The 1990’s and beyond have been dubbed the "decades of the brain," as technology and research continually allows scientists to explain how the brain functions as never before. They know that genius or intelligence is a product of rich experiences which stimulate the brain. A baby comes into this world primed for experiencing and assimilating stimulating activities. In a recent study at the University of California, Irvine it was found that music increases spatial-temporal reasoning (the reasoning used in learning higher forms of math and science). Studies have also shown that because of music’s complex repetitive patterns, it connects and develops the motor systems of the brain, improves eyesight and hearing, and enhances coordination, concentration, and memory. Studies have revealed that college students, who listen to classical music while studying, absorb, retain and retrieve the information easier than those studying in silence.
These facts have profound implications for parents. They need to provide numerous, ongoing, and enriching experiences which will nourish their children’s brains. Saxophonist/trumpeter Jon Crosse has compiled a unique collection of jazz adaptations of traditional lullabies and children’s classics that has made getting smarter a truly enjoyable experience with his CD entitled, Kind of Blue and Pink.
In 1985 Crosse released Lullabies Go Jazz and in 1989 Peter and the Wolf Play Jazz and Cool Mother Goose Suite, all three where greeted with much success and opened the door to stimulating children’s minds while cultivating them in the enjoyment of America’s indigenous art form Jazz. The 2006 release of Kind of Blue and Pink is a compilation of 17 songs from Lullabies Go Jazz and Cool Mother Goose Suite, along with three previously unreleased "bonus tracks." The compilation is reportedly in response to so many request to make the music available on CD (previously the music was only available on cassette).
Crosse, a multi-instrumentalist of saxophones and trumpet, has served as Paul Anka’s musical director for many years. Crosse’s woodwind sound is warm and focused and comes through clearly with interesting twists and turns conveyed with flowing rhythm and all drenched in the tradition of jazz. The result is these songs sound fresh, you would never know that these songs have helped developed the minds of generations! Crosse’s fresh arrangements highlight the great talents of his fellow jazzers, resulting in these treasured children’s songs being improvised with class and musicality one would expect from such named artist.
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is brought to life by Fischer’s rhythmic piano work and Crosse’s (on tenor) solo lines give this tired old song new life that will surly get the brain waves swingin’. The serious jazz listener will also be surprised to hear the first three measures of the melody are harmonized with Coltrane’s "Giant Steps" harmony! Very nice!
"Mary Had a Little Lamb," and "Hickory Dickory Dock," finds both McRae and Hubbard in fine form. McRae’s voice is rich with flowing swing as she delivers the well known melodies with class and freshness. Hubbard is in usual excellent musical form as he delivers fine solos over the rhythm section.
The overall flow and sound quality of the CD is great. There is wide variety of styles and instrumentations to give the listening experience an enjoyable flow. All the playing is top shelf, and the arrangements are fresh with lots of surprises waiting to be discovered. Any one should find the CD very enjoyable; after all there is reportedly a kid in all of us.
Music is such a magical experience. Parents and children alike can increase their brain functioning, enlarge their capacity for learning, and enrich their lives through the brain building rhythms of jazz music! Music, it does the body good -- build on jazz fans, build on.