BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Stolen Moments”


Sometimes a little voice comes along and tells you to do a song, and you don’t know why, but you decide to go with it. For this battle, I chose “Stolen Moments,” a jazz standard written by Oliver Nelson, a saxophone player who played with a number of jazz greats and died too soon at the age of 43. When I saw the list of musicians who had done the song, my eye immediately fell on the name Phil Woods. In the early 1970’s, I got a bunch of free records from a guy Mom taught with whose mother worked at WCFL in Chicago, one of which was Phil Woods and the European Rhythm Machine at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. I wasn’t really into jazz at the time, but I gave the album a listen.

Wow! I had never heard music like this. Over the years, I listened to it a number of times. Maybe not as often as Chicago Transit Authority or Child Is Father To The Man, but enough that it burned the name “Phil Woods” into my brain for all eternity. So, when I saw he had done the song, I had to have a listen. As I was listening, I started scrolling through the comments, and got the sad news that Phil had died on Tuesday at the age of 83.

I’ve done three things to commemorate Phil: I stopped at his obituary page and left a note, I purchased the MP3 version of his Montreaux album, and I’m featuring his version of “Stolen Moments” with the European Rhythm Machine (George Gruntz, piano; Daniel Humair, drums; Henri Texier, bass) to introduce you to the tune. This is not part of the Battle today.

As with most jazz standards, the song has been covered a number of times. Here are our two contestants for today:

CONTESTANT #1: Lee Ritenour, Andreas Varady, and Dave Grusin

This was a performance at the 46th Montreaux Jazz Festival which also coincided with Quincy Jones’ 80th birthday. That’s Quincy handling the introductions.

CONTESTANT #2: The Brownman Electryc Trio

I had never heard of this band before today, but they have a website that tells us Brownman Ali is from Trinidad, learned the trumpet from Randy Brecker in New York, and is now considered Canada’s preeminent jazz trumpeter. He leads seven different ensembles, including the Electryc Trio (with a different lineup in the US and Canada) which is reminiscent of Miles Davis in his later years. This is the Canadian lineup, including Brownman, Brad Cheesman on 6-string bass, and Colin Kingsmore on drums.

So, which do you like better? The more traditional treatment by Ritenour, Grusin, and Varady, or the Miles Davis-esque treatment by the Brownman Electryc Trio? Vote now by leaving a comment, and after you’ve done that, visit the other Battles going on today by visiting the other BotB’ers:

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Women: We Shall Overcome
Cherdo on the Flipside
Holli’s Hoots ‘n’ Hollers
J. A. Scott
Quiet Laughter

I’ll announce the winner of this battle next Wednesday, October 7. See you then!


Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

20 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Stolen Moments””

  1. Very nice pairing!

    Maybe it’s the early morning hour, but the Brownman version doesn’t do for me. It’s some outstanding playing and I wouldn’t say I don’t like it because I do. This would be good driving or activity music.

    For me at this moment I prefer the loping relaxating sounds of the guys at Montreaux.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out


  2. Great song choice, JOHN.
    Although I could appreciate both recordings you used in this contest, that Phil Woods version was particularly nice, and matching that one up against Lee Ritenour, Andreas Varady, and Dave Grusin would have made this a tougher BOTB for me in deciding how to vote.

    Man, Lee and Dave… that’s not an easy combo to beat. I met Lee Ritenour once in 1978 or ’79, on a TV commercial shoot (of all places) and in speaking with him, he taught me a lesson about music and musicians that has stuck with me all these years.

    It was really nice starting my morning with some classic Jazz.
    Please log my vote for LEE, ANDREAS, & DAVE.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’


  3. Nice match-up! Although I like both, I definitely prefer Lee Ritenour, Andreas Varady and Dave Grusin. Some very fancy fingerwork on those guitars! I like the more traditional version. The electronic one was cool but it got on my nerves after a while. So my vote goes to the tres amigos…


  4. John, Oh I definitely prefer the traditional sound of Ritenour, Andreas Vardy, & Dave Grusin over contestant #2. Please give my vote to these cats! Cool battle with two different sounds to the same cover!


  5. Nice BATTLE. I love the distinctive sound of Lee Ritenour and to hear him along with Vardy and Grusin…WOW! That electric sound of the second group just didn’t do it for me. Please give the Vardy, Ritenour, and Grusin combo my vote today.


  6. Hi John!
    The Brownman Electryc Trio has a great beat going but I can’t get into all of the ‘newbie’ sounds.

    I’m so glad you didn’t put up Phil Woods vs Lee Ritenour, Andreas Varady, and Dave Grusin. I would have been sunk! The original has been a favorite for a long time.

    That said, Lee Ritenour, Andreas Varady, and Dave Grusin really bring more to the program… They make me feel like I’m involved in ‘Stolen Moments’ for real! (smile).

    My vote goes to Lee Ritenour, Andreas Varady, and Dave Grusin. Loved your battle, John.

    I’ve got a battle up today.


  7. I was just outside for about two minutes and got at least three mosquito bites on my back and one on my left leg. Others will appear later. Mosquitoes are drawn to me because I am so tasty. I vote for Brownman Eletryc Trio because I like them better. I’m sorry I can’t come up with a better reason. The bites are so irritating that I can hardly think. It’s been really humid, and we’ve had tons of rain. Lake Junebug is full. The mosquitoes and tadpoles are blooming. Oh, no! A mosquito came in with me! Ordinarily, I wouldn’t go outside, but the dogs were upset because of the men working on the house next door. I had to go out so the dogs would go out. TMI, I know. Sorry.



  8. OK Bummer-I could not listen to the 2nd one-not available in Canada. I went to Youtube and couldn’t play it there either. I listened to some of their other stuff and found it…irritating. Now this is not fair since I can’t listen to the same song but I did enjoy the first band-love the guitar work and solos


  9. Both are fantastic. The kid in #1 has some awesome finger play on the guitar.

    I’m going to vote for #2 though; perhaps only cuz I’m on my second glass of wine and really digging the electronic sounds.


  10. Wow, John… LOVED this. Stolen Moments is a huge favorite of mine, so I enjoyed hearing two versions I’d never heard before. And I have to go with Brownman — he’s an amazing musician, and turned this staple of jazz into something fresh and modern, and I love him for it. (And for his majestic trumpet work… gawd.) Thanks for introducing me to him, John; gratitude forever 🙂
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter


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