274: “Las Vegas Tango” by Gil Evans

Awesome hair. Awesome smile.Some hypotheticals:

SOMETIMES you might feel both sophisticated and funky. Like maybe you wanna take a tomato juice bath while you’re wearing a tuxedo even though you haven’t been sprayed by a skunk.

And/or SOMETIMES you might feel like flying to Vegas and doing things that would make your loved ones vomit in their fedoras.

This song is a pleasant alternative for those times.

“Las Vegas Tango” takes you to a Vegas that exists only in the minds of its listeners. This Vegas is sophisticated and funky, and when it wears a fedora, it wears a fedora… without tightrolling its pants and without ever ordering anything resembling a “half-caff soy frap.”

This Vegas is rocking punctual brass. Things are on time, and on the house. It’s got classy broads with nice lines. Diplomatic immunity is in the air. People are smoking on the plane like they’re trying to cover the smell. And in this Vegas, fate still has six sides and twelve faces. Drink it in, listener. What goes in your earholes stays in your earholes.

Gil Evans is responsible for this vision, originally from Individualism of Gil Evans (1964). Evans was a jazz composer/pianist/Dudicus Maximus whose name is normally mentioned alongside that of Miles Davis for his role in helping birth the cool. Emphasis, mine.

Stay seated with your seatbelt fastened (if you’re not making out with the stewardess). And enjoy your trip.

Song: Las Vegas Tango
Artist: Gil Evans
Album: Verve Jazz Masters 23
Label: Verve Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify

22: “Mumbles” by Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson, Man With 14 FingersOscar Peterson is one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time (and Canadian!).  His fingers were fast as lightning.  Late in life he suffered a stroke, and he lost a lot of the mobility in his left hand, but he worked hard at rehab and continued to tour and record.  He gave it forward like a champ.

On the track “Mumbles” Oscar’s trio backs the lazy scat vocals of Clark Terry, which are both hilarious and smooth as Sunday.  It’s fun for everyone.  From 1964.



Song: Mumbles
Artist: Oscar Peterson
Album: Trio + 1
Label: Verve Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Watch: YouTube (live version)

16: “Desafinado” by Stan Getz

Stan Getz is smoove like pudding.Why the heck not?  Stan Getz.  Stan Getz, jazz saxophonist, whose idol was Lester Young.  Big shoes.

Stan Getz sounds saccharine in heavy doses, but sometimes a little Stan Getz sounds perfect.  I don’t get it:  Sometimes Stan Getz sounds to my ears like musical instant Jell-o pudding, but… if I’m in just the right frame of mind and the lights are low and the stars are aligned, Stan Getz (and sometimes Astrud Gilberto) can ignite a mood that can only derive from a much higher grade of musical pudding.  This song is kicking up dust in the future from way back in 1964.

So, turn down the lights, get out your puddin’ spoon, and enjoy.

Song: Desafinado
Artist: Stan Getz
Album: Getz/Gilberto
Label: Verve Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: YouTube