It’s Jazz Appreciation Month, so we've asked our jazz hosts to pause and answer one simple question: If you could listen to any jazz tune right now, what would it be? Here’s how they weighed in.
Bob Craig. If I could be listening to any jazz tune right now it would be Ahmad Jamal’s 1959 live studio performance of “Darn That Dream.” It showcases his swingin’ hip minimalist style. Check out the superstar jazz people (Ben Webster, Papa Jo Jones, Nat Hentoff) groovin’ to every cool note and idea. Timeless? You bet.
Bob Perkins. I’d choose June Christy singing "I'll Remember April." She was a great song stylist; the song is a favorite of mine and a great popular standard–which jazz artists have adopted as their own. Also, I once auditioned for a job in radio and used the song as background material. I got the job. And finally, I know I’ll remember April, because it will give relief from the horrible weather experienced in March!
J. Michael Harrison. If I could listen to one jazz tune right now, I’d choose Albert Ayler’s “Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe.” I feel his horn connect with the soul, as it couples with the vocal call of Mary Maria Parks in “Let It Come In,” “The Music of the Universe,” and “The Music of Love”! The song provides a level of catharsis every time I hear it. Having Philadelphia’s Muhammad Ali included on drums completes the deal for me.
Jeff Duperon. It would be Sarah Vaughn’s eloquent reading of Sir Roland Hanna’s “Seasons.” The song takes you on a journey through time and makes you think about the beautiful things life has in store.
Maureen Malloy. If I could listen to any jazz tune right now, it would be Stanley Turrentine’s version of “Sunny.” Bobby Hebb wrote “Sunny” back in 1963, and it got him a gig opening for the Beatles. Hundreds of artists have recorded the song since; on the jazz side, Stanley’s is my favorite. It starts off true to the original melody, but when the horns come in, it moves to a whole different level. Oddly enough, this jazz interpretation is much more danceable than the original.
If you could listen to any jazz tune right now what would it be? Let us know! Submit a request for our Jazz Request Show here! The show is every Wednesday from 9 pm to midnight.
Paul Marchesani. It would be “Alone Again (Naturally)” from the Woody Herman album The Raven Speaks (1972). I love this song because there's a feeling of loneliness, but it’s not a particularly sad song. Whenever I hear the smooth trombones slide up and down, I get the vibe of being comfortable just being alone.
Ryan Gottlieb. I’d choose “Birdland” by Joe Zawinul and Weather Report. We played “Birdland” in my high school jazz band and I remember getting chills (I still do) from its driving rhythm and catchy melodies. Add in Jaco Pastorious’ incomparable bass playing and it’s a tune I can listen to any time of year, but it’s perfect for spring and the return of warmer weather.
Rich Gunning. One of my all-time favorite pieces is the 1973 jazz classic “Don't Mess with Mister T.” by Stanley Turrentine. Covering an original work by Marvin Gaye, Turrentine's tenor sax performance is outstanding and Bob James' arrangement successfully embodies the urban-chic instrumental sound of the early 1970's. This is one tune you can't mess with.