Tuesday, March 20, 2012


"Take Five," performed by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, featuring Paul Desmond on alto sax. This classic never gets old. Recorded in Belgium, 1964.

"The term 'cool jazz' was rarely used by jazz fans until the middle of 20th century. In earlier decades, the phrase itself would have probably struck most listeners as a strange one. Back then, jazz was often simply called 'hot music' by the public, and the idea that it could also be 'cool' went against the grain."
--Ted Goia, from "A History of Cool Jazz in 100 Tracks." Clink on the title to explore Ted's excellent anthology of cool jazz tunes.

Always cool, Nat King Cole performs "Route 66." Recorded March 16, 1946.

"In olden times (pre-Interstates), U.S. Route 66 was the main highway from Chicago to L.A. It was lawful to travel in the opposite direction, but since songwriter Bobby Troup's "Route 66" journeyed from east to west, that's how everyone thought of it. Fortunately, by the 1940s, east-west migration was less desperate than during the Great Depression. Folks were now receptive to the romance of a road with such colorful place names as Joplin, Amarillo, Gallup, Flagstaff, Winona, Kingman and Barstow. A decade before Jack Kerouac's On The Road, Nat King Cole made it cool to get your kicks on Route 66."
- Alan Kurtz

June Christy sings "Something Cool" live in 1959

"In 1953, no longer the '40s flychick scatting 'How High the Moon' with Stan Kenton, June Christy turned to dramatic readings of saloon songs. Bill Barnes's 'Something Cool' is incisive storytelling, as June enacts the first-person narrative of a self-deluding barfly. Think Blanche DuBois as lounge lizard. Ordinarily, she would decline to drink with a stranger, but relents because she's 'so terribly far from home.' Citing past triumphs in a house with countless rooms, 15 different beaus, off to Paris in the fall, this gal fools herself more than she impresses the guy who stops to buy her something cool. A remarkable 4-minute drama."
-Alan Kurtz

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