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The History of Jazz via DECADES (plus a book review on Monk)

I’ve always been a history nut. As a kid, I studied the history of warfare. My father was a WWII vet, and we shared an interest in the Civil War. When I got to college, I took an Art History course with Jim Karsina at Aquinas College. He showed me that you can study history, the time and philosophy and culture, through a survey of the art of it’s time. That’s a lesson I’ve applied in my adult life through an appreciation of jazz.

One of the most fun and interesting things I’ve been involved with this past year was producing 9 radio shows for the Vinyl Side of Midnight called DECADES; exploring, in depth, the history of jazz through recordings has been an enlightening experience. Below I’ve included the set lists for each of the shows, in case anyone wants to check out some of the music I played.

After putting these shows together, here is my BIG INSIGHT:

Jazz is all about collision. One musical stream from one culture smashing into another. Then a dedicated small army of musicians and composers set about to perfect the form. Then, another BIG BANG! Check it out:

We first get recorded jazz in the late teens and early twenties. By and large it’s the musical gumbo arising from New Orleans, the sound of rags, cakewalks, marching bands, second line, Congo Square, flat out blues and breaking through in an exuberant noise called jass, or jazz. Louis Armstrong. Jelly Roll Morton, emphasizing “It has to have that Latin tinge…” foreshadowing Duke Ellington’s exhortation that “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing…” Satchmo and Duke embody the importance of spontaneous improvisation and composing, a tension that will stay with the music throughout her history.

In the 1930s jazz collides with the Great American Songbook; Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, and many others give musicians the musical jumping off point for jams and dance. See Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Lester Young.

The 1940s discovers be-bop through Bird, Monk and Dizzy, and a new vocabulary launches the music into a more cerebral and esoteric direction. Jazz becomes counter culture. The velocity of bop forecasts the changes ahead in wider society over the next three decades.

Bebop is solidified in the 1950s, and branches out into cool and hard streams. Ornette and Cecil launch the avant garde at the end of the decade. Bop hits it’s “Sistene Chapel” with Coltrane’s Giant Steps while Miles cools us out with Kind of Blue.

In the 1960s the wheels come off. Jazz collides head on with rock, with politics, with a movement and a war and civil rights and assassination. Never before (nor since) has the music been furiously propelled to discover the limits of improv. Coltrane spawns a generation of devotees, while Miles conducts an apprenticeship for a dozen young geniuses who will define the following decade.

The 1970s brought people back to dance, hence the funk. Put on a dashiki and plug in. Fusion music and smooth jazz is born. ECM launches a European version of jazz. Even Ornette goes electric. Anthony Braxton makes a strong case for the use of jazz mixing with the avant garde classical music of the 20th century. We’re just now catching up to that.

Wynton Marsalis started a school of neo-traditional jazz. Let’s not just remember Coltrane, he seemed to urge, but how about Duke and Louis? The country takes a hard turn to the right as the young lions bring the music back to mainstream. A strong counter culture continues to thrive with the AACM. The 1980s also begin to spawn tribute albums and projects. Jazz becomes nostalgic.

In the 1990s new threads emerge. Everybody’s everything. World music is influenced by, and influences jazz. Jazz begins to move into the universities while keeping a foot in the clubs and another on the festival scene.

This past decade has seen another collision or two: the Indo-Pak movement unites Coltrane with traditional eastern sounds via Rudresh Mahanthappa and Vijay Iyer, while John Hollenbeck combines Steve Reich with Mingus. The music continues to evolve, always sounding amazingly vital, both reflecting and forecasting the zeitgeist of the times. Jazz, a term disowned by both Ellington and Miles, is the state of constant change, of influences and colors merging and changing, a flow of sound and intellect and culture. I have never tired following her shifting moods and textures.

DECADES: 2000s

What a long, strange trip it’s been. The Vinyl Side of Midnight wraps up the series of DECADES shows with a review of the past ten years. The line up is strong and some tough choices made. What, no Keith Jarrett? New influences are felt from world to hip hop to classical spheres. The Lansing area experiences a renaissance of jazz with the twin influences of a top notch jazz department at MSU (under the guidance of Rodney Whitaker) and the jewel of Old Town, the Creole Gallery, through the efforts of Robert Busby and Meegan Holland. An amazing decade indeed. Musical ‘beds’ are made up from popular and significant records of the last few years. Check it all out on Sunday night.

