Depending on where you are in these United States, it’s probably too hot to do the activity that is described in the title of today’s Morning Groove. That said, I can’t think of too many songs that evoke summer than “Grazing In The Grass.” It is that song that makes up today’s Morning Groove.
The story of today’s song begins with South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. His version of the song hit #1 in 1968 on both the pop and R&B charts. He left his native South Africa in the early sixties, helped along by some international friends, and eventually made his way to the United States. While in the States, he studied classical trumpet at the Manhattan School of Music. The song was written by actor and singer Philemon Hou, who came up with the melody, which was based on an earlier song Masekela had recorded entitled “Mr. Bull No. 5”. “Grazing In The Grass” is well known as one of the sixties’ best instrumentals, as well as a popular song for cookouts and barbecues even today. A year later, The Friends Of Distinction had a hit version of “Grazing In The Grass” where vocals written by group member Harry Elston were added.
Over thirty years later, smooth jazz artists Boney James and Rick Braun collaborated on an album titled Shake It Up which contained a version of “Grazing In The Grass.” It’s a version made of its time, a much smoother take on the original classic, and certainly not as energetic as the Friends Of Distinction’s vocal take. If you like smooth jazz, you’ll like the sax and trumpet duo taking this one on.
I hope you enjoy today’s Morning Groove, and as always, thanks for reading and listening.