Happy 24th Of July

Today’s cycling expedition through eastern Washington’s Naches Valley took me where orchard country and cattle country merge for a few miles. Waving above a prosperous looking ranch house was this enormous American flag.

Naches Flag 1

A mile or so up the road, another rancher was not to be outdone.

Naches Flag 2

The flags reminded me of two versions of “America The Beautiful” that I did not include in the 4th of July Rifftides post. There are several videos of the song by Ray Charles. This one with the Raelettes is seen less often than most. He perfected a routine for this piece, but within the pattern every performance was an original, because it was by Ray Charles.

The other “America The Beautiful” is by a trombonist we lost in 2003. Carl Fontana was held in awe by colleagues and aficionados. He deserved wider fame for his musicality, swing, astonishing control of his instrument and the humor in his work.

Carl Fontana, trombone; Al Cohn, tenor Saxophone; Richard Wyands, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; Akira Tana, drums, from Uptown Records’ The Great Fontana. For an extended live version of “America The Beautiful” by Fontana, go here. The audio quality is a bit compressed, but you can hear everyone. Your close attention will be rewarded.

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  1. says

    On our last tour with the Kenton Alumni Band, we either opened or closed every concert with Dale DeVoe”s wonderful arrangement of “America the Beautiful.” It is on our new Road Scholars CD on Summit Records.

  2. Jim Brown says

    Joe Segal once told me that Al Cohn was one of the guys he misses most. I feel the same. Along with Desmond, Bill Evans, and Prez.