King Curtis – A Whiter Shade of Pale (Live)

This is a fantastic cut from King Curtis’s 1971 album Live at Fillmore West, released a week before Curtis was stabbed to death by junkies outside his apartment. I first became aware of this track due to its place in the opening of the film Withnail & I, and it’s become one of my favorite jazz tracks since then. Curtis absolutely shreds on the sax, and Billy Preston (Billy goddamn Preston) backs him on the organ. The 1967 Procol Harum original is a great song, and a total classic, but this has a level of soul the original lacks. Add this to your collection, and play it at a bittersweet parting with a lover, or when a camera is panning across your unspeakably filthy apartment.

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