Groovy Gravy: Ten Soul-Jazz Songs To Get You Through Thanksgiving

Gravy is a Thanksgiving culinary staple, a condiment loved for its rich, smooth flavor. And shouldn't your holiday soundtrack be as mellow and funky as the gravy on your potatoes? We've got you covered. Compiled for your listening pleasure, we present ten soul-jazz morsels that combine soulful blues inflections and a solid jazz foundation to set the mood. Whether cooking, dining or reclining on the couch staring out into the rapidly approaching night, let these delicious classics pour over you.

1. Gravy Train by Lou Donaldson

All aboard! Hop on the “Gravy Train,” with tenor saxophonist Lou Donaldson, who released the title cut from the album of the same name on Blue Note Records in 1961.

2. Gravy Waltz by Oscar Peterson
Has gravy ever made you want to dance? Take a loved one in your arms and groove to the “Gravy Waltz,” which showcases pianist Oscar Peterson in collaboration with bassist and composer of the tune, Ray Brown from this 1962 release from the album Affinity.

3.) Gravy Blues by Ray Brown and Milt Jackson

Ray Brown also features on this track in collaboration with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, “Gravy Blues” from their 1964 album Much In Common. I know I would be sad without some gravy on my tofurkey this year! 

4. Wavy Gravy by Kenny Burrell

Wave hello to an awesome Thanksgiving because guitarist Kenny Burrell (who also plays on Gravy Blues!) continues the set the standard for gravy-titled jazz songs with this Latin-inflected classic, “Wavy Gravy,” from his 1963 album, Midnight Blue, also released on Blue Note Records.

5.) Groovy Gravy by Quincy Jones
Maestro producer Quincy Jones assembled this cast of musicians for an uplifting mix of soul and jazz on this 1968 track, “Groovy Gravy."

6.) Giblet Gravy by George Benson

George Benson named his whole 1968 album “Giblet Gravy.” Whether you like Gravy made from giblets, turkey breasts, or vegan protein aggregate, this title track is bound to get you toe tapping and your belly rumbling!

7.) Ain't the Gravy Good? by Duke Ellington and Cootie Williams

Let’s jump further back in time with Duke Ellington and Cootie Williams' “Ain’t the Gravy Good?” recording in 1939. As Cootie sings, "your biscuits ain't hot, you're cobbler ain't sweet.. but ain't the gravy good!" Saucy!

8.) Grits, Gravy and Groove by Jimmy McGriff

Jimmy McGriff lends his signature organ style to this track, "Grits, Gravy and Groove," keeping the soul-jazz gravy flame alive in this 2008 release McGriff's House Party.

9.) Pass the Gravy by Plas Johnson and Red Holloway
Two more soul-jazz revivalists, tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson and Red Holloway kindly ask you to "Pass the Gravy" from their 2001 album Keep the Groove Going!

10.) Gravy Lickers by Popkorn of Feer!
Local soul-jazz revivalist Popkorn of Feer brings the genre into the 21st century, with this single, “Gravy Lickers,” which updates the genre with more contemporary concerns, both musically and lyrically. Yummy!

Can you think of any more gravy-titled soul jazz songs? Post in the comments section below!

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Luke Leavitt
Contact: Luke Leavitt