I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately, so today’s Smooth Jazz song is a little late.
I have to give some credit to Susan Leighton of the Woman On The Ledge blog for mentioning today’s song to me. We were discussing guitarist Larry Carlton, who played with the Crusaders (the band featured on the most recent Funky Friday post). In one of her comments, she mentioned how she often heard “Sleepwalk” growing up. Within seconds, I thought what a great song for Smooth Jazz Sunday. If you want some laughs, you need to go to Susan’s blog, and read some of her stuff. It’s awesome.
Without further delay, here is today’s song: Larry Carlton’s cover of Santo & Johnny’s “Sleepwalk.”
The original song was recorded in 1959 and became a number one pop hit for Santo & Johnny Farina. The brothers wrote the song with their mother, and performed it with their uncle on the drums. Carlton’s version has lots of the modern touches: synthesizer, the sound of programmed drums. What isn’t robotic of course, is Carlton’s playing. It is one of the high points of a career that has spanned almost fifty years, with lots of twists and turns. He has a solo career, he’s played with the Crusaders and Steely Dan, he’s guested on session work for many artists, ranging from Joni Mitchell to Michael Jackson. For a brief spell in the late 90s through the mid 2000’s, he was a member of the smooth jazz supergroup Fourplay. He’s also won four Grammy awards, one of which was for his work on the theme song for the television show Hill Street Blues in collaboration with Mike Post. Despite being the victim of a random act of violence (he was shot in the throat while working on his album On Solid Ground in 1989), he was able to recover and his career has continued to thrive.
I hope you enjoy “Sleepwalk” today, and as always thanks for reading and listening.