Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 19, 2015

This week, after the Santa Breakfast but before Christmas, we had a mixed bag of tunes, but not of people. A solid group of regulars made an appearance: Sam (bass), Gene (drums), Tom (drums) Jack (trumpet and drums), Steve M (alto), Steve H (alto), Wes (tenor), Serdar (guitar), Carl (trombone) and Annie (vocals).

We started out without the last three until we got a guitar some time after noon. Wes got us kicked off with I Can't Get Started (I-   ). Sam changed tempo with All The Things You Are (I-22). Gene, as usual, called several tunes that are not in our books until we landed on Softly As In A Morning Sunrise (II-355). At Tom's behest, we took a swing at Baby It's Cold Outside (in the Christmas Real Book) including the call and response. Jack has always been fond of the romantic tunes, including Isn't It Romantic? (I-219). Serdar, all set up by now, got his pick (no pun intended), and chose Song For My Father (I-373). Steve M then put in the call for I Hear A Rhapsody (II-177), with Jack switching to drums. Wes got another turn with Cousin Mary (II-93). Steve H based on a challenge from Carl last year, had put together a mash-up of Blue Monk and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, which seemed to work out satisfactorily. 

The vocal part of the program began with Annie calling first A Child Is Born (I-79) and I Thought About You (II-180); for the latter, she graciously shared the microphone with Jack. Carl brought out his manuscript of Mingus' Jelly Roll, which is slowly coming into shape. Back to Annie's vocals, we took up Polka Dots and Moonbeams (II-318) and a straight up blues tune, Merry Christmas Baby. Steve H asked to do a swingy version of I'll Be Home For Christmas (Christmas Real Book). Annie went back to a nice easy glide on What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? (Christmas Real Book). As I was on my way out the door (had some Christmas errands to run), the group was playing Poinciana (III-322).

We will not be meeting on December 26, but we will be back in session on January 2, 2016.

Christmas Listening

Dave Brubeck “Homecoming” Jingle Bells

Dave Brubeck “Farewell” Jingle Bells

Joe Pass Let It Snow

Joe Pass White Christmas

Joe Williams Kissing By The Mistletoe

Joe Williams What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve

Oscar Peterson God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Tony Bennett and the Count Basie Orchestra I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Tony Bennett and the Count Basie Orchestra Silver Bells

Pearl Bailey Jingle Bells Cha Cha Cha

Andy Williams (not a jazz guy, but I’ve always appreciated the swinginess of this arrangement) Sleigh Ride

Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass (and I’m pretty sure an uncredited Paul Desmond, who was recording for A&M at the time) Let It Snow

The Heath Brothers Our Little Town (based on O Little Town of Bethlehem)

Charlie Parker White Christmas

Dexter Gordon Quartet The Christmas Song

Gerry Mulligan and Dave Brubeck Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Manhattan Transfer Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Manhattan Transfer Snowfall

Not available on You Tube, but here are four by Debbie Duncan on her Christmas album that you should hear before you die: Santa Baby, O Come O Come Emmanuel, Little Drummer Boy, Make Me A Present of You.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all!


December 12, 2015

Man, I have not been keeping up! Sorry about that reader(s).

On Saturday, December 12, we played the annual Santa Breakfast at MacRae Park. (The weeks leading up to this, we practiced our Christmas repertoire in anticipation.) As usual, the kids were a hoot, as they danced to the music. Santa apparently had things well in hand up north, as he was there the entire time from 10 to noon. There was breakfast, face painting, and a chance to chat with the Big Guy--and, of course, all to the vocals of Annie and Dick, backed up by the rest of the Workshop: Sam (trumpet) Gene (drums), Tony (bass), Ray (violin), Serdar (guitar), Jack D (trumpet), Carl (trombone), Wes (tenor), Steve M (alto) and yours truly (alto).

I kind of lost track in the middle, so let me see if I can remember everything. We did Sleigh Ride, The Christmas Song, Silver Bells, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, The Christmas Waltz, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Blue Christmas, White Christmas, Here Comes Santa Claus, Feliz Navidad and Merry Christmas Baby. There may have been one or two others. Anyhow, we had fun, as usual, and they fed us well, as usual.