Thursday, October 1, 2015

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Stolen Moments”


Sometimes a little voice comes along and tells you to do a song, and you don’t know why, but you decide to go with it. For this battle, I chose “Stolen Moments,” a jazz standard written by Oliver Nelson, a saxophone player who played with a number of jazz greats and died too soon at the age of 43. When I saw the list of musicians who had done the song, my eye immediately fell on the name Phil Woods. In the early 1970’s, I got a bunch of free records from a guy Mom taught with whose mother worked at WCFL in Chicago, one of which was Phil Woods and the European Rhythm Machine at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. I wasn’t really into jazz at the time, but I gave the album a listen.

Wow! I had never heard music like this. Over the years, I listened to it a number of times. Maybe not as often as Chicago Transit Authority or Child Is Father To The Man, but enough that it burned the name “Phil Woods” into my brain for all eternity. So, when I saw he had done the song, I had to have a listen. As I was listening, I started scrolling through the comments, and got the sad news that Phil had died on Tuesday at the age of 83.

I’ve done three things to commemorate Phil: I stopped at his obituary page and left a note, I purchased the MP3 version of his Montreaux album, and I’m featuring his version of “Stolen Moments” with the European Rhythm Machine (George Gruntz, piano; Daniel Humair, drums; Henri Texier, bass) to introduce you to the tune. This is not part of the Battle today.

As with most jazz standards, the song has been covered a number of times. Here are our two contestants for today:

CONTESTANT #1: Lee Ritenour, Andreas Varady, and Dave Grusin

This was a performance at the 46th Montreaux Jazz Festival which also coincided with Quincy Jones’ 80th birthday. That’s Quincy handling the introductions.

CONTESTANT #2: The Brownman Electryc Trio

I had never heard of this band before today, but they have a website that tells us Brownman Ali is from Trinidad, learned the trumpet from Randy Brecker in New York, and is now considered Canada’s preeminent jazz trumpeter. He leads seven different ensembles, including the Electryc Trio (with a different lineup in the US and Canada) which is reminiscent of Miles Davis in his later years. This is the Canadian lineup, including Brownman, Brad Cheesman on 6-string bass, and Colin Kingsmore on drums.

So, which do you like better? The more traditional treatment by Ritenour, Grusin, and Varady, or the Miles Davis-esque treatment by the Brownman Electryc Trio? Vote now by leaving a comment, and after you’ve done that, visit the other Battles going on today by visiting the other BotB’ers:

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Women: We Shall Overcome
Cherdo on the Flipside
Holli’s Hoots ‘n’ Hollers
J. A. Scott
Quiet Laughter

I’ll announce the winner of this battle next Wednesday, October 7. See you then!

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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