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Livestreams every Tuesday from 5 to 6:30pm on Mixcloud featuring DJ Kendo, plus 11 years of playlists and audio from the show "Jazz Greats" on WFCF St. Augustine!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

InstaCollection - Jazz Inspired By Trains!

InstaCollection! - start or freshen up your jazz collection with DJ Kendo recommendations! Buy downloads for your phone/pc using the handy links below or just load the titles into your favorite music streaming service!

Trains have been inspiring composers since their invention; from the first chugs away from the station to the repetitive, clackity rhythms down the line, or a distant, lonesome whistle. Add to that the relaxed, hypnotic passenger ride and the far-away places the bobbing cars take you to, and you have instant mood-setters that are romantic and fascinating to just about every human on the planet.

Jazz is no exception, with some of its most familiar titles referencing trains: "Blue Train", "Take the 'A' Train" & "Night Train" - heard here as a rocking version by Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery, with a glorious Oliver Nelson big band arrangement. (This tune is supposedly an un-credited composition of Duke Ellington!)

Brilliant saxophonist Jeff Rupert's catchy "The Southern Norfolk RR" portrays the driving motion of a train as well as a youthful excitement about all things locomotive. Kenny Drew Jr.'s energetic performance on piano supplies forward motion and spark. Jimmy Giuffre's creative "The Train and the River" is also exuberant with a storytelling, down-home feel featuring Jim Hall on guitar.

"Take the 'A' Train", Billy Strayhorn's fantastic subway tribute, is heard in the swinging version that made it famous - by the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1941. The Monkees' hit "Last Train to
Clarksville" gets a good-natured turn from George Benson, in prime form on an early CTI recording that features harmonica and country groove. James Moody's "Last Train from Overbrook" from 1958 is forward thinking and appealing with an almost film noir, late-night feel.

And finally it's tough to choose between Frank Sinatra's lonelier "Blues in the Night" and Rosemary Clooney's classic recording, so I'll let you decide! Johnny Mercer's lyrics reference a late night train evocatively:

"Now the rain's a-fallin'
Hear the train a-callin'
"Whoo-ee!"(My mama done told me)
Hear that lonesome whistle
Blowin' 'cross the trestle
"Whoo-ee!"(My mama done told me)
Ol' clickety-clack's
A-echoin' back
The blues in the night."

Whatever your own iron horse dreams might be here are seven tracks for your digital jazz collection that are not only innovative classics but will mix so well with the rest of your library. Enjoy! - Kendo

Tune in this Tuesday (10/6/15) at 3pm eastern to WFCF on iHeart for an hour of train inspired jazz, including the titles mentioned above; plus an extra hour of train songs at 6pm eastern! Listen by clicking here. The show broadcasts every Tuesday from 3-7pm eastern! 

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