Lou Donaldson (Hot Dog) - Modern Times Beer / Stone Brewing (Wizards & Gargoyles)
On 1969’s Hot Dog, Donaldson places his gorgeous tone and playful licks into the soul of a band effortlessly veering into jazz’s funkiest side. They are delivering infectious, colorful, slick sounds, with Charles Earland’s organ and the impossibly cool guitar of Melvin Sparks stealing the show. On their take on the 1968 Stax Records hit ‘Who’s Making Love’ the band grooves and stretches out over an irresistible mid-tempo scorcher, with group vocal hooks and extended solos finding the most lively and spontaneous heart of the tune. And on the extended title track, the band does much of the same, led by Donaldon’s cute and wiggly melody – a swelling growl here and there heats things up even further.
Alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson is most well-known for his 1958 Blue Note LP Blues Walk, but his long career translated his soulful and joyous prowess on the instrument to a multitude of sounds and sonic eras. He is also known, among some, as an adopter of Selmer’s Varitone, a woodwind amplification rig that hit the market in 1967. Despite being retired, at 94 years he is still with us, making him an official living legend.
Wizards & Gargoyles
by Modern Times Beer / Stone Brewing
Modern Times / Stone Wizards & Gargoyles IPA is an achievement of collaborative awesomeness between two San Diego craft beer trailblazers. Centennial, Cashmere, Citra, and Azacca hops are joined by two in-development hops, yielding juicy notes of tropical citrus that play beautifully with the robust flavors and aromas of the coffee, supplied by, of course, Modern Times' caffeination masters. The result is a beer as wonderfully unique as its creators.
HOT DIGITY DOG!
Listeners of classic hip hop will recognize the opening riff of ‘It’s Your Thing’ as the main sample of De La Soul’s classic ‘Bitties in the BK Lounge’. On his solo Sparks showcases how he can so elegantly slither from sonorous, melodious passages into brief, frantic, eyebrow-raising punctuations. And when presenting the song’s melody, mainly through Earland’s energetic Hammond, Donaldon’s alto and Ed Williams’s trumpet produce sharp, unison lines that shine, ring and resonate with a warm, ecstatic echo. This horn duo is at its best though – its most heart-seizing and grand – on the aforementioned opening cut ‘Who’s Making Love’, during the song’s choruses, when the two sing out together and the whole band surges up behind them, all in the magical making of a most triumphant moment.
Two of the ultimate heavyweights of West Coast brewing – San Diego’s Modern Times and Escondido’s Stone – have joined forces for this mild twist on a now-established classic: the dominant hazy IPA gets a shot of java for this fruitful pairing. The pronunciation of the coffee flavor is subdued, gently resting along with a helping of citrus and a strong earthy hop base. The result packs a decidedly mellower punch than many of Stone’s most popular offerings. Wizards & Gargoyles, with its wickedly stylish pixel-art-sporting, can, and its fresh and refreshing taste, certainly delivers on the promise of two highly regarded titans who have decided not to clash, but to collaborate.
The best jazz is almost always about the synthesis between players, how they interact, and create unexpected rapport over the course of a performance, building each other up and allowing magic to flow precisely from and through their cooperative efforts. On this record Donaldon’s band is tight like a well-oiled machine, but perhaps intentionally over-greased. The mood is light, the style is pulpy and funky and greasy. Hot Dog, indeed.