VARIOUS ARTISTS / “Take 5 Mixtape”

Here’s another piece of prime evidence for the case that in jazz the sixties actually started in 1959. (We have previously written about this chronological anomaly.) Time Out is one of the seminal jazz recordings from that important year. Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet (Dave Brubeck – piano, Paul Desmond – alto, Eugene Wright – bass, Joe Morello – drums) features the Paul Desmond composition “Take 5,” which is considered the first million selling modern jazz recording.
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The original “Take 5” is included on this Mixtape but the show clearly belongs to Al Jarreau for whom “Take 5” is a signature song. I remember being totally blown away by Al Jarreau before I knew who Al Jarreau was. He was opening for Herbie Hancock (I feel like I’ve told this story before), and was a marvel in using his body to make music. I mean that literally. The way he twisted and turned, gestured with his hands, used his throat, neck, diaphragm, lungs and who knows whatever other part of his anatomy to push out those incredible sounds he improvised—at one point the way he kept his eyes tightly closed, I would have believed he was internally hitting notes with his irises and kept them shut less they excitedly jump out his head.
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So here in this Mixtape we have three different Jarreau versions of “Take 5,” beginning with the classic from Look To The Rainbow and including one from an outdoor concert in Italy on a rainy day in which my man flat out croons as he stretches through a veritable maze of sounds. The closing version is a duet with vocalist Kurt Elling. Each version has its own reward and are different enough from each other that each is not only worth including, each is also a valuable addition to this general overview. And if those three are not enough, I refer you to a You Tube video of Al performing “Take 5” from early (1976) in Al’s career. That one is also very much worth watching both for the vocal sounds as well as offering a chance to enjoy my man’s body music.

Fifty years later we are celebrating one of the defining moments in modern jazz. It was a blast putting this Mixtape together, especially because I wanted to find and sequence a wide range of interpretations. I’m sure a number of these artists are completely new to most of us because half of them are international jazz musicians from all over the planet. What better way to illustrate how influential the music is than to sample an international collection of interpretations? Take a moment and enjoy.

—Kalamu ya Salaam

Take 5 Mixtape Playlist
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01 Look To The Rainbow - Al Jarreau
If you don’t own any Al Jarreau records, start with this one. If you don’t have this one, order it now. This is one of the all time important vocal jazz recordings.

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02 Time Out - Dave Brubeck
One of the classics of modern jazz.

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03 Live at Montreux - Carmen McRae
Unfortunately, this one is out of print and goes for a hefty price on internet forums. Carmen McRae is a top ten jazz vocalist.

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04  Standards - Stanley Clarke
Patrice Rushen – piano, Ndugu Chancler – drums, Stanley Clarke – bass. From the early years, I’ve admired Stanley Clarke’s acoustic bass in a hardcore jazz context and not be as enthralled by Clarke’s fusion and electric bass work. That’s a taste thing on my part. I like what they do with the composition and really dig Ndugu’s solo.

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05 Jazziza - Aziza Mustafa Zadeh
This young lady is from Azerbaijan (a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia bordering on the Caspian Sea) and is a classically trained musician who is crazy about jazz. The way she improvises with classical references is a gas and her pitch perfect singing is also impressive.

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06 Lugano Jazz 2006 - Al Jarreau
Unfortunately, this concert is not commercially available.

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07 The Jamaican Beat - Jazz Jamaica
From the arrangement to Cleveland Watkiss’ scat solo, I’m all ears for this version. Jazz Jamaica is a beautiful concept, beautifully executed.

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08 Jazz Meets Cuba - Klazz Bros. & Cuba Percussion
OK, here are a German duo working with Cuban percussionist doing a modern jazz tune—dig, this is some other kind of jazz.

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09 Live In Japan - Rodrigo Y Gabriela
This is an awesome Mexican guitar duo who are now based in Dublin, Ireland.

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10 Meet Me In London - Antonio Forcione
Italian guitarist Antonio Forcione works with Italian/German vocalist Sabina Sciubba.

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11 Haïti - Simon Goubert
This Coltrane influenced quintet is led by French drummer Simon Goubert.

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12 video - Al Jarreau & Kurt Elling
Mr. Jarreau one more time.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 21st, 2009 at 2:25 am and is filed under Cover. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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