I’m a big fan of emcees who do great concert intros, which is what this week’s recorded show is all about.
We start with what is perhaps the greatest of them all: James Brown at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, 1962. Along with another great intro from our #1 Soul Brother and his band the JB’s.
After that come two Francophone intros, Miles Davis at the first Paris International Jazz Festival in 1949. Here the radio announcer compares the newly arrived (in France) bebop music to the polyphony of Bach, Renaissance architecture, and other classical forms. The French have always treated jazz as America’s classical music; no wonder so many jazz musicians went there. Being his first visit to Paris, it was quite the experience for Miles Davis—he even fell madly in love with Juliette Greco during this visit.
A second introduction in French comes with the 1971 tenth anniversary recording of the great Guinean band, Bembeya Jazz done at the People’s Palace in Conakry, the capital of Guinea.
The oddball ’60s U.K. group, The Bonzo Dog Band, follows with “the intros and the outros,” putting Adolf Hitler on vibes with a bunch of other famous people listed as musicians. It’s all silly British humor.
The great Cuban outfit that was the house band on the state-sponsored label, Areito, comes next. Check out Rubén González’s piano solo. Muy sabroso.
Then we check out Stan Kenton‘s Prologue: This is an Orchestra! from 1952, which gives us samples of each instrument and musician in a big jazz orchestra. Tito Rodriguez, Puerto Rico’s mambo king lo mas suave (the coolest, most stylish), does a Latin version of the Kenton classic, this time in Spanish.
Finally, let’s compare David Bowie and Leonard Bernstein‘s narrations of Prokofiev’s evergreen Peter and the Wolf. They do it differently. I grew up with Bernstein but also remember Bowie’s 1980s recording of the popular classic.
Hope you enjoy these!
Rhythm Planet Playlist: 7/25/14
- James Brown / Introduction By Fats Gonder/Opening Fanfare / Live At The Apollo (1962) / Polydor
- James Brown / Intro to Doing it to Death / The CD Of JB / Polydor
- The Miles Davis/Tadd Dameron Quintet / Rifftide / Paris Festival International De Jazz, May 1949 / Imports
- Bembeya Jazz National / Introduction / Live: 10 Ans de Succes / Bolibana
- Bonzo Dog Band / The Intro and the Outros / Gorilla / Liberty
- Estrellas De Areito / Estrellas De Areito / Estrellas De Areito, Vol. 4 / Egrem
- Stan Kenton / Prologue (This Is An Orchestra!) / New Concepts Of Artistry in Rhythm / Capitol Jazz
- Tito Rodriguez / Esta Es Mi Orquesta / Big Band Latino / Palladium
- David Bowie / Intro / David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf / RCA
- Leonard Bernstein / Intro / Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf / Columbia