Jesse, Steve and Tim


Last week in The Wall Street Journal,
my „Anatomy of a Song“ column was on the Youngbloods‘ Get Together (go here), an anthem that celebrated peace, love and unity. First released in 1967, the song was hugely popular in San Francisco during the Summer of Love but, nationally, only made it to #62 on the Billboard pop chart. Re-released in the summer of ’69, the song hit No. 5. Why? Because San Francisco hippies ran out of money in ’68 and early ’69 and headed home, spreading the gospel. A look and spirit that existed only in one city became a national ethos for a vast number of young people virulently opposed to the Vietnam war and the draft that sent them there. I interviewed the Youngbloods‘ lead singer and bassist Jesse Colin Young and guitarist Lowell „Banana“ Levinger for the column.

Here’s the hit song from 1967…

And here’s Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band with the Youngbloods lead singer and bassist Jesse Colin Young recording the song in support of WhyHunger’s SongAid campaign…

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Also in the WSJ,
I interviewed Tim Gunn, formerly of Project Runway and now co-host of Making the Cut, for my „House Call“ column in the Mansion section (go here). Tim talked about growing up gay in a homophobic household and the difficulty he had hiding that side of himself. [Photo above of Making the Cut co-hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn courtesy of Amazon Studios]

Marc Myers May 2020

On Thursday, I’ll be on Feedback live from noon to 1p.m. with co-hosts Nik Carter and Lori Majewski to talk about the Youngbloods‘ Get Together. Tune in. Lots of stuff about the song and the time period that didn’t make it to print.


A special thanks
to the New York Times’s Richard Sandomir for quoting my JazzWax interview with Lennie Niehaus in his obit of the alto saxophonist, arranger and composer. Go here.


What I’m watching.
I’m loving the British series Heartbeat (BritBox) about a policeman and his doctor wife who move from London to live in a small English village in the mid-1960s. And yes, the series‘ incidental music is loaded with Brit-beat pop. As peaceful and as gentle as brewed tea, and a warm bath for the mind at day’s end.


Denny Zeitlin’s
new album Live at Mezzrow (Sunnyside), was recorded at the New York club on May 3 and 4, 2019. Remember clubs? Denny on piano was accompanied by bassist Buster Williams and drummer Matt Wilson, a trio that has played together for the past 18 years. Most of the tracks are stormy explorations with a free feel, but Denny left room for a gentle ballad, The Star-Crossed Lovers, a gorgeous piece.

Here’s Denny playing The Star-Crossed Lovers

The Star-Crossed Lovers


O Aperto da Saudade:
Heartfelt Music From Brazil 1965-2018
(Far Out). Want a fast mental escape? This compilation album is a beaut. The Portuguese word saudade means nostalgia for something that may never return. The Grip of Saudade (the album’s title translated) features tracks from the Far Out label’s back catalogue from 1965 to the present day. It covers psychedelic folk, samba jazz, bossa nova and more. Go here.

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I stumbled across this precious and hysterical 2010 short film by accident on Friday. It’s absolutely bewitching, marvelously acted and superbly directed by Robert Randall. From the Young Actors Project in Los Angeles, this will chase your blues away…

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A Man Called Adam
(1966) popped up on TCM last week. Some people find it overbearing, but I love it. It’s especially timely now. Directed by Leo Penn, the film stars Sammy Davis Jr. as a tormented jazz musician who habitually squanders opportunities in an industry controlled by white power. I found it engaging and gripping, though over-acted at times by Davis. But the music and feel are authentic and solid. In addition to actors Ossie Davis, Cicely Tyson, Lola Falana and Peter Lawford, there are major appearances by Louis Armstrong, Kai Winding, Mel Tormé, Frank Sinatra Jr., comic Jack E. Leonard, Joe Jones, Frank Wess and other jazz musicians spotted. The music is by Benny Carter, and Nat Adderley dubbed Davis’s flugelhorn playing. Here’s a clip that sounds a bit like Cy Coleman’s Playboy’s Theme

Here’s Playboy’s Theme

Dave Thompson. I can’t get enough of Dave’s piano. Here’s Spring Is Here

Why not? Here’s the Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy playing Peggy’s Blue Sky Light in Belgium in 1964…


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