"Light the Way" - Craig Klein

"Light the Way" (PDF) from the Craig Klein album, New Orleans Trombonisms.
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Most people are usually shocked when you tell them that Harry Connick Jr., the composer of this ditty, is a die-hard fan of the Green Bay Packers, the National Football League team (or N.F.L. to those who call it "soccer").  And before he has a chance to recover from the confusion and ask you who the hell you are, you tell Mr. Connick Jr. that it is all clearly revealed in the song lyrics, which HE WROTE HIMSELF.

For example, the torch-bearing leader of the parade known as "Mr. Flambeaux" is obviously
a reference to the greatest Green Bay coach of all time, Earl "Curly" Lambeau, who "led the way" to six championships.  Likewise, the term "second line" actually applies to the celebrated quarterback and running back positions, the football players who rush through the path carved out by the humongous offensive linemen and score ALL of the points.  And "étouffée" really just means cheese curds.

Of course, football was played differently back in the Depression-era days of Coach Lambeau.  It was a simpler game prior to the inclusion of modern technology, which these days allows players to throw the football.  Fans of the traditional game may balk at the idea... I mean, Infield-Fly-Rule... no, forward lateral at the idea of Craig Klein passing the solos around each section in his arrangement of this tune.  But after further review, the hand-off improves the pacing of the entire solo section, it prevents fumbling of the form, and concludes with a tight end that showcases everyone.

During the bridge in the solo section, or the half-time show, Klein's second line calls upon the spiritual rhythms of Big Chief Smiley Ricks and the Mardi Gras Indians to "light the way," just like the way Vince Lombardi summoned Bart Starr across the Frozen Tundra, or Don Majkowski's mystical replay magic, or Mike Holmgren's walrusy moustache, or Brett Favre's medicinal painkillers, or Aaron Rogers' seductive mojo.

What's not to get, Mr. Connick Jr.?  TELL YOUR BODYGUARDS TO LET ME GO!

Here is YouTube video of Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis playing this tune, as well as a YouTube video of Smiley Ricks with Craig Klein.

Recommended reading: 98% Funky Stuff: My Life in Music by Maceo Parker.  Published by Chicago Review Press.