I emailed local pianist Joel Holmes earlier this week to ask about his new CD, African Skies. Holmes, as it turns out, was in Brazil touring with trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Hargrove's version of Weldon Irvine's "Mr. Clean" was a jazz highlight of 2008, and Holmes reports that the band is playing it every night. If you don't know that tune, head over to iTunes and check it out—Freddie Hubbard cut what may be the definitive version on Straight Life.
And if you're not familiar with Irvine's music, he deserves a listen, too. Irvine, an underappreciated jazz/funk master, has been a huge influence on the likes of Mos Def—who plays Rams Head on the 23rd—and Q-Tip. In his Black on Both Sides liner notes, Mos wrote, "When I grow up, I hope I'm like Weldon." In fact, Irvine co-wrote a few tunes with Mos. And Madlib, under the moniker Monk Hughes and the Outer Realm, released an excellent tribute to Irvine, who passed away in 2002. Mr. Clean lives.