The Jazz Show Episode December 22, 2008

Broadcast on 22-Dec-2008

9:00pm - 11:59pm

This immortal all-star session took place on Christmas Eve 1954. The date was nominally led by a newly revitalized Miles Davis who by early 1954 had shaken off the shackles of heroin addiction and began his rise to Jazz greatness. Bob Weinstock, the wily and feisty owner of Prestige Records offered Miles, who was under contract with the label, a date on Christmas Eve 1954 and asked Miles to pick the musicians. Weinstock suggested to Miles that it might be nice to record with members of the Modern Jazz Quartet, also under contract with Prestige. Miles was agreeable....Percy Heath, Kenny Clarke and Milt Jackson and John Lewis, who was Miles' close friend. Weinstock threw Miles a curveball and said 'no, not John or Horace Silver....Thelonious Monk". Davis said no, not Monk. Miles respected Monk and played his tunes but didn't like Monk's comping (backing). Weinstock said "no Monk, no date." Monk and Miles reached a compromise.....Monk would not back up Miles during his solos. The only exception to that was on Bemsha Swing, which is a Monk tune that Miles wanted to record. Monk laid down the law and said in effect that if Miles used his tune then Monk would back Miles and so it was.

This is a classic date that has influenced Jazz listeners and musicians to this day. The first tune is Jackson's blues, "Bags' Groove" followed by Davis' "Swing Spring" then Monk's "Bemsha Swing" and finally the Gershwin standard, "The Man I Love'. Bags' Groove and The Man I Love both have two magnificent alternate takes. Tonight we hear the first takes of both and it's worth noting that Monk's solo on Bags' Groove is one of his most innovative and has been discussed by many musicians and musicologists for years. The spirit of Christmas runs through this session especially in the sound of Miles' trumpet and Jackson's bell-like vibes. Enjoy this annual Christmas treat,

Track Listing:

Dat Dere
Art Blakey · At Birdland: Live.
This Here (Dish' Hea)
Art Blakey · Child's Dance
Duke Ellington · The Nutcracker Suite
Peanut Brittle Brigade
The Volga Vouty
Arabesque Cookie
John Coltrane · The Complete Studio
Winter Wonderland
Chet Baker · The Chet Baker 4.
White Christmas
Charlie Parker · Bird at the Roost
We Three Kings
Roland Kirk · We Free Kings
Lord Buckley · Blowing His Mind
The Christmas Song
Dexter Gordon · The Panther
Let it Snow
Chris Sigerson/Chris · Merry Chris Chris
Santa Claus is Coming
Nelson · Christmas
To Town
God Rest Ye Merry
Modern Jazz Quartet · At Music Inn
Bags' Groove
Miles Davis · Bags' Groove
Swing Spring
Bemsha Swing
The Man I Love.