October 20, 2009

1959:

Glittering Year, Golden Anniversary (TOM NOLAN, 10/18/09, WSJ)

In February, Thelonious Monk, a pianist-composer best known then for solo and combo work, appeared in concert with a big band at New York's Town Hall, an event preserved on disc by Riverside Records. In March, trumpeter Miles Davis recorded his modal-based "Kind of Blue" LP, now the biggest-selling traditional-jazz album of all time.

Tenor-saxophonist John Coltrane, one of Davis's "Kind of Blue" colleagues, in May made his vigorous "Giant Steps," an LP that helped shape the course of jazz for the next 20 years. And also in May, bassist-composer Charles Mingus delivered "Mingus Ah Um," a gospel-tinged album that many consider a pinnacle of his work.

In June, July and August, pianist-composer Dave Brubeck assembled "Time Out," an inventive exploration of unusual time signatures that also became a formidable best-seller and yielded the hit single "Take Five."

"It's a mystery why it all happened at that time," Mr. Brubeck said recently by telephone from his Connecticut home. "It's hard to know why."

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 20, 2009 7:37 AM
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