Just three more days to go and we’re heading out west to beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia and Calgary, Alberta to help with the SunRype TRi-KiDS triathlon series. It’s a working holiday, but a holiday nonetheless. Of course, I still have to deal with today’s Monday business bullshit (and tomorrow, and Wednesday and, well, you get the idea). Fortunately, I’m working from home in my basement office and HRH has been shipped off to the horse camp for the day, so it could definitely be worse. Still, I feel the need for a little audio stimulation in the way of the 2nd treasure I mined out of The Frugal Dutchman here in town yesterday while roaming the Ridgefest Summer Festival, the ‘Touchdown‘ album by Bob James.
This album released in 1978, was James’ big commercial breakout that also happened to contain the song ‘Angela‘ which continued to get airplay on smooth jazz stations into the 21st century. You might recognize it as the popular theme song to the 1970’s television sitcom, Taxi.
Likely, this was my first exposure to jazz as a kid and I didn’t even realize it.
So what does it have to do with football?
The title is actually a reference to this being his 6th solo album, and a touchdown being worth six points in American football.
Now, there may only be five songs on the entire album, but there is tons of shit going on here. Specifically, Ron Carter and Mongo Santamaria (how incredibly awesome am I that I can provide a link here from this very blog to some obscure Cuban percussionist? I rock.) I just had to rub that shit in. Other noted musicians include Gary King (Roberta Flack), jazz fusion guitarist Hirim Bullock, and classical jazz guitarist Earl Klugh. And then there’s Steve Gadd, Idris Muhammad, Hubert Laws and, well, let’s just say there’s a buttload of old jazz dudes on it.
The album is full of simple laid-back melodies, light, airy grooves, and quiet backdrops, it’s a smooth jazz “masterpiece”. It’s an enduring part of his catalog and was the launch pad for many movie and television projects, and for a string of hit recordings for the Warner label in the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s.
Today, it’s just helping get shit done.