Thursday, May 15 2003 | 17:18

The Don Cunningham Quartet “Something For Everyone” LP was recorded and sold only at live shows at the St Louis Playboy Jazz Club in 1965. This album is as rare as they get. Previously only available on vinyl (a mere 500 were released on the appropriately named Exclusive label) the original is highly sought after by collectors.

“Something For Everyone” includes the often-sampled and highly sought after dancefloor classic “Tabu,” featured on a now extinct Luv N’Haight compilation. This is the first time the album has been re-issued as a whole and on CD. The Luv N’Haight re-issue is available now and includes original artwork and liners alongside new information and photos.

Read an exclusive interview with Don Cunningham who is currently on break, in between live dates with the Count Basie Orchestra:

The Playboy club was your regular gig where the album was sold, was it the most happening spot in St Louis?

At that time as far as jazz and international entertainment, yes it was. There were local venues and concert halls but the Playboy club was the spot.

Did you have a favorite bunny?

All of ’em!

Who’s idea was it to play “Tabu”?

My idea! Heard it through Arthur Lyman and Martin Denny, I just liked the haunting quality of it. I didn’t want to do it the same way, but I thought I could add a more cohesive Latin sound.

What is the instrument you’re playing at the top of “Tabu”, sounds like bamboo shoots or something!

That’s a boobam! Bamboo shoots hollowed out and covered in skin originally, although mine were fiberglass. A percussionist from the S Louis symphony made them for me, as the real boobam wasn’t easily available in St Louis. I just had them restored, hopefully I get to use them again soon!

You’re music was influenced by travel to exotic places of the world – What’s the most exotic instrument(s) you know how to play?

Probably the steel drum, the jaw bones, and the boobam, they’re all on the album. Jaw bones are made from the bones of a donkey jaw, when you hit it the teeth rattle, but these break very easily.

What do you think of the fact that there are kids all over the world who know about and dance to your album?

I wanna’ hug ’em and kiss ’em, because they make it known around the world. People danced to it back in the day, I also played a lot of lounges where people would just watch.

If asked could the original band still get together and play like this?

All but one. John Mixon passed away two years ago. But we could recreate that sound, no problem. We’d even extend the tunes as we were limited by time on the album.

When did you know it was a “collectible” record?

I never knew until you told me! My wife told me it would be collectible back in the day “That’s going to be collectors item one day,” she said. She liked “Tabu”, too. But “Quiet Village” was her favorite.

How does the music differ from your Don Cunningham and Company album released a decade or so later on Hendon?

Alecia, my wife was on this album, and it’s less exotic, more contemporary.

What’s it like performing as The Cunninghams with the Count Basie Orchestra?

It’s like I died and went to heaven. It’s another side to us, it’s a strictly vocal peformance for Alecia and I.

What music are you listening to currently?

Everything! Jazz, Latin, classical, even easy listening and opera. Ray Armando I like, Thelonius Monk, Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz, Joe Williams, Manhatten Transfer, Sarah Vaughn, Tito Puente, and Nat King Cole who is my mentor.

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