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Downshift on the Downbeat: A Jazz Road Trip

Russell Lee
Library of Congress via Flickr

You've just embarked on a long-anticipated summer road trip. You're filled with joy and excitement — until you fill your gas tank and are overcome with horror and grief. Here's hoping you brought this road-ready jazz mix to get back into the right frame of mind.

Read and hear more entries in the Road Trip: Songs to Drive By series.

This list is also in the Take Five: A Weekly Jazz Sampler series.

Downshift on the Downbeat: A Jazz Road Trip

Charles Mingus

"II B.S."

From 'Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus'

"II B.S." is the perfect song to kick off a road trip. It builds anticipation before breaking out into a fast-paced jam that'll have drivers involuntarily putting the pedal to the metal. Volkswagen used Charles Mingus' song in a 1999 commercial that depicts a hip grandpa sneaking out of his nursing home to speed away with his grandson on a dusty highway to Las Vegas.

Nat King Cole

"(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66"

From 'Very Best of Nat King Cole [Capitol]'

Not many songs say "road trip" quite as well as this musical map outlining destinations on historic Route 66. Songwriter Bobby Troup composed this song as he and his wife followed Route 66 to California to seek fame and fortune. The song was presented to Nat King Cole, who made it famous.

Wes Montgomery

"O.G.D. (aka Road Song)"

From 'Impressions: The Verve Jazz Sides'

Legendary jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery spent a lot of time on the road traveling from gig to gig. He must have needed a song to keep him and his traveling companions in a happy mood through hours of travel. The infectious groove in this tune is enough to sustain just about any driver's energy on a long trip.

Teri Thornton

"Open Highway"

From 'Open Highway'

"Open Highway" is the theme from the 1960s TV show Route 66. Teri Thornton's rich, powerful voice soars through this anthem to the open road. It's enough to inspire hope for an extended detour, just to have an excuse to hit repeat.

Arnett Cobb

"Fast Ride"

From 'Movin' Right Along'

If you have a long stretch of flat road ahead of you (maybe the state of South Dakota), this song will keep you going above the speed limit. The first few hits of the drumbeat and Arnett Cobb's blowing tenor sax set the pace for a rousing tune. Watch out for speeding tickets. See Cobb's music on Concord Music Group.

Copyright 2008 90.5 WESA

Shaunna Morrison Machosky