Monday, June 10, 2013

Smackwater Jack - Quincy Jones

Since I last wrote an entry a little over a week ago, my grandfather (my mother's father) passed away. He had been battling a variety of illnesses over the last several months that included diabetes, heart issues and cancer. There were several close calls in the last few months, and each time, he'd recover, and go back to his home in Detroit, Michigan. The day before he died he was having some heart troubles and before he told his wife (my step-grandmother) to call 911, he told her, "Sandy, its time". That night he lost consciousness, through the next 12 or so hours he was unresponsive, and at 5:55pm on June 3rd, he passed away--just 5 days before his 82nd birthday, which was when he was buried.

I didn't have the best of relationships with my grandfather, but I always respected the man's sense of family and education. But I went to the funeral to be there for my mother who was a wreck as you can imagine. I'll spare you the details of the funeral, just know that it was good to see the family, but definitely not under those circumstances. Here is his obituary

Now back to the music. This is one of five Quincy Jones' albums my father had in his collection and is entitled "Smackwater Jack". As was the norm for Quincy during the 70s and 80s, there are elements of rock, blues and R&B, but jazz is clearly the centerpiece. And as is also the norm for Quincy, the list of guest stars on his album resembles that of a Macy's Day parade lineup: Hubert Laws (flute and tenor sax), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Valerie Simpson (vocals), Bob James (Fender Rhodes), Joe Sample (piano), Jimmy Smith (organ), and even a vocal performance by Bill Cosby on a song called, "Hikky Burr", which was the theme of "The Bill Cosby Show" which aired from 1969-1971--not to be confuse with "The Cosby Show".

There is always a bittersweet quality to Quincy Jones' albums. He clearly believed in jazz, making good music, and gathering the best musicians around to do so. Robert Glasper did this a bit with his grammy-winning cd, "Black Radio", but overall it isn't exactly a concept that has picked up steam. I know Quincy is one of a kind, but still, it would be nice to see someone attempt to pick up and run with that golden baton.

Anyway, here is "Hikky Burr". The lineup is:

Bill Cosby on vocals
Toots Thielmans on Guitar and Whistler
Freddie Hubbard on flugelhorn
Eric Gayle on guitar
Hubert Laws on the flute

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