Dave Douglas – Blue Heaven; SOUL ON SOUL (RCA Victor)
Joe Lovano – Don’t Ever Leave Me; JOYOUS ENCOUNTERS (Blue Note)
Jason Moran – Planet Rock; MODERNISTIC (Blue Note)
Justin Timberlake – Sexyback; FUTURE/SEX/LOVESOUNDS (Jive)

Dianna Krall – The Look of Love (title track); (Verve)
Maria Schneider Orchestra – Sky Blue (title track); (artist share)
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (title track); (Universal Republic)

Herbie Hancock w/Tina Turner – Edith and the Kingpin; RIVER (Verve)
Wayne Shorter Quartet – Masquelero; FOOTPRINTS LIVE! (Verve)
No Doubt – Hella Good; ROCK STEADY (Interscope Records)

Kenny Garrett – Realization; BEYOND THE WALL (Nonesuch)
Dave Holland Big Band – Blues For C.M.; WHAT GOES AROUND (ECM)
Snoop Dogg – It Blows My Mind; THE NEPTUNES PRESENT…CLONES (Arista Records)

Greg Osby – Ashes; THE INVISIBLE HAND (Blue Note)
Andrew Hill – Tough Love; DUSK (Palmetto Records)
LCD Soundsystem – North American; SOUND OF SILVER (Capitol)

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble – Folkmoot; A BLESSING (Omnitone)
Chris Potter 10 – Closer to the Sun; SONG FOR ANYONE (Sunnyside)
Bjork – The Pleasure is All Mine; MEDULLA (Elektra)

David Murray Octet – Giant Steps; OCTET PLAYS TRANE (Justin Time Records)
Ornette Coleman – Turnaround; SOUND GRAMMAR (Phrase Text)
William Parker Quartet – Wood Flute Song; SOUND UNITY (AUM Fidelity)
Toumani Diabate – Mali Sadio; BOULEVARD DE L’INDEPENDANCE (Nonesuch)

Vijay Iyer – Infogee’s Cakewalk; REIMAGINING (Savoy Jazz)
Rudresh Mahanthappa – Ganesha; KINSMEN (Pi Recordings)
M.I.A. – Pull Up The People; ARULAR (Interscope Records)

Tomasz Stanko Quartet – I; SOUL OF THINGS (ECM)
Charles Lloyd – Tales of Rumi; SANGAM (ECM)
Hamsa Lila – Eh Mustapha; GATHERING ONE (BRG)

Karrin Allyson – Never Say Yes; FOOTPRINTS (Concord)
Kurt Elling – I Like The Sunrise; NIGHTMOVES (Concord)

DECADES: 1990s

This can’t possibly be an oldies show, can it? Well, tonight we climb back into the time machine and travel back to the era of the Clintons, O.J., tribute albums, hip hop, world and some surprisingly excellent jazz.

Medeski, Martin & Wood – Sugar Craft; COMBUSTICATION (Blue Note)
John Scofield – Chank; A GO GO (Verve)
John Scofield – Away With Words; QUIET (Verve)
Common – The Light; HIP HOP GOLD (Hip-O)

Carmen McRae – Dear Ruby; CARMEN SINGS MONK (Novus)
Cassandra Wilson – You Don’t Know What Love Is: BLUE LIGHT ‘TIL DAWN (Blue Note)
BLACKstreet w/Dr.Dre – No Diggity; 90s SOUL NUMBER 1s (Hip-O)

Jimmy Cobb’s Mob – Gingerbread Boy; ONLY FOR THE PURE AT HEART (Fable)
Joe Chambers – Caravanserai; MIRRORS (Blue Note)
Ali Farka Toure w/Ry Cooder – Bonde; TALKING TIMBUKTU (World Circuit)

Herbie Hancock – The Man I Love; GERSHWIN’S WORLD (Verve)
Joe Henderson – Isfahan; LUSH LIFE (Verve)
Macy Gray – I Try; ON HOW LIFE IS (Epic)

Diana Krall – I Don’t Know Enough About You; LOVE SCENES (Impulse)
Charlie Haden Quartet West – Haunted Heart; HAUNTED HEART (Verve)
Tom Ze – Ogodo, Ano 2000; THE HIPS OF TRADITION (Warner Brothers)

