top 10 influential recordings challenge

October 27, 2019
On FB, Don Mitchell tagged me on one day of his challenge -
"i nominate Kirk to do the 10 influential recordings challenge in whatever way he wants if he wants to pick up the challenge"

I made up a list without realizing his approach was more album-centric. But I tend to be much more single-song minded. And I thought I'd especially emphasize works that influenced my own musicianship, such as it is - so there's some overlap with my "best songs ever" but not quite. And since they're just singles I decided to take advantage of "in whatever way he wants" and do it in one go...

Atari 2600 Moon Patrol - This little riff... I stole it and called it "Space Cadet" - it is JP Honk's default warm up tune, and I have played on my tuba behind so many different sets of musicians, who are generally able to easily pick up on its 12 bar B-flat blues goodness, and so much musical pleasure has resulted.

Maynard Ferguson's cover of Chameleon - props to Herbie Hancock for the original, but this brassy super funk version was a huge influence - probably as a staple of high school stage bands in the 80s, and now deep in the HONK repertoire. (The CD was one of the first 3 I bought when my family got a CD player)

Dvorak New World Symphony, Movement 4 - Kind of a cheat, I had a recording of this but it was probably playing it in Orchestra class that stuck it. When I listen to I realized I was throwing the opening bit (right after the "Jaws" opening) in like every other jazz solo I played.

Blues Brothers' Peter Gunn Theme - Such a thumping bassline. And I remember when Euclid High Stage Band rebranded itself 222nd Street Jazz, we looked to Belushi and Aykroyd's rip off of the African American bluesman as our sartorial guide.

Canadian Brass' St. James Infirmary - I remember listening to his tape over and over in the basement writing a middle school essay on Charles Babbage. I got the sheet music for this song, and in college did an extremely misguided attempt to audition for a college a cappella group with it

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band's Inside Straight - The New Orleans album was also one of the first 3 CDs I got. I brought it to Portugal, visiting the guy my mom and I hosted, and this album was an obscure bit of Americana there - their artsy director friend used this song for the opener for a fashion show / poetry reading they put together. Years later I'd be joining in with a rough version of this kind of music w/ various HONK bands...

Weird Al's Another One Rides the Bus - I was a pretentious kid who fancied himself smart, and got the idea that smart people liked classical and jazz and had disdain for pop. So I tried to like only classical and jazz and cultivated disdain for pop. Weird Al can be a critical gateway drug in such cases - at first you like it because he's mocking pop music, but then you realize you like pop music...

Madonna's Hanky Panky - My high school marching band did a great cover of this, and I loved its big rollicking percussion. Later I got the single from the dollar store - it's playful take on light kink is kind of naughty fun.

Salt-N-Pepa's Shake Yo Thang - Borrowing heavily from "It's Your Thing" (but with arguably better percussion) this song introduced me to the Isley Brothers and great crossover music in general

Deee-Lite's Groove is in the Heart - My one secular religious ritual is, when I hear this song, I have to dance, even if just a little bit... and it sits at the very tiptop of my personal "best songs ever". The chance to play this in School of Honk cemented my relationship with the ensemble. (I mean I'd probably be there anyway but still.)
BONUS! Found this - Weird Al doing Another One Rides the Bus live on The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder.

Impressed by Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz' alternate percussion... and Weird Al puts so much heart into it...