When it comes to cracking the jokes, Alonzo Bodden has it covered. He kills on his weekly podcast called, “Who's Paying Attention?,” he travels all around bringing the laughs everywhere he lands, he's done cameos on plenty of late night TV shows, and even won Last Comic Standing and later went on to judge the show. Don't get it twisted though, Alonzo isn't a one trick pony. Yeah he's a funny guy but here's a fun fact that you might not know. Alonzo is also wayyy into jazz music. So much so that he hosts a show on SmoothJazz.com and sets sail on jazz cruises entertaining on the high seas.
Before Alonzo goes on another jazztastic adventure, we got the chance to pin him down to get a list of his Top Five Jazz Songs to Turn up While Driving Down the 405. And by the way, he's hitting up the Irvine Improv this Thursday through Sunday (December 20th-23rd) so if you like to laugh (and who doesn't?), do yourself a solid and pick up tickets before he cruises away. Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves.
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5. Robert Glasper, “Yes I'm Country (And That's OK)”
Robert is one of the new young jazz musicians who is really powerful and also an amazing keyboard player. This song is really a driving fast piano melody that's repetitive. I'm no expert on music so I don't know what you call the chorus of a song that's all instrumental, but that part of the song is really fast and then it mellows out. Then it goes really fast again and mellows out again…it's just like driving lane to lane on the 405.
4. Weather Report, “Teen Town”
Weather Report is this jazz band fusion from the seventies. “Teen Town” is like five guys playing together that sound like they're playing individually. It's a lot of confusion, it's loud, and it's brilliant. In the seventies young jazz musicians were combining jazz, rock-and-roll, and electronic instruments. They were coming up with all of these new sounds that people would be like, hey you're not supposed to do that! If you don't like jazz you'll probably listen to Teen Town and think, that's just a lot of noise! [Laughs.] Be careful though, this song can definitely you get you a speeding ticket!
3. Al Jarreau, "Take Five”
Number three is a hard one because there are a lot of songs I want to include. "Take Five” is a good song for driving because it's got a great beat. It's sort of a love song because Al's asking his woman when she's going to "take five” to be with him. He sings it so well that he's probably like, I don't really need you anyways. I'm just going to scat with the music and do what I do. I'm Al Jarreau woman, you think I need you? Take five! [Laughs.]
2. Miller, “Blast”
This song is upbeat and clean. It's one of those songs where, well, in jazz a lot of people don't do solos and what Marcus does is plays the solo and then he allows everyone to improvise on the same solo. He's got an orchestra backing him up and he has a DJ. Anytime you have an orchestra backing you up and a DJ scratching, you've got something going on! Marcus is brilliant and creative. “Blast” also happens to be the theme song to my podcast.
1. Miles Davis, “All Blues”
For my number one you have to go classic when you're driving on the 405. It's classic, it's mellow, but it's also genius. It's one of those songs that if you keep listening to it, you keep hearing different things. You start of thinking, this is simple. Then you're like, wait a minute, there's a lot going on here. It's also long so it's good for driving. It'll keep you from shooting at somebody when you're driving down the 405!
Thanks for giving us some pointers. Fill me in on the jazz cruises that you do. It must be nice getting to “work” a gig like that.
Yeah I work with a bunch of jazz musicians on the cruises and on festivals. I'm just a really big fan of jazz.
I noticed that you could ask for the “Alonzo Package” on the cruises. It sounds pretty sexy, what exactly does that package entail?
[Laugh[Laughs.]that came from when I was hosting a show on SmoothJazz.com and they were a sponsor. If you order the Alonzo package you get a discount and a credit to use on the ship. There is also a few other small gifts.
Nice! What do you have in store for the Irvine Improv crowd?
Well assuming that the world doesn't end on the 21st, I love to do topical comedy so at this point, it'll be kind of like my year in review. The big thing, and sorry Orange County, but Barack Obama won again and I'll mention stuff about that. It'll be some good stuff and some bad. So the election is a big thing from this year and I'll also talk a little about the Olympic year because that was big in the news…until the week after and then we absolutely didn't care anymore. You know, my act is almost like the news with big stories and stupid stories. I don't do too much weather but I will do some sports stories. And it's also almost Christmas time so we'll cover shopping for “her” because that's all that matters. I don't have a “her” so I'll be happily saving some cash. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Ramadan…whatever gets you to the mall, I'm in for the celebration. There'll definitely be some holiday cheer!
Tune in for Alonzo's podcast “Who's Paying Attention?” on the Sideshow Network, follow him on Twitter @AlonzoBodden, and see where he'll be next on his website www.AlonzoLive.com. You can also book a cabin for a Smooth Jazz Cruise that Alonzo will be hosting on www.TheSmoothJazzCruise.com. Get your tickets to see Alonzo this Thursday through Sunday (Dec. 20th-23rd) at the Irvine Improv by going to www.Improv.com or by calling 949-854-5455. The Improv is located at 71 Fortune Drive Irvine, CA 92618.
After all of Alonzo's shows, the United Way will be accepting donations for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund to provide support services to the families that have been affected by this mass shooting. Whether it is a little or a lot, please do your part to donate if you can.