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It's fascinating that 1940s "How High The Moon," a very popular song of its time - and eventually modern jazz's national anthem - has spawned several contrafacts (new work based on a pre-existing structure) including, among many others, Miles' "Ornithology", Lee Konitz's "Lennie Bird," Coltrane's "Satellite" and "How High The Bird" by Steve Williamson for melodic and rhythmic comparisons. When he finished the chart, Morgan Lewis could not have known the impact his tune would have on the jazz idiom throughout its seventy-two year history. With that in mind, tonight's show begins with a remastered copy of Charlie Parker's Dial Records' 1947 "Ornithology" featuring Miles, Lucky Thompson, Dodo Marmarosa, guitarist Arvin Garrison and Max Roach. Yes, we've heard this outing several times over the years and Charlie's solo, one that may be the best ever. It's the perfect setup for Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau's cover from their Nonesuch September 9, 2016 release Nearness. In it they improvise simultaneously and briefly mention part of Parker's solo. Joshua and Brad's improvisation is much like the artists in Lennie Tristano's 1949 "Digression" - credited as being one of the first freely improvised jazz recordings. Lupa Santiago 4teto's + Ed Neumeister's 2016 Sound Finger Ubuntu follows with Santiago's "Probably Maybe" featuring the leader's guitar, Leandro Cabral's piano and Neumeister's trombone. The Cookers (Eddie Henderson - trumpet David Weiss - trumpet Donald Harrison - alto saxophone Billy Harper - tenor saxophone George Cables - piano Cecil McBee - bass Billy Hart - drums) close this half with a performance of Cables' "Beyond Forever" from Smoke Sessions Records 2016 release, The Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart.
From John Coltrane's famed A Love Supreme we'll hear, for the first time, "Part 2 - Resolution" featuring pianist McCoy Tyner, who demonstrates amazing growth compared to his performance in Coltrane's 1960 Coltrane Jazz heard in the August 31 program. KA MA Quartet (Katharina Maschmeyer Quartet) - A Love Supreme / Universal Tone (BAUER STUDIOS 2016) follows with their treatment of Coltrane's tune. Katharina's reeds are complimented by the stunning guitar of Nils Pollheide. J. D. Moffat's favorite guitarist, John Abercrombie closes this half-hour with bassist Marc Johnson's "Furs on Ice" from John's 1987 ECM Getting There featuring the late Michael Brecker on tenor and Peter Erskine's drums.
Canada's Grammy-nominated Saxophonist Ben Wendel kicks off the third half with a cover of Miles' "Solar" from his new MOTÉMA RECORDS What We Bring with help from Gérald Clayton (p), Joe Sanders (db) and Henry Cole (d). We think of Andrew Cyrille as an American avant-garde jazz drummer. Throughout his career he has performed both as a leader and as a sideman in the bands of Walt Dickerson and Cecil Taylor, both instrumental in the free-jazz movement of the 60s and beyond. From his 2016 unusually mainstream effort for Manfred Eicher's ECM: The Declaration of Musical Independence, we get Bill Frisell's "song for andrew no.1" with Frisell on guitar, Ben Street's bass and Richard Teitelbaum's keyboards. Steve Turre returns with a cover of Jobim/Lees' "Corcovado" - a mountain in central Rio Janeiro, also translated to "hunchback" - from his Smoke Sessions Records Colors for the Masters featuring Steve's trombone, Kenny Barron (p), Ron Carter (b), Jimmy Cobb (d) and Javon Jackson's tenor. Bringing this half to a close comes Eo Simon's Trio, making their first appearance on this show with a sensitive Bill Evans-type take on Bill and Miles' "Blue in Green" from his Youkali Music Mayan.
The late Charlie Haden gets us passionate with a cover of Deitz and Schwartz's "Haunted Heart" from his Quartet West - Haunted Heart recorded in France in 1991. Ernie Watts', the unparalleled romantic tenor saxophonist, joins the bassist with Alan Broadbent's piano and Larance Marable's drums. Toward the end, Charlie patches in Jo Stafford's vocal with the Paul Weston Orchestra from a 1950 Capitol recording. New from Impulse Records we get a Jacky Terrasson & Stéphane Belmondo (trumpet/piano) duet of Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" from Mother. From a request from Holladay Farms' Jules we get Scott Morgan's interpretation of Kurt Weil's "Lost in the Stars" from his 2016 Miranda Music cd Song of Life. Pianist Fred Hersch arranged the project and provides backup. Jane Monheit is absolutely spellbinding in a cover of Ray Gilbert/Marcos Valle/Paula Valle's "If You Went Away" from her 2007 Concord Surrender, a concept widely embraced in Wonder Valley. Way back in 1949, George Shearing got together with the most famous male vocalist of the time, Billy Eckstine, in a cover of Walter Donaldson's "You're Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do)?" The single was released on MGM shellac, but the remastered version is flawless. My heart is pounding just thinking of all these romantic feelings expressed musically! Am I right, ladies?
Let's have some fun!
Thanks to Music Director Serah and friends around the world for the program's content.