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July 2024
Vol. 23, No. 10


San Diego, Jazz, and the Beatles

by Bart MendozaMarch 2024

More than half a century after they first hit the charts, the Beatles remain one of the most popular and most covered bands in the world. Here are ten times San Diego-related jazz musicians have released a song written by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, or George Harrison. This collection of tunes would make an excellent compilation album!

  • The Greyboy All Stars, featuring saxophonist Karl Denson (the Rolling Stones), keyboardist Robert Walter (Roger Waters), and composer Elgin Park include a version of “Taxman” that is the definition of the word “groove,” on their sixth album, Get a Job: Music from the Original Broadcast Series Soul Dream (2022). Great keyboard workout from Walters!
  • Singer Allison Adams Tucker’s album, April in Paris (2014), includes her recast rendition of “Here Comes the Sun.” A very nice song arrangement.
  • LP and the Vinyl, whose members include jazz favorites Leonard Patton, Justin Grinnell, Julien Cantelm, and Danny Green, includes a version of “Fool on the Hill” on their debut album, Seen and Heard (2020). Everyone is superb on this track, but Green’s piano work is particularly stellar.
  • Legendary bassist Nathan East’s debut, self-titled album (2014), includes his version of “Yesterday.” He’s joined on piano by his son, Noah East, giving this already sad song, an extra poignant edge.
  • The Justin Grinnell Quartet’s album Without You (2013) features a terrific bass solo from Grinnell on “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” Amazing playing all around.
  • Guitarist Peter Sprague has recorded several Beatles covers on his albums, both in solo and full band arrangements. Lucy in the Sky (2017) contains the excellent title track plus versions of “In My Life” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
  • Singer Rebecca Jade is among the performers on saxophonist Dave Koz and Friends album, Christmas Ballads (2022 25th Anniversary Collection), where she sings a mashup of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and “Imagine.”
  • Singer Jonathan Karrant’s album, On and On (2016), features his version of “In My Life,” done as a smokey lounge piano ballad as Sinatra or Dean Martin that might have approached it. A nice touch is that the song includes a brief coda of Paul McCartney’s 1970 solo song, “Junk.”
  • Guitarists Peter Pupping and Fred Benedetti have recorded numerous Beatles covers. Their album, Moondance (2003), includes a sprightly version of “When I’m 64.” Benedetti performs annual Beatles birthday concerts, Highly recommended!
  • Award-winning guitarist Wayne Riker’s album, A Beatles Overture from A to Z (2021), is essentially a medley of 21 solo guitar Beatles covers. Riker’s inventive arrangement makes for a fun listen.

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