Monday, December 16, 2013

Scotch Required Beyond This Point: My Top 12 Favorite Jazz and Big Band Numbers

I was a band geek in high school.

I don’t want that fact to imply I had any musical ability. As former Bristol Eastern High School band directors will tell you, I had virtually no inherent talent and no desire to work hard to make the most of the minuscule talent I had. We had to play a piece of music from memory at the beginning of marching band season my freshman year. I may have gotten the first couple of notes right and then I pretty much wept in shame to the senior administering the test.

But I loved every minute I was a member of that band. I may have not been any good, but nearly every other musician surrounding me was excellent. The concert band was top notch, but the highlight of our winter and spring concerts was our jazz band. That ensemble was other worldly. I remember hearing them play at the Old U.S. Postal Pavilion in Washington D.C. Thunder and lightning were coming out of those instruments. No musical soul was untouched whenever that jazz band innovatively tore into a piece of music.

The big band and jazz genres continue to be a major part of my life. It doesn't get much better than pouring a glass of single malt scotch, sliding on the fedora my good friend Bill Furman gave me, and sitting down at a keyboard and writing something profound and inspiring (at the very least coherent and pleasing).

I recently went to see The Rat Pack is Back at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston. My girlfriend’s grandmother perfectly summed up my thoughts on why this kind of music still resonates today:

“All these guys have been dead and buried for years, but they are still alive today because of the quality of the music.”


Without further comment, enjoy 10 of my favorite jazz numbers, preferably with a stiff drink, nice suit, and a significant other wearing a red dress.
“I’ll Never Smile Again” by Frank Sinatra & the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra

Birdland” by Maynard Ferguson

“Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin

“All of Me” by Benny Goodman

“Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman

“Little Brown Jug” by Glenn Miller Orchestra

“All or Nothing at All” by Frank Sinatra with the Harry James Orchestra

"The Very Thought of You" by Nat King Cole

“Sleigh Ride” by the Boston Pops

“In A Sentimental Mood” Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

“Better Git It In Your Soul” by Charles Mingus

“Spain” by Chick Corea
For more music, check out:


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  2. What about the “Spain” by Chick Corea

  3. Hey there! Just wanted to drop a line after reading your post about the need for Scotch beyond a certain point couldn't agree more! Your writing style is so engaging; I felt like I was right there with you, navigating through the intricacies of life's challenges with a sense of humor and a bit of Scotch in hand.I love how you managed to weave in the idea of needing " dissertation data collection help." into the narrative. It's funny how life's trials often mirror the research process sometimes you just need that extra support to gather all the pieces of the puzzle.

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