Clarinet Magic: Omer Simeon / Harlem River Drive LIVE / “Springtime for Hitler” (February 14, 2018, Columbia, Missouri)

Simply put: my friend Paul gifted me with a recording out of the blue earlier this week that reached out, slapped me across the face, and proceeded to delight the hell out of me for an hour. The name? A bit of a mouthful (and indeed it unnecessarily lowered my expectations): Rare Cuts – Well Done (Volume 7) – Omer Simeon – The Rarest and Greatest Tracks 1929 – 1954. Initially, I think I quit reading the title after “(Volume 7),” but it’s the last five that matter; I’m going to look into the other volumes now. Simeon was one of the greatest clarinetists in New Orleans history, which is saying something; trained by the legendary Lorenzo Tio, Jr., beloved and wonderfully employed by Jelly Roll Morton, ably matching solos with the likes of Earl Hines and James P. Johnson, he’s someone I should know better. In fact, halfway through this very well-selected compilation, I realized I’d seen a television segment in which Dr. Michael White, a bit of a skilled black-stick blower himself, talked about Simeon and Tio. (Unfortunately, I can’t find the clip, but here’s what it entailed.)

Paul, thanks: this collection is why they call it hot jazz!

Thanks also to Taylor at Hitt Records for alerting me to the existence of a live recording of Eddie Palmieri’s Harlem Drive project, Recorded Live at Sing Sing Prison–and to my ear and ass it’s liver than the studio release. Eddie and the band are muy caliente, but special notice goes to brother Charlie out of his mind on the organ, and reminding me that early ’70s Miles was not a little influenced by Latin sounds. Join the inmates in feeling at least momentarily liberated by a track from this explosive and politically charged LP!

Short-shrift Division:

Mel Brooks, words and music, “Springtime for Hitler” (from The Producers): Nicole and I watched the film for Valentine’s Day, died laughing during the climactic scene that features this song, and I was left wondering, “Did Dick Shawn’s ‘LSD’ help spawn Robin Williams?” It sure seems so!

Two songs for Parkland, Florida:

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