Ok. This category will house all my favorite instrumental music. Mostly between easy listening and vocal free jazz.
Song: The Horse
Artist: Willie Mitchell
Album: Solid Soul (1967)(2014)
I don’t know if any of my blog readers have ever heard of the late Willie Mitchell before. But, if you fancy instrumental music, I recommend you look him up. Another one of many tunes I clearly remember my grandpa playing all the time (as though it was yesterday). If I’m not mistaken, this piece was originally composed and performed by Cliff Nobles c. 1967. Although I do love both versions, I do prefer Willie Mitchell’s version better because I really dig the funk rhythms. I wonder why Cliff decided to name this piece “The Horse?” You gotta love the 60s! Although the names of their projects doesn’t make sense, the music themselves are masterpieces in my opinion.
Artist: Percy Faith
Genre: Movie Scores
Ok, ok, I know this post will most likely put a lot of my young readers to sleep. 🤣 However, the whole point of building this blog is to share with you all kinds of music history, and not just one type. Remember I love all kinds of music. One thing for sure, my eclectic tastes will surely have my readers discovering all kinds of interesting & historic music!
Percy Faith Was One Of The Most Prolific Composers Of His Time!
When it comes to instrumental music, there are very few composers that I literally fall head over heels for. The late Percy Faith was one of those few. Percy was like a significant step up from composers like Lawrence Welk back then. I’m not sure if I can really explain what made Percy unique other than, I guess his music had more personality in comparison to other well known composers at the time. In fact, a lot of his work crossed over into popular music categories.
Percy has made outstanding movie scores, as well as a ton of instrumental cover versions of many well known songs. But I think my ultimate favorite is “A Summer’s Place.” I believe this was a cover to Andy Williams’s original “A Summer’s Place” in 1962 (if I’m correct). Although I like Andy Williams music too, but, in this case, I do prefer Percy’s instrumental version. You can just imagine yourself being in a fancy ballroom listening to this piece.
He Was An Eccentric Composer!
Percy was also very eccentric. Music has changed so much across the board, and I really can’t think of anyone right now I could compare him to. All I can say in my opinion, he was a musical genius. I’m sure once being both a bandleader, and leading a full-on orchestra gave him the experience to try things we wouldn’t normally hear from the average composer. Checkout more of his covers made instrumental, maybe you’ve heard of some of them in a movie. Some of my favorites are “Romeo & Juliet,” “I Will Follow You,” “Tara’s Theme (which you may remember from the movie “Gone With The Wind),” “Sierra Madre,” “La Vie En Rose,” “Oye Como Va,” and lastly “Never On A Sunday.”
Artist: Ragan Whiteside
Album: Reminiscing (2019)
Oh, my goodness, so many good artists, and so little time to write about them! Yo, I don’t know if my readers have ever heard of Ragan Whiteside before; but she’s one of the best female flutists I’ve heard in a like time. I mean, she’s a badass bitch boooooyyyyyy! You know, come to think of it, relatively speaking, there aren’t that many female instrumentalists out here (yet a lone a flutist). I’m not quite sure if this is something females are usually not particularly interest in, or perhaps this is one of the few genres that are still male dominated. I guess I’ll have to research that one. Not really sure, but I think it’s an interesting topic.
She’s Kind Of A Chaka Khan Look-A-like!
I really do encourage that you research her music. Well, not too long a go last year she released a single called “Reminiscing.” It happens to be an instrumental cover version of one of my most favorite seventies songs by the Little River Band, from their 1978 album “Sleeper Catcher.” After all these years I still love listening to that song. Anyway, Ragan did a beautiful job with this piece. She added a new modern take on a very old classic. I love her above album cover too! It kind of reminds me of those old 60’s album covers with various artists on them. Question, why did almost all of those types of albums had to have both women (usually with high skirts) and cars on it? It was the oddest thing. 🤣
I’m not sure where her rendition of “Reminiscing” landed on the charts (or if it did), but I don’t care because I love it. However I do know she came out with another recent single called “Jam It (2019),” that made the top ten jazz category. It sounds ok. But check out “Corey’s Bob (2017),” and “Mystic Vibrations (2017).” Both are on her album called “Treblemaker.”
Song: Best Part
Artist: Marcus Johnson
Album: Ballads: In My Voice (2019)
This is a wonderful piece I’ve heard not too long ago. “Best Part” is actually an instrumental cover of a song from a Canadian brotha by the name of Daniel Caesar, and an American female artist that goes by the name of H.E.R. (Gabriella Wilson). I love both versions actually. The original song hit double platinum, and reached #1 on the R&B category. I know you’ll love Marcus’s version, it is the perfect easy listening piece to start your morning off mellow, with some hot coffee.
Oh, my goodness! How’s this for back in the day nostalgia? I love me some Kenny G. It’s funny, if I didn’t know who Kenny was, and I was blindly looking for a good instrumental album to purchase, judging from this album cover I don’t think I would have picked up this one. Which always reminds me of that ol’ saying, “never judge a book by it’s cover.” This same album happens to have one of my favorite Kenny G pieces called “Silhouette (1988).” Kenny seems to have this strange and unique ability, to almost make his instruments romantically sing to you! If that make sense.
Another great tune from this same album is called “All In One Night (1988).” In my opinion, Kenny G is one of the very few instrumental artists that not only managed to break through mainstream music, but continued to keep the interest of a wide range of music lovers. That’s pretty impressive, considering that most people today are very picky with their musical tastes.
