Jazzing Up A 70’s Funk Classic – George Michael and Chris Botti

An all-star trio of Smooth Jazz legends:  guitarist Lee Ritenour, trumpeter Chris Botti, and the soulful voice of Lisa Fischer teach a master’s level class on how to cover a 70’s Soul classic.   “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” topped the charts for The Temptations in 1973 and swept the Grammy Awards.  The psychedelic funk jam starts off with that ominous line, “It was the third of September, that day I’ll always remember, ‘Cause that was the day my daddy died”.  Now add in some funky horns, blues guitar,  hi-hat cymbals, and you’re instantly mesmerized by this tale of his daddy’s rambling ways.  If you’re going to cover such a timeless definitive hit, you’ve challenged to add something new. The cover by Ritenour, Botti, and Fischer adds a cool late night groove to the mix and lets each artist shine on the final mix.  Also hearing the song from a woman’s perspective takes the familiar song in a truly innovative direction.  It’s a brilliant cover that first appeared on a tribute album called “A Twist of Motown” in 2003.   As a bonus, also check out George Michael’s cover mashed with Adamski’s “Killer” from 1991.  Prior to this cover, the idea of mashing up two songs into a seamless single was rare for its time. George Michael’s live version was first featured on his Cover To Cover Tour and released on his Five Live EP.
“PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE” Lee Ritenour, Chris Botti, Lisa Fischer

“KILLER/PAPA” George Michael