I hope you are all celebrating International Jazz Day 2015 which happens to be today, and the inspiration behind this Throwback Thursday post! I have so many jazz records that are very personal to me, but one of my earliest favorites was with Frank Sinatra. Maybe it was because I was a youngster and it was easy to relate to his singing, maybe it was because my pops would always whistle these songs throughout the house but either way here is my jazz recommendation on this important day.
My father is a huge jazz fan, having seen Charlie Parker (his favorite), John Coltrane (“he was too crazy for me”) and others, having seen plenty of jazz gigs at Birdland or in his hometown of Los Angeles. One record that I fondly remember him playing for me was a Frank Sinatra record. My dad wasn’t the biggest Sinatra fan, but he was a huge Count Basie fan and he would play this record, “Sinatra At The Sands With The Count Basie Orchestra arranged by Quincy Jones,” at full volume and would yell for me to come downstairs and “listen to the rhythm section!”
This record swings, is ballsy, hits hard, has depth and is incredibly dynamic. The horn hits are mighty stabs and Quincy Jones’ arrangements are stellar on these old tunes. It’s as if he set out to make these compositions rock! He conducted this performance, where you can hear a modern interpretation and an innovative take on jazz vocal standards. I remember Paul Gilbert bought this record on my recommendation and he couldn’t believe how heavy this record sounded. Just check out One O’clock Jump!
On today’s International Jazz Day, please go listen to, buy and support jazz. This music is so important to our culture and it is the art form I always dreamed of playing but could never achieve at an acceptable level. Jazz is challenging for musicians but anyone can relate to it. It is in the internal spirit of anyone who came up in the United States. It is one of our greatest inventions and jazz music will always contain our best musical innovators.