If you want a wonderful Sunday morning, tune into the Sunday Brunch on WDCB or stream it live while you go about your day. If you want to have a marvelous Sunday, get dressed and go to the Sunday Brunch at Waterleaf Restaurant. Absolutely grand location, inside and out. The view is glorious. Floor to ceiling glass all around brings you as close to glorious landscape as possible. The décor is modern, yet warm and comforting. The wait staff is friendly and accommodating. The food is fabulous. We were treated to the music of the Bryan Lubeck Trio, a guitarist extraordinaire, while feasting.
It’s easy to find the other Smooth Jazzers seated around you. They’re the ones listening intently, keeping time with the music or chair dancing, all the others are ordinary patrons. I was seated next to Yvonne, a lady I know well from the Chat Box. She recognized me by my finger tapping I think. It was wonderful to put a face to the messages. When I thought it couldn't get any better, our host, Rick O’Dell, showed us to a large table populated with many of my other chat box friends! I sat next to ArtB. I was close enough to talk with Kelikamea and blow air kisses to CynC, CoraP, nikki, MargieM, and AngieS, but I missed out on meeting Retta and Cynthia. It was the like attending Bill Cochran’s Dinner Party on a Sunday afternoon.
My advice, the next time you see a Sunday Brunch date, make your reservation fast. It’s an amazing experience.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of Christmas songs. There are covers of Christmas songs in all genres, which explodes the hundreds into thousands of songs. But, for Thanksgiving, you have to stretch to get a song. You have to play on the theme of thanks. You have to explore the subject of food. You need to wander in the garden of blessings. You have to find a song about going home or gathering the harvest. Let’s face it, Thanksgiving is a hard word to rhyme.
The only song I could remember off the top that has Thanksgiving in the lyric is "Over The River and Through The Woods" originally called a "New England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day." Over the river, and through the wood, to Grandfather's house away! We would not stop for doll or top, for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.
Some of you might think I have lost a marble or two because in this song Christmas Day has often replaced Thanksgiving Day, making it an all-purpose holiday tune.
My investigation took me to an English group, Steeleye Span (not Steely Dan) who does a version of Come, Ye Thankful People, Come, which talks about harvest in the lyrics, but because it is an English hymn, it doesn’t mention Thanksgiving directly. Come, ye thankful people, come, Raise the song of harvest home! All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin . . .
Doesn’t that sound like good advice for Chicagoans?
Speaking of Steely Dan, if you stretch for a thanksgiving song, you can add "Deacon Blues" to the playlist because of their reference to college football and the Crimson Tide. So, while we’re stretching, let’s go old school into traditional jazz with Thelonious Monk’s "Stuffy Turkey." This is a pour-a-cocktail-and-relax-with-your-guests track. It will make you think you are back in the days of Mad Men and Playboy After Dark. To keep that feeling going, follow up with Kenny Burrell and Stanley Turrentine’s "Wavy Gravy."
When the oven bell rings to say that the dinner is ready and you want your guest to move to the dining room, pull out Mongo Santamaria’s "Sweet Tater Pie." The upbeat bongos and horns will have them dancing to the table. Settle everyone in their places with Vince Guaraldi’s "Thanksgiving" from the Peanuts' special of the same name, the only smooth jazz song I could find in my Thanksgiving jazz scavenger hunt.
While you’re eating, it’s hard to choose between Lee Morgan’s "Cornbread" (with Herbie Hancock on the keyboards) and Booker T and the MG’s "Soul Dressing," so play them both! And to round out the meal, throw in Booker’s "Green Onions," too. As a matter of fact, just do both albums.
If you see any jealousy on any of the faces gathered round the table, you play Cab Calloway’s "Everybody Eats When They Come To My House" and then give them a low volume dose of Patti Austin’s "I Can Cook Too!"
Lastly, to get your guests out the door and on their way, Manhattan Transfer’s "Soul Food To Go" is perfect for fixing take-home plates and finding coats.
After the dishes are done and the food put away, if the overload of turkey didn’t make you sleepy, play Dave Brubek’s "Thank You." This melodically tender solo piano composition that sounds like a lullaby. Dave explains that he wrote it after visiting Chopin’s home in Poland as a thank you for inspiring so many musicians. The beginning is classically inspired, the middle has a soft honky tonk flavor and the ending is a blend of snippets of Chopin melodies.
Next day, to understand what the food coma called Thanksgiving is doing to your body, listen to Eddie Harris sing "That’s Why You’re Overweight," a bluesy monologue of what people have eaten all in one day. Wickedly funny and best reserved for the day after any feast. And while you are casting shame, play Anthony David’s blues version of John Lennon’s "Cold Turkey."
Then sit down and begin to enjoy all the Christmas music!