CLASSICS: INSTRUMENTALS (SINGLES)
Just who are these handsome men? They were a well known instrumental group; and the backbone of that group were Isaac “Redd” Holt who was the drummer, and Eldee Young who was the base player. There was actually a third person, piano player Dan Walker that made a trio. Together they’ve produced a song called “Wack Wack,” released in 1966, under Burnswick Records. The song had mediocre success. I do remember this piece used in a commercial, just don’t remember for what company. All I remember, it was some Black guy dancing in his underwear. And I think the commercial was all B&W.
In 1968, Dan Walker was replaced with piano player Ken Chaney; and they composed my very favorite called “Soulful Strut,” and I think still under Burnswick Records. The piece was an instant hit reaching #3 on the Top 100 Charts. Shortly after lyrics were added with the help of singing sensation Barbara Acklin, and the song was called “Am I The Same Girl.” BTW, while I’m still on the subject, check out Winsome’s reggae version of the song. I think Winsome’s version is the best reggae version I’ve heard thus far (and there’s quite a few of them). “Soulful Strut” hit gold, selling well over a million copies. But unfortunately, it was their only big success. They eventually broke up about 5 years later. It’s a shame because their sound is somewhat comparable to “Booker T. & the M.G.” (but at a much slower rhythm in my opinion), and B.M.G made pretty good music back in the day.
Tonight’s artist is an amazing composer from way back. His name is Herb Alpert. Alpert is noted as being a Jazz composer, and mostly trumpet player. However, if we listen to many of the albums he has released throughout the years, he’s actually done a lot of different kinds of music, including disco, and some standards. I first first came to know of Alpert when I heard one of his biggest mainstream hit of all times called “Rise,” released in 1979 under A&M records. I fell in love with his work ever since. “Rise,” not only hit #1, the song also got Alpert a Grammy that year, for best pop instrumental performance. I love this peace just as much as I love Chuck Mangione’s “Feel Good.” “Rise,” is indeed a masterpiece in my opinion.
When I close my eyes and listen to it, it makes me feel like I’m in Mexico somewhere, like on an romantic adventure or something. Or on some beach in Mexico drinking a martini or something, just chillin’. LOL. Most of his music (if not all) is very smooth and relaxing. In my opinion, with the exception of Rise and a couple of other works from Alpert, although enjoyable, they’re definitely not party music (at least not in the sense of getting down and boogieing). I don’t know what to call them. I guess the best thing I can compare it too, is like up beat meditative kind of music. You know, the kind of music you would play in an office to help change the office atmosphere I guess. LOL
Chuck’s music is the kind of music I’ll listen to if it’s on the radio, but I wouldn’t actually buy it. Only because I find a lot of his music way too mellow, even for me. Chuck Mangione is a trumpet player and composer. He comes from a huge family of musicians, and his music career spans over 40 years. He it really big in 1977 when he released the album “Feels So Good.” On this album there were two hits. The first was the music piece that put him on the map and its name was the title album “Feels So Good.” I think “Feels So Good,” is one of the most beautiful instrumental pieces I’ve ever heard. I love how it starts of really slow, and then gradually goes in to a disco, almost a “Copacabana like beat.” It’s a mixture of jazz and disco mixed together. It stayed on the music charts for more than 26 weeks! Now that was amazing! The second piece from the album that was a hit was “Maui Waui,” To be quite honest, the only one I like from this album is “Feels So Good.” Listen with Spotify.