Category Archives: Social Commentary

Thank You, Lew Soloff

Trumpet Legend Lew Soloff passed away in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 8, 2015 in New York City.

Soloff was the consummate New York musician whose 50-plus year career spanned thousands of recording sessions and live performances with artists such as Gil Evans, Blood Sweat and Tears, Frank Sinatra, Carla Bley, Barbra Streisand, Machito, Marianne Faithfull, Paul Shaffer, Manhattan Brass, Jon Faddis and Ornette Coleman.

The Top Shelf had the honor of working with Lew on September 27, 2013 when he took over the lead trumpet duties for a performance at The Cutting Room. A highlight of the evening was Lew performing his iconic solo from the Blood Sweat & Tears’ hit “Spinning Wheel.”

Thank you, Lew, for all the great music and for a terrific gig.

Click to read Soloff’s obituary in the New York Times.

Macarena, Mambo #5, Hey Ya, and This Summer…

Every few years a song comes out — usually in the summer — that burns white hot.  Most of the time these songs flame out and are rarely heard again.

But every once in a while…

We’re going to look at four songs — two that flamed out, one that survived, and one that has only just come out but will be a staple of every wedding band for the next three months.

Flameout number 1 — The Macarena

The monster hit of 1996 was recorded by middle-aged lounge act Los Del Rio.

How on earth did this song and this dance become so big?

I don’t miss this one.

Flameout number 2 — Mambo Number 5

Lou Bega’s 1999 summer confection, liberally sampling Perez Prado’s original from the 1950s.

This one had its run, too.

Survivor number 1 — Hey Ya

OutKast’s late summer 2003 release has held up with bands performing the song ten years after Andre 3000 played all eight parts in the video.

Bands are still playing this one, and the video holds up.

THE song of Summer, 2013 — Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke and Pharrell)

You can take your pick of a dozen live performances of this globe-topping fluff that has dominated the Billboard Top 100 for the past 10 weeks.  Here’s one from the Graham Norton show.

This really is infectious, but will it make it past September?  I don’t know, but if you attend a wedding this summer, you’ll hear it.