Anyway, I love listening to the jazz station with the monkey in the car because he totally digs it. He always gets this big goofy smile on his face and starts grooving in his car seat, especially during horn solos.
So this morning we were listening and a great version of "Blue Skies" came on, sung by a woman named Jennifer Leigh. I wasn't able to find any copy/version of it to share here, but it'd be worth hunting down if you're interested. I was really feeling this song and this version and decided it was a perfect moment to take on Today's New Activity: Scatting.
Ok, I need to clarify here. For many people my age, "scat" means something very different than what I'm talking about here, and it usually involves The Japanese. But I don't mean *that* kind of scat. I'm talking about "Doop doop, dowawa scooby dop da" kind of scat, the art of jazz vocal improvisation. Ella Fitzgerald was a master:
That's like CRAZY scatting. You can get a little more down-to earth version here, from Jill Scott and George Benson:
(incidentally, this is the best version of the song "Summertime" I've ever heard, and I think if you can keep your head and/or feet still all the way through it you are defunct in some way and I probably don't want to know you) :)
Scatting--or any kind of musical improvisation, really--is not easy. And it's definitely not easy to do and not sound kind of corny. My dear friend Kelsi is always down for any kind of musical jam session, vocal or instrumental, or both. And I think it is part of her life's mission to try and convince other people to join her. But for me, the hardest part of joining in on that particular kind of fun (aside from the fact that I don't play an instrument and have a voice that is, at best, average) is the part that involves letting go. I mean you just have to really get past the fear of looking or sounding stupid in order to let come what may. Many people don't care much for that loss-of-control feeling, and I am definitely among them.
Maybe it was because the song was so great, or maybe it was because my incredibly forgiving-of-faults 14-month-old son was my only audience, or maybe it's because chief among things on my mind lately is the idea of letting go and letting life in -- whatever it was, that scat just flowed right on out of me and filled the air inside my Toyota Matrix with a sense of whimsy, of devil-may-care lightness, of FREEDOM. It's that freedom and energy-filled, organized chaos that has always drawn me to jazz, and it was invigorating to make some amateur vocal music of my own, if only for 3 minutes and 30 seconds during my morning commute.