The fourth installment of trumpeter/arranger/producer Todd Simon’s Jazz on 45 explores the outer perimeters of the jazz genre, from cinematic jazz-funk, South African jive, soul-jazz, and electric jazz to nu-jazz, Brazilian psychedelic jazz, and hip-hop.
“Unfortunately, over time,” Todd explains, “critics and certain musicians in the jazz community have put barriers and borders as to what really is jazz. This is ironic considering that pioneers Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong were not very happy with the classification of music genres. Open up your ears, free your mind, and let everything else follow.”
See the track list and Todd’s write-up below.
1. Pigalle Connection “Paris Breakdown” (Mocambo Records)
Starting off Vol. 4 with a new cinematic jazz-funk banger out of France from the very talented Guillaume Metenier featuring a slew of musicians from the Mocambo crew including the homie, Ben Greenslade Stanton, on trombone and trumpet.
2. Hugh Masekela “A Long Way From Home” (Uni)
Here’s a left field groover from one of the influential Hugh Masekela. Hugh always pushed the limits of music creating environments that are hard to characterize while being vividly South African with hints of jive.
3. Johnny “Hammond” Smith “Rock Steady (Pts 1 & 2)” (Impulse!/Kudu)
Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady” never gets old. Here’s a great sweater soul-jazz version featuring Grover Washington, Jr., Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, George Benson and more…from a brilliant album arranged by Bob James.
4. Miles Davis “Friday Miles” / “Saturday Miles” (Columbia)
Again, Analog Burners Jason McGuiness laced me with the next two Jazz 45s you are about to hear. This gem from the Miles Davis Live at Fillmore collection. Each side aptly named after the nights the music came from. Who has truly surpassed the music adventures of the electric Miles era?
5. Larry Frazier “Before Six” (Impulse!)
Little is known about this session with Curtis Mayfield credited as a co-writer. A one-off 45 for the legendary Impulse! label. If anyone knows more please let me know…
6. Kutmah “Something Good (For Shuggie)” (101 Apparel)
I was fortunate to share some fun times playing my horn with Justin “Kutmah” McNulty DJing in L.A. long before he was deported from the U.S. Always beaming with positivity and stellar music, Kutmah uplifts anyone who is lucky to be near the guy. Currently in London, Kutmah created this beautiful instrumental that I love playing trumpet over during my live DJ sets. I love the track so much, I wanted listeners to experience it on its own here.
7. Celia “Na Boca do Sol” (Continental/Mr. Bongo)
The lovely folks at Mr. Bongo continue to reissue some killer material from all over Brazil and Africa. Enjoy Celia’s brilliant psychedelic cover of Arthur Verocai’s “Na Boca do Sol.”
8. Ray Bryant “Up Above the Rock” (Cadet/Originals)
Mic drop! (Even if it is a reissue!)
9. Kool G Rap & DJ Polo “On The Run” (Cold Chillin’/Originals)
“On the Run” grabs from the infamous “Up Above the Rock” break. I’ve always wanted these on wax and thanks to the Originals crew, the two are on the same 45.
10. Cannonball Adderley “Why? (Am I Treated So Bad?)” (Capitol)
Taken from the live sessions at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, where David Axelrod turned the studio into a club for a few nights. There’s many 45s from these sessions and they’re pretty easy to find.
11. Quincy Jones and the Kids from PASLA “The Lost Man (Main Title)” (Uni)
So many have slept on the film score stylings of Quincy Jones. The Lost Man is one of Jones’s most adventurous.
12. Stark Reality “Shooting Stars” (Stones Throw)
We’ve all been grateful to the folks at Stones Thrown for releasing the catalog from vibraphonist Monty Stark’s Stark Reality project. One of my favorites is “Shooting Stars.” If you can get your hands on this copy, be sure to play it 33 1⁄3 rpm. I always forget and end up slowing it down halfway through…
13. Larry Frazier “After Six” (Impulse!)
The B-side to the track “Before Six” that you heard earlier in this mix. Still a mystery what Curtis Mayfield’s involvement in this session is.
14. Verdelle Smith “ If You Can’t Say Anything Nice (Don’t Say Nothin’ At All)“ (Capitol)
Here’s a bonus track. I know nothing about this 45 other than the intro blows me away every time and that Donald Trump and his supporters should pay careful attention to the title.
Thanks for listening everyone.
Todd Simon has provided horns, arrangements, and production for Solange, Kelis, Lauryn Hill, Madlib, Quantic, Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus, Ziggy Marley and more. In addition to teaching high school music in L.A., Todd runs the African jazz ensemble Ethio Cali and the Angel City All-Star Brass Band. You can find more of his music, live dates and mixes at toddsimonmusic.com.