I love the way my life works. I got an email a couple of days ago with a list of Christian Howes’ upcoming shows, and camps. Christian and I hadn’t me in person, but we had a chatted online a couple of times.
I saw that he was going to be in Colorado for a week, so I shot him an email, seeing when he was coming to CO, and what his plans were. As it turned out, he was flying into Denver, and had 5 hours to kill when he got here.
It really was a perfect opportunity to meet, hang out, get some breakfast, and play some tunes. So after getting some breakfast at the Egg and I in Denver, Christian taught me Cold Duck Time, a Jazz tune by saxophonist Eddie Harris.
He taught it to me in F, which feels like Ab because it’s more like F minor than F Major. I wimped out, and we ended up playing it in E (which feels like G) – much easier. It’s a really cool tune, and well outside of my comfort zone. And that my friends is what Fiddle Tune a Day is all about!
The best reference I can find on the story of Cold Duck Time is a reference on Wikipedia referring to the Wine called Cold Duck:
Cold Duck Time in Wikipedia’s Article on Cold Duck
A jazz standard named “Cold Duck Time” by Eddie Harris has been performed by many jazz musicians, including Jeff Golub and Al Jarreau. Andrés Wines introduced their version of Cold Duck in Canada in the mid-1960s.They followed that with similar sweet red and white wines called Chanté. In 1971 they created Baby Duck – a soft-drink-sweet blend of red and white Chanté wines.
Hugely successful, Baby Duck was the best-selling domestic wine during the 1970s and it hatched numerous imitators: Canada Duck, Love-A-Duck, Kool Duck, Daddy Duck and Fuddle Duck were joined by Cold Turkey, etc… All of these wines driving the runaway expansion in the wine trade in the 1960s and 1970s were concocted from water, sugar and grapes that were judged unsuitable for making good quality dry table wines
Eddie Harris according to Wikipedia
Eddie Harris (October 20, 1934 – November 5, 1996) was an American jazz musician, best known for playing tenor saxophone and for introducing the electrically amplified saxophone. He was also fluent on the electric piano and organ. His best-known compositions are “Freedom Jazz Dance”, recorded and popularized by Miles Davis in the 1960s  and “Listen Here”.
Eddie Harris Biography
Harris was born and grew up in Chicago. His father was originally from Cuba, and his mother from New Orleans. Like other successful Chicago musicians, such as Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, Clifford Jordan, Johnny Griffin, Gene Ammons, Julian Priester, and Bo Diddley (among others), young Eddie Harris studied music under Walter Dyett at DuSable High School. He later studied music at Roosevelt University, by which time he was proficient on piano, vibraphone, and tenor saxophone. While in college, he performed professionally with Gene Ammons.
After college, he was drafted into the United States Army and while serving in Europe, he was accepted into the 7th Army Band, which also included Don Ellis, Leo Wright, and Cedar Walton.
Leaving military service, he worked in New York City before returning to Chicago where he signed a contract with Vee Jay Records. His first album for Vee Jay, Exodus to Jazz included his own jazz arrangement of Ernest Gold’s theme from the movie Exodus. A shortened version of this track, which featured his masterful playing in the upper register of the tenor saxophone, was heavily played on radio and became the first jazz record ever to be certified gold.
The single climbed into the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and reached No. 16 in the U.S. R&B chart. Some jazz critics,[who?] however, regarded commercial success as a sign that a jazz artist had sold out and Harris soon stopped playing “Exodus” in concert. He moved to Columbia Records in 1964 and then to Atlantic Records the following year where he re-established himself. In 1965, Atlantic released The In Sound, a bop album which won back many of his detractors.
Over the next few years, he began to perform on electric piano and the electric Varitone saxophone, and to perform a mixture of jazz and funk which sold well in both the jazz and rhythm and blues markets. In 1967, his album The Electrifying Eddie Harris reached second place on the R&B charts. The album’s lead track, “Listen Here” was issued as a single, climbing to No. 11 R&B and No. 45 on the Hot 100. Harris released several different versions of his composition over the years, including both studio and live concert recordings.
In 1969, he performed with Les McCann at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Although the musicians had been unable to rehearse, their session was so impressive that a recording of it was released by Atlantic as Swiss Movement. This became one of the best-selling jazz albums ever, also reaching second place on the R&B charts.
Harris also came up with the idea of the reed trumpet, playing one for the first time at The Newport Jazz Festival of 1970 to mostly negative critical feedback. From 1970 to 1975, he experimented with new instruments of his own invention (the reed trumpet was a trumpet with a saxophone mouthpiece, the saxobone was a saxophone with a trombone mouthpiece, and the guitorgan was a combination of guitar and organ), with singing the blues, with jazz-rock (he recorded an album with Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck, Albert Lee, Ric Grech, Zoot Money, Ian Paice and other rockers). He also started singing and to perform comic R&B numbers like “That is Why You’re Overweight” and “Eddie Who?”.
In 1975, however, he alienated much of his audience with his album The Reason Why I’m Talking S–t, which consisted mainly of stand-up comedy. Interest in subsequent albums declined. He was a member of Horace Silver’s Quintet in the early 1980s, and continued to record regularly well into the 1990s, sometimes in Europe where he enjoyed a loyal following, but his experimentation ended and he mainly recorded hard bop. He had moved from Chicago to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, and was responsible for much of the music on the hit TV series, The Bill Cosby Show.
Harris died in hospital in Los Angeles from bone cancer and kidney disease, at the age of 62.