Don Grolnick – Nothing Personal; WEAVER OF DREAMS (Blue Note)
Bob Moses – Trevor; WHEN ELEPHANTS DREAM OF MUSIC (Gramavision)
Paul Simon – Spirit Voices; THE RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS (Warner Brothers)

Wynton Marsalis – The Majesty of the Blues; LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD; (Columbia)
Los Lobos – Kiko and the Lavender Moon; KIKO (Warner Brothers)

Joshua Redman – Turnaround; WISH (Warner Brothers)
Marcus Roberts – Nebuchadnezzar; DEEP IN THE SHED (Novus)
Snoop Doggy Dog – What’s My Name? HIP HOP PARTY (Rhino)

Joe Lovano – Birds of Springtimes Gone By; QUARTETS (Blue Note)
Dave Douglas – Everyman; MAGIC TRIANGLE (Arabesque Recordings)
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit; NEVERMIND (sub pop)

Kenny Barron – Take The Coltrane; WANTON SPIRIT (Verve)
Brad Mehldau – Moon River; LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD (Warner Brothers)
D’’Angelo – Feel Like Makin’ Love; VOODOO (Virgin)

Henry Threadgill – Too Much Sugar for a Dime (Title Track); (Axiom)
Steve Coleman – Day Three; GENESIS (RCA Victor)
Tom Waits – I Don’t Wanna Grow Up; BONE MACHINE (Island Records)

Charlie Haden/Hank Jones – Steal Away (Title Track); (Verve)
Frank Morgan – You Must Believe In Spring (Title Track); (Antilles)

DECADES: 1980s

The most schizophrenic of decades, with a plethora of adventurous trailblazers and the advent of the young lions, led by Wynton Marsalis. Dance music, MTV, and rap lead popular music further away from jazz than it has ever been before. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Tune in Sunday night and we’ll have a great time.

Miles Davis – Jean Pierre; WE WANT MILES (Sony)
Miles Davis – Full Nelson; TUTU (Warner Brothers)
Miles Davis – The Doo Bop Song; DOO-BOP (Warner Brothers)
Rick James – Super Freak; 80s SOUL GOLD (Universal Music)

Wynton Marsalis – Father Time; WYNTON MARSALIS (CBS)
Marcus Roberts – In A Mellow Tone; THE TRUTH IS SPOKEN HERE (Novus)
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean; NUMBER ONES (Epic)

Wayne Shorter – Joy Rider; JOY RIDER (Sony)
John Scofield – Rule of Thumb; STILL WARM (Rykodisc)
Herbie Hancock – Rockit; FUTURE SHOCK (Columbia)
Michael Sembello – Maniac; 80s DANCE GOLD (Universal Music)

Eberhard Weber – Maurizius; RARUM; (ECM)
Dave Holland – You I Love; RARUM; (ECM)
Prince – 1999; THE HITS (Warner Brothers)

Sun Ra – Quest; THE SINGLES (Evidence)
Sun Ra – Outer Space Plateau; THE SINGLES (Evidence)
Max Roach – Ghost Dance (Pt. II); TO THE MAX (Blue Moon)
Bobby Brown – My Perogative; 80s SOUL NUMBER ONES (UNIVERSAL MUSIC)

David Murray Octet – Ming; MING (Black Saint)
World Saxophone Quartet – Hattie Wall; DANCES AND BALLADS (Nonesuch)
Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight; HIP HOP GOLD (Universal Music)

Don Pullen – Jana’s Delight; NEW BEGINNINGS (Blue Note)
Charlie Haden – The Ballad of the Fallen; THE BALLAD OF THE FALLEN (ECM)
Muhal Richards Abrams Orchestra – Bermix; THE HEARINGA SUITE (Black Saint)
Arrested Development – Tennessee; MILLENNIUM HIP HOP PARTY (Rhino)

John Zorn – The Big Gundown; THE BIG GUNDOWN (Nonesuch)
Sonny Clark – Voodoo; VOODOO (Black Saint)
Public Enemy – Bring The Noise; IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK (Def Jam Records)

The Art Ensemble of Chicago – The Sun Precondition; URBAN BUSHMEN (ECM)
Erik B. & Rakim – Paid In Full; COLORS (Warner Brothers)

The Art Farmer Quintet – Blame It On My Youth; BLAME IT ON MY YOUTH (Contemporary)
Archie Shepp/Horace Parlan – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out; TROUBLE IN MIND (Steeplechase)

DECADES: 1970s

Time to plug in and turn out the funk. A bunch of alums from the University of Miles Davis, from Zawinul to Corea, a lion in winter (Mingus) and a big dollop of avant garde in the shank of the evening will explode the decade of Have A Nice Day. This was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever put together. Enjoy listening!

