Summer Is Its Own Jazz: Reuben's Favs

Jul 12, 2013

"O summer, summer, summertime." - Robert Hayden

Each season has its own music - its own powerful singularity. And we as individuals often alternately revel in - or curse - the specifics.

When I think of summer in Vermont, I am reminded of something a longtime resident of the Green Mountain State told me 30 plus years ago: "Reuben, a Vermont summer is a short story."

I think he was right.

If anything, summer's Northern brevity has made me more appreciative of buxom clouds over Lake Champlain, and the extra choruses of daylight. (Black flies are another matter.) I take long walks and long-Interstate-free drives.

Like many of you, I walk around with a head full of songs I associate with summer. Some are specifically about the season, like Sly And The Family Stone's Hot Fun In The Summertime, while others may recall specific summer events.

I've chosen three of the former.

The first, bassist Marc Johnson's Summer Running, seems to merge the season's sweetness
and the temporal nature of same, in a way that both comforts and saddens. The fading guitars (Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell) play and replay the title's closing figure like love smitten individuals
repeating a summer love's name.

The second selection,  DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince's hip hop classic Summertime, (which includes a sample from Kool And The Gang's Summer Madness) beautifully recalls the joys of urban summers past. There are a lot of musical and literary works I wish I'd written. This is one such text.


Finally, The Dave Brubeck Quartet's Summer On The Sound seems to capture the season's unabashed beauty, and its impact on our spirits. Whenever I'm sitting by the lake, waving at dogs, or yelling like crazy at Lake Monsters baseball games, this instrumental begins jogging around my brain.

Hope you like.
-Reuben Jackson
Friday Night Jazz 8-11