Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Battle of "Birdland" versions

Joe Zawinul's "Birdland" was a song I first started diggin' a lot when my high school's jazz band had the good taste to try and take it on around the time it came out in 1977, with the Weather Report album "Heavy Weather."

It's become a jazz staple ever since it was released.  That's a good thing.  My favorite version comes from the band that first performed it, with Jaco Pastorius' "singing" bass lines and Wayne Shorter's perky sax helping to lead the way.

As for my wife, the singer, I know which version she'd choose as her favorite:  The Manhattan Transfer's cover with vocals.  I know this because she loves to sing along with it.

What about you?  Who makes you tap your toes along to the driving beat of Zawinul's "Birdland" the most?  Buddy Rich?  Maynard Ferguson?  Manhattan Transfer?  Quincy Jones?  String Cheese Incident?  Or the originators, Weather Report?

Feel free to chime in here.

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