Billy Cobham – Some Skunk Funk; Anthology; Rhino
Stanley Clarke – Silly Putty; JOURNEY TO LOVE; Epic
Parliament – Tear The Roof Off The Sucker; FUNK PARTY; Rhino

Ronnie Laws – Always There; PRESSURE SENSITIVE; Blue Note
Freddie Hubbard – Red Clay; RED CLAY; CTI
Al Green – Call Me; GREATEST HITS; Hi Tone

Mahavishnu Orchestra – One Word; BIRDS OF FIRE; Columbia
Return To Forever – Duel Of The Jester And The Tyrant; ROMANTIC WARRIOR; Legacy
The O’Jays – For The Love Of Money; THE PHILLY SOUND; Epic

Weather Report – Boogie Woogie Waltz; SWEETNIGHTER; Columbia
Steely Dan – Aja; AJA; MCA

George Benson – Masquerade; BREEZIN’; Warner Brothers
Chick Corea/Gary Burton – What Games Shall We Play Today?; CRYSTAL SILENCE; ECM
John Klemmer – Touch; TOUCH; MCA
The Trammps – Disco Inferno; DISCO GOLD; HIP-O Records

Herbie Hancock – Chameleon; HEADHUNTERS; Columbia
Stevie Wonder – You Haven’t Done Nothin’; ORIGINAL MUSIQUARIUM; Tamla

Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Bye Bye Blackbird; DOES YOUR HOUSE HAVE LIONS; Rhino
Charles Mingus – Sue’s Changes; PASSION OF A MAN; Columbia
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On?; WHAT’S GOING ON? Motown

Curtis Mayfield – Pusherman; THE ANTHOLOGY; MCA

Anthony Braxton – Piece One; CREATIVE ORCHESTRA MUSIC; RCA
Ornette Coleman – Theme From A Symphony, Variation One; DANCIN’ IN YOUR HEAD; Polygram
James Brown – There It Is; STAR TIME; Polydor

Miles Davis – On The Corner; ON THE CORNER; Columbia

DECADES: 1960s

A tumultuous decade and it was both a trick and a treat to try and line up the most iconic tracks of the 1960s. Enjoy.

Ramsey Lewis – The “In” Crowd; FINEST HOUR; Verve
Cannonball Adderly – Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; CANNONBALL PLAYS ZAWINUL; Capitol
Hugh Masekela – Grazin’ In The Grass; 60s SOUL; Universal Music

Bill Evans Trio – Gloria’s Step; SUNDAY AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD; Riverside
Wayne Shorter – Witch Hunt; SPEAK NO EVIL; Blue Note
Temptations – Ain’t Too Proud To Beg; HITSVILLE U.S.A.; Motown

Grant Green – I Wish You Love; STREET OF DREAMS; Blue Note
The Drifters – On Broadway; Atlantic Rhythm & Blues; Atlantic

Miles Davis Quintet – E.S.P.; 1965-68 Box; Columbia
Miles Davis Quintet – Nefertiti; 1965-68 Box; Columbia
Percy Sledge – When A Man Loves A Woman; Atlantic Rhythm & Blues; Atlantic

John Coltrane Quartet – Chasin’ The Trane; THE COMPLETE 1961 VILLAGE VANGUARD RECORDINGS; Impulse
Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through The Grapevine; HITTSVILLE, U.S.A.; Motown

Eric Dolphy – Out To Lunch; OUT TO LUNCH; Blue Note
The Bar-Kays – Soul Finger; ATLANTIC RHYTHM & BLUES; Atlantic

Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage; MAIDEN VOYAGE; Blue Note
John Coltrane Quartet – Acknowledgement; A LOVE SUPREME; Impulse

Ornette Coleman Double Quartet – Free Jazz; BEAUTY IS A RARE THING; Rhino
Sly & The Family Stone – I Want To Take You Higher; THE ESSENTIAL…; Epic

