Here we are, JazzBabies, about to head into that great American feast day known as Thanksgiving. Illustrator Norman Rockwell famously captured one version of it, but heaven knows there are as many versions of Thanksgiving as there are families and individuals. One couple I know is in the middle of a long-distance move and they’ll opt for Chinese this year although they’ll finish with a good, old-fashioned pumpkin pie. Part of my family is in Florida, another part in Arizona, the Seattle part has migrated south to San Diego for the celebration.
But there’s no geographical limit on gratitude. Wherever you are, you’ll find a reason to say “thanks.”
The first tune on today’s menu has been an earworm in my little brain for over a week and the only way to get it out is to put it here. This one was composed by Harold Arlen in 1941. Helen O’Connell and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra did the honors back in 1941. Stan Getz and the Quartet took a turn in 1961, and here they are with “When the Sun Comes Out,” from their album Stan Getz Quartet at Birdland. Stan on tenor sax, Steve Kuhn on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. Let us hope the sun comes out for your Thanksgiving celebration.
This may not be on your holiday menu, but it sounds delicious when Diana Krall sings about “The Frim Fram Sauce.” The song was made popular by Nat “King” Cole back in 1945 and has continued to have a happy place in the jazz songbook. Nobody seems to know exactly what the goofy song means, but Diana Krall does a great job with in this live performance. I love her playful, relaxed and yet energetic delivery – perfect for a song that calls for “shifafa on the side.” Don’t try to figure it out. Just enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZS_6vtAGTE0
One never knows where the jazz will be found, but this time I found it in South Dakota with the Johnson/McKinney Quintet. Retired South Dakota State University faculty members, Corliss Johnson and Jim McKinney have been playing together for more than forty years but only recently began recording commercially. Other members of the Quintet are Greg Olsen, Terrell Spence and Eddie Dunn. Together, these South Dakota cats give us a great and jazzy Thanksgiving sentiment: “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” from their album of holiday tunes. It’s not your grandpa’s Perry Como version! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvowiMeryFQ
Charlie Byrd, as you know if you’ve been following JazzCookie, is one of my favorite musicians and the first jazz guitarist who really got my attention. When I landed on this album, I remembered all the reasons I followed Charlie over the years. The tune here is “Moments Like This,” from the album of the same name. One reviewer said, “The results are often breathtaking…” and I can only agree. Byrd is joined by clarinetist Ken Peplowski and drummer/vibe man Chuck Redd. It’s a match made in heaven all around. I wish you some happy moments like this for the holiday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5y4BG22Wuo
Okay, dinner will finally be over, the uncles will be awake after the post-Turkey nap, the guests will be on their way and the kitchen returned to some semblance of order. The rest can wait until tomorrow. It’s time to relax and loosen the stays, maybe even put your arms around somebody you love and take a spin around the living room floor. If there’s nobody close, use your imagination and dance like it’s the senior prom and your sweetheart’s in your arms. The Duke and vocalist Joya Sherrill lead the way on this oldie but 1944 goodie, “I’m Beginning to See the Light.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAsJexo_S5Q
And that’s it for JazzCookie’s Thanksgiving party. I wish you all a happy holiday wherever you may be. And if it’s not happy, know that tomorrow can always be a better day if you stay open for a blessing.