Smooth Instrumental

Ok. This category will house all my favorite instrumental music. Mostly between easy listening and vocal free jazz.

Herbie Mann - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

I was flipping through my album collection and thought I’d write about another forgotten composer. The late Herbie Mann was born in Brooklyn NY in the 1930s, and grew up to be a very well known musician/flutist. Herbie has performed many types of music (but mostly classical). However, in my opinion, I think it’s safe to say he is most remembered for some of his disco tunes.

His Music Was Very Popular, But His Billboard Ranks Were Mediocre




It’s kind of weird to explain Herbie’s music, because a lot of his music rankings were mediocre, yet at the same time many of his music were very popular. I guess the only possible explanation for that is his connection to the club & disco scenes. This particular album, “Super Mann,” released in 1978 I feel is his best work. My most favorite song on the album is “Super Mann.” Super Mann is a song with intense flirtatious energy and heavy dance beats. The piece peaked at #26 on the Top 100 Charts.

Herbie Mann - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Another great composition (I think) from the same album is called “Rock Freak.” Both composition are disco infused with a Brazilian influence. Herbie had another hugely popular hit from his “Discotheque” album called “Hi-Jack (1975).” This was my jam back in the day too. This was actually an instrumental cover, taken from the original band called Barrabas.  For pure disco fans, I think the works I’ve mentioned in this article will appeal to you the most. Everything else would probably be too mellow for most disco fans. However, if you like instrumental jazz, check out his cover of “Comin’ Home Baby,” written by Ben Tucker, and originally performed by Mel Tormé w/vocals. But it was made popular by a Ray Charles TV performance. I don’t remember if it was a concert or on a variety TV show. I honestly don’t remember hearing Tormé’s original until after I heard Ray sang it. Herbie died while in Mexico c. 2003.

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Harold Faltermeyer - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Harold Faltermeyer is a music composer and record producer born in Munich, Germany. Although I’ve tagged him as being a forgotten artists, technically he’s not depending whether or not we’re talking about the public or the movie industry. Within the movie industry, he is one of the most sought after composers I can think of.

Famous Behind The Scenes




Harold is one of those talented musicians that is famous from behind the scenes. Despite the fact that he has composed scores for some pretty big well known movies, such as “American Gigolo (1980)” starring Richard Gere, and “The Midnight Express (1978),” starring Brad Davis; composers are not given the same notoriety as lead singers to a sound track unfortunately. I’m not quite sure why is that.

Harold Faltermeyer - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

I’ve always wondered what is the method of figuring out a truly successful sound track producer? Because it’s not exactly the same thing as your traditional mainstream vocal performer right? Because part of their success is also about the success of the movie, which technically has nothing to do with each other. Someone can make a legitimate argument that people only buy sound tracks when they’re a fan of the movie.

Harold Faltermeyer - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Harold pretty much stayed unknown to most music fans, until his success with “Beverly Hills Cop (1984).” It was so successful, he got a Grammy Award for best original sound track (co-writer) some time in 1986. The composition that blew up the charts was Axel-F. The piece shot to #3 on the Hot 100 Charts. It is probably (as far as I’m concerned) one of the few biggest dance/synth-pop tunes of all times.

Volodymyr Gavrylyuk: Happy Reggae Riddim (2016)

I found this guy on Jamendo. By the way, I don’t know if any of my readers have used Jamendo before; but in the beginning I used to find some awesome music. Now, their artists are sending really, really horrible music!!! It’s become harder and harder to find good stuff there (even with the breakdown of genres). That’s a shame. Looks like I’m going to drop Jamendo from my list of resources. Anyway…….


I’m Going To Drop Jamendo


Thankfully I did find someone I liked. His name is Volodymyr Gavrylyuk, and he is from the Ukraine. He produced a really nice reggae instrumental called “Happy Reggae Riddim” a couple of years ago. It’s one of those medleys you’d hear in one of those airline commercials to the Bahamas. Really nice tho… He also produced another laid back instrumental I like called “Positive Acid Jazz,” released as a single in 2017. Of course, there’s hardly any information on Volodymyr Gavrylyuk, however, he does have a Facebook page.

 

Take Five by Dave Brubeck Quartet recorded in 1959, is one of my favorite instrumental pieces, however originally it was recorded with lyrics added to my understanding, but I much preferred the instrumental version

I think it would be extremely rare that anybody under 30 years of age would know anything about this Quartet. “Take Five,” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, was (and still is) my top favorite jazz piece. The piece was originally recorded with instrumentals in 1959; but Dave also written lyrics to his masterpiece, and it was rerecorded in 1961 with Carmen Mcrae on vocal. However, I much prefer the versions with out the vocals. It is my understanding that a couple of years after its first release, “Take Five” became the biggest selling jazz hit single ever made at the time. It was also used in many movie soundtracks.

Take Five by Tito Puente, cover of Dave Brubeck's 1959 piece Take Five

If you love “Take Five” like I do, there are a few re-interpretations that I think are worthy of your ear! Starting with the late legendary Tito Puente’s version of “Take Five.” Once known as “The King Of Latin Music,” Tito had the gift of literally turning any kind of music into something everybody wants to dance to. Next is a reggae version of “Take Five,” by a group called the “New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble.” I really love this version, I don’t hear reggae musicians make good classic instrumentals anymore. Next is Chet Atkins. Chet has done a wonderful guitar version of “Take Five.” Very smooth and relaxing. Lastly, a group that calls themselves “The String Cheese Incident,” has performed a really nice version of “Take Five.” Those guys know how to pick a guitar let me tell you! So, I recommend that you take a listen. I don’t think you’d be disappointing.

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