Labor Day Work Song

labor_dayMonday, September 2, is Labor Day in the United States. Congress established it in 1894 as a national holiday to honor working people. Decades ago, the observance expanded into a long weekend during which Americans celebrate the end of summer by going to beaches, swimming pools, mountains, campgrounds, parks and backyard barbecues. Detroit honors the occasion by holding a massive who’s-who jazz festival, one of the biggest in the world. It is not unlikely that during the course of the festival, somebody will perform a piece that was written with labor, rather than a respite from labor, in mind. On a 1962 broadcast of Jazz Scene USA, Cannonball Adderley introduced what was already becoming a jazz standard.

Happy Labor Day

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  1. says

    Nice item.

    Got talking with some old pals about some jazz figures who are becoming forgetten — that the youngest generation of players rarely reference them. Cannonball was my ‘contribution’ It’s especially curious considering his high profile and well-selling records only a couple of decades back…

    • Terence Smith says


      The game of thinking which figures are most unjustly forgotten could make a very nice Labor Day activity.

      There are so many neglected figures! One comes to mind instantly:

      If more people were aware of the Phineas Newborn recordings, they would be selling far better than hot cakes.