Kenny’s musical writing, and performing style is like no other.I think my ultimate favorite came from his first or second album. The piece was called “Songbird (1986).” Do you guys remember this one? Tell me this is not one of the most romantic saxophone sounds you’ve ever heard? Songbird hit #4 on the Top 100 Charts. Another beautiful piece I recommend you should check out is “Forever In Love (1992).” Absolutely a beautiful (in my opinion). This is a perfect song to have dinner with someone special. Definitely! Kenny has been around a long time, since ’73 to be exact, and he’s still performing all around the world. Even if we don’t hear his music anymore, he’s still a very accomplished musician.3+1 Behind The Napa Valley Icons Set for $120 with shipping included!
Hey guys, Today I’d like to introduce to you a guy I consider a master guitarist from back in the day. His name was O’Donel Levy. I’ve been playin’ him all day for the past week. I thought to myself, I need to blog about him before the week is over. The late O’ Donel Levy had an incredible album called “Breeding Of Mind (1974).” Sh*t! This album is freakin’ amazing! If you love instrumental jazz R&B (maybe a little of easy funk too), there’s no doubt in my mind you’d fall in love with this album as I did. It’s a cryin’ shame that I saw no meaningful information about him on Billboard. Then again, I’m not surprised.
Music aficionados would call Levy’s music modern jazz today. His style reminds me a lot of legendary George Benson. In fact, at one time, he actually toured with both George Benson and Jimmy McGriff. Levy’s album is filled with absolutely brilliant reinterpretations of well known classics. My strongest favorite is his rendition of The Carpenter’s “We’ve Only Just Begun.” I hate using words over and over, but this piece is amazing! This is what I call relaxing smooth jazz! It’s the kind of music you can play while chatting & brunching with friends.
I also encourage you to check out two more pieces from this album. His rendition of Carole King’s “Too Late, ” and The Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Both are absolute masterpieces as well in my opinion. His music creates a very smooth atmosphere. Legendary O’ Donel Levy died in 2016. We lost an amazing jazz talent.
Lately I’ve been on an instrumental music kick 😃, I guess it’s because I had not listened to them in a while maybe. Today, I randomly chose a really OLD group, and I’m sure almost no one reading this post would know who they are, or perhaps remember until you listen to some of their music. Today, I’m sharing with you music from a forgotten group called “El Chicano.” They are a Mexican American 70s rock group.
It’s Difficult To Explain Their Music
It’s funny, I dug a lot of their music growing up. Now that I’m older I can’t even explain what it is. I guess it’s one of those things you just have to listen to it yourself. This is no doubt a very eccentric band. Although in general, they were categorized as a rock group; however, in my opinion they really were not. Most of their works were infused with so many different styles of music, that at times it seemed experimental. Then there are other works from them that clearly sound psychedelic, which doesn’t surprise me because a lot of people were still into that kind of music in the 70s.
Personally, I much preferred to listen to their traditional Latin jazz. In many ways some of their jazz music was reminiscent of Santana I think. One example of that is my favorite cover they done of Gerald Wilson’s “Viva Tirado (1970).” Now unfortunately, Viva Tirado only reached #28 on the Top 100 Charts. If I’m not mistaken, it was their only closest thing to a hit record. But, this is where the charts get complicated. Because, while the song had a moderate peak, it was hugely popular in New York City. I heard this all the time! I tell you, the more I blog, the more I realize these charts don’t always tell a true story.
However, on their 1998 album called “Painting The Moment,” there is a song I really like as well called “Ron Con Con.” It’s a shame this didn’t turn out to be a hit, because most definitely this song will make you move your body in any party. Listening to them perform this, was like Tito Puente himself came back to say “this is how you do it my brotha!” Although most of the original members are either now deceased, or moved on to other projects, the band is still performing.
Wow! Just look at how handsome these young men were back in the day!! Booker T. & The M.G.’s were shit! I mean, if after you listened to there music, and you were not inspired to at least shake your booty a little bit, you probably was one boring person. If you’re in my age group, I doubt you can call yourself a true music lover, and not know who these men were! From top left to right; Al Jackson jr, Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and last but not least on the bottom is Booker T. Jones. Four talented men, who earned the right to be inducted in the Rock Hall Of Fame in 1992.
They Were A House Band For The Stax & Volt Labels
Much to my surprise, these talented men were a part of a house band for both the Stax & Volt labels; similar the the way MFSB was to Philadelphia Records. However, their sound and style were entirely different. MFSB sounds came from Philadelphia; however, Booker T. & MG’s sound came from Memphis. BTMG’s sound clearly has heavier drumbeats, with pronounced organs that eventually became one of the group’s signatures.
So, allow me to share with you some of my favorite hits from this wonderful band. First, I love “Time Is Tight (1969),” “Green Onions (1962),” and “Hip Hug-Her (1967),” and “Melting Pot (1971),” Melting Pot still remains my most favorite, the beat if freakin’ hot! “Soul Limbo (1968),” is another nice one. Oh, I almost forgot, check out his “Tic Tac Toe (1965),” I think this has a funky Memphis beat as well. I think you’ll think it’s hot too. I encourage you to research more of their music, they’ve also produced some nice covers of other songs, purely instrumental. By the way, the MG in their name cleverly stands for Memphis Group! 😃