Please bear with this introductory section. I think you’ll find the things following it very rewarding.
When I write, I like to listen to music. I think most of us do the same.
Music is very effective in blocking out all of the ambient noise that I would be forced to listen to otherwise. However, the music itself must not be so distracting that it prevents me from writing effectively.
Jazz is usually my go-to music of choice because it has that rare quality of simultaneously not distracting me from my writing while also encouraging the creative juices to flow. There is almost no other form of music that has that unique blend of properties. It is probably different for every person, but that is my preference.
I am always on the lookout for new musicians to write by. Below are some that I have stumbled across recently. I was familiar with some of them, having heard them on the radio or having bought their CDs. However, I’ve never actually seen any of them perform. Finding them on YouTube has been a real treat for me. It is such a joy just to see how much fun they have making music.
Below are three of my favorites that I’ve found recently. Just look at the fun these musicians are having! I count them down in reverse order of my favorites.
#3: FourPlay – Westchester Lady (Java Jazz festival 2011)
Bob James – Keyboards
Nathan East – Bass
Harvey Mason – Drums
Chuck Loeb – Guitar
These guys are just having a lot of fun up on stage. There is great chemistry between them. And on top of that, they are all amazing musicians. This is a fun watch and a great listen. Chuck Loeb, who had just recently joined the group during this performance, is something of a class clown.
The “musical duel” they have at about 5:00 in is awesome to watch.
#2: Lee Ritenour – Rio Funk (Montreal Jazz Festival in 1991)
Lee Ritenour – guitars
Abraham Labories – bass
Gary Novak – drums
Dave Valentin – flute
Ernie Watts – tenor saxophone
David Benoit – keyboards
Don Grusin – keyboards
Just a really fun song by musicians who actually enjoy playing together.
It’s really hard to overlook the 1980s holdover fashions, but try. It’s worth the listen.
#1: Brian Culbertson- Back in the Day & So Good
Brian Culbertson-Roland piano/Steinway concert grand piano/trombone/electric bass
Michael Stever-trumpet/flugelhorn/Yamaha Motif 8
Nick Lane- trombone
Ray Parker, Jr-guitar/vocals
Okay, before you listen to this, I have to warn you. Make sure you are somewhere where you can stand up and move around. Make sure there is nothing breakable or spill-able around you.
This is by far my favorite piece of the three … and one of my all time favorite pieces.
I have heard Brian Culbertson on the radio and really like his music, but that in no way prepared me for this video. This guy is freaking amazing. His entire band is freaking amazing.
After watching this, I suddenly realized that I have never felt joy like this on any job I have ever had, ever. There is nothing I enjoy doing like he enjoys playing this music. In a way, that made me sad, but then again, his exuberance at what he does is very infectious.
All of his musicians are top notch. I am a Dave Koz fan in his own right, and so he certainly brings a lot to these two songs.
What Brian does to the keyboard starting at 4:27 is almost criminal. The poor keyboard was practically smoking when he finally wraps it up at 5:40. I’m pretty sure the warranty was voided.
But this is quickly followed up by Lamar Jones launching into a bass solo that has his bass screaming for mercy (albeit in a very low register).
But wait! What’s this at 6:40? A trombone/saxophone shootout? Never seen that before, I betcha!
Man! This’ll get your heart pumping.
I would give anything to feel like that at my job.
Here’s the link: Brian Culbertson- Back in the Day & So Good