This post is the most offbeat, unusual one I’ve written here on this blog and on LinkedIn, too, and I’m relishing in the thought. Even if this post never gets any views or likes, I don’t care. This is what I want to say right now. I’ve gone from diving into personal development topics as related to digital marketing to growing tired of being confined by strict definitions of what a marketer should be in this field. I am ready to fully unleash the weirdness of who I am, even if I remain introverted. Something in my gut told me to write this post, and I’ve been relistening to this tune lately more and more as it resonates so much with my life, struggles, and doubts from naysayers and people who didn’t “get” me.

Well, it’s time to give you a peek into how I think every day and what makes me tick. Even I don’t fully understand it, but at least I’ve given people that insight. This post is not meant to “rank” for anything, either. These are random thoughts I need to get out of my head now. Forget that conventional thinking. I want to talk about what I want on the blog and I don’t care what anyone might think. Let’s cut to the chase!

Twisted: The Original Recording by Wardell Gray (1949)

The original recording by Wardell Gray is a work of art. Every note that came from his saxophone was so beautifully phrased. We all know about Charlie Parker and how much he revolutionized the language of bebop with his partner Dizzy Gillespie, but how many of us remember the genius of Wardell Gray, one of the best of the modern tenor saxophonists to come out of this area, besides Dexter Gordon, a good friend of his. I’d also argue that Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis is another big favorite of mine, but maybe I’ll talk about his work on this blog if people want me to.

Have a listen for yourself.

It’s as fresh and innovative, and lyrical as it was back then when the notes were first recorded. A shining moment in Wardell’s career as he was also playing with Count Basie’s band, really adding a very modern twist to his repertoire. The era this tune came from might have been very different from how it is in the 2020s, but there’s a timeless feel to this music I can’t exactly describe. It’s beautiful in its inspired tone, and an example of what happens when people can express themselves.

Annie Ross Comes In and Adds Vocalese to Her Version of Twisted

A couple of years later, an up-and-coming vocalist named Annie Ross heard this recording and decided to add her own words. This was meant as a response to how popular King Pleasure’s “Moody’s Mood for Love” was at the time, which you can listen to here:

The idea was to capitalize on the growing craze of vocalese, which went back years earlier with vocalists like Buddy Stewart taking jazz standards and adding their own lyrics to the melodies. Here’s a cool example of this at work with Gene Krupa’s “What’s This?”

Not only that, but you had a growing culture of “beatniks” embracing this music underground. Jack Kerouac is a shining example of this, mentioning a lot of great “modern” tunes in his book On the Road, which I want to read soon. I know that even very obscure music I know about was mentioned in that novel, so I’m interested in at least getting my hands on an Audible copy!

To Get Back on Track!

What made this version of “Twisted” so memorable is how the words Annie chose perfectly fit over the solo Wardell Gray had in mind. She’s paying homage to what he did and making the song her own. And here’s the recording for you to enjoy as well. I’ll take a few lyrics and then explain why I feel so strongly about this song and how it personally relates to my life and struggles as a digital marketer and a human being:

“They say as a child I was a little bit wild with all my crazy ideas, but I knew what was happening!”

This has been my life for so long. I was born and raised in the Greater Boston area, then moved to Rhode Island with my family and stayed there until I was 7. I never really had the chance to “fit in” with others. And this was more apparent when I moved down to Georgia back in 2002. I felt alienated sometimes and lonely and did my best to adjust to the school system, having been shuffled around two different school districts and then sent to a high school with the same exact name as the elementary school I attended for a few grades.

Growing Up in Metro Atlanta and Going to Different Schools and Thoughts on Success Being the Best Form of Revenge and Vindication

That experience was something else. I can say that I did have friends during this time or at least acquaintances who liked me, but the friendships were always fleeting. In high school, this was a bit different, where I went through so much to find myself. I alienated people with my actions, which I still regret deeply and wish I could apologize for, but I met many others who were willing to understand and support me as well. I dealt with many people who doubted my own abilities.

I remember when I was almost prevented from taking AP classes at all. I was trying to sign up for an AP World History class, and some busybodies tried to get in my way, but I fought back hard. Eventually, I could take the class, do exceptionally well, and put the naysayers to shame.

I wish them well wherever they are, but this is like my revenge served with a slice of coleslaw. Revenge in the form of massive success. I don’t need to talk crap or smack about anyone. My struggles and how I overcame them speak volumes. The false “friends” I’ve had in this world who used me for their own gain mean nothing to me anymore. I came out of my shell and found who I truly am this year in 2023.

There’s so much else to unpack with this tune. I can go on about the very ending of the song, where Annie sings about how she had something unique and new and had the last laugh in the end. Yeah, that’s where I am right now. I’ve been used, betrayed, and beaten down to a pulp before, but I never let that stop me from moving forward and going for what’s mine and going 100 mph until I get what I need to grow as a human being. That is the true purpose of why I’m here, why I’m doing digital marketing anything, and why I even like to draw and read and do so many different things for intellectual enrichment.

I wish there were people out there who truly understood where I’m coming from and can embrace what I have to offer, not just as a marketer but as a multi-faceted person.

More Versions of Twisted by Annie Ross

This song easily became Annie’s signature tune from what it looks like. Here’s another great version she sang. I mention Count Basie again cause Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross worked closely with him, and the results were incredible:

Ross’ singing only got better by this time, and it’s a more refined, mature take on the song with a lounge-esque arrangement. Definitely Birdland material!

And What’s this Digital Marketing for the People Thing You’re On About?

That’s a reference to the great Charlie Ventura, another saxophonist who went hard on bebop and embraced it. His band was called “Bop for the People,” and they did many great recordings and had giants like Jackie Cain and Roy Kral (also related to Irene Kral), whose music would be referenced later in an episode of The Twilight Zone, which I’ve heard about but honestly have not seen much of myself but am willing to give that show a try!

I leave you with this amazing concert he did in 1949 for Gene Norman:

This is all I got for today! Just enjoy the music, the wild and crazy turns and non-sequiturs I went on, and more of an understanding of my life. I threw out all SEO jargon and thought to write something I’m truly passionate about.

For more off the beaten path content like this, check out my post on Coleman Hawkins or my other post on SEO professionals as the “farmers” of digital marketing!