186: “Summertime” by Albert Ayler

The lines themselves don't even stay inside the lines if you look close enough.Asking some people not to draw outside the lines is like asking some people not to put tabasco on their pancakes. The request is absurd from the wrong end of the question mark.

Albert Ayler blew his horn like he was riding a wild stallion. No lines. No fences. No ground. No sky. Just horn. Wild bucking horn.

Enjoy Gershwin’s classic “Summertime” Ayler style, from My Name Is Albert Ayler (1963).

Song: Summertime
Artist: Albert Ayler
Album: My Name Is Albert Ayler
Label: 1201 Music
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Watch: YouTube

124: “One Note Samba” by Dizzie Gillespie

Let it out, dude!!!Dizzy Gillespie.  Trumpet player’s trumpet player.

Pay homage by stretching your smile as far as it will go in either direction, then stretch it a little farther… and a little farther… and then… enjoy….

Song: One Note Samba
Artist: Dizzie Gillespie
Album: New Wave [Import]
Label: Universal
Buy from: Amazon

55: “‘Round Midnight” by Thelonious Monk

Get up in my head.  I double-dog dare you.  Get up in my head.  I covered it.Here’s Thelonious Monk doing one of his most famous tunes, “‘Round Midnight.”  Quality is dodgy on the video but you can really see his body language, and that right foot dancing around.  It’s from a recording in Germany in 1963.  The song was released 6 years earlier on Thelonious Himself.

In this video you see that Monk’s obviously got some stuff inside him that is trying to get out.  He was a quirky guy to say the least, but if he had mental disorders, they were never formally recognized or diagnosed.  If you’re like me, and you often find yourself contemplating the states of mind behind the music you hear, then you might click here and read the Wikipedia account of Thelonious Monk’s “later life.”

Notice how he leans into the piano at times, leaning the stool onto two legs, and at the body language he’s using to express that musical itch inside him… and just enjoy.

Song: ‘Round Midnight
Artist: Thelonious Monk
Album: Thelonious Himself
Label: Concord Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes

9: “Switch Blade” by Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach

Should these 3 guys have been in the same place at the same time? Seems risky.Three of the greatest ever, making music together.  At each moment of these sessions, the future was rife with possibilities… each twist of the wrist and finger held an infinite number of possibilities.  Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach recorded Money Jungle in 1962 and released it in 1963.

In this track, an alternate take of “Switch Blade” from the 2002 re-master of Money Jungle (and the better take in my opinion), you can hear that each note is played with clear intention.  Duke leaves open spaces throughout, and you can hear each member listening as much as they’re playing.  It’s a great recording for jazz lovers, and will never grow old.


Song: Switch Blade (Alternate Take)
Artist: Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach
Album: Money Jungle
Label: United Artists Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: YouTube (original take)