Some Sundays are days of activity – outings with the family, maybe a matinee, an early service at the Church of Perpetual Swing, a weekend festival, cruising down the river – and other Sundays are quieter, occasionally even gloomy – just ask Billie.
This one has been quiet, and I went looking for quiet music to go with the mood. Oddly enough, I found some recordings of “quiet” tunes so jazzed up that they became musical oxymorons. Hearing horns blasting away on “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise,” is wrong. It’s just wrong.
But I’m not easily intimidated, and I found some tunes for your listening pleasure whether you’re viewing this on Sunday, Monday or always.
What better way to celebrate quiet jazz than with Cannonball Adderley’s great take on Tom Jobim’s “Quiet Nights with Quiet Stars (Corcovado)” from the 1962 Riverside recording Cannonball’s Bossa Nova. Adderley is on alto sax with Paulo Moura also on alto sax, Pedro Paulo on trumpet, Durval Ferreira on guitar, Sergio Mendes on piano and Dom Um Romao on drums. Relax and dream of a warm Brazilian beach under the stars. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iudyMkulp-I
My “research” is always most fun when it brings me a new vocal or instrumental treasure. Today that treasure comes all the way from Barcelona and turns out to be a tender but sultry interpretation of Kurt Weill’s lovely song from One Touch of Venus. A performer new to me but very well known in Spain and now to us all – Carme Canela. She’s here with the Joan Monne trio (Monne on piano) from the 1996 recording, Introducing Carme Canela, with Weill’s “Speak Low.” I’ll be asking my jazz-loving friend Rudolfo in Barcelona all about her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBoovc_ezU4
As I make a celestial segue from quiet stars to a “Stairway to the Stars,” let me bring in Mr. Bill Evans who can, of course, play the mellowest tunes in the mellowest manner. This one is from his 1962 Moon Beams album, and he’s joined by the usual suspects – Chuck Israels on drums and Paul Motian on bass. Jazz trivia: This tune was originally titled “Park Avenue Fantasy” and was introduced by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra in 1934. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r1RidtQKnE
Despite my leaning toward a quiet Sunday, I can’t really ignore the fact that Halloween is this week. In San Diego, sugar skulls are all the rage for Dia de Muertos the day after Halloween, and many of them are truly beautiful. But for for JazzCookie, it had to be Frank with the terrific Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh tune that was a favorite at the Playboy Clubs. Listen closely to the lyrics, and you’ll know the reason why. This is from Frank’s 1957 Witchcraft album and the tune is – well, “Witchcraft.” Spooky, eh? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12kku-8_6_4
And finally, JazzBabies, a classic dedicated to a friend who’s on the Mother Road today somewhere between Barstow and Oklahoma City in a sleek and speedy Ferrari. Bobby Troup traveled the Mother Road in a 1941 Buick and ended up writing a jazz classic about it in 1946. You know the words. This one’s for you, Giovanni. Travel well! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLUYf6cekMA
And that’s it for this Sunday, JazzBabies. Stay tuned and stay happy.