Welcome to the latest Battle of the Bands! Wow, it feels good to be back after three months of not posting anything. Between a month-and-a-half hiatus and being really busy at work, this post was long overdue! But, here I am, back to action and ready for another battle.
As Battle of the Bands is supposed to be written and posted on the 1st and 15th/16th of every month, I decided to post mine today (a week late!) to celebrate the Autumn Equinox. Why did I choose today, the beginning of fall? The thing is, the songs I had in mind are perfect for autumn: relaxing and easy-going. What are the songs? Continue reading to find out!
Autumn: A Refreshing Season to Slow Down
Last year, I had a playlist that included songs from all over the world that invoked the feeling of autumn. I also had a Battle of the Bands that was autumn-themed: it was a battle between Japanese rock band OFF COURSE and legendary duo Simon and Garfunkel that talked about autumn and the leaves. I even talked about my experiences and feelings towards the beauty of autumn foliage.
Although I love the gorgeous reds, yellows, oranges, and browns that fill every outdoor corner we encounter as we go along in our daily lives, I really enjoy how autumn affects us emotionally, physically, and spiritually. As the summer filled with high-energy tapers off, autumn gives us the sense to slow down, especially with the busy routines of our daily lives. A chance to enjoy the simple things that are just right in front of us.
This is a season to take a deep breath and just relax. And what a perfect season to enjoy some amazing 80s jazz tunes by the Rippingtons’ leader and guitarist Russ Freeman and legendary fusion drummer Billy Codham. Listen to their songs down below and let me know which one is your favorite in the comments! Be sure to visit bloggers’ battles who are part of this Battle of the Bands group.
“Nocturnal Playground” by Russ Freeman (1986)
“Nocturnal Playground” is the title track off Russ Freeman’s first solo album. It was an album that was released before Freeman formed The Rippingtons. Although “Jamaican Nights” is more recognizable from the album )and that is due that is has been played on The Weather Channel since its release, “Nocturnal Playground” is a must-listen off this album as it such a beautiful tune.
The reason why I love this Russ Freeman tune is mainly found in the diverse sounds in the synthesizer. You have the high-pitch, whistle-like melody that leads the song’s intro. But then you have a more cool-sounding synthesizer in the bridge that goes between high notes and earthly sounds. One a final note, be sure not to miss the tenor saxophone that performs the main melody throughout the song and then the keyboards during the interlude as they are splendid as well.
“Nocturnal Playground” is such a perfect song for autumn as it has that laid-back, relaxed vibe in the various synthesizer, the tenor saxophone, and keyboard parts.
“The Juggler” by Billy Cobham (1987)
“The Juggler” by Panamanian-American jazz drummer Billy Cobham is off his 1987 album Picture This. If you don’t know who is Billy Cobham, let me quickly introduce me. He is one of the greatest fusion drummers of all time. He has played with Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Grateful Dead, Grover Washington Jr., and many others.
Of course, the main focus should be on Cobham’s amazing drumming skills throughout the album. Yet, one shouldn’t miss Gerry Etkins’ keyboard solos during the chorus (I really love that part as it is something funky, in a good way) and during his freestyle solo in the middle. One last thing not to miss is Billy’s brother Wayne Cobham and his performance as the programmer. You can hear bits and pieces throughout the song, especially the little bit of him playing up the scale during the second part of the chorus.
Billy Cobham’s “The Juggler” is a funky piece for autumn that features a lot of amazing talent. Even though it isn’t slow or laid back like “Nocturnal Playground”, it is a groovy song to just enjoy autumn with.
Who Will It Be?
Now it is your turn to vote! Who will be the victor? Tell me in the comments below! I can’t wait to hear what you guys think!
I am also part of the “Battle of the Bands” blog collection. After you vote, please visit the other battles: