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Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

What’s New: May 2011, With Disney And Ray Charles Tributes

Music from tributes to Ray Charles and the songs of Disney films, featuring Esperanza Spalding, Roy Hargrove, Roberta Gambarini, Norah Jones and others.

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Disney on Afterglow? Is there a (Mickey) mouse in the house of popular song?

There’s actually a long jazz-and-popular-song tradition of recording Disney film music, going back to the 1930s, when artists such as Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, and Bunny Berigan waxed tunes from movies like Snow White, Pinocchio, and Disney’s Silly Symphony series. The 1950s and 60s saw the release of albums such as Dave Brubeck’s Dave Digs Disney and Louis Armstrong’s Disney Songs the Satchmo Way, while Bill Evans, Miles Davis and John Coltrane recorded individual songs like “Some Day My Prince Will Come” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” (You can hear some of these recordings on the WFIU Night Lights show Jazz Goes Disney.)

A new anthology, Everybody Wants to Be a Cat, features modern artists such as Esperanza Spalding, Joshua Redman, and Regina Carter doing fresh interpretations of Disney songs. Dave Brubeck is on board for it as well, performing “Alice in Wonderland” with singer Roberta Gambarini. We’ll also hear from a new tribute to the music of Ray Charles, with Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, and Wynton Marsalis joining in the celebration.

Quartet West and Kurt Elling round out the show with more music from their recent releases; listen, in particular, to the sensitive upsweep of Elling’s take on a passage from Duke Ellington’s memoir during “Nightime, Lady Bright.”

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