Mark Rapp: Token Tales

Compare: Incense & Peppermints

When Producer Billy Terrell suggested this tune to me I was both bewildered and yet gunning for the challenge. It turned into a very fun and effective arrangement staying true to the vibe and melody then launching into a platform for jazz imrpovisation. It really is an unexpected choice for a jazz tune and that’s probably why I love it so much.

As reviewed by Walter Kolosky on The last thing I ever expected to hear in my life was a jazz version of this half-bubblegum half-psychedelic number. A few years ago the song was perfectly used in the Austin Powers movie soundtrack. Its catchy melody instantly transported you back to the age of Flower Power. Rapp plays the same melody. After listening to this cut, you will be humming it again and again the same way I have for the last few days. But then Rapp takes another approach. He and his band treat the pop song as a serious composition worthy of an aggressive jazz interpretation. And it works! Rapp captures a bit of Miles Davis flavoring at times. What was once a cute tune becomes imbued with dramatic tension.

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Download the chart: Token Tales Songbook

Strawberry Alarm Clock is a psychedelic rock band from Los Angeles best known for their 1967 hit “Incense and Peppermints”. The group took its name as an homage to the Beatles’ psychedelic hit “Strawberry Fields Forever”, reportedly, at the suggestion of their record company Uni Records.

Their first and most famous single was “Incense and Peppermints”, produced by Frank Slay and initially released by Thee Sixpence on the record label All American. The band was not impressed by songwriter John Carter’s lyrics, so Slay chose Greg Munford, a 16-year-old friend of the band who was from another group called Shapes of Sound, to sing lead.[2] The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1967. Mark Weitz and Ed King were denied songwriting credits by Slay because they did not write the melody line or the lyrics, though the song was built on an instrumental by Weitz with a bridge by King.[6] This instrumental was originally intended as a B-side to “The Birdman of Alkatrash”, which ultimately became the B-side to “Incense and Peppermints.” The single stayed at #1 for one week with 16 weeks in total on the chart.[7] A gold disc was awarded for one million sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on 19 December 1967.

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More on Strawberry Alaarm Clock can be found:
official web site