Happy Seventh Day of Mellowmas, everybody!Â As if Al Jarreau didn’t provide us with enough smooth jazz fodder, today we’re stuck with some serious scatting.
Spyro Gyra — The Christmas Song (download)
Jeff: Is that Lewis Black? Bobby McFerrin?
Jason: I think it’s Al Jarreau.
Jeff: Is this the theme to “The Cosby Show”?
Jason: Ha ha ha ha! What the hell IS this?
Jeff: Ah, here we go.
Jason: Oh shit, there are the instruments! In our FACES!
Jeff: I think this IS Al Jarreau. Did he wander into the wrong studio?
Jason: Have I ever told you that I HATE jazz vocals?
Jeff: No, I don’t think you ever have.
Jason: Jazz scatting, especially. Although he seems to have stopped for the moment. However, he’s increased the drama in his vocal to, like, 11.
Jeff: Why have I not sent you everything by Diana Krall?
Jason: No, I kind of like Diana Krall. It’s these kinds of vocals that I hate. The whiny-scat kind.
Jeff: Wait, this isn’t Al Jarreau.
Jason: It’s not?
Jeff: This is a guy wanting to sound like Al Jarreau.
Jason: He reminds me of a type of desperate actor who shows up at musical theatre auditions, trying to make a unique impression. And all you can think is, “what a jackass.”
Jeff: Why would you do this? And by “this,” I mean two things:
1) Try to copy Jarreau, and
2) repeatedly kick the song’s melody in the nuts.
Jason: The instrumentation isn’t bad. Hey, jazz swing!
Jeff: Vince Guaraldi!
Jason: Now we’re cookin’! Oooh, guitar solo!
Jeff: I feel like I’m at Nordstrom’s.
Jason: If we could just keep the vocal out of this mix!
Jeff: Ugh, the asshat is back.
Jason: Shit. I thought we were done with him. And now he’s trying to do a Stevie Wonder thing.
You know, I haven’t heard any Spyro Gyra before, except for this album. And I’ll be honest, the album isn’t bad.
Jeff: No, you’re right, it isn’t all that bad. I went into it expecting Kenny G-type crap, but it’s pretty tasteful.
Jason: However, this song is really irritating.
Jason: I can tolerate it as a blip in an otherwise nice album.
Jeff: The vocalist is fighting with the sax.
Ooh, gentle ending? The piano sounds really nice. But I just can’t deal with these vocals.
Jeff: Hmm It sounds like everyone in the band except the bass player and the drummer expected the song to end for a minute, and then they all realized it wasn’t over yet.
Jason: Ooooh, I wasn’t expecting THOSE chords to end the song!
Jeff: How about the creepy whisper at the end?
Jason: “Merry Christmas.”
Jeff: Did you expect that?
Jason: Not at all! It was kind of sketchy, to be honest.
Jeff: So as it turns out, Spyro Gyra is from your favorite town in upstate New York. Buffalo.
Jason: Really? No way!
Jason: How about that! I mean, I’ve heard of them before, but I’ve never heard anything they’ve done.
Jeff: One of the guys went to SUNY Buffalo.
Jason: My alma mater! Sucks for them! That school is terrible! I mean, look where it got me. I’m sitting here doing Mellowmas with you.
Jeff: I wish there was some kind of civic pride station in Buffalo that played nothing but Spyro Gyra and the Goo Goo Dolls.
Jason: And Ani DiFranco. Man, I would NEVER listen to that station.
Jeff: I’m looking at their discography now. Jesus. 24 studio albums, two live albums, one Christmas album, and four compilations.
Jason: Apparently we’re the only ones who haven’t jumped on the Spyro Gyra train.
Jeff: 10 Grammy nominations! Zero wins!
Jason: Awwww! Poor Spyro Gyra!
Jeff: “Due to the wealth of Grammy nominations and complete lack of wins, saxophonist Jay Beckenstein is fond of referring to Spyro Gyra as “The Susan Lucci of Jazz” during live performances.”
Jason: Except Susan Lucci has now won a Daytime Emmy.
Jeff: Yeah, I wonder if Beckenstein cried that night.
Jason: Who’s singing on “The Christmas Song”? Is he in the band or a guest?
Jeff: I don’t even care about that guy. Whoever he is, I hate him. Stupid Jarreau impersonator.
Jason: There’s a special place in hell reserved for those who prefer to scat on jazz records.
Jeff: Oh, this is perfect: “Their music can be heard during The Weather Channel’s Local on the 8s segments and their song “Breakfast at Igor’s” is included in their 2008 compilation release, The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II.”
Jason: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Jeff: If I were in the band, I would get a Wikipedia account just to erase that.
Jason: I used to watch Local on the 8s. I thought all they used as backing music was “Breezin’.” Or maybe “Feels So Good.”
Jeff: Wait, someone watches that? I thought only Cliff Clavin watched that.
Jason: I don’t watch it anymore, but we used to watch it while getting ready for work. Isn’t that lame?
Jeff: Couldn’t you just look out a window? You do have a window, don’t you?
Jason: Jeff, I live in Queens. If I look out my window, I’ll get shot.
Jeff: Right, right, sorry. Hey, try something for me, would you?
Jeff: Play “The Christmas Song” out your window and see what happens.
Jason: Are you KIDDING? We’ll never get through Mellowmas!
Jeff: Baddadeebaddadeebaddadee Jason got shot
Jason: Ha ha ha ha! As a service to our readers, I want to tell them the songs on this album that are actually decent.
Jeff: Go on. Service our readers.
Jason: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is good. So is “O Tannenbaum.” And “It Won’t Feel Like Christmas,” even though it features a jazz vocal, is kind of nice too. Those were my three favorites. There’s a duet on “Baby It’s Cold Outside” that is simply pitiful.
Jeff: Well, there you have it, smooth jazz Mellowmas fans.
Jason: Yup. Man, this was a disappointing day for Mellowmas, wasn’t it? I guess they can’t all be winners.
Jason: Well, you know, put it in context. But readers, if you’re disappointed with today, I’d say just replay the first 3 seconds of this track.
Jeff: Ha ha ha ha ha!
Jason: Just the part where he’s going “PBBBBBBBBBBBLT…WAP!”
Jeff: I think we might just be numb to this by now. Readers, if you’re disappointed with today, play this track for someone who doesn’t know about Mellowmas.
Jason: Good idea. Tell them it’s your favorite Christmas song.
Jeff: Tell us what they do.
Jason: Then put on your best Cosby sweater. Snap your fingers.
Jeff: And scat.
Jason: And smile real big. And let us know how quickly they slap you in the face.
Jeff: Send us your stories. Our favorite one gets a free copy of this lousy album. Delivered on or after December 26, of course.
Jason: Oooh, awesome idea, Jeff! Mellowmas contest, y’all! And if you can send photos of your friends’ reactions…even better.
I bet nobody takes us up on this contest. I know I wouldn’t. Too dangerous.
Jeff: That’s what you said about Mellowmas in general. And now look where we are! The Kings of Mellowmas!
Jason: Yes! Let’s reflect, shall we? PBBBBBBBBBBBBBLT…wap!