaced by Herbie Hancock’s Deck the Halls on this 1980 reissue). Solid holiday music from start to finish, and a great find by my wife.
So I’m contemplating, debating really, about discontinuing my Vinyl Me, Please subscription. For a few reasons, really, but mainly because my personal wantlist is so vast and varied, I feel the $30 / month price tag can be better suited on other, needed releases. That being said, I just received Miles Davis’ 1967 Sorcerer last night, this month’s Vinyl Me, Please release, and I instantly fell in love with the minimalist art by Santiago Carrasquilla (an art print and drink pairing come with each month’s record, for those of you unfamiliar with VMP). The debate to stay a subscriber was predominantly one-sided, until I saw this print. Most exceedingly frame-worthy, this print is single-handedly forcing another thoughtful evaluation of this monthly service. To be continued, I suppose…
I’m not entirely sure how different these strokes of “19 contemporary artists performing music of our time” were in 1971, but that doesn’t stop Columbia Records’ “special low price limited time offer” marketing ploy from capturing a wonderful, meshy, medley of jazz rock, southern fried rock, psych rock, sci-fi jazz, open field soul, and piano-friendly folk rock (and that’s just side A) on one, easy to access record.
Different Strokes launches with a bit of a gaffe as Johnny Winter And’s Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo leads the pack of (somewhat) lesser known greats, but strategic placing of the needle can very easily, and wisely, turn this 19 track slab of delicately formed polyvinyl chloride into a 18 track time capsule representing the best Columbia Records had to offer in the burgeoning, wide-eyed, and fried-minded 1970s… but what the hell do I know? I wouldn’t have been born for another eight years.
Different Strokes is definitely worth seeking out if you don’t already own it, and can be had for exceptionally cheap if you’re so inclined. Coming highly recommended by the PG, Different Strokes is the perfect soundtrack to this, or any coffee-sipping, cloudless, southern California Saturday morning (my esteemed apologies to those residing in less than ideal climate conditions).
Q: What do you get when you combine the mythical talents of jazz Gods Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, Kenny Clarke, Horace Silver and Percy Heath? A: Prestige 7109 AKA Bags’ Groove.
Bags’ Groove, the track, is presented on Bags’ Groove, the album, in two takes. Clocking in at a combined 20+ minutes, takes 1 and 2 Bags’ are just the slippery smooth, red-eyed blues you’d expect from the usual suspects, and sadly represents the only Monk / Davis combo I own on vinyl (a rectifiable issue, I assure you).
Recorded in 1954 but not released until 1957, Bags’ Groove, the album, is notable for featuring the first ever use on a studio recording of the Harmon mute, a specific sound Mr. Davis is particularly known for.
Bags’ Groove is perfect coffee sipping, sunny, Sunday morning music, and comes highly recommended.
For the next 30 posts, or until I get bored, the post number will correspond with the year in which the post’s subject was released. It could be an album review, a song highlight, or an insert advert. The choices are by no means the best of any given year, nor are they my favorite. They are instead a representation of the digable grooves in my collection, broken down by year. With me? Ok, cool.
For 1970 (post #70), I’ve chosen CCR’s (Creedence Clearwater Revival) Long As I Can See the Light/Lookin’ Out My Back Door 45. CCR had some driving, Southern Rock-inspired jams in their heyday, and Long As I Can See the Light is NOT one of them. This is not to say it is inferior in any way. On the contrary. With its simple lyrics and low-key, slow-rollin’ drawl, Long As I Can See the Light reminds us that we can always go back to where we came from, so long as the offer is still extended. We all, at one point or another, feel the need to move on… to explore the vast unknown of uncertainty. But we’d like not to dismiss the comfort of returning home, when it becomes undeniably necessary.
I can’t hear Lookin’ Out My Back Door and not picture the Dude smokin’ a jay and banging the roof of his car to Doug Clifford’s beat. It was used perfectly in The Big Lebowski, but given the song’s brilliance, I’d imagine this song would fit perfectly in any film that featured it.
My favorite line is, without question, “A dinosaur Victrola listening to Buck Owens.” In a song bursting with visual abnormalities (“A statue wearing high heals” or “Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band” for example), the image of an old Victrola shouting Buck Owens ditties always makes me chuckle. It’s easy to picture John Fogerty mentally returning to a happy place during the drug-induced hallucination he sings about in this song, and it’s generous of him to take us along on that ride.
I could have easily focused on Zeppelin III, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround – Part One, Dylan’s Self Portrait, McCartney’s solo debut, Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon, or even Bitches Brew, but for me, 1970 screams Creedence Clearwater Revival.