Tag Archives: Jazz

January Music et al

January Music et al

The 1960s was a great decade for January music

John Coltrane’s Giant Steps

In January 1960: John Coltrane released his “Giant Steps” album, considered a classic jazz album and one that saxophonists still measure themselves by today. Linsey Planer at AllMusic.com writesHistory will undoubtedly enshrine this disc as a watershed the likes of which may never truly be appreciated. Giant Steps bore the double-edged sword of furthering the cause of the music as well as delivering it to an increasingly mainstream audience.”

Take a listen to this amazing music!

January Music et al

Two Steps from the Blues Bobby “Blue” Bland


In January 1961: Bobby Blue Bland released Two Steps from the Blues album. Bland was an original member of the Beale Streeters and was sometimes referred to as the “Lion of the Blues”. Along with such artists as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Junior Parker, Bland developed a sound that mixed gospel with the blues and R&B. An imitator of Frank Sinatra, he was also known as the “Sinatra of the blues”, his music being influenced by Nat King Cole. Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.


January Music et al

Bob Dylan and John Birch

In January 1962 Bob Dylan wrote  “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues

Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue
I didn’t know what in the world I wus gonna do
Them Communists they wus comin’ around
They wus in the air
They wus on the ground
They wouldn’t gimme no peace . . . So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road
Yee-hoo, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies! Now we all agree with Hitler’s views
Although he killed six million Jews
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold you take a shot of malaria Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds
I got up in the mornin’ ’n’ looked under my bed
Looked in the sink, behind the door
Looked in the glove compartment of my car
Couldn’t find ’em . . . I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Reds everywhere
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair
I looked way up my chimney hole
I even looked deep down inside my toilet bowl
They got away . . .
Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat
Figured they wus in my T.V. set
Peeked behind the picture frame
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones Well, I quit my job so I could work all alone
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
Ol’ Betsy Ross . . . Well, I investigated all the books in the library
Ninety percent of ’em gotta be throwed away
I investigated all the people that I knowed
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go
The other two percent are fellow Birchers . . . just like me Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie Exodus Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out nothing . . . good God!

January Music et al

Beatles audition

January 1, 1962: The Beatles and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes both auditioned at Decca Records, a company which has the option of signing one group only. Decca told The Beatles that “guitar groups” were on the way out and did not offer them a contract and signed The Tremeloes instead. Other record companies turned the Beatles down as well. One of the songs the Beatles sang was Hello Little Girl, the first song written by John Lennon (in 1957).


January Music et al

Beatles tour Scotland

January 1, 1963, The Beatles began a concert tour of Scotland.

Happy New Year Happy New Music

January Music et al

Albert Ayler

January Music et al

In January 1965: Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity album released. “Ayler was among the most primal of the free jazz musicians of the 1960s; critic John Litweiler wrote that ‘never before or since has there been such naked aggression in jazz.’ He possessed a deep blistering tone—achieved by using the stiff plastic Fibrecane no. 4 reeds on his tenor saxophone—and used a broad, pathos-filled vibrato.” (AllMusic Review by Steve Huey)

January Music et al

Sounds of Silence

January 1 – 7, 1966: “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. (see Wednesday Morning 3am)

January Music et al

Roots of Rock


January 1, 1967: FM stations were no longer allowed to simply simulcast their AM counterpart. Birth of “underground “ rock radio.

January Music et al

John Lennon/FBI

Happy New Year Happy New Music

In January 1972: the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a file on John Lennon and Yoko Ono fearing they would organize the youth vote and prevent a second term for President Richard Nixon. (see Feb 4)

January Music et al

John and Yoko

Happy New Year Happy New Music

In January 1975: John and Yoko reunited after 18 month separation—the so-called “Lost Weekend.” (see Jan 9)

January Music et al

New Year New Music, New Year New Music, New Year New Music, 

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Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Released July 17, 1960

Miles Davis Sketches of Spain

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Third Stream

It was not new for jazz artists to take a classical composition and adapt it to their style. Third Stream was a description of such an adaptation in that it was a fusion of jazz, classical European, and world music.

In Sketches of Spain Miles Davis used some of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez (1939) as well as a song called “Will o’ the Wisp”, from Manuel de Falla’s ballet El amor brujo.

George Kanzler described Sketches of Spain as, “…the least jazzy album they [Davis and Gil Evans] made. Suffused with the melancholic, repressed passion of flamenco and shimmering with the brooding modal minimalism of that music, Sketches of Spain is a triumph of moody impressionism.”

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

1960

Popular music and 10-year-old Baby Boomers were still four years away from Beatlemania and the British Invasion with its reinterpretation of American pop. And popular music was five years away from the touchstone year of 1965 when Bob Dylan went electric, the Beatles went Rubber Soul, and Brian Wilson decided to Pet Sounds.

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Jazz

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Jazz musicians had often been more willing to push the limits of their style. In 1960 John Coltrane released Giant Steps, an album whose tracks continue to inspire today’s saxophonists. Wes Montgomery did the same for guitar with The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery.

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Charles Mingus

That same year, bassist Charles Mingus released Blues and Roots. In the album’s liner notes, Mingus wrote, “This record is unusual—it presents only one part of my musical world, the blues. A year ago, Nesuhi Ertegün suggested that I record an entire blues album in the style of Haitian Fight Song (in Atlantic LP 1260), because some people, particularly critics, were saying I didn’t swing enough. He wanted to give them a barrage of soul music: churchy, blues, swinging, earthy. I thought it over. I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I’ve grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing. So I agreed.”

Miles Davis Sketches Spain
Sketches of Spain

All Music has a wonderful review. Each of reviewer Thom Jurek’s sentences seems to top the previous one in its praise for each track.

While the Beatles were still crafting their skills and trying to decide what name they should stick with, Miles Davis was creating some of the most classic music ever recorded.

Miles Davis Sketches Spain
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Keep Sunday Airwaves Clean Society

Keep Sunday Airwaves Clean Society

Keep Sunday Airwaves Clean Society
band Cartoon album cover
             “Wa Wa Wa” by King Oliver & His Orchestra.
Keep Sunday Airwaves Clean Society

Old story

The morning after Super Bowls, discussions about the halftime show are often more intense than than those about the game itself. Remember the outrage of some after Beyonce’s 2016 performance? Lady Gaga got of easy.


It’s an old story: society debates what music is proper.


When radio stations discovered that listeners loved music, that debate included the airwaves.


WMCA-AM radio went on the air on February 6, 1925 and by December 1926, the station aired popular music continuously from 9 am to 5 pm – an unusually long broadcast period for that time. It soon became the first station in the NY metropolitan area to regularly program into the post-midnight hours.


Keep the Air Clean Sunday Society

Keep Sunday Airwaves Clean Society


 

On March 14, 1927,  John Henry Maynor, the secretary of the New York City Keep-the-Air-Clean-Sunday Society, sent a letter to WMCA objecting to radio station WMCA’s playing of jazz music on Sunday nights, charging that it was “degrading” and “defaming.”  The the show’s Milton M Roemer read the letter.


               A New York Times article about the objection read: Whether jazz and other secular music should be allowed on the radio on Sunday or whether the air should be restricted to sacred music on that day was the question put up to the radio audience last night by Milton M. Roemer, director of a group which broadcasts an hour of music from 6 to 7 o’clock every Sunday evening from Station WMCA, Hotel McAlpin. [full NYT article]


               Roemer had asked his listeners to let him know whether they wanted to continue listening to his jazz selections (as well as the station’s other secular music on Sundays) or not. He left it up to them.


               In response, listeners flooded the station with letters stating they had no objection to the one-hour program. Among those letters was one from a Colonel James E Dedman, the commanding officer of a local veterans hospital. He said that 400 disabled soldiers enjoyed the show and would miss it greatly if it were discontinued. [NYT article].


               Arthur Batchelor, the Federal Radio Inspector for the New York District, explained that he had no power to censor the content of radio programs, but that he was referring the matter to the newly created Federal Radio Commission. In the 1920s and 1930s, many self-appointed guardians of public morals condemned this new music called “jazz.” The rhythms that moralists feared would lead people to immoral behavior prompted these attacks. And jazz was primarily performed by African-Americans.


               On March 20, 1927 the Federal Radio Commission called for a presentation of views on what could be done to regulate “chaos out of the ether.”


               In reply to the criticism of WMCA’s Sunday music format, Donald Flamm, the president of the station, announced that “until popular opinion should dictate that he should do otherwise, he would continue the present policy of alternating light music and jazz with religious music on his Sabbath radio programs.” [NYT article]


               Of course, in the 1950s and 1960s, the self-appointed guardians of public morals had the same objections to rock and roll just as those guardians have today with hip-hop and other “immoral” music.


Keep Sunday Airwaves Clean Society

Keep the Air Clean Sunday Society

Keep the Air Clean Sunday Society

Keep the Air Clean Sunday Society

Keep the Air Clean Sunday Society

Keep the Air Clean Sunday Society

Keep the Air Clean Sunday Society

Keep the Air Clean Sunday Society

Keep the Air Clean Sunday Society

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