Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
The calendar says today is the first day of autumn even though it felt like 100 this afternoon. As usual, summer came and went, quickly. Now fall arrives, if momentarily, and then it’s 14 months of winter.
This week, a final musical salute to summer with additional pictorial reminders of what lies ahead. Another clever theme coming atcha.
Let’s get started with a very appropriate number from keyboardist Brian Simpson, the musical director for Dave Koz and Janet Jackson.
Are you sad that summer’s over? I know I certainly am. And Simpson captures that feeling in our first selection from his album “South Beach.”
“While working on South Beach in my studio I often stepped back to a corner of the room and closed my eyes, as if listening for the first time, to see if the music compelled an emotion,” said Simpson.
There’s definite jazzy and moody melancholy in this track with Ron King on muted trumpet.
Yes, that above photo is Wisconsin cranberry production in action, in Wisconsin Rapids to be exact.
Now a classic.
Originally done by the legend Ramsey Lewis.
Then by the legends Earth Wind &Fire.
And then by the legend Henry Mancini.
In 1975 disco was hot. So hot everybody was doing disco. I mean everybody.
Henry Mancini put out an album that tried to capitalize. While there was a disco flavor it was more like sprinkling salt on your scrambled eggs.
The result was a lovely, beautiful, lush collection that screamed the distinctive Mancini sound.
Mancini’s take on a masterpiece was magical.
And speaking of legends, the organ solo is by the late Joe Sample.
Love those multiple split second solos at the very end.
Better finish that book before the snow falls.
“Summer Breeze” was written and recorded by Seals and Crofts in 1972.
Rolling Stone called it one of the “Best Summer Songs of All Time,” a “sublimely mellow, CSN&Y-style ode to lazy, June-time domesticity.”
I like this version by two famous artists, one from Milwaukee.
How did she do that?
We move on.
Kool & the Gang struck it big with the synthesizer-dominated “Summer Madness” in the mid-70’s. They’ve regularly perform it in concert ever since.
There’s still synthesizer in this next selection, but some nice sax as well by Richard Elliot.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great fall weekend.
We close with a song Nat King Cole took to #1 in 1955. It’s no surprise his daughter would also record and perform.