Forgive me for simply pasting in an old post on the holiday music that gets the season going in my house, but I just don’t think you can improve on Lou Rawls”
Veteran OTE’ers know that the holiday season doesn’t start around here until Lou Rawls says so. And here he goes, with the funky little drummer boy followed by the most swingin’ merry little X-mas you ever experienced.
Check out the evocative chromonica (souped-up harmonica) on the opening of Drummer Boy.
Then, on Merry Little X-mas, note how at 1:53 he breaks it down from big band into a small group with the vibes in the background. The “blue note” that the vibes player sits on starting at 2:17 absolutely slays me every holiday season.
Let the joy begin!
Also, sticking with musical genius, if you get some downtime over the holiday, as I hope you do, allow to recommend some really exceptional TV: Season 3 of “Mozart in the Jungle” on Amazon. (You kinda need to watch earlier seasons to make sense out of what’s going on, but it’s not essential.)
To my eyes and especially ears, the show, especially this last season, somehow manages, in almost every episode, to capture the essence of the beauty of the music. Perhaps the best example was the truly remarkable episode where the orchestra (the fictitious New York Symphony) gives a concert to inmates on Rikers Island. The thing is, they—i.e., a real orchestra—actually did perform at the prison. They then interviewed actual inmates who had amazing things to say about the music.
“In the beginning, I didn’t know what was going on but then I saw the orchestra. And I said, ‘I don’t like that kind of stuff.’ So I just sat down and for the first time in my life, I enjoyed it because it’s something…something that I experienced for the first time in my life. I never experienced something like that.”
“Never heard, really, music like that. Even though I lived in New York my whole life, never went to no concert like that, nothin’ so it was an experience.”
“I just closed my eyes and I was letting the instruments just come to me and I just felt free like that, you know? It was just…it was just…a different type of feeling. Like you could say, I was in, like, a trance. Like I was here physically, but emotionally and spiritually, like, I was, you know, gone.”
And I haven’t even mentioned La Fiamma!
Finally, come the new year, Ben Spielberg and I plan to produce a new podcast based on much of the material you see here at OTE and more. We’ll discuss the economic problems and solutions of the day, amongst ourselves and with guests, with an emphasis on the intersection of politics, economy, policy, and power. Episode 1, currently in production: Finding the path back to Factville. So stay tuned!