CLOUD: BLAME IT ON THE SUN (1976)

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Cloud: Blame It On the Sun (Chapman, 1976)

I heard this one in a tiny story in Orange County when a friend and I were cruising through and I loved it from jump: it clearly has some “Sunny” vibes but that massive brass section brings into full into the ’70s. Plus, I dig the low-key (high-key?) corny lyrics such as: “Like a song without an ending, like a sea without a tide…” Kansas City, MO, represent.

MILLIKIN UNIVERSITY JAZZ LAB BAND: LIGHT UP THE SKY (1973)

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Millikin University Jazz Lab Band: Light Up the Sky (from Klub Studehata Tehnike Vam Predstavla, Celebration Studios Nashville, 1973)

This may be the least “jazz lab album”-sounding song I’ve ever heard. A great folk-rock tune with soul undertones though? Oui.

SUNNY AND THE SUNLINERS: GRAZING IN THE GRASS (1970s)

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Sunny and the Sunliners: Grazing In the Grass (From This Is My Band, Key-Loc, 197?)

“Grazing in the Grass,” the mega-hit by Hugh Masakela, ends up on all manners of other people’s albums. It helps that, as an instrumental (originally), it “translates” easily to other genres. In some ways, I would have actually expected Sunny Ozuna’s S.A. peers, Latin Breed, to have tackled this instead (they’ve done some killer jazz-funk tunes) but regardless, fun to hear Masakela get a slight Tejano makeover.

TRINIDAD TRIPOLI STEELBAND: I WANT YOU BACK (1971)

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Trinidad Tripoli Steelband: Want You Back (Warner Bros, 1971)

I don’t always listen to steel band…but when I do, I listen to steel band covers of Jackson 5 hits.

THE MAJESTIC ARROWS: ANOTHER DAY (1973)

The majestic arrows doing it for us

The Majestic Arrows: Another Day (Bandit, 1973)

On production alone, I would have been into this sweet soul side but I love the combo of the male falsetto + female vocal duet.

STRATUS: GIRL (1976)

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Stratus: Girl (Wyldwood, 1976)

Straight outta Rhinelander, WI. This one reminds me of something that Larry T and the Family might have cooked up. Lovely vibe that throws together a lil folk, soul and funk in the blender.

AARON NEVILLE: OVER YOU (1960)

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Aaron Neville: Over You (Minit, 1960)

I’m not 100% positive about this but doesn’t it seem like Biggie got his lines on “Warning” from “Over You”? And then, of course, that influenced Erykah to crib off Big.

It’s also interesting to hear Neville early in his career, before his voice turned into that crackling falsetto he became so known for.

NATHAN DAVIS: STICK BUDDY (1976)

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Nathan Davis: Sticky Buddy, from If (Tomorrow Int’l, 1976)

Sad news: Nathan Davis just passed away this week. Like a lot of folks in the ’90s, I discovered Davis’ magnificent album, If via Luv N Haight comps and one story I always tell is that when I was a DJ at KALX, I realized they had an original copy of If and at the time, it was an LP that could have easily sold for $200+. I never stole, ever, a record from the KALX library but I always joked that if I was going to, I would have went to If first.

“Stick Buddy” still puts a smile on my face every time I hear those opening bars and then Davis’ sax just sexily step into the mix.

RIP to Davis.

LIVE AT THE CHINA ROYAL: A FUNKY ODE TO THE CHOW MEIN SANDWICH

This is a narrated slide show of a paper I presented at this year’s Asian American Studies conference in San Francisco. It’s a condensed version of an essay I’m writing for an anthology on Chinese restaurants in North America. I’ve had a lot of fun researching and prepping it; hope you enjoy!

A GUEST SET ON THE JAZZ ADVANCE SHOW

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This past Friday, I was a guest DJ for Jeffery Plankser’s Jazz Advance show on Dublab. Jeffery came up with “Blue Coolaid” to name this particular show as we spun soul-jazz tunes for two hours. It was an excuse for me to pull out some of my soul-jazz faves, both new and old. Listen here.