I originally mentioned “Morning” a little over three years ago in one of my “Who flipped it better?” posts but I erroneously wrote it about as if it were Tjader’s original. It’s actually a Clare Fischer tune but given that I had discovered Tjader’s music first – and I was too lazy to look at publishing credits – I assumed Fischer had covered Tjader vs. the other way around.

Either way, it’s an absolutely marvelous bit of laid-back Latin jazz goodness and holds up from version to version. Here’s both Fischer’s original plus a re-recording he did of it in the late ’60s for MPS.

Clare Fischer: Morning
From Manteca (Pacific Jazz, 1966)

Clare Fischer: Morning
From Salsa Picante (MPS, 1980)

Tjader covered the song at least twice in his career, first in 1966 for his Soul Burst LP and then, a few years later, for his Fantasy album, Aqua Dulce (I submit that this is one of his most difficult albums to find “in the field.” It’s not expensive but it very rarely shows up in used bins for whatever reason. In any case, I do enjoy both versions but the vocal touches on the Aqua Dulce version can’t be trifled with. (It’s that version that Buckwild used to make one of the better – though lesser known – O.C. songs, “What I Represent”).

Cal Tjader: Morning
From Soul Burst (Verve, 1966)

Cal Tjader: Morning
From Agua Dulce (Fantasy, 1971). Also on Descarga.

I hadn’t thought about the song in a while until I was perusing the always excellent Musica Del Alma blog a year ago and happened upon a killer cover done by Panama’s Los Exciters. They do a great job with their cover of the instrumental – smooth but with a strong rhythm section and I liked how a single trumpet carries the main melody, an interesting contrast to Fischer’s keys and Tjader’s vibes. (BTW: this sounds like it’s clearly influenced by the Tjader version rather than the Fischer original; listen to how it opens. That intro is something Tjader added that wasn’t in Fischer’s first version). Even better – this version comes with vocals, something I had never heard before and given that the Exciters had some excellent vocalists on their team, it really adds something special to this cover. I didn’t hold out much hope to score an OG copy of the LP this appears on; way too rich for my blood but Adam was kind of enough to put me up on the fact that it appears on a much more affordable 7″ version which I just got in. I was so pleased to cop this, I wanted to share the flipside as a way to give proper due to those Exciters’ vocalists I mentioned a moment ago.

Los Exciters: Morning
No Vuelvo A Amar
From 7″ (Sally Ruth, 196?)

Surprisingly, the seller (from Colombia) threw in an extra 7″ for my trouble (which was a nice gesture considering that I paid $20 in shipping for a 7″) and I thought I’d share it too – a cool slice of funky samba from the mid-70s by what I think is a French band. I guess the flipside was the hit but it’s not topping the bumpity bump of “Rhythm America.”

Banzaii: Rhythm America
From 7″ (Disques Fleche, 1975)