Beautiful Piece of Brass

I first heard this version of “In the Still of Night” on Vin Scelsa’s show on Sirius (Sunday Night Idiot’s Delight). I’ve always been a fan of the 1956 original, recorded by the Five Satins and written by leader Fred Parris. But to hear this wacked out, in-your-face brass band version put a whole new spin on the song’s greatness and beauty.

This one was recorded by Lester Bowie Brass Fantasy, and released on 1998’s ‘The Odyssey of Funk and Popular Music’. They give the brass band treatment to such songs as “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People”, and even the Spice Girls’ “Two Become One”.

From the 1970s until his death in 1999, Lester Bowie was the preeminent trumpeter of the jazz avant-garde — one of the few trumpet players of his generation to successfully and completely adopt the techniques of free jazz. Indeed, Bowie was the most successful in translating the expressive demands of the music — so well-suited to the tonally pliant saxophone — to the more difficult-to-manipulate brass instrument. Like a saxophonist such as David Murray or Eric Dolphy, Bowie invested his sound with a variety of timbral effects; his work has a more vocal quality, compared with that of most contemporary trumpeters. In a sense, he was a throwback to the pre-modern jazz of Cootie Williams or Bubber Miley, though Bowie was by no means a revivalist. Though he was certainly not afraid to appropriate the growls, whinnies, slurs, and slides of the early jazzers, it was always in the service of a thoroughly modern sensibility. And Bowie had chops; his style was quirky, to be sure, but grounded in fundamental jazz concepts of melody, harmony, and rhythm. – from All Music

Lester Bowie Brass Fantasy: In the Still of the Night (mp3) – from The Odyssey of Funk & Popular Music

One Comment

  • countrygrrrl

    wrapped my christmas pressies to this fab track from lester bowie..made the job go a lot faster and less of a chore. I saw him years ago in Atina Italy along with Horace /silver and it was one of the best concerts i have ever been too!! Thanks for the memories. Have a music laden christmas!!!!

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