Friday, October 30, 2009

Moe Koffman

I remember Bellavia by Chuck Mangione. That was before Feels So Good became a hit, and it was better than the Feels So Good album. It had this kind of musical Wurlitzer sound, and it was very appealing. I don’t have that album, and I haven’t heard it in probably 35 years.

That’s the album I thought of the first time I heard Best Of Moe Koffman. I don’t know if Koffman would have appreciated the comparison; heck, I don’t know if Mangione would either. Just some random aural association on my part.

Koffman was Canadian, and that’s not particularly relevant, except so am I, but I don’t play the flute.

I found The Best Of Moe Koffman somewhere, in some used record shop, and no, I don’t remember which one. It’s a GRT release, and it was obvious that the version of Swinging Shepherd Blues there was a remake, so I hunted down the original on the Jubilee single, and that’s what I have now – Best Of Moe Koffman with one track substituted, and one track added. All the LP tracks were recorded in the 70s, so this becomes an unbalanced collection, but it’s what I have.

His earlier stuff does not seem to be generally available.

Moe Koffman:

The Swingin' Shepherd Blues – Dancing in the meadow. This is classic. Credited to The Moe Koffman Quartette (with that spelling) and a hit in the winter of 1958.
Overture To Spring – Vivaldi, jazzed up.
Theme From “Orpheus” – Maybe this is the same one that Carlos Santana did and maybe it isn’t. I don’t know what “Orpheus” is but this is the theme from it. Maybe it’s from the opera, in which case I do know what “Orpheus” is.
Uranus – Still a planet as far as we know.
The Gig(ue) – Get it? I think this is Handel.
Two Bourées
Icicle Belle
Cavern Of The Mountain Trolls – In The Hall Of The Mountain King, Koffman style. So many modernizations of this classic by Grieg: by ELO,by The Who etc.
Mozart’s Ark – Eine Kleine Nachmusik, Koffman style. I guess he has a way with classics.
Neptune – Another planet.
Hambourg Bound – This is the flip of Swinging Shepherd Blues, just to keep things authentic. He trades in his flute here for a soprano sax. A better-than-average B side. According to a YouTube video, this was the Moe Koffman Septette. I can’t prove it isn’t. And I don’t know why the weird spelling of “Hambourg.”

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