The Monterey Jazz Festival is coming up on its 50th anniversary, and I'm assuming that's why a series of CDs featuring performances by Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Sarah Vaughan, and others is coming out next week.
I'm listening today to a highlights promo that the station received, and so far it's prime stuff. I've always dug the Seven Steps to Heaven/Four and More era of Miles Davis, and this was actually the debut of the Hancock/Carter/Williams lineup. A "Miles '63" show has got to happen soon...and oh man, George Coleman's solo on "Autumn Leaves" is full of warm and gorgeous October light. (George Coleman-there's another program.)
Then there's the Man himself, floating in to cap things off with a plaintive run that culminates in a repeated single-note burst and a sudden leap at the end.
The Thelonious Monk Quartet spins off an energized "Rhythm-a-Ning" (with a 23-year-old Steve Swallow sitting in on bass), Jimmy Witherspoon serves up "S.K. Blues"-a reminder that this was an era when a jazz festival meant a jazz festival, leavened with some blues and nothing else-Dave Brubeck comes to life on "Some Day My Prince Will Come," Sarah Vaughan takes Lennon and McCartney for a ride on "And I Love Him" (showing that yes, Beatles tunes can be done well in a jazz setting) and Joe Henderson sashays through "Isotope" with a quartet that includes Bobby Hutcherson on vibes and Elvin Jones on drums.
The Diana Krall side is a bit of a weak link, simply because the song "Why Should I Care" pretty much lives up (or down) to its title. Can't wait to check out the full-length CDs of these concerts... out August 21.