the giddy vol. 2

father mc - everything's gonna be alright 
i don't know any other work from this fella, and wouldn't have stumbled across him if it weren't for my closet infatuation with the 90s thug r&b group jodeci (whatever happened to these guys?).  i dig how he references third bass with his "steppin' to the a.m." line.  this jam sits squarely atop that famous sugar hill gang bass line, giving it a feel good house party vibe. father mc drops the hook "do that dance do that dance" early in the chart, and is joined by my boys jodeci in the second go round.  my favorite part is the adlib by k-ci at 2:02.  man, jodeci used to kill it back in the day.

pat metheny  bright size life - bright size life 
i still can't wrap my head around the fact that he is only 21 on this debut.  i like the country pop jazz feel of this tune. metheny sports a mary poppins costume as he slips his sophisticated harmonic language and technical prowess down your throat by coating it with a comfortable accessibility. the open drumming from bob moses sounds great here, but the incomparable jaco pastorius (dig the postcards) makes the record for me.  his fretlesss bass playing is so wonderful, and i find myself adoringly clutching my heart every time i hear him.  my favorite part comes at the top of the second chorus of his solo at 3:05 when he percussively straightens out his line from the first bar.

p.m. singers johnny one note - jubilee 
phil mattson was my first teacher of any real consequence.  i studied vocal jazz (believe it or not) in my early collegiate years at a community college literally in my own backyard.  in hindsight, i am incredibly fortunate that ironbutt pulled into my hometown on his harley.  i was instantly surrounded by accomplished singers and jazz choir nerds from all across north america. phil's artistry and pursuit of musical truth, although maybe lost on me at the time, reside within me today. i am drawn to many of his charts, but have a particular fondness for the clever treatment of the corny johnny one note.  the band is sort of sloppy throughout the recording, but my favorite part is their line when they hit the tag at 2:41, once the singers belt a strident "out loud".

maria schnieder green piece - evanescence 
i checked out this album from the iowa city public library back in graduate school.  i'm admittedly not a big band diehard, so i had a doubting eyebrow raised when i slid this cd in the stereo.  i was so relieved to hear the musical creativity oozing through my headphones.  i'll cast my mvp vote for tenor saxophonist rick margitza (he is amazing on my lament).  runner up is pianist kenny werner, who fires off my favorite part at 5:52.  his persisting octaves over the Csus pedal at the bottom of the 1st chorus push him into a winding eighth note line that unfurls a joyous conclusion.

first call & wayne watson medley - an evening in december
i sang a kick butt arrangement by david maddux of "the first noel" back in college.  i liked it so much, i bought the book of charts and the recording that accompanied it.  the whole album is fantastic (of course it is... christmas music!!!), and one of the highlights for me is o little town of bethlehem.  contemporary christian vocalist wayne watson (who used to rock the kenny loggins look) turns it out on the final tune of this medley. my favorite part shows up at 4:04 when he holds out "emmanuel", waiting for the ensemble settle into the cadence before rubbing on some gorgeous vibrato.

al jarreau my favorite things - tenderness

al jarreau is a weird dude.  this pic looks like he's in the middle of devouring a big mac.  his voice is definitely an acquired taste, but he has managed to create a sizable career for himself.  he does a great caricature of miles davis' solo on the jon hendricks record "freddie freeloader".  i get a kick out of hearing he and opera diva kathleen battle do a live version of the rodgers & hammerstein classic and get energized when i hear michael brecker kick down the door with his tenor saxophone solo.  i like the way he adds his trademark throat growl to a long tone in the second chorus, but my favorite part is the gentle finish to his solo on the major 7 at 2:33.  if there were only some way to get al to quit doing that shimmy voice thing at the same time...

pharrell has his hands all over the more successful and harmonically interesting hip hop music of today.  working with a who's who of artists (snoop, kanye, gwen, jt & clipse), skateboard p can rub shoulders up against whomever he pleases. i especially like his tunes, either as a solo artist or in the band n*e*r*d. this track comes from "the neptunes presents ... clones", which boasts a laundry list of famous rap cameos.   jay-z (a frequent collaborator with phar-real) shows up on this track and delivers my favorite part at 2:56 with the line "denzelin' acting like you ain't appealing when you are." for the record, jamie cullum needs his teeth knocked out.

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