It’s Frank’s Birthday! I knew I wasn’t going to top last year’s meat cake. But since Frank is a fan of the movie “Singin In The Rain” I thought Gene, Debbie, and Donald would make a sweet treat. I had this cake made special. Few people know this, but “Julie” was Frank’s stage name back in his Vaudeville days.
Since he is a fan of the show “Man From U.N.C.L.E,” I commissioned this special Beatles powered, Napoleon Solo groove. If you’re wondering why the lady says “Happy birthday Abbey” at the beginning, well only the Sisters at Westminster know for sure and they’re not talking because of that damned vow of silence. By “vow of silence” I mean “court mandated gag order” but you get the idea. The lesson here is, no matter how tempting the invitation, NEVER party with nuns!
Seriously though, Frank, if you’re out there reading (and even if you’re not), thank you for sharing your great taste in music and thank you for the laughter. Happy birthday sir, I hope it’s a great one!
Today would have been Dizzy Gillespie’s 93rd birthday! He was a pioneer, an educator, a virtuoso, and one of my all time favorite performers.
Dizzy was born in 1917 which was a great year for music. “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows,” “For Me And My Gal,” and “Tishomingo Blues” were all published that year along with “Darktown Strutters’ Ball.”
One of Dizzy’s first professional jobs was with Teddy Hill’s Orchestra. Here’s “King Porter Stomp.” One of the You Tube commenters says this record has Dizzy’s first recorded solo!
Of course, Dizzy is probably best know as one of the pioneers of the bebop sound in the 40s. Here is a video I had never seen. It’s from 1947 and the song is “He Beeped When He Should Have Bopped.” The blurb says it’s a soundie but I’m not sure. It really doesn’t matter though, it’s just a fun and rare look at one of the greats.
Even though he contracted pancreatic cancer, Dizzy continued to work until 1993 which was the year of his death. Here he is in 1988 in a clip from a short lived jazz show. The song is “Tin Tin Deo” It’s a wonderful example of Afro-Cuban jazz which Dizzy also pioneered.
Dizzy’s performances always had a great sense of humor and whimsy. So I leave you with one of my favorite clips from one of my favorite shows. Here’s Dizzy with some Muppets!
Happy birthday to one of the great ones.
John Lennon would have been 70 today. He was 27 in 1967 when he and Paul McCartney wrote “A Day In The Life.” They wrote the verses separately. Paul’s focused on memories of his school days and John’s focused on current news headlines. Rolling Stone Magazine ranks the song at number 26 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
This video is from 2009 Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Jeff Beck’s second induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. He closed the show with this fantastic number.
It is said that sharing shameful secrets is good for the soul. It is only by bringing the skeletons in our closets out into the bright light of day that we can see that they are not as horrible and scary as we may think and that we are still loved and lovable in spite of them. As a general rule I completely agree. Dirty little secrets can eat away at us needlessly and make us miserable. But occasionally there are secrets so horrible that we really do need to bury them down deep under dense, rocky mountains of shame and never ever share them under any circumstances. Here’s one of mine:
For several years after I saw the 1978 Bee Gees “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” movie, I loudly proclaimed to anyone who would listen that it was not only one of the finest movies ever made but also that the Frampton/Bee Gee remakes of Beatles songs were far superior to the original Beatles versions.
Okay, okay, but in my early adolescent defense there were serious hormonal forces at work on me at the time. I was 11 so I probably started puberty, the minute the opening credits started to roll. It’s a proven scientific fact that tweenage girls imprint just like newborn baby birds. At the onset of puberty, the adolescent female will develop a hopeless crush on the very first pop idol with tight pants and a great head of hair that crosses her path.
Of course Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees have large bodies of work of which they can be immensely proud. I am still a big fan but I’m sure we can all agree that the Sgt. Pepper movie probably wasn’t one of their best career moves. But, and here’s the really terrible part, even though I no longer think those songs are the best possible Beatles remakes, I do still like them. Yes I know, I’ll just pop out to the shed to fetch my shovel. I’m sure we’ll all be much more comfortable once I’ve got this secret deeply stowed under Shame Mountain once again!
Today is John Coltrane’s 84th birthday! An interesting fact that I just learned today: the African Orthodox Church beatified him as Saint John William Coltrane. There is a St. John Coltrane curch in San Francisco that I just have to visit some day! Unfortunately the calendar on their website says “Coming Soon” so I have no idea if there are any special events planned for the day. Here is one of my all time favorite songs. It’s a Duke Ellington John Coltrane collaboration and the whole album is gorgeous!
Today is the Beautiful Baby’s birthday! She is six years old. I’m dedicating the video to her. It’s Anita Baker’s “You Bring Me Joy.” Yes, it’s technically R&B not jazz but Anita’s sound is clearly influenced by Sarah Vaughan.The lyrics might be a bit difficult to understand on this live version. It’s a love song that describes a mother’s love pretty well too.
This is the first song I played for my new baby on our first drive
home. After I dropped her off at daycare for the first time, I played
it as I drove to work and wept like somebody died. I played it again
today as we drove to her very first big kid birthday party. I have no idea where the time goes but I do know I’m enjoying every minute of it!