"They looked so great when they played." - Charlie Watts
May 9, 2019 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Sharp suits, thin ties and the coolest musicians on Earth is an appreciation by the Guardian's Richard Williams of BBC Two's Jazz 625 series of concerts, which were all recorded in 1964 and '65, featuring the giants of the jazz scene, from Dizzy Gillespie to the Modern Jazz Quartet. This is a good sampler of music from the show, but a few whole episodes are available online, and I've put links to the ones I found below the cut. posted by Kattullus (14 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
Hell, yes. Thanks for posting this!
posted by horsewithnoname at 3:03 PM on May 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

posted by carter at 3:19 PM on May 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

BBC Two's Jazz 625 series of concerts
and posted earlier today, Project 562.

back to jazz, though, fantastic! I love the close-up of Duke's touch in the sparse soloing from 1:10 in the highlights, and lots else besides. And yay Marianne McPartland! And great solos with Woody Herman on Watermelon Man around 25:00!
posted by spbmp at 3:38 PM on May 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

That version of Take Five is fantastic. Even better than on "Time Out". The solos are more adventurous, and the groove has so much more lilt.
posted by jonathanhughes at 5:24 PM on May 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Bill Evans one with Larry Bunker and Chuck Israels is simply superb.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 6:37 PM on May 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

Very nice indeed. I couldn't figure out the title, until I found at the IMDB that "Jazz 625 was so named to highlight the fact that it was on the new BBC2 channel, which broadcast at 625 picture lines, the 'high definition' of the era, up from the older 405-line standard."

For me the coolest of the musicians in that sampler always will be Wes Montgomery. I was surprised to find him lugging all his own equipment into an arena one night, and he was happy when I said, "Let me have that," and carried his guitar and amp the rest of the way to his dressing room. Wes didn't look too healthy at the time, although of course he played great that night – sadly he had only a few months to live before dying way too young at age 45.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:00 PM on May 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Brits can still watch the BBC's one-night-only revival of Jazz 625 here. The programme came live from this year's Cheltenham Jazz Festival and deliberately styled itself after the original Jazz 625. It's pretty good.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:13 AM on May 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was about to write the same thing as LeLiLo. The coolest musician on earth was (