Jazz music has rarely been explored
in earlier “Door To Yesterday” bulletins
and so I thought this a good time to share a few
of my personal favorite vintage jazz instrumentals.
I stress that this is purely a random selection…
(Thelonious Monk/Cootie Williams/Bernie Hanighen)
by The Miles Davis Quintet
Recorded in ’56 by The Miles Davis Quintet:
Miles (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor sax),
Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass)
and Philly Joe Jones (drums).
The tune dates back a number of years earlier
when its melody was written by pianist Thelonious Monk.
In the summer of ’44, trumpeter and Duke Ellington band member Cootie Williams
recorded a version and his arrangement resulted in his name being added as co-writer;
a lyric was also created by Bernie Hanighen. The version recognized as Monk’s own original
was issued in late ’47. Miles Davis reintroduced the tune at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival.
by Dave Brubeck Quartet
Pro: Teo Macero
With Paul Desmond’s alto sax spelling out the melody
and pianist Dave Brubeck playing in the 5/4 time signature,
this became a huge popular hit in ’61.Also featured:
Gene Wright (bass) and Je Morello (drums).
by Eddie Harris
Tenor sax arrangement of the Title Theme from
Otto Preminger’s 1960 film starring Paul Newman
& Eva Marie Saint.
Edited down to a two-minute singleEddie’s record became a Top 40 single.
. Supporting Eddie: Willie Pickens (piano), Joe Diorio (guitar),
William Yancy (bass) and Harold Jones (drums).
MERCY, MERCY, MERCY
by 'Cannonball' Adderley
Pro: David Axelrod
Recorded live, this became a Top 20 hit in ’67
for alto saxman Cannonball Adderley supported
by his cornet-playing brother Nat and pianist/composer Josef Zawinul
with Victor Gaskin (bass) and Roy McCurdy (drums).
LULLABY OF BIRDLAND
by the George Shearing Quintet
Written by pianist Shearing as the theme tune for Morris Levy’s
New York jazz club radio show.
Supporting George: Dick Garcia (guitar), Al McKibbon (bass),
Marquis Foster (drums) and Joe Roland on vibes.
It became George’s all-time theme tune.
TAKE THE ‘A’ TRAIN
by Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra
The Duke’s famous signature tune named for a New York City subway service.
The orchestra at the time comprised the Duke on piano
plus Ray Nance (trumpet),Rex Stewart (cornet), Wallace Jones (trumpet),
trombonists Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol & Lawrence Brown,
clarinetist & tenor saxman Barney Bigard, alto & soprano saxman Johnny Hodges,
alto saxman Otto Hardwick,
tenor saxman Ben Webster, baritone saxman Harry Carney, guitarist
Fred Guy,bassist Jimmy Blanton and drummer Sonny Greer
plus composer/pianist Billy Strayhorn.
by Lee Morgan
(Blue Note: 1964)
Lee Morgan (trumpet), Joe Henderson (tenor sax),
Barry Harris (piano), Bob Cranshaw (bass), Billy Higgins (drums).
by Jimmy Forest (tenor sax) & All Star Combo
The combo: Bunky Parker (piano), Johnny Mixon (bass),
Oscar Oldham (drums) & Percy James (congo drums & bongo).
A successful hard-driving R&B instrumental, it has a Duke Ellington
pedigreein that the opening riff first materialized in Johnny Hodges’ 1940 78 of
THAT’S THE BLUES OLD MAN after which the Duke re-used it himself
in HAPPY-GO-LUCKY LOCAL.
Jimmy Forrest had earlier played in the Ellington orchestra.
NIGHT TRAIN was successfully revived by
James Brown a decade later in ’62.
by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
Pro: Alfred Lion
(Blue Note: 1958)
Composer Bobby Timmons’ piano opens the track
which features Lee Morgan (trumpet), Benny Golson (tenor sax),
Jymie Merritt (bass) and of course Art Blakey (drums).
(Antonio Carlos Jobim)
by Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd
Pro: Creed Taylor
Stan Getz (tenor sax), Charlie Byrd (guitar),
Keter Betts (bass), Gene Byrd (bass & guitar),
Buddy Deppenschmidt & Bill Reichenbach (percussion).
This was a defining moment in the popularity
of the Brazilian bossa nova rhythm.
by Mongo Santamaria & His Orchestra
Pro: Orrin Keepnews & Larry Maxwell
Conga-meister Mongo Santamaria achieved pop chart success
with this Latin jazz tune just a few months after Herbie Hancock
released his original version. Mongo’s musicians: Marty Sheller (trumpet),
Pat Patrick (alto sax), Bobby Capers (tenor sax), Rodgers Grant (piano),
Victor Venegas (bass), Frank Hernandez & Kalil Madi (drums),
‘Kako’, Joseph Gorgas & Chihuahua Martinez (percussion).
by Erroll Garner Trio
Erroll’s superb piano styling was supported by
Wyatt Ruther (bass) and Fats Heard (drums).
MISTY is also remembered as a vocal ballad success by
Johnny Mathis in ’59 with a lyric by Johnny Burke.
Clint Eastwood featured Erroll Garner playing his classic melody
on the soundtrack of the 1971 film drama “Play Misty For Me”
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
by Jimmy Smith & The Big Band
Arr: Oliver Nelson
Pro: Creed Taylor (Verve: 1962)
Bombastic brass-laden version with organist
Jimmy Smith of the title theme from the movie starring
Laurence Harvey, Capucine & Jane Fonda.
Conductor Oliver Nelson’s swingin’ band arrangements
dominate the track’s first half setting the scene for Jimmy’s
spectacular organ bops and wails which begin around 2.40.
The Big Band comprised trumpeters
Joe Newman, Ernie Royal, Doc Severinsen & Joe Wilder,
trombonists Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green,
Britt Woodman and Tom Mitchell, alto saxmen
Jerry Dodgion and Phil Woods, tenor saxmen Bob Ashton and Babe Clark,
baritone saxman George Barrow,guitarist Barry Galbraith, bassist George Duvivier
and drummer Ed Shaughnessy.
As in all my postings,
the recordings listed and referenced above
are in no way intended as definitive collections.
Please send any comments or suggestions to
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