Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with the Jizzwail Jukebox

by Beedo Sookcool
on 2018-04-10, 11:43:32

I found out that April is Jazz Appreciation Month in the USA. Frankly, I am appalled that it’s not a global observation. I love most forms of music, but I adore jazz. Like many of our generation, I got introduced to it through cartoons. As I got older, the number of movies and programs on TV that included any form of jazz just seemed to skyrocket. And I got hooked.

It also helped that Johnny Williams, a jazz drummer who worked with the Raymond Scott Quintette and did a lot of very familiar music for those aforementioned cartoons, also fathered John Williams, who wrote some tunes for a couple of TV shows and movies you may have seen. John Jr’s dad influenced him heavily, and is the main reason a galaxy far, far away has so much jazz-sounding music in its clubs and cantinas. And, unfortunately, this wonderful techno-tweaked space jazz became known as . . . [shudder] . . . oh, brother . . . “jizz.” This was later changed to the not-much-better “jizzwail.” }SIGH{

And so, in honour of Jazz Appreciation Month, I am pleased to bring you Creature Cantina’s Jizzwail Jukebox, the perfect soundtrack for all your drinking needs! So grab a beer, a shot, or a juri juice, and prepare to drown your sorrows in alcohol and ji . . . . I am not finishing that sentence.

First up are the two tunes that introduced us to the electronically-tweaked jazz of Star Wars, the unimaginatively-titled “Cantina Band” and “Cantina Band 2.” Now, my research into the “Expanded Universe” has led me to believe that “CB” is titled “Tears of Aquanna” in-universe, and “CB2” is named “Mad About Me.” Further research indicates I may have gotten that backwards. Opinion on this matter, like every other opinion in Star Wars fandom, seems to be divided. I soon expect a deluge of messages saying how wrong I am. Regardless, here we go:

And, because I am eee-vill, here’s a variation on a theme called “Good Night, But Not Good-Bye,” from some TV show or other:

It was not until 1983 and Return of the Jedi that we’d hear a new jizzwail tune, with the Max Rebo Band’s “Lapti Nek.” Just about every time it appears in a ROTJ soundtrack I’ve bought, it has been a cleaned-up studio version. Which is nice, but it doesn’t really scratch that movie soundtrack itch, if you know what I mean. Here, instead, I present the rarely-heard complete movie version:

The Rebo Band’s “Jabba’s Baroque Recital” is, as the title says, a Baroque piece, so I won’t be including it here. One tune that never seems to get any love at all and always gets left out of movie soundtracks is “Galactic Dance Blast.” I don’t know how or where it got its name, because I only just discovered its name by accident last week, but it’s the music that the Max Rebo Band is playing on Jabba’s sail barge – soon to be an exciting new gigantic toy from HasLabs! – on the way to the Great Pit of Carkoon. I found a nifty, enjoyable, and skilful mix of it at the same time I found out what it was called:

Here’s hoping the next time they do a Really Big And Totally Complete Soundtrack Collection, We Mean It This Time, Honest, they’ll include “Galactic Dance Blast” and a bunch of other cues that keep getting ignored.

There then followed a long, jizz-free intermission. (All right, ha ha, get it out of your systems.) It would be fourteen years before the Special Editions came out. But one thing a lot of people – but not Bill, I suspect – forget is that there was a cartoon called Star Wars: Droids on TV in 1985, and the Max Rebo Band showed up a couple of times on the show, playing the same song each time. I’m not going to include it, because, well, it’s not that good. If you’re really determined, here is a link to a channel with Thall Joben’s Droids: The Complete Series Remastered. Prepare yourself for a lot of falling down.

Fast-forward to 1997. And, of course, when the Special Editions rolled around, “Lapti Nek” got dropped in favour of a new piece, “Jedi Rocks.” Very bluesy.

Nothing really to speak of in the Prequel Trilogy. There was that underlevels nightclub in Attack of the Clones, but the only music heard in there was the incidental music. However, the Prequels begat the mostly excellent Clone Wars series, and here we find some more cool grooves, in Ziro’s den of sin. The first is called simply “Ziro’s Nightclub Band.”

You also get “Seedy City Swing,” which ends far too quickly for my liking. It’s very “Sing, Sing, Sing”in sound.

Finally, there was “Da Hutt Moda,” Sy Snootles’ big Vegas-style showpiece for the Grand Hutt Council:

And that had to hold us for a while. But then The Force Awakens rolled around, and at the fortress of the talking yam lady, Maz Kanata, we get introduced to the band Shag Kava, which is jamming away with “Jabba Flow.” For some perverse reason, this was not included in the movie soundtrack, and was only available as an MP3 download or on a vinyl single. I mean, vinyl? Pffft. Why not 8-Track while you’re at it? But CD? Nah, forget it. Anywho, here ya go, the Star Wars answer to Shaggy:

The other side of the vinyl single – Vinyl. I ask you! – is called “Dobra Doompa,” a largely instrumental piece. According to one of the comments on the original YouTube page, “Dobra Doompa” sounds extremely close to the Polish for “nice arse.” Good to know!

That brings us up-to-date with the movies and TV shows, but many people forget about the Star Wars video games. It’s easy to understand why, since they mainly just use the music from the movies. But one game stands out in particular for its unique original soundtrack pieces, courtesy of David Levison: Star Wars: Demolition. Whatever you think of the premise of the game (I think it’s silly, but the game itself is great fun), the music is a good listen. Not all of the tracks are what you might call “jazzy,” and the names of the tracks are merely the arena locations in which they play. As for the jazzy ones, we’ll start with the track simply called “Yavin 4.” Owing to its fast, bouncy rhythm, I prefer to call it “Massassi Bossa Nova.”

Next up is the Mos Eisley track, which I like to call “The Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy Blues.”

During game set-up and character selection in Jabba’s Palace, this happy little multi-layered ditty is playing, which I have dubbed “Jabba’s Palace of Funk”:

There are, of course, a few more tracks to listen to in the game, but they’re more dramatic and in keeping with John Williams’ grand orchestral set pieces from the movies. There are a couple of extra bonus music tracks you can choose from when selecting your arenas, including the rollicking “Here They Come (TIE Fighter Attack)” and a new version of “Cantina Band” which starts out with a stuttering Techno intro, but soon settles down into the old familiar tune. The absolute best part of this is, if you buy the PS1 version of the game, you can pop the game disc into a CD player and play it like a normal music disc, or load it into your computer and add the music to your personal playlists. The only problem with that last part is, it shows up as a Cher album, for some reason.

Many years ago, The Evil Genius Orchestra released a tribute album to John Williams, where they took Star Wars music and jazzed it up. They whole album is fun and well-produced, but I thought I’d include the best tracks for this playlist. The most famous and common of these songs is their take on “The Imperial March,” done as a Big Band arrangement:

Following on from that is a Big Band version of “The Asteroid Field,” misspelt as “Asteriod” on the CD liner.

There’s a Lounge version of “Han Solo and the Princess,” which just reeks of 1960s jet-setter movies, very appropriately:

”Yoda’s Theme” gets an extremely laid-back Blues noodling treatment:

And to finish this playlist off and bring it full circle, a very mellow Lounge version of “Cantina Band”

So there you go. Enjoy!

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