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.
This week’s theme: A musical tribute to the locations of this year’s Super Bowl teams. We found some good material. Let’s get started.
Back in the day when you wanted someone to compose and/or arrange the theme music for a TV show you picked up the phone and called Henry Mancini. After leaving the Army this legend got his entry into the music industry with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Not a bad start.
Mancini would go on to record more than 90 albums, and put his stamp on numerous television programs.
Actor Karl Malden reluctantly signed on to star with a very young Michael Douglas in the gritty crime drama “The Streets of San Francisco” playing Lt. Mike Stone. The show ran for five seasons in the 1970’s, during which Malden earned four consecutive Emmy nominations.
Mancini, with Artie Kane on the electric piano solo…
My wife Jennifer mentioned this sounded a lot like the type of stuff used for NFL Films music.
There were 119 episodes of the SOS. Douglas left the show at the beginning of the final season after he had produced “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and his film career took over. Malden and Douglas had a very positive working relationship. Both expressed high respect for one another.
Mancini was nominated for seventy-two Grammy Awards and won twenty.
Malden died in 2009. He was 97.
Michael Douglas has been in show biz for more than 50 years.
Ah, Kansas City. Legendary big band leader Count Basie wasn’t born there but got his musical start there.
Before his launch to stardom a young Basie did chores at a theater in New Jersey. A projectionist taught him to rewind the reels, switch between projectors, and operate the spotlight for the vaudeville shows. When the theater’s house pianist didn’t show for work, Basie suggested he take his spot. The theater said no. So he waited for the film to start, snuck into the orchestra pit, and played piano along with the film anyway. The theater invited him back to play again that night.
After moving to New York City Basie toured as a pianist on the major vaudeville circuits. In 1927, a canceled tour left Basie stranded in Kansas City. He remained there and played in several bands in the area, eventually forming his own orchestra that recorded and performed a string of hits that featured the Kansas City sound. Here’s a brief clip of what it sounded like.
In 1961 Basie recorded the album “Kansas City Suite” that included “Vine Street Rumble,” done here by the Wynton Marsalis Big Band in concert at Lincoln Center. Located in a historic district, the intersection of 18th and Vine is internationally recognized as one of the cradles of American jazz.
During his sixty-plus year career, Basie made significant historical contributions, establishing jazz as a serious art form played not just in clubs but in theaters and concert halls. Basie won nine Grammy Awards, two at the very first awards ceremony in 1959.
This next group has been around for 52 years and is considered one of the best horn bands to ever play. They’re from Oakland. Not San Francisco, but close enough. After all, the 49ers play their home games in Santa Clara.
During this group’s heyday in the 1970’s they’d usually reserve an album track for an instrumental, like this 1975 release with Chester Thompson on the organ solo.
Last week Tower of Power released a track from their forthcoming 27th album, due out in March.
That’s it for this week’s installment.
Have a super weekend.
Let’s see. We’ve had two California musical selections and one about KC. We need to fix that.
Here’s an all-star finale with Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Sting, Eric Clapton, Carl Perkins, Mark Knopfler and Elton John at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1997. “Music for Montserrat” was a benefit concert for the reconstruction of the small Caribbean island of Montserrat. The island had been devastated by hurricane Hugo in 1989. Then in 1997 the Soufrière Hills Volcano erupted and took the lives of twenty people. The ensuing concert was organized by Beatles producer George Martin who owned a house and studio at Montserrat. The show’s final number was reportedly unrehearsed.
That’s Carl Perkins (“Blue Suede Shoes”) above in what would be his final live concert appearance. He died just a few months later.