I Want To Hold Your Hand – Grant Green (1965)

Never known to be a particularly ardent fan of jazz or latin music, one wonders what John Lennon would have thought of the many lightweight jazzbo smooch covers of his tunes by piano lounge acts or TV variety show orchestras. If they are cringe-inducing for us, imagine the pains suffered by the leading Fab himself. The music, however, was often intrinsically too good to be totally reduced to an unlistenable wreck no matter how corny the ensemble performance. Sometimes, as with this very tastefully arranged version of ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ by Grant Green, it borders on the sublime. Lennon still would have loathed it regardless. Undeniably the polar opposite of the original in terms of energy, where The Beatles hurled a grenade upon the world, Green and co. instead concoct a breezy, restrained version that evokes a sun kissed 60s Tropicana-themed beach retreat with a low key cocktail band featuring Hank Mobley on tenor-sax, ladies and gentlemen; the wonderful keyboard stylings of Larry Young; Elvin Jones on drums and please a warm hand for Grant Green, guitar. Seven-minutes of grinning sweetness is followed by the comparatively hectic ‘Speak Low’ with Young providing a Hammond bass pedalboard masterclass and a signature example of bridled drum hellfire by Jones. Sparkling solos by Green and Hank Mobley lift this track way above the others here, which, charming as they are, vary in intensity from sedate to sleepy. Ideal music for Sunday mornings or while driving through a sun shower on your way to brunch.

 

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