What is sexy music?
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Funny the hidden effects we can bury in a word or gesture. In an online exchange a correspondent (damn, I’m getting too formal – I need a brain enema or something) used the word “tiger” in reference to me. It was a habitual closing, nothing personal. Charles off visiting, a little rum in the bloodstream I shifted into a faintly amorous mood.
Face it Tiger, you just hit the jackpot!
That was what Mary Jane* said to Peter Parker when she first met him in Amazing Spiderman #42. John Romita had replaced the vastly more gifted Steve Ditko as artist. Romita, a long time penciller of romance comic books knew how to draw pretty girls, sales soared.
Have you ever heard anybody called tiger? I haven’t. A tough sultry b-move blond - the kind whose bra seemed to have been designed by a specialist in suspension bridges - in something like the original Dragstrip Girl might’ve called her man du jour tiger. Stan Lee was trying to be hip. For many a funnybook loving kid that Splash panel with Mary Jane was a high point of their adolescence
A casually tossed off word, an old association, a shift of mood. I found myself thinking I’d like to put on a sexy CD. My inner eye looked at itself in surprise: a what?
Sexy CDs . . . which could mean crossdressers. Prince came to mind. I discovered him just as my sexuality returned from its long vacation: Have you ever wanted anyone, even boy or girl? Marc Almond, always for me, musical homoerotica noir.
As much as I enjoy jazz vocals, sexiness isn’t a quality I normally associate with jazz singing (and I’m to lazy to walk over to the shelves and look). I do mean sexiness, not sensuality. My inner ear harkens back to listening to June Christy, the last of the vocool singers. She readily evokes the ideas of sophisticated sexuality of the late 50’s – early 60’s. I had a real erotic crush on her voice for a few months. Vocool began with Anita O’Day, who singing often suggests good-humored carnal knowledge. Probably my third favorite female jazz singer, sexually she seems too tough and streetwise for a wimp like me.
I’m sure many a jazz fan would suggest Dinah Washington or Peggy Lee.
Can’t think of a male jazz singer. Not even Eckstine and Nat Cole. Insufficiently known Al Bowlly is my male singer of the tenderness of love, but never sex.
Armstrong, Fitzgerald, Vaughan: my favorite jazz singers. Each of them in their various ways evokes joy and awe, much of love, but nothing of sex as such.(
And there’s Sade, a bit of vocool sneaking over to pop.)
The jump blues guys never left you doubting what they’d be doing after the fish fry, for me their music is all celebratory, a perpetual party. Blues has mostly seemed about sexual pain to me. But Bessie Smith aside I’ve rarely listened to the blues
James Brown should be on my list but when he’s going on about “hot pants” I’m just synched to the rhythm. Same reason none of the funky groups on Mercury could fit into what my reverie required.
Of course that was my list for yesterday’s mood. And yours is doubtlessly very, very different.