Track 3: Traveling Groove Merchant
I’ve been listening to a ton of big band music over the last year…everything from Count Basie to Maria Schneider. There is something about collective effort and mixing the freedom of improvisation within the constraints of the ensemble that I find incredibly energizing. The sheer force of groove makes running a few miles feel more like running a few minutes. In the course of running a 5 K, I had Groove Merchant on loop play.
I was playing with a band last summer and they wanted me to sing Jon Hendricks’ lyric to it. The sound reference for the vocal was a Monica Zetterlund recording. The lyric just didn’t resonate with me. (Sorry Jon.) I didn’t realize it at the time, but Thad Jones’ arrangement was becoming my soundtrack for my new life in Denmark. It was propelling my steps in the new land figuratively and literally (on my runs). The lyrics grew out of my jogging adventures through the forest. Feel free to listen to this while you exercise and let me know if it helps you too.
Who’s Responsible: Jeff Hamilton
The Connection: Mel Lewis may have played on the original big band version of it, but Jeff OWNS this tune. He has played it literally hundreds of times (if not a thousand). I get giddy playing with his shuffle groove. If you’re feet don’t tap to this, better check your pulse.