Absolute zero exists only in the enormous, pulsating brains of boffins.
It’s a theoretical temperature of -273.15 on the Celsius scale, the point at which the laws of thermodynamics would cease to apply and toffee would be extremely difficult to chew.
Using gewgaws called cryocoolers, eggheads have managed to make things really, really cold – like, almost absolute zero – causing molecules to stop moving, matter to achieve superconductivity, and Miles Davis to record the seminal album Kinda Blue.
Able to maintain super-chilled status without further intervention of any science other than that of jazz, Davis was observed to stalk across a stage, never looking his audience in the eye, while blowing into a pink trumpet to freestyle a 25-minute version of Theme from Jack Jackson.
He left this world of squares in 1991, when brief interaction with musicians of milder temperatures caused him to unexpectedly overheat and turn into jazz-steam – which, like it or not, remains all around us and can be exploited to keep bar patrons chilled out.
It’s especially effective on Sunday afternoons, when the psyches of working adults appear blazing-white when viewed through a thermographic camera. (That, science fans, is very warm indeed.) Cool ‘em down with Mr Davis and other hep cats: John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Nina Simone were all cooler than the hairs on a polar bears arse.
But you don’t want your clientele suffering from the aural equivalent of ice cream headaches, so make sure there are soul-warming standards in the mix, along with some friendly modern sounds. Stay away from the far-out experimental stuff. It could lead to customers growing goatees, wearing berets, smoking the hard stuff, and becoming wholly unbearable.
Or, you know, they might simply leave to go to another, less groovy bar.
Dancing in the Dark – Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley
My Funny Valentine – Chet Baker
Ted’s Asleep – James Taylor Quartet
I Can See (Ye:Solar Remix) – Jazzanova
Cold Turkey – Ray Bryant
Baltimore – Nina Simone
Wake ‘n’ Bake – 6ix Toys
Dancing in the Dark – Frank Sinatra
I Love You – John Coltrane
Refugee (Matthew Herbert Big Band Remix) – Oi Va Voi
Smoothie Jazz – Didier Rene Viseux
What a Difference a Day Makes – Dinah Washington
Robyn’s Blues – Dudley Moore
Sunshine of Your Love – Ella Fitzgerald
Moose the Moochie – Charlie Parker
That Old Devil Called Love – Billie Holiday
Wholly Cats – Benny Goodman
See-Line Woman (Masters at Work Remix) – Nina Simone
A closer listen… Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley
To be specific, the man’s 1958 work Somethin’ Else. It’s tremendous: a classic of hard bop by a saxophonist and band leader who worked with John Coltrane and was a long-time collaborator of Miles Davis. The latter legend is all over Somethin’ Else, which is widely and understandably regarded as one of the greatest – if not the very greatest – jazz album ever recorded.
Man, it’s laid back! The opener, Autumn Leaves, sounds, ironically, like high summer when the weather is too hot for anything other than cold beer and cool, bluesy tunes. It’s followed by Love for Sale, the piano intro of which has a Gershwin-like feel before a snare hisses and takes the track off into superlative solos by Davis – whose influence on the choice of material was major – and Adderley. (His nickname derived from a childhood corruption of “cannibal”, which described the gusto with which he ate his grub. During his early playing career he was briefly known as New Bird when promoters misguidedly tried to push him as the successor to the late Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker.)
The two players went on to work together on Kinda Blue, itself a masterpiece and a perfect companion for Somethin’ Else when played in the sort of bars that appreciate great music regardless of the genre. Not all songs have to be verse-chorus-verse in 4/4 time.