Miles Davis – Pharoah’s Dance; BITCHES BREW; Columbia
Jimi Hendrix – Third Stone From The Sun; ARE YOU EXPERIENCED; Reprise

DECADES: 1950s

A great decade or the GREATEST decade? Check out this ridiculous playlist! Mingus, Monk, Trane, Miles, Lady Day and Bird. A time when giants walked the earth and were at the heights of their powers. Bebop becomes hard bop, the vocabulary of new jazz becomes fully integrated into the mainstream. But wait… who’s that on the horizon? Ornette? Join me Sunday night. Destination radio.

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Moanin’; MOANIN’; Blue Note
Charles Mingus – Better Git It In Your Soul; MINGUS AH UM; Columbia
Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightnin’; CHESS BLUES; Chess

Charlie Parker – Kim; CONFIRMATION; Verve
Charlie Parker – In The Still Of The Night; CONFIRMATION; Verve
Miles Davis Nonet – Rocker; BIRTH OF THE COOL; Capitol
Miles Davis Nonet – Darn That Dream; BIRTH OF THE COOL; Capitol
Muddy Waters – Got My Mojo Workin’; CHESS BLUES; Chess

Clifford Brown – Quicksilver; THE COMPLETE BLUE NOTE…; Blue Note
Jimmy Smith – The Champ; A NEW SOUND, A NEW STAR; Blue Note
Elvis Presley – Good Rockin’ Tonight; THE SUN STORY; Rhino

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Autumn In New York; BEST OF…; Verve
Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five; TIME OUT (Legacy); Columbia
Anita O’Day – A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square; Verve
Carl Perkins – Honey Don’t; THE SUN STORY; Rhino

Thelonious Monk/Sonny Rollins – I Want To Be Happy; THELONIOUS MONK/SONNY ROLLINS; Prestige
John Coltrane – Theme For Ernie; SOULTRANE; Prestige
T-Bone Walker – You Don’t Love Me; COMPLETE IMPERIAL RECORDINGS; Imperial

Sonny Rollins – St. Thomas; SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS; Prestige
T-Bone Walker – Blues Is A Woman; COMPLETE IMPERIAL RECORDINGS; Imperial

Miles Davis Quintet – Bye Bye Blackbird; ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT; Columbia
John Coltrane – Giant Steps; GIANT STEPS; Atlantic
The Diamonds – A Beggar For Your Kisses; ATLANTIC RHYTHM & BLUES (‘52-’54)

Roy Eldridge & Dizzy Gillespie – Trumpet Blues; ROY AND DIZ; Verve
Billie Holiday – Body And Soul; THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION; Hip-O
Herbie Nichols – The Third World; THE COMPLETE BLUE NOTE…; Blue Note
Ray Charles – I Got A Woman; ATLANTIC RHYTHM & BLUES (‘52-’54)

Art Pepper – Yardbird Suite; THE RETURN OF…; Blue Note
Sarah Vaughan/Clifford Brown – I’m Glad There Is You; SARAH VAUGHAN; Verve
Ray Charles – Drown In My Own Tears; ATLANTIC RHYTHM & BLUES (‘55-’57)

Ornette Coleman – Lonely Woman; BEAUTY IS A RARE THING; Atlantic
Miles Davis – All Blues; KIND OF BLUE; Columbia (Legacy)
John Coltrane – Naima; GIANT STEPS; Atlantic

DECADES: 1940s

We continue our review of jazz through the century as we countdown to the ‘00s by year’s end.

We wrapped up the ‘30s at the height of the swing era. And the 1940s picks up where we left off. Due to the war there is a big hole in the center of the decade. The need for petroleum based products precluded the need for jazz recordings. When recording resumed, we find many of the big bands broken up, replaced by jump bands, smaller r&b combos, a music that will morph into rock and roll within a few years; and a new form of jazz, invented by a group of brilliant innovators: bebop. Check out this set list and join us for an amazing evening of music.

