How did a pop song written for a musical in 1937 become such a hugely influential jazz standard that may have helped shape one of the most innovative bop records over 20 years later? The Jazz Imposters discuss that as well as the masterful composing of the Rodgers and Hart songwriting team that brought this song to life.
In what was a revolutionary year for jazz, 1959, Charles Mingus’ album “Mingus Ah Um” was no exception. However, while some were solely interested in breaking new ground, Charles Mingus made sure to do so while also reflecting and paying homage to his predecessors. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat serves as a musical eulogy to the greatly revered saxophonist, Lester Young, and at the same time displays Mingus’ flair for non-traditional harmony and composition.
Miles Davis is one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. We only scratch the surface of his momentous career with a look at an early composition that became an enduring jazz standard, Four. This tune marks the transition of Davis to a frontman and also coincides with his conquering a serious heroin addiction. We touch on the prickly nature of this forward-looking composer, juxtaposed to the pleasant nature of this composition.
The Imposters take a crack at a unique tune by the visionary Thelonious Monk, a true artist of jazz music at the forefront of the bebop era. Epistrophy literally became the theme song for the birth of bop, and in many ways embodies the impetus to break free of the swing era and move into the unexplored musical frontiers of improvisation.
Bossa Nova exploded on the scene in the early 1960’s due in large part to the release of the album Jazz Samba in 1962 and the chart-topping single, Desafinado. The gang tries to capture the essence of the style, while acknowledging the mastery of the musicians who brought it to American audiences, most notably Stan Getz.
John Coltrane was a titan of jazz whose contributions to music still leave us wonderstruck every time we listen. In this episode we dip our toe into an earlier tune off of his first album as a bandleader, Chronic Blues (1957). We break down the 12-Bar Blues form and how this song utilizes it in a unique way, alluding to Coltrane’s personal struggles and stylings as a musician at this time in his life. Andres switches over to the Baritone Sax to create the more raw and aggressive sound that characterizes the feel of the main riff and solo sections.
In this episode we cover the history of one of the most recorded and widely performed jazz standards, Body and Soul (1930). We dissect the tune’s dense harmonic composition, explain the importance of considering the lyrics when performing a song, and moreover talk about our general approach to playing a ballad.
We break in this new podcast with a look at Afternoon in Paris (1949) by pianist/composer John Lewis. In case it isn’t obvious, we’re going to tackle songs alphabetically. We touch on the history of this tune and how it coincides with jazz progressing into bebop in the 1940's. We then analyze the form and harmony, and talk about our approach to playing in the spirit of this jazz classic.
In each episode of this podcast we will attempt to tackle one classic jazz standard, discussing the history, theory, and overall appreciation of the song; and by the end of each episode we will, for better or worse, perform our own take. We’ll be talking about our experiences as musicians, the triumphs and challenges we have overcome or continue to face in the world of music. We hope to bring you interviews with experts and feature performances by distinguished guests. We’ll also tap into our own local scene to keep you plugged into what’s going on and music to watch out for.