Do you remember the TV game show, “Name That Tune”? Well, Saturday night, just as I am about to go to sleep early for a change like a “good boy”, a Wes Montgomery jazz number’s last notes sparked an idea for an update on that show’s theme. The notes were suddenly dancing in my head earlier that afternoon, which is how it is to be me. I think my mind is better than any radio station’s automation at selecting random and timely music of the past forty years to torment me with.
So I just HAD to play this song in order to get it out of my mental front row seats and maintain what I know as sanity. I had to find it first in my library, which, incredibly I did, almost immediately! Wow and Holy Cow! I hadn’t been to my “jazz crates” in a while, but went right to it! This is one reason I call my vinyls my “children”, I always know where to find them through my own unique memory catalogue system. The only knowledge I had going-in was, “vibes, jazz, last eight notes” and I thought it might be the late Milt Jackson playing them.
As a DJ and player of many notes in songs, I have never before conjured-up a song that I just HAD to play from its last eight notes! How Fun! OMG! Then to grab it at 3:30 AM on my first try? I knew at that moment that bedtime was now postponed for at least another hour, so I re-charged my inner night owl, poured another glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, and proceeded to find the cut on “Wes and Friends” , a February 1973 Milestone Records “specially priced two-record set” addition to my library featuring Wes, Milt Jackson and George Shearing.
Fortunately I made good notes amongst the centerfold liner notes and track listing, and remembered that this song had two versions, If I wasn’t mistaken. Sure enough, after briefly going to “Stairway To The Stars” on side one, where I wrote in red “Oh Yes!”, I saw “Blue Roz” [Take 3 and Take 4] and next to them via a connected arrow the word “serius” underlined twice by me all those years ago. I knew I had my selection! I thought, “I bet they don’t have this one on You Tube, and I was right – to an extent – they do have it on another album, “Bags Meets Wes”. Jackson really swings on this composition, portraying the introduction, body and conclusion with Philly Joe Jones on drums laying-down the solid foundation; “Bags” was Milt’s nickname by the way.
The one time I interviewed Milt Jackson was at Grant’s Tomb in New York City during a summertime Jazzmobile outdoor concert in the late 1980s. He was still cool and up there in age by then, and I have him on tape not wanting to reveal why they called him “Bags” saying jovially, “Well we’re not going to get into that right now…” LOL A great moment. Play it again, and listen for those last eight notes! Wouldn’t this be a great idea for a game show? “ba-bong, ba-bong, ba-ba bong-bonggg….”