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"The Birth of the Cool Songbook" on Night Lights


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#1 ghost of miles

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 02:52 PM

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The Birth of the Cool was a milestone in modern jazz—a handful of arrangements, compositions, recording sessions, and performances that, as historian Ted Gioia notes, “turned the jazz idiom on its head.” It extended the idea of what a jazz combo could sound like, and it provided an aesthetic head of steam for several of its creators. Recorded at the end of the 1940s by a group led by Miles Davis, these sides were obscure at first, released on 78s and known primarily to musicians, but they had a profound impact, influencing the West Coast jazz school and the later popular big-band projects that Davis recorded with Birth of the Cool colleague Gil Evans.

The Birth of the Cool Songbook features recordings by other artists of the music used for the Birth of the Cool recording sessions, including Martha Tilton’s 1942 version of “Moon Dreams” (co-written by Johnny Mercer and Glenn Miller pianist Chummy MacGregor), a roaring live take on “Move” from a superstar bebop band led by Charlie Parker, an early-1950s Claude Thornhill band interpretation of Gerry Mulligan’s “Jeru,” and Bud Powell’s solo-piano “Budo” (aka “Hallucinations”) tour de force. We’ll also hear recordings from Elliot Lawrence, Red Norvo, Bill Evans, Mark Murphy, Ahmad Jamal, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Gerry Mulligan.

The Birth of the Cool Songbook airs this evening at 9 p.m. Central Time on WNIN-Evansville, at 11 p.m. EST on WFIU-Bloomington, and at 11 p.m. Central Time on Oklahoma Public Radio; it also airs Sunday evening at 10 p.m. EST on Michigan's Blue Lake Public Radio. It will be posted for online listening Monday morning in the Night Lights archives.

Next week: "Dolphy '64."

Edited by ghost of miles, 13 April 2010 - 11:45 AM.


#2 JSngry

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 07:24 PM

How does the Tilton version of "Moon Dreams" compare to the transcendent Johnny Desmond/Miller AAF Band version?

#3 Larry Kart

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 09:47 PM

How does the Tilton version of "Moon Dreams" compare to the transcendent Johnny Desmond/Miller AAF Band version?


The Desmond/Miller is a gem, but there's also a lovely one by Meredith D'Ambrosio, which incorporates some of Gil's arrangement of the piece. You know, of course, that its composer, Chummy McGregor, is played in "The Glenn Miller Story" by the same actor who played the C.O. in "M*A*S*H" on TV, Harry Morgan.

#4 Larry Kart

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 08:14 PM

The full D'Ambrosio "Moon Dreams" can be heard here:

http://www.rhapsody..../bewareofspring

The second vocal chorus is something else. Nice group -- Eddie Higgins (her husband), George Mraz, and Jeff Hirschfield.

#5 BillF

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 06:03 AM

The full D'Ambrosio "Moon Dreams" can be heard here:

http://www.rhapsody..../bewareofspring

The second vocal chorus is something else. Nice group -- Eddie Higgins (her husband), George Mraz, and Jeff Hirschfield.

Won't play for Brits :(

#6 ghost of miles

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 09:08 AM

How does the Tilton version of "Moon Dreams" compare to the transcendent Johnny Desmond/Miller AAF Band version?


Agonized over this a great deal--I have two versions of the Miller AAF, one from the 4-CD Bluebird box, another from SECRET BROADCASTS. I'd give a slight nod to the Miller AAF arrangement, but went with Tilton's becaus it was the earlier, "hit" version (and yet even more forgotten now than the Miller AAF interpretation). In retrospect I probably should've leaned back towards the Miller.

Franz Koglmann also does a nice version of "Moon Dreams" on one of his early-1990s CDs. At some point I might do a sequel/reprise--left out a lot of other things I wanted to use like the Thornhill band's version of "Godchild," Serge Chaloff's "Move" from Carnegie Hall 1949, etc.

#7 ghost of miles

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 10:21 AM

The Birth of the Cool Songbook is now archived for listening at the preceding link and in the Night Lights archives.

Edited by ghost of miles, 13 April 2010 - 11:46 AM.


#8 ghost of miles

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 11:47 AM

We re-aired The Birth of the Cool Songbook last week and it remains archived for online listening.

#9 BillF

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 12:39 PM

We re-aired The Birth of the Cool Songbook last week and it remains archived for online listening.

It's a winner! :tup




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