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On this day in jazz (June 05)

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On this day in 1956, Miles Davis completed the second of three sessions that would comprise the recording of 'Round About Midnight. The album is considered Miles Davis' comeback from heroin addiction and was his first of several successful recordings for Columbia Records. The album has been re-released a couple of times including in 2005 which contained the 2001 enhanced album reissue along with a second disc that contained Davis' 1955 Newport Jazz Festival performance of "'Round Midnight" and a recording from the 1956 Pacific Jazz Festival. The 1955 NJF performance featured a jam session with Thelonious Monk (composer of "'Round Midnight"), along with Connie Kay, Percy Heath, Zoot Sims, and Gerry Mulligan. In fact, it was this performance that ended up getting Miles his contract offer with Columbia.

The original album featured six songs by such greats at Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Cole Porter. Accompanying Miles' trumpet were John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on the drums--aka the Classic Quartet. The songs that were recorded on this day were "Dear Old Stockholm", "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Tadd's Delight".

Here's Miles with "Dear Old Stockholm":

Track listing (original album):


  1. 'Round Midnight" Thelonious Monk, Bernie Hanighen, Cootie Williams 5:58
  2. "Ah-Leu-Cha" Charlie Parker 5:53
  3. "All of You" Cole Porter 7:03
  4. "Bye Bye Blackbird" Mort Dixon, Ray Henderson 7:57
  5. "Tadd's Delight" Tadd Dameron 4:29
  6. "Dear Old Stockholm" traditional; arranged by Stan Getz 7:52


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:28

On this day in jazz (June 04)

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On this day in 1975, virtuoso trumpeter Roy Eldridge recorded the album Happy Time. Roy can also be heard singing quite a bit on this one. He was joined by the great pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Eddie Locke. The album consists of ten songs, most of them jazz standards.

A little bit about Roy: Roy was a true virtuoso on the trumpet who essentially occupies the gap between Louie Armstrong (smooth and lyrical) and Dizzy Gillespie (bebop). In fact the impact that he made on Dizzy alone should cause him to be regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the swing era. He started playing in Artie Shaw's band in 1944 and was the only non-Caucasian member of that band. As you can imagine, he faced a lot of racism when playing in predominantly white venues and while touring with the band. Artie once said this about Roy's time with the band: "Droves of people would ask him for his autograph at the end of the night, but later, on the bus, he wouldn't be able to get off and buy a hamburger with the guys in the band." Another time, while playing in Gene Krupa's big band, Gene ended up in jail and was heavily fined for starting a fistfight with a restaurant manager who refused to let Eldridge eat with the rest of the band.

Roy continued to play throughout his life until he suffered a heart attack in 1980 (at age 69). He died in 1989 at the Franklin General Hospital, three weeks after the death of his wife, Viola.

Here's Roy with "Makin' Whoopee":

Track listing:

  1. "Sweethearts on Parade" (Carmen Lombardo, Charles Newman) – 4:20
  2. "Willow Weep for Me" (Ann Ronell) – 7:01
  3. "Makin' Whoopee" (Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn) – 4:42
  4. "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You" (Andy Razaf, Don Redman) – 3:33
  5. "All of Me" (Gerald Marks, Seymour Simons) – 4:45
  6. "I Want a Little Girl" (Murray Mencher, Billy Moll) – 4:10
  7. "On the Sunny Side of the Street" (Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHugh) – 6:55
  8. "I Can't Get Started" (Vernon Duke, Ira Gershwin) – 4:43
  9. "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)" (T-Bone Walker) – 5:18
  10. "Let Me Off Uptown" (Earl Bostic, Redd Evans) – 3:04
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:28

On this day in jazz (June 03)

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On this day in 1960, The Modern Jazz Quartet began recording the album The Modern Jazz Quartet & Orchestra in Stuttgart, West Germany. If you are not familiar with the MJQ, they were four consummate musicians led by Milt Jackson on vibraphone, John Lewis on piano (and musical director), Percy Heath on bass and Connie Kay on drums. The lineup played together for three decades on a regular basis until Milt Jackson quit the band for a time. They would occasionally get together and play after the split, recording their last album in 1993--the year before Connie died. On this album you'll get a chance to hear them backed by a full orchestra (conducted by Werner Heider and Gunther Schuller), which is reason enough to take a listen. Scott Yanow, writing for, actually recommends listening to it several times. I agree.

Here's MJQ with "Divertimento":

Track listing:


  1. "Around the Blues" (Andre Hodeir) - 8:25
  2. "Divertimento" (Werner Heider) - 8:17
  3. "England's Carol" (John Lewis) - 6:20
  4. "Concertino for Jazz Quartet and Orchestra: First Movement" (Gunther Schuller) - 6:42
  5. "Concertino for Jazz Quartet and Orchestra: Second Movement - Passacaglia" (Schuller) - 6:38
  6. "Concertino for Jazz Quartet and Orchestra: Third Movement" (Schuller) - 5:54


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:27

On this day in jazz (June 02)

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On this day in 1964, Eric Dolphy's last recorded concert was recorded in Hilversum, Holland. Eric played several instruments during the concert: the bass clarinet, the flute, and the alto saxophone. His rhythm section consisted of Misha Mengelberg at the piano, Jacques Schols on bass and Han Bennink on the drums.

Eric would die in Berlin 27 days later on June 29, 1964. The details of his death are disputed, but it is generally believed that he died due to falling into a diabetic coma (this condition had not been diagnosed previously). Some said that he collapsed in this hotel room; however, others state that he collapsed on stage and the attending physicians believed the collapse was related to substance abuse (as was common to jazz musicians of that time) and was left in a hospital bed for the drugs to run their course which caused his death.

Here's Eric with "Epistrophy":

Track listing:

  1. "Epistrophy" (Monk)– 11:15
  2. "South Street Exit" – 7:10
  3. "The madrig speaks, the panther walks" – 4:50
  4. "Hypochristmutreefuzz" (Mengelberg)– 5:25
  5. "You don't know what love is" (Raye/De Paul)– 11:20
  6. "Miss Ann" — 5:25
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:27

On this day in jazz (June 01)

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On this day in 1964, John Coltrane completed recording the album Crescent at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ for Impulse! Records. The album consists of five Coltrane originals with John back on the tenor saxophone, McCoy Tyner on the piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. You can hear the same four musicians on many of John's other albums such as Live at Birdland, Impressions, Ballads, and of course A Love Supreme. These men always played really well together, and with John at the helm, this one could be nothing less than spectacular. calls this album "an epic album, showing his meditative side that would serve as a perfect prelude to his immortal work A Love Supreme". They list the albums mood as "Elaborate", "Complex", "Searching", "Cerebral", "Passionate" and "Sophisticated". Others would add "Dark". Whatever you call it, it is essential to any jazz collection.

Here's John with "Bessie's Blues":

Track listing:


  1. "Crescent" – 8:41
  2. "Wise One" – 9:00
  3. "Bessie's Blues" – 3:22
  4. "Lonnie's Lament" – 11:45
  5. "The Drum Thing" – 7:22


Last Updated on Thursday, 18 August 2016 13:26

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