Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
"Some songs are just like tattoos for your brain... you hear them and they're affixed to you."
It's Friday night. Time to unwind with our regular Friday night feature on This Just In.
The weekend has finally arrived.
The sun has set.
The evening sky has erupted.
Let's put controversy and provocative blogs aside for the rest of this work week and smooth our way into Saturday and Sunday with our music feature we do every Friday night.
The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, The 5th Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. In America, we join the celebration by eating taco pizza, chips and salsa, and drinking margaritas.
This week, some Latin music to fit the holiday.
We begin with a Milwaukee legend who started playing the saxophone when he was 11. Four years later he was a professional musician. He formed his own band that had a hit in 1939 with “Woodchopper's Ball.” His 1940’s bands, the Thundering Herds, combined a light rhythm-section sound with blaring, explosive arrangements. He led his bands almost continuously for more than 50 years.
Here’s a track from “Mucho Gusto,” one of the albums in the kitschy and cool Ultra-Lounge series. Ultra-Lounge describes its music as traveling back in time.
“Not too far back. Just a few decades or so. Back to a time when ‘revolution’ meant watering down your scotch with ice and taking out the olive and putting in an onion. This is a place clothed in leopard and sharkskin. An ear bathed in gimlets, hi-balls, straight up, on the rocks, shaken, not stirred, hi-octane elixirs dressed in garnish garni. A time viewed through the seductive haze of slow-burning lipstick-kissed cigarettes that end up ashtray dancing with cigar stubs and cherry stems. The atmosphere mambos to the soundtrack of cool. Rumbling saxophones, jazzy vibes, over-heated Hammonds, and the sexy chill of a brush across a cymbal. Bold, exotic rhythms strut to the cough and cacophony of the Atomic-Age.”
The artist is the late, great Woody Herman.
Next, we stay with the Ultra-Lounge series.
Here’s what happens when you take the best TV theme song of all-time and Latinize it.
Now we move out of the Ultra-Lounge and in to the 1970’s.
Armando Anthony Corea, better known as Chick Corea, formed a band in the early70’s, Return to Forever that focused on Latin fusion. In 1972, he recorded his most famous and popular composition, “Spain.”
It was often performed in concert by one of my favorite groups, Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Here’s their rendition captured live in 1976 of what has become a jazz standard. Lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas sits this one out.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
We close the way we opened…
With a Milwaukee legend.