Tune in to the Jazz Show with Gavin Walker every Monday night,
Tonight the Jazz Feature spotlights tenor saxophone master Joe Henderson with one of his most iconic albums. “Mode For Joe” features an all-star septet with the great Lee Morgan on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, Cedar Walton on piano, Ron Carter on bass and drummer Joe Chambers. Three compositions by Joe Henderson, two by Cedar Walton who composed the title track and one by Lee Morgan. All of these men were at their creative peaks here and made one for the books! Don’t miss!
Johnny Griffin aka “The Little Giant” aka “The Chicago Fire” holds forth tonight with one of his most challenging and compelling albums. Johnny Griffin on tenor saxophone, Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Julian Priester on trombone make up the front line. Wynton Kelly on piano, Sam Jones on bass and Albert “Tootie” Heath on drums make up the rhythm section. Composer/arranger Norman Simmons wrote three amazing tunes for this date and arranged all six tracks. Of the many albums that Johnny Griffin recorded this one is a stand out. Don’t miss “The Little Giant”.
As this is our last show for 2018 we have established a tradition here that we keep every year. To celebrate musically the up and coming Holiday Season we present the famous “Bags’ Groove” session recorded on Christmas Eve 1954 by the Miles Davis All-Stars. Miles Davis in incandescent form on trumpet leads the amazing Thelonious Monk on piano, Milt Jackson on vibes, Percy Heath on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums through music that somehow evokes the Christmas spirit without actually playing Christmas music. This recording set the standard for Jazz music for many years and is an eternal classic. We’ll follow up Mr. Davis with more Holiday Jazz to end the year and wish everyone of our listeners the best of the Season.
The Jazz Show welcomes 2019 with four iconic albums recorded in the year 1959. Each of these albums remain best sellers and continue to be reissued and replayed by people throughout the world. They have maintained their freshness despite being recorded 60 years ago, a sign of great art. We begin with probably the best loved Jazz album of all time. Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue”. This magical date has Mr. Davis leading his sextet through five of his compositions. Davis on trumpet with Julian “Cannonball” Adderley on alto saxophone, John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Bill Evans on piano on four of the tunes and Wynton Kelly on piano on one. Paul Chambers is on bass and on drums is Jimmy Cobb. We’ll hear the date in actual recording order which will make it sound even fresher to those who have heard this album many times.
Pianist/composer Dave Brubeck and his classic album “Take Five” is another best loved recording. Brubeck’s Quartet with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright and drum master Joe Morello was one of the most popular groups in Jazz but this album catapulted them even further up the popularity pole. It was an entirely new look for the Quartet as Brubeck had composed 6 new compositions that were not only melodically catchy but all were played in time signatures that were rare at the time in Jazz music. These tunes changed the way people hear music. Of the 7 tunes on the album Brubeck wrote 6 and Paul Desmond wrote what was to be one of the most famous tunes ever in Jazz….”Take Five”. Paul’s tune was in 5/4 time hence the title. Tonight we Take Five!
Bassist/composer Charles Mingus’ album “Mingus Ah Um” (a play on the Latin declension of his name) took Mingus out of the Jazz underground and placed him front and center in the music world. This recording of all Mingus compositions presents one of his finest editions of his “Jazz Workshop” the name he chose to refer to his bands. In the band are trombonists Jimmy Knepper and Willie Dennis, saxophonists John Handy, Shafi Hadi and Booker Ervin….Handy and Ervin take the solos with Hadi in a supportive role. Horace Parlan is the pianist and Mingus’ right-hand man is drummer Dannie Richmond plus of course Charles Mingus on bass. The best way to really listen to this album is to think of it as a suite with various movements. The music covers a very wide range of emotions and to this day remains at the top of the list of Mingus recordings. “Mingus Ah Um” oh yeah!
To wrap up this month’s Jazz Features of iconic recordings done in 1959 we arrive at pianist/composer Horace Silver’s “Blowin’ The Blues Away”. This album features 8 Silver compositions and the tight and disciplined Quintet. Junior Cook is the tenor saxophonist, Blue Mitchell is the trumpeter, Gene Taylor is on bass and the great Louis Hayes is on drums. Horace’s tunes are catchy, melodic and swing hard and the band cooks like a blast furnace on the up tempo tunes. Horace’s punching, driving and simple direct playing guides the group through it’s inspired paces. Six of the tunes feature the full quintet and two are devoted to Silver with just bass and drums. Of the many Horace Silver recordings, all are good but this one is great! It will be “Blowin’ The Blues Away” big time!