Coleman Hawkins – Bouncin’ With Bean; BODY & SOUL; Victor Jazz
Coleman Hawkins – April In Paris; BODY & SOUL; Victor Jazz
Ella Fitzgerald – Perdido; SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR; Verve

Duke Ellington – Sepia Panorama; CENTENNIAL EDITION; RCA Victor
Duke Ellington – Sophisticated Lady; CENTENNIAL EDITION; RCA Victor
Duke Ellington – Day Dream; CENTENNIAL EDITION; RCA Victor
Duke Ellington – A Lull At Dawn; CENTENNIAL EDITION; RCA Victor
Duke Ellington – Take The “A” Train; CENTENNIAL EDITION; RCA Victor

Billie Holiday – Good Morning Heartache; THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION; Hip-O
Billie Holiday – No Good Man; THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION; Hip-O Records
Billie Holiday – The Blues Are Brewin’; THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION; Hip-O
Billie Holiday – Solitude; THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION; Hip-O Records
Billie Holiday – Easy Livin’; THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION; Hip-O Records

Illinois Jacquet – Flying Home; THE BIG HORN; Proper Records
Cab Calloway – Everybody Eats When They Come To My House; ARE YOU HEP TO THE JIVE? Columbia
Cab Calloway – Are You Hep To The Jive?; Title Track; Columbia Records
Roy Brown – Good Rockin’ Tonight; GETTIN’ FUNKY; Proper Records
Clarence Samuels – Lollypop Mama; CHESS BLUES; Chess
Joe Morris – Lowe Groovin’; ATLANTIC RHYTHM & BLUES; Atlantic

Sarah Vaughan – Black Coffee; THE DIVINE…; Columbia
Billy Eckstine – Everything I Have Is Yours; BEST OF THE M-G-M YEARS; Verve
Lester Young – I’ve Found A New Baby; JAZZMASTERS 30; Verve
Lester Young – Polka Dots And Moonbeams; JAZZMASTERS 30; Verve

Benny Goodman & His Orchestra – Solo Flight; CHARLIE CHRISTIAN; Columbia
Various – Blues In B; CHARLIE CHRISTIAN; Columbia
Various – Waitin’ For Benny; CHARLIE CHRISTIAN; Columbia
Various – Air Mail Special; CHARLIE CHRISTIAN; Columbia

Charlie Parker’s Reboppers – Now’s The Time; ORNITHOLOGY; Proper Records
Charlie Parker’s Reboppers – Thrivin’ On A Riff; ORNITHOLOGY; Proper Records
Charlie Parker’s Reboppers – Ko-Ko; ORNITHOLOGY; Proper Records
Charlie Parker’s Reboppers – Moose The Mooche; ORNITHOLOGY; Proper Records
Charlie Parker’s Reboppers – Yardbird Suite; ORNITHOLOGY; Proper Records
Charlie Parker’’s Reboppers – A Night In Tunisia; ORNITHOLOGY; Proper Records

Dexter Gordon – Dexter’s Mood; SETTIN’ THE PACE; Savoy Jazz
Dexter Gordon – Dextrose; SETTIN’ THE PACE; Savoy Jazz
Dexter Gordon – Index; SETTIN’ THE PACE; Savoy Jazz
Dexter Gordon – Dextivity; SETTIN’ THE PACE; Savoy Jazz

Thelonious Monk – Round Midnight; THE BLUE NOTE YEARS; Blue Note
Thelonious Monk – Evidence; THE BLUE NOTE YEARS; Blue Note
Thelonious Monk – Misterioso; THE BLUE NOTE YEARS; Blue Note
Thelonious Monk – Epistrophy; THE BLUE NOTE YEARS; Blue Note
Thelonious Monk – I Mean You; THE BLUE NOTE YEARS; Blue Note

Miles Davis – Move; BIRTH OF THE COOL; Capitol Jazz
Miles Davis – Jeru; BIRTH OF THE COOL; Capitol Jazz
Miles Davis – Moon Dreams; BIRTH OF THE COOL; Capitol Jazz
Miles Davis – Venus De Milo; BIRTH OF THE COOL; Capitol Jazz
Miles Davis – Budo; BIRTH OF THE COOL; Capitol Jazz

DECADES: 1930s

Wrapping up the first decade of this new century, we’re periodically reviewing the history of jazz through a retrospective romp of each decade up to (and including) now. This week, our focus is on the 1930s. The riotous group improvisations of New Orleans morphs into the discipline of swing. The arrangements get tighter and more complex. A new generation of soloists emerge from the shadow of Satch. The great American Songbook gives jazz a new way of organizing the beats and expression of the times. This is dance music. Kick back and enjoy some of the greatest artists of the 1930s.

Program list:

Louis Armstrong – Sweethearts On Parade; THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN; Legacy
Louis Armstrong – When It’s Sleepy Time Down South; (as above)
Louis Armstrong – Lazy River (as above)
Louis Armstrong – Chinatown, My Chinatown (as above)
Louis Armstrong – Stardust (as above)

Fletcher Henderson – Christopher Columbus; KEN BURNS JAZZ; Columbia
Fletcher Henderson – Grand Terrace Swing; (as above)
Fletcher Henderson – Stealin’ Apples; (as above)
Fletcher Henderson – Jim Town Blues; (as above)
Fletcher Henderson – Stampede; (as above)

Fats Waller – Honeysuckle Rose; A PORTRAIT OF FATS WALLER; Gallerie
Fats Waller – Whose Honey Are You?; (as above)
Fats Waller – Twelfth Street Rag; (as above)
Fats Waller – Tea For Two; (as above)
Fats Waller – Dinah; (as above)

Duke Ellington – It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing); THE DUKE; Columbia
Duke Ellington – In A Jam; (as above)
Duke Ellington – Caravan; (as above)
Duke Ellington – Battle of Swing; (as above)
Duke Ellington – Prelude To A Kiss; (as above)

Benny Goodman Quartet – Moonglow; THE VERY BEST OF…; RCA Victor
Benny Goodman and His Orchestra – King Porter Stomp (as above)
Benny Goodman and His Orchestra – Sing, Sing, Sing (with a Swing) (as above)

Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelly w/ The Quintet of the Hot Club of France:
Honeysuckle Rose
Night And Day
Sweet Georgia Brown
My Sweet
SOUVENIRS; Decca Records

Benny Goodman Sextet – Stomping At The Savoy; CHARLIE CHRISTIAN; JSP Records
Benny Goodman Sextet – Honeysuckle Rose; (as above)
Kansas City Six – Paging The Devil; (as above)
Kansas City Six – Way Down In New Orleans; (as above)
Kansas City Six – Good Morning Blues; (as above)

Coleman Hawkins – Meet Doctor Foo; BODY & SOUL; Victor Jazz
Coleman Hawkins – Fine Dinner; (as above)
Coleman Hawkins – She’s Funny That Way; (as above)
Coleman Hawkins – Body and Soul; (as above)
Coleman Hawkins – When Day Is Done; (as above)

Count Basie -The Glory of Love; (as above)
Count Basie – Boogie Woogie; (as above)
Count Basie – Smarty (You Know It All); (as above)
Count Basie – One O’Clock Jump; (as above)

Lester Young – Shoe Shine Boy; THE LESTER YOUNG STORY; Proper Records
Lester Young – Oh Lady Be Good (as above)
Lester Young/Billie Holiday – This Year’s Kisses (as above)
Lester Young/Billie Holiday – Easy Living; (as above)
Lester Young/Billie Holiday – Me, Myself & I; (as above)

Billie Holiday – Miss Brown To You; THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION; Hip-O Records
Billie Holiday – What A Little Moonlight Will Do; (as above)
Billie Holiday – I Cried For You; (as above)
Billie Holiday – Mean To Me; (as above)
Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit; (as above)
Billie Holiday – Fine And Mellow; (as above)

Tonight we begin a series that will run every other week through the rest of the year. You’ll be hearing some of the best jazz ever recorded. From New Orleans to Kansas City to Washington D.C., from rags to blues to stomps, we’ll listen to some of the essential icons of the music.

Decades: 1920s

Sam Moore – Laughing Rag
Dixieland Jug Blowers – House Rent Rag
South Street Trio – South Street Stomp
Savoy Bearcats – Hot Notes
Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Club – 12th Street Rag

The Original Dixieland Five – Tiger Rag
King Oliver’s Creole Jazz – Sugar Foot Stomp
New Orleans Rhythm Kings – Tin Roof Blues
Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra w/Bix & Lang – Singin’ The Blues
Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang – Goin’ Places

Kiing Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band – Chime Blues
King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band – Snake Rag
Clarence William’s Blue Five – Texas Moaner Blues
Clarence William’s Blue Five – Everybody Loves My Baby

Bessie Smith – St. Louis Blues
Bessie Smith – Sobbin’ Hearted Blues
Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra – Sugar Foot Stomp
Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra – T.N.T.

Duke Ellington & His Kentucky Club Orchestra – East St. Louis Toodle-o
Duke Ellington & His Kentucky Club Orchestra – Birmingham Breakdown
Duke Ellington & The Washingtonians – Black & Tan Fantasy
Duke Ellington & His Cotton Club Orchestra – Take It Easy
Duke Ellington & His Cotton Club Orchestra – Jubilee Stomp

Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five – Heebie Jeebies
Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five – Cornet Chop Suey
Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five – Skit-Dat-De-Dat
Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five – Big Butter and Egg Man

Louis Armstrong Stompers – Chicago Breakdown
Louis Armstrong & His Hot Seven – Potato Head Blues
Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five – Struttin’ With Some Barbecue
Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five – Hotter Than That

Bessie Smith – Any Woman’s Blues
Bessie Smith – Chicago Bound Blues
Bessie Smith – Mistreating Daddy
Bessie Smith – Frosty Morning Blue

Jelly Roll Morton – Doctor Jazz
Jelly Roll Morton – Cannonball Blues
Jelly Roll Morton – The Pearls
Jelly Roll Morton – Wolverine Blues

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – Black Beauty
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – Yellow Dog Blues
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – Toshimingo Blues
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – The Mooche

Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five – West End Blues
Louis Armstrong & Earl Hines – Weather Bird
Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five – Muggles
Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra – Ain’t Misbehavin’

Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra – Black and Blue
Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra – That Rhythm Man
Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra – When You’re Smiling
Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra – St. Louis Blues

Book Review

by Robin D.G. Kelley

To give you a clue about how fastidiously researched Professor Kelley’s tome on Monk is, there are 101 pages of annotated notes at the end of the book. In small font.
This book is an amazing resource for Monk-a-philes and jazz scholars and geeks alike. (I fit all of the above.) Beginning with a look into the Monk family tree during the Civil War era, and ending with a gig by gig account of Thelonious’ professional life, there is no question left unanswered.
Kelley’s thesis is that Monk, often portrayed as an eccentric genius, has been misunderstood as to the degree to which he had to work hard for his art, was a deeply committed family man, suffered from a mis-diagnosed bipolar disorder, and was often under-employed or under-appreciated during his lifetime.
Monk, who first comes to notice as Coleman Hawkin’s pianist, emerges as a player at the Harlem hot spot for jam sessions, Mintons, proved to be one of the giants of jazz in the 20th century. He was one of the father’s of bebop, and Kelley’s description of those early times in the 1940s are some of the highlights of the book. They stand right up next to Laurence Bergreen’s description of the origin of jazz in New Orleans in his book on Louis Armstrong as as close to a definitive version of the genesis of a music that we’re likely to find. Discovering the etiology and the evolution of bop has been difficult on record, due to the ban on recorded work because the vinyl was necessary for the war in the early 1940s.
Kelley quotes Monk as claiming that Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were influenced by him, not the other way around; he goes so far as to document how Dizzy mimicked Monk’s fashionable look of shades and a beret.
Monk did work hard to earn his eventual due, first with a string of brilliant recordings for Blue Note, then his famous stand with Coltrane at the 5 Spot, his feuds with Miles Davis, his “Lion in Winter” decade with Columbia Records. All carefully documented here and you never know when a new pearl of an anecdote will appear in the details.
However well Kelley proves the points of his thesis, he also amply illustrates the character of Monk he was hoping to downplay. Monk is shown to be a bit of a diva, stubborn, unreliable, taciturn and sometimes bizarre in behavior. He (almost undoubtedly) suffered from a bipolar condition, but also spent much of his life as a substance abuser, under the influence of a heady cocktail of whisky, thorazine, reefer and other drugs and meds.
In spite of it all, Monk remains one of jazz music’s main luminaries. As a player, unique and influential, a link between the Harlem stride stylings of Willie “The Lion” Smith or James P. Johnson and the sounds of bebop exploded by Bud Powell. As a composer, Monk ranks just below Duke Ellington in importance and sway.
Finally, this book returns us and encourages us to listen again to the recordings of Thelonious Monk. This is a trip that is always worth the while.

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