Anyone who knows me knows I like Jazz - especially on Sunday mornings while cooking breakfast and reading the paper. Kind of goes hand-in-hand with that good cup of coffee to pull everything together. This week, I picked up a couple new additions to the vinyl collection, including this great quality LP by Les McCann.
I have been a fan of Les for a number of years and am always on the lookout for his albums and those of his contemporaries from the early to late 1960s. I like the usual up-tempo style, which is soulful and bluesy in its nature, but definitely moving. Something you can tap your feet to, bu t is not overly random and chaotic as much of the jazz of the era can be. I like good background music, and this fits the bill.
The sounds of Les on piano, Leroy Vinnegar on bass, Ron Jefferson on drums, and especially Joe Pass on guitar is a complete package from relatively early in these musician's careers. The vibe is simple and fun, which shows int his music. Really good stuff throughout, with great feeling to the majority of the tunes, especially This for Doug (Ron Jefferson), Maichen (Leroy Vinnegar) and the album opener, On Time (Les McCann). The album finishes on a bit of a departure with the short but fast paced So What (Miles Davis), in which the slightly more chaotic style begins to emerge. Good tune, but I like the bulk of the album better.
The other thing I really like about these older records is the jackets have words - real words - that tell us something about the music, the musicians and the setting of why they are together making this album. When you get a download these days, you do not get the complete album, which back in the 1960s meant getting the liner notes and back cover stories.
This album from Pacific Jazz has just that, back notes written by John William Hardy. Now, I am well aware that the notes are meant to sell the album, but there is really good information about the music and the musicians and what is happening at that moment in the industry and their lives. It's a capsule of the era, and these notes are nearly as much of the album experience as the music. We get the insights of place and time - kind of like drinking a good bottle of wine, maybe? - and that is what jazz is about, isn't it? The music of that place and time, by those musicians. Can only be done then and there and never really done the same again. Kind of like terroir.
Check out this album by Les McCann if you can find it. I see some listings on the web for it, but I do find that Les has produced a number of albums which almost always turn up in the record shops and flea markets. Grab them up - they are good listening, especially when cooking a good meal to go with a great bottle of wine.
A 25 year drinks industry expert, Brian has worked on just about every side of the beverage business, specializing in wine & spirits education, staff training, creative consulting, and of course service. He lives and works in Connecticut, where the number of working Somm's is limited, but he hopes through the effort of this site and its related events, that will change.
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