Hot Stuff

Jul 22, 2012

With still another triple-digit high in today's local forecast (are we there yet?), I have started a shortlist of hot-weather jazz cuts --- tunes to set spinning, perhaps, whilst pouring that umpteenth lemonade o'er ice on a Sunday afternoon and staring out at one's sun-bleached and scorching backyard.

"Struttin' with Some Barbecue" is a mighty, yes, tasty piece from the Hot Fives/Hot Sevens phase of Louis Armstrong's career. It's one of many terrific (and fittingly "hot") tunes written by his then-wife and pianist, Lil Hardin Armstrong. (Yet another undervalued female composer/arranger/performer from the annals of jazz history.)

On the more recent --- and the more lavishly orchestrated --- side of things, there is a fine, lovely-to-listen-to album called FROM THE HOT AFTERNOON by the ice-water cool alto-sax whiz, Paul Desmond. Wry, unhurried, thoughtful, and appealingly and unfailingly lyrical, Desmond never disappoints.

Or, come to to think of it, you could actually combine (or should I say distill?) my two previous recommendations by consulting a single Paul Desmond song recorded just before the album cited above. This would be "Samba with Some Barbecue," from Desmond's SUMMERTIME album (recorded in 1968).

De-lish, in any case.