A couple weeks ago, in the very wee hours of Sunday morning, I accidentally caught a rerun of an ancient Saturday Night Live. The musical guest was Leon Redbone - with a couple sidemen, all sitting in a sort of Palm Court, wearing tuxes, doing an old-timey tune. Nice.
Leslie has several Leon Redbone LPs which I ripped to MP3s. All the songs are very laid back, stylistically pre-jazz and feature his lightly graveled voice on tunes like Shine on Harvest Moon, Melancholy Baby, Polly Wolly Doodle.
A few days later, on WFMU's Beware of the Blog, I came across an archive of sixty-some versions of the Latin-music-for-Americans tune Tico Tico. It's one of those pieces that attracts musicians who like to play fast and over orchestrate. "Cool!" I downloaded them all.
Listening to 3 hours of Tico Tico is a strong audio drug. "How 'bout some methedrine?" "No thanks I'm doing Tico Tico." It takes a long time to clean that twisty melody out of your brain.
My friend Scott commented on the many obvious differences between Leon Redbone & Tico Tico. This gave me a Light Bulb Moment! I created a playlist with both sets of tunes (total 4 1/2 hours) and turned on shuffle play - that is I mixed them randomly.
It actually works pretty well. Individually the two tend towards the monotonous. But in combination, they balance out pretty well. Two different musical worlds. That's why I like it.
If you want to listen to a few Ticos, - I suggest Xavier Cougat (#1) as urtext, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Perez Prado, Ferrante & Teicher (#1) (there's a little fugue) and Ebony & Ivory (interesting Brahmsian motion).
Oh, just listen to them all. I guarantee you'll move your hips more when you walk.