Thad Jones - Episode 1Thad Jones's early career gained momentum rapidly in Detroit's fertile jazz scene. He played with his brother Elvin in a house band at the Blue Bird Inn from 1952 to 1954, sat in with top Detroit jazz players such as pianist Tommy Flanagan, and also led a quintet of his own. Jones impressed nationally famous jazz artists who came through town, such as bassist Charles Mingus. In 1954 he joined the Count Basie Orchestra and remained with Basie until 1963. He also contributed a number of outstanding arrangements to the Basie library. He was influenced by a number of great trumpet players including Dizzy Gillespie, Sweets Edison, and Clark Terry. The recordings on this podcast will feature excerpts from those trumpet players and Thad’s 1st recordings from the mid 1950’s, many with bassist Charles Mingus.
|April in Paris||Count Basie||April in Paris||1955|
|Salt Peanuts||Dizzy Gillespie Sextet||1945|
|Hollering at Watkins||Harry Edison/Ben Webster||Sweets: Edison and his Orchestra||1956|
|Mack the Knife||Clark Terry/Oscar Peterson||Oscar Peterson Trio Plus One||1964|
|What is This Thing…||Thad Jones/Charles Mingus||Jazzical Moods, Vol. 1||1954|
|Get Out of Town||Thad Jones||The Fabulous Thad Jones||1955|
|I Can’t Get Started||Thad Jones||The Fabulous Thad Jones||1955|
|Zec||Thad Jones||Detroit-New York Junction||1956|
Thad Jones - Episode 2On this podcast I will highlight a number of his important small group recordings from the 2nd half of the 1950’s including a number of his original compositions. His style of melodic writing takes many unexpected turns and can be quite angular at times. His take on rhythm is also unpredictable--- which foreshadows his later big band compositions/arrangements written for his Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.
|April in Paris||Thad Jones||The Magnificent Thad Jones||1956|
|Let’s||Thad Jones||The Magnificent Thad Jones||1956|
|Tiptoe||Thad Jones All-Stars||Minor Strain||1960|
|Like Old Times||Thad Jones||Motor City Scene||1959|
|I Mean You||Thad Jones/Thelonious Monk||Five by Monk by Five||1959|
Thad Jones - Episode 3By the latter part of the 1950’s Thad began to contribute arrangements to the Count Basie library. His big break came with the recording of the album, Chairman of the Board, in 1958 where Thad wrote four outstanding arrangements for Basie’s recording session. Thad writes strong melodies and has the saxes doubling on flutes to add great color and texture. His method of voicing for the saxophone section was also unique and a bit unusual for the Basie band of the late 1950’s. While these arrangements were well suited to the Basie Orchestra, there are many Thad Jones trademark devices used. His arrangement of his composition “To You,” is one of the most beautiful in all big band writing.
|Her Royal Highness||Count Basie Orchestra||Chairman of the Board||1958|
|April in Paris||Thad Jones/Count Basie||April in Paris||1955|
|Corner Pocket||Thad Jones/Count Basie||April in Paris||1955|
|Speaking of Sounds||Count Basie Orchestra||Chairman of the Board||1958|
|The Deacon||Count Basie Orchestra||Chairman of the Board||1958|
|To You||Count Basie and Duke Ellington||Roulette Live Recordings||1961|
|Mutt and Jeff||Count Basie Orchestra||Chairman of the Board||1958|
Thad Jones - Episode 4When Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis formed their big band 1965, neither musician could predict the great impact that the group would have on big band jazz. It started out as what is referred to as a rehearsal band comprised of the best studio and jazz musicians in New York. There was a great cross section of young, and older more experienced musicians, in the band. The group played every Monday night at the Village Vanguard in New York City. The band quickly developed a reputation as one of the best in the world featuring arrangements by not only Thad Jones, but other band members as well. All of the recordings from this podcast were recorded by the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra live or in a studio between 1966 and 1970. These arrangements were published and bands are still performing them today almost 50 years later. They remain as fresh and challenging as they did back in the 1960’s. One of the challenges with this discography is that many of the recordings have been re-issued dozens of times under different album titles.
|Mean What You Say||Thad Jones||Complete Solid State Vol.1||1966|
|Three and One||Thad Jones||Presenting the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra||1966|
|A Child is Born||Thad Jones||Dedication||1970|
|Tip Toe||Thad Jones||Dedication||1970|
|Little Pixie||Thad Jones||Village Vanguard Live Sessions||1967|