When studying for my doctoral comprehensive exam, I looked up a bunch of Youtube videos. How nice would it be if I can study by watching a Youtube video? That was just wishful thinking, but I did come across a lot of cool music documentaries. One of them was 1959 The Year that Changed Jazz. It talks about four influential jazz albums released in 1959: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Charles Mingus’s Um Ah, and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come.
My first reaction after watching the documentary: 1959 was quite a happening year, in addition to the four influential jazz albums, Black Orpheus was released, Villa-Lobos passed away, Giant Steps was being recorded. I began looking more into what happened in 1959.
1/1 The Cuban Revolution overthrown Fulgencio Batista, and U.S.- Cuban relationship turned sour.
1/3 Alaska became the 49th State.
1/12 Berry Gordy Jr. formed Talma Records – later incorporated as Motown Record Corporation on April 14, 1960.
2/3 Plane crash killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper
2/14 Renee Flemming was born.
3/2 Recording session of Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.
3/8 Release of Chega da Saudade by Joao Gilberto.
3/9 Release of Porgy and Bess by Miles Davis.
3/9 Barbie and Ken debuted. Check the commercials.
3/19 The movie Green Mansion (starring Audrey Hepburn) released, with a soundtrack by Heitor Villa-Lobos. VL edited the score into a cantata, Forest of the Amazon (Floresta do Amazonas), which included the beautiful song, Melodia Sentimental.
4/22 recording session of Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.
4/? Release of The Flamingos’ version of I Only Have Eyes for You.
5/4 and 5/5 recording sessions of of John Coltrane’s Giant Steps.
5/5 – 5/12 recording sessions of Ah Um by Charles Mingus.
5/22 recording session of Shape of Jazz to Come by Ornette Coleman.
6/12 release of movie Black Orpheus in France.
6/14 Marcus Miller was born.
6/25 recording session of Time Out by Dave Brubeck.
6/25 first performance of Malcolm Arnold Guitar Concerto by Julian Bream.
7/1 recording session of Time Out by Dave Brubeck.
7/1 the movie Anatomy of a Murder released, with sound track and cameo appearance by Duke Ellington.
7/17 Billie Holiday passed away.
8/14 Magic Johnson was born.
8/17 release of Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.
8/18 recording session of Time Out by Dave Brubeck.
8/21 Hawaii became the 50th State.
8/? release of Put Your Head on My Shoulder by Paul Anka, eventually reached no.2 on Billboard.
9/? Johnny and Santo’s Sleepwalk reached no.1 on Billboard.
10/? release of Ah Um by Charles Mingus.
10/21 the Guggenheim Museum open to public
11/16 Sound of Music musical open on Broadway.
11/17 Heitor Villa-Lobos passed away – did he hear bossa nova?
11/18 release of the movie Ben-Hur.
11/19 Rey de la Torre premiered the Concierto de Aranjuez with the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Robert Shaw.
11/? release of The Shape of Jazz to Come by Ornette Coleman.
12/2 Naima (part of John Coltrane’s Giant Steps) recorded.
12/14 release of Time Out by Dave Brubeck (just in time for Christmas. Who got Time Out as a Christmas present?)
?/? Publishing of Fuga No.1 and Tres Apuntes by Leo Brouwer (there’s some descrepancy on the dates of Fuga…)
?/? the release of Persuasive Percussion
1959, pretty important (musical) year? I have a feeling if I dig hard enough, every year is an important year.