Dizzy Gillespie Plays The Sax…

…no he didn’t. But so goes the line in Nice-N-Smooth’s rap hit “Funky For You.”

Of course, many of us know that Dizzy Gillespie (or John Birks Gillespie on his government forms) played the trumpet, and was famous for the way his cheeks would enlarge whenever he played. See below.

Dizzy Gillespie (commons.wikimedia.org)

But this post isn’t necessarily about Greg Nice’s malaprop in the rap song, nor about Dizzy Gillespie and his monumental contribution to jazz, although both would be worthy topics to explore. No, this one is about the saxophone…or more specifically one gifted practitioner who so happens to play that instrument. That gifted artist is David Sanborn. And it’s also a way to show his tenuous connection to Christmas. Enjoy this re-imagining of an earlier post entitled “Rain On Christmas.”

It’s not a Christmas song. At least I don’t think it is. Yet David Sanborn had the idea to name a tune “Rain On Christmas.” And because I like it, I play it once every year, just because it has Christmas in the title. So, at least to me, it IS a Christmas song.

Sanborn’s former label, Warner Brothers, even got in on the act, including it in an album called Jazz Christmas, in which it was the lead track. The jazz definition was very broad to include Sanborn, James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, and Gabriela Anders under one roof. Carter and Chestnut may have the most in common, at least in terms of recorded output. But, that’s the wonders of marketing. The five track album can be found on Spotify here:

Given the weather situation here in Maryland on this Christmas Eve, the song fits. Christmas Day is scheduled to feature more of the same: rain, much like it has been for a good deal of the week, with out of this world temperatures for December—60s and 70s. Looks like instead of a white Christmas, we’re going to have a green, T-shirt Christmas.  This month of December has been filled with days that wouldn’t be out of place in early spring—and these last few days have felt more like April than December. And we all know about the “April Showers” bit, right?  So why wouldn’t Christmas have some too-I mean, why should it miss out on all the dreary, damp fun?

At any rate, Sanborn’s “Rain On Christmas”, at least title-wise, fits. Enjoy.

2 Replies to “Dizzy Gillespie Plays The Sax…”

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