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Digging the Derby: 10 Jazz Tunes To Spur On The Big Race

The most intense two minutes of annual sport – that’s what they call the Kentucky Derby, right? Hard to disagree. The horses and their riders prep for a year and they’re done in 125 seconds  or so. I’ll assume you’re one of the many who catches the event on the flat-screen, not one of the few who actually make it to Churchill Downs. And I’ll assume you need some tunes to tickle your fancy while fretting about that sizable bet you made earlier in the day. Here,then, are 10 songs with titles that can be applied to the contest at hand.  Throw ’em into a playlist and have fun. If they don’t work, call “Fugue For Tinhorns” jazz (it may well be) and have your fun that way.

Mint Julep, Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers (JSP)

Just keep sipping. Don’t let your mind wander to that wager you’ve made.

Saddle Up!   Bill Frisell, Go West: Music For the Films of Buster Keaton (Nonesuch)

Nice soundtrack for limbering up on the morning of the race.

Fast Track,  Miles Davis,  We Want Miles (Columbia)

Big grooves for a big day.

The Noonward Race, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia)

I’m not sure if good ole Seattle Slew could keep up with Billy Cobham on this one.

Gallop’s Gallop, Thelonious Monk, Live At The It Club (Columbia)

No one clops along as cleverly and confoundingly as Monk.

Racehorse, Count Basie Kansas City Three, For the Second Time(OJC)

Swinging around the track.

Daily Double, Buddy Rich, Ultimate Collection (Stardust)

If anyone can beat the odds and pick two winners at once, it’s Buddy.

My Gal’s a Jockey,  Big Joe Turner, All the Classic Hits (JSP)

Riding night and day, throwing that big leg over – how does Joe pay attention to the race?

Home Stretch, Billy Pierce, Equilateral (Sunnyside)

Check the snare, check the forward motion of the horn. They’re almost there…

Dead Heat, Kenny Burrell/Jimmy Raney, 2 Guitars (Prestige)

Definitely neck and neck down the stretch. Can’t really tell who won.

Photo Finish, Bobby Previte, Weather Clear, Track Fast (enja)

Sometimes it comes down to a shutter click. Previte knows all about chopping time into micro seconds.