One of the most catchy tunes ever is “Sweet Georgia Brown,” which was written in 1925 by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard. I would think that after decades of having the song associated with the Harlem Globetrotters, I’d hate it. And in some ways, I do! I tend to rebel against it when I hear it in its most banal renditions.
But I came upon this really amazing performance of it by the Wynton Marsalis Quintet. Playing with them are Mark O’Connor on the violin and Frank Vignola on guitar. They are all playing off sheet music, which is pretty amazing when you consider that the whole thing sounds like these guys have been playing this song with each other for years. Of course, that’s what comes from not just being professionals, but great professionals.
One thing that really stood out to me was that Walter Blanding on sax uses circular breathing in what is apparently an improvisation. Of course, as a flutist, I’ve always been amazed by circular breathing. There is also an amazing drum solo by Ali Jackson at the end. And O’Connor and Vignola make the whole thing sound kind of like Grappelli and Reinhardt. This is a great way to start the day.