Why this tune?
Tunes On Tuesday marks Thad Jones’ birthday with his beautiful ballad “Kids Are Pretty People.” He built a reputation as a brilliant trumpet player and soloist with the Count Basie band, then established himself as one of the most important composer and arranger in jazz. “Kids” was one of Jones’ tunes performed by the band he led with drummer Mel Lewis through the 1960s and 1970s. If you were in a high school or college jazz band in that era, you likely heard many of their recordings and probably played some of Thad Jones’ arrangements. If you’re just a jazz fan, you’re probably familiar with his many works, including “A Child Is Born.”
“Kids Are Pretty People” is best known as a big band piece, but there are several fine small group versions of the tune, including a few featuring Thad’s older brother Hank Jones on piano.
One personal note: Thad Jones took over the Count Basie Orchestra in 1985 after Basie’s death. I remember driving out to hear them on a rainy afternoon in Thad Jones’ hometown of Pontiac, Michigan. More recently, I played on Marsvyn David’s arrangement of Jones’ “A Child Is Born” for his holiday album “A Quelbe Flavored Christmas”
Tunes On Tuesday Reel
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Full piano track