Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Featuring Toots Thielemans: Velas

In 1981, Quincy Jones released his platinum album “The Dude.” Three singles were issued to pop radio from the album and all three charted on the Top 40 charts. “Ai No Corrida” peaked at #28, “Just Once” at #17, and “One Hundred Ways” charted at #14. The latter two songs featured James Ingram who went on to be a star in his own right.

In addition to these three hit singles, a 12-inch of “Ai No Corrida,” “Razzamataz,” and “Betcha Wouldn’t Hurt Me” was issued to clubs and R&B radio. The three songs simultaneously charted at #3 on the dance charts; as for R&B radio, “Ai No Corrida” charted at #10 and “Razzamataz” at #17. The album peaked at #10 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. “The Dude” won four Grammy awards. In addition, yours truly was awarded a platinum album from A&M Records for helping the album achieve its success.

Today’s song was not one of the hit singles; however, the instrumental “Velas” featured Toots Thielemans whistling and playing the chromatic harmonica – but not simultaneously. Brazilian artist Ivan Lins co-wrote the song with Vitor Martins. Lins’ version of “Velas Içadas” contained lyrical content and a vocal track. Being in Portuguese may have inspired Jones to record it solely as an instrumental.

While “Velas” was not a hit recording for Quincy Jones, it does showcase Thielemans best known musical attributes.

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