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Sound Ideas #45 - Just Because
Sometimes a particular tune is intriguing just because it is. It's catchy, fits the mood or something else but most importantly it catches a feeling just because it does. Welcome to an hour of music worth playing, just because it's good. 
Artist Track Album
The Manhattan Transfer Four Brothers Pastiche
Charles Earland Mom and Dad Front Burner
Courtney Pine I'm an Old Cow Hand (from the Rio Grande) Vision's Tale
Charlie Parker Blues for Alice The Original Recordings of Charlie Parker
Giacomo Gates The Blues Are out of Town Luminosity
Bob Dorough, Grady Tate Naughty Number Nine Multiplication Rock
Kenny Burrell Mule Midnight Blue
Quincy Jones Soul Bossa Nova Big Band Bossa
Hugh Masekela Grazing in the Grass Still Grazing
Jimmy Forrest Forrest Fire Help!
The Manhattan Transfer That Cat Is High The Manhattan Transfer

One of the more successful vocal groups of the past few decades has been The Manhattan Transfer. While they have crossed over a number of times into more popular contexts, they have always put on high caliber performances and their recordings have continuously returned to their jazz and swing roots over the years. Out first set features a classic Woody Herman chart with many of the original "brothers" playing on this mid-1970s remake.

Charles Earland has always invoked a feel good sensation no matter what he plays, and this time it's a swingin' 10/4 metered affair. Courtney Pine plays a little more inside than his norm on this rediscovery of a South Western standard and the Bird shows us where so much of today's saxophone artistry is descendant. Two trail blazing saxophonists separated by four decades, but with an evident musical continuity.

Giacomo Gates, while not being known as an original composer, his banter, wit, and no-holds barred feeling for musical soul make any of his performances much more than just "playing the standards". When he sings the blues, you can really feel it. Our third set continues with a nod to those of us whose major exposure to jazz came through TV. During the 1970s and 1980s Saturday mornings on ABC-TV had 3 minute educational spots that more often than not ending up being a de facto jazz or blues public service spot. Listen to how Grady Tate teaches us a bit about the number 9. Next, Kenny Burrell closes out the set with some of the coolest guitar ever recorded.

The fourth set captures the soulful 1960s sound with 2 well known charts and 1 chart with a well known name, but a completely different tune that most would know. Soul Jazz was viewed by some as a digression down the path to watered down pop, but despite the commercial success of some recordings, it did keep horns, woodwinds, and improvisation in front of a populace whose popular media was by then dominated by electric guitars and simplistic chord changes.

With one more from The Manhattan Transfer, the hour comes to a close. The music presented covers several genres but all of it passes the Duke Test. A Duke Ellington truism sums it all up: "There are only two kinds of music, good and bad".  We hope that you agree, this music is good, just because it is.