236: “No Woman, No Cry” by Charlie Hunter

Tantalus.I was best friends with an awesome dog who had the relentless spirit of a thousand suns.

He died today, 12 years old, with a tennis ball in his mouth. He had chased it down quite thoroughly, and his heart gave out somewhere very near The Moment When He Snags The Ball And The Universe Is One.

He promptly found the tree he wanted to lay under, and he stopped living in this world.

Pretty solid way to go out.

I’ll miss you, Beck. I promise not to do too much of this crying nonsense that’s happening right now, and wag my ass more like you did all the time.

A song, in memory of Beckett Sardoosky Witherspoon…

Song: No Woman, No Cry
Artist: Charlie Hunter Quartet
Album: Natty Dread
Label: Blue Note
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG

177: “Galaxy” by Eddie Henderson

A flugel without a cause.When you really wanna get funky, you gots to gets some flugelhorn.

Eddie Henderson played with Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band for 3 years in the early 70’s, and you can sure hear that influence in this song and Eddie’s entire 1975 album, Sunburst.

Related topic… Everything is related… If you’re standing in just the right light, here’s a poem that can knock you on your ass:

Moment of Inertia
by Debra Spencer, from Pomegranate.
© Hummingbird Press.

It’s what makes the pancake hold still
while you slip the spatula under it
so fast it doesn’t move, my father said
standing by the stove.
All motion stopped when he died.
With his last breath the earth
lurched to a halt and hung still on its axis,
the atoms in the air
coming to rest within their molecules,
and in that moment
something slid beneath me
so fast I couldn’t move.

Song: Galaxy
Artist: Eddie Henderson
Album: Sunburst
Label: Blue Note
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes

145: “Aunt Hagar’s Blues” by Art Tatum

What happened to the donuts? Art Tatum!Art Tatum (1909-1956), mostly blind, was perhaps one of the fastest and most agile piano players ever.  He was definitely one of the most ground-breaking, shaking up stride piano in ways that fertilized music forevermore.  Tatum has been criticized as being overly ornate, but when you watch footage of him playing complicated sections of music, it seems impossible that his fingers are moving enough to make the sounds you’re hearing.  It’s like he’s not even trying!  And if you can DO that, I’d say you’re almost obliged to sound ornate.

This track, “Aunt Hagar’s Blues” shows more of his personality than his speed, and his affinity for playing with harmonies.

I threw another video below, too, so you could see his hands in action.


Song: Aunt Hagar’s Blues
Artist: Art Tatum
Album: The Complete Capitol Recordings of Art Tatum
Label: Blue Note
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes

132: “Sure Thing” by St. Germain

Ludovic Navarre is St Germain is "Dude!"French musician St Germain takes some old John Lee Hooker riffs and vocals and re-works them to nice effect in this one from 2000.

Unrelated quote:

Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like paté. -Margaret Atwood, novelist and poet (b. 1939)


Song: Sure Thing
Artist: St. Germain
Album: St Germain Des Pres Tourist
Label: Blue Note Records
Buy from: Amazon

115: “Hey Joe” by Medeski, Martin & Wood

It's so obvious that John Medeski just farted in this picture.I shan’t post songs by the same artist very many times.  These guys deserve a double-post (see original post).

The notion of hearing a jazz piano trio cover Jimi Hendrix has a great deal of potential to initiate your gag reflex.  Medeski, Martin & Wood calls bullcrap on that.  French intended.

First video: a recording from an intimate live performance of “Hey Joe” at Tonic in NYC.  For some reason it has 3 1/2 minutes of dead time at the end.

Second video: a lo-def video recording of “Hey Joe” at a jazz festival from 2001 (thanks, astute readers!!).  Marc Ribot sits in for a smoking solo on this soul-searing rendition of one of Hendrix’s finest.  Mais, oui.

Always improvise.  And enjoy.

Song: Hey Joe
Artist: Medeski, Martin & Wood
Album: Tonic
Label: Blue Note
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes

113: “Minor Swing” by Django Reinhardt/Stéphane Grappelli – Quintette Du Hot Club De France

Yes, you like?Here’s a jazz standard reaching out to us from its creation back in the 1930’s.

Django Reinhardt, pioneering jazz guitarist, had a rough time with his health to put it mildly, but suffered through to become one of the founding explorers of jazz music despite partial paralysis on his fingering hand (left hand).  You might even argue that the limitations of his fingering forced him to become more creative and helped him reach his potential.

This song is guaranteed to make you tap your foot or nod your head or get nervous or pass gas or something.  Else you might call an ambulance.

Django.  Enjoy.

Song: Minor Swing
Artist: Django Reinhardt/Stéphane Grappelli – Quintette Du Hot Club De France
Album: The Best of Django Reinhardt
Label: Blue Note
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes

39: “Slim’s Return” by Madlib

Mad Science LaboratoryMadlib is a hip-hop producer.  In 2002, Madlib took a bunch of classic Blue Note jazz recordings and remixed them on Shades of Blue.

“Slim’s Return” is a smoking example of the type of abstract style that Madlib has contributed to humanity’s development as a species.

The official video is below, and the song is only available on the album, which is only available for physical purchase, and not for download.  Which is the case for too much music, in my opinion.  Bring it online!!

Open your ears and, enjoy…

Song: Slim’s Return
Artist: Madlib
Album: Shades of Blue
Label: Blue Note
Buy from: Amazon

26: “Chocolate On My Tongue” by The Wood Brothers

The Wood Brothers and their jackets.The Wood Brothers are 50% Oliver Wood (Tinsely Ellis, King Johnson) and 50% Chris Wood (Medeski, Martin & Wood).  100% good stuff.

Their music is often described as Americana or folk music.  Chris plays upright bass, Oliver plays guitar, and both are great musicians.  Oliver’s voice is packed with wisdom and experience, as it is in this song, “Chocolate on my Tongue,” in which the duo celebrate the little joys in life.

All three albums by The Wood Brothers are excellent.  Ways Not to Lose (2006), Loaded (2008), and Up Above My Head (2009).  The duo find time to write, record and tour while Chris Wood’s career with trio Medeski, Martin & Wood continues unabated.


Song: Chocolate On My Tongue
Artist: The Wood Brothers
Album: Ways Not To Lose
Label: Blue Note
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: iLike.com
Watch: YouTube (live)