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Old Dec 13, 2007, 12:14 AM
Gavin Walker Gavin Walker is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vancouver
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This is the last show of 2007 as we take a break for the Holidays and come back in 2008 on January 7. I would like to thank all of you listeners who listen live or via the podcast for your ears and comments as this makes the show worthwhile. All the best for the Season from me to you and a very Happy and Creative New Year to all in 2008.
Our Christmas show will have some seasonal music from Charlie Parker, Gene Ammons, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Roland Kirk, Chet Baker, Booker Ervin and more. Of course we'll be hearing from the great Lord Buckley and his hip version of the 'Story of Scrooge' that's not to be missed. We'll also be playing the centerpiece from 'Skyblue' by the Maria Schneider Orchestra called 'Cerulean Skies' and one other selection called 'Rich's Piece' featuring tenor saxophonist Rich Perry. This album is her latest and best. The Jazz Feature at 11pm is a Jazz Show tradition and it's the classic Christmas Eve recording by The Miles Davis All-Stars better known as the "Bag's Groove" session.

This historic session took place on Christmas Eve in 1954 and paved the way for the rise of Miles Davis to a position of influence unparalleled in the world of Jazz. Miles had beaten heroin addiction and was ready to take on the world. 1954 was an major year for him and his recordings from that year were important documents in Modern Jazz history and were greeted with awe by musicians, fans and critics.

At the tail end of 1954, Bob Weinstock, the unflappable and wily owner of Prestige Records presented Miles with the idea of a recording session and said he had booked Rudy van Gelder's studio for December 24th. Weinstock told Davis it would be an all-star session with Milt Jackson on vibes, Percy Heath on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums......Miles said "sure, man! John Lewis on piano or my man Horace Silver?" Weinstock said "neither. Thelonious Monk....he's under contract to us and one of our stars". Miles responed, "shit man, not I dig his compositions and we're friends but I can't play with that motherfucker man!" Weinstock....."it's either Monk or no date.....dig?" Long silence..........finally Miles says......"ok". Of course Miles and Monk rankled one another on the session as Miles asked Monk not to play behind him during his solos......"don't comp for me man, just let me stroll with bass and drums". Monk was a bit miffed at this but that was the end of the conflict and the session went down beautifully and became the standard by which Modern Jazz was to be judged. These men just played what they knew and had no intention of making a 'great' or 'historic' recording. Two takes of Jackson's blues, 'Bag's Groove' were recorded in the late afternoon and take #1 has one of Monk's most astounding solos that has been analysed by Jazz musicologists of every stripe. 'Bemsha Swing' was up next....a composition by Monk and drummer, Denzil Best. Monk told Miles bluntly that seeing as Bemsha is his tune, he would play behind Miles. It was either that or play another tune.....Miles reluctantly agreed and it's the only tune where you hear Monk 'comp' for Miles. They broke for dinner and resumed in the early evening playing Miles tune, 'Swing Spring' and two takes of the Gershwin standard 'The Man I Love'. Although there was no Christmas music played somehow the spirit of the Season filtered through the music. The incandescent sound of Miles' horn and the bell-like sounds of Jackson's vibes and even the percussive, ringing Monk piano seemed to echo the Season. The date ended at 10 o'clock and the musicians went their separate ways to celebrate Christmas with their families. Kenny Clarke and Milt Jackson stopped at a bar on their way home for a nightcap and Clarke said to Jackson......"Miles is sure a beautiful cat man." Jackson smiled and said "Merry Christmas."
Gavin Walker's The Jazz Show is heard Mondays 9PM to midnight on CITR 101.9 FM and online.
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