Jazz Greats Tuesdays on WFCF

"Jazz Greats" every Tuesday from 3-7pm Eastern on WFCF 88Five St. Augustine! From seriously ancient to just-released, from the obscure & forgotten to household names - but always tasty! There's a slight emphasis on 60's & 70's jazz (always a track from CTI) with a few tablespoons of fun & local flavor thrown in. Click here to listen online!

Also check out Palm Coast Jazz, a podcast I co-host filled with splendid original jazz from Florida musicians! My syndicated show "Kendo's Jazz Sampler" is on hiatus since I've become jazz director at WFCF.

Song titles with an asterisk are "currents" at the time of airplay.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Guilty Pleasure Album 1

Walter Murphy on the Private Stock label
I know, who in their right mind would buy an album with that cover. <raises hand sheepishly> I was thirteen or thereabouts. The album was already a cutout, not even touching the popularity of Walter Murphy's prior smash "A Fifth of Beethoven" - which, at the time, I hated. It must have been curiosity that prompted me to purchase it - or maybe it was the leisure suit.

First off, as if you didn't know - it's a disco album. Although there are moments that actually sound like the cover, ones that might even make you wince and feel awkwardly, it is overall a surprisingly good album peppered with truly inspired playing and fun ideas.

The worst song
"Could It Be the Music" (also the 2nd single) is loaded with extraordinarily hokey (and cliché) orchestrations that, if you are of the sort, will make you bust out into very bad, animated choreography with lots of 'jazz-hands'. The lyrics are some of the worst known to man ("I let the music take me, I feel it start to shake me, it's really got me out of control!") - bringing to mind Mary Tyler Moore dressed-up in giant wig as "Kinky Dee" singing "Get Dancing" (remember that?).

Still, the execution is spot on and it's completely white funkiness is sufficient enough that one walks away thinking "That was a joke, but I liked it!": that's the Murphy magic! After all, he's the music man behind "Family Guy"
. He's also an excellent keyboardist, his Dr. John-styled piano solo on this one makes hanging in there worth while.

Of more note are the Discofication of "Rhapsody in Blue", a tight and funky "It Ain't Necessarily So" and Richard Rodgers "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue"; part of Murphy's "New York City Suite" - a very fine disco mood piece, often stark and surprising; with brilliant sax solos by George Young. 

The musicianship is top-notch - Tom Scott solos and is reunited with the LA Express on "It Ain't Necessarily So" (drummer John Guerin taking some mean trades as well). LA Express sans Scott also perform on the album's most smokin' track "Fish Legs"; where Murphy displays extremely tasteful Hammond B3 chops with adequate soul; Peter Maunu also letting loose. Great horn chart, but beware the disco-girls and their "doo-doot-doot-doo"s.

Other cats include Steve Kahn, Jon Faddis, Harvey Swartz, Bill Watrous and Lew Soloff - who is featured on the prettiest track "Sunflower" - a fairly smooth but irresistible downtempo latin number. Soloff's flugelhorn is recorded beautifully and makes the track. Finally there's "The Only Two People In the World" - which, as a pop song, is nearly perfect - sung convincingly by Lani Groves. I'm not sure how this one eluded the record company or radio stations for a single, but such is life
.

If you see it at a garage sale or thrift store, snap it up. It'll make you chuckle for sure, but you'll also probably really like it. - DJ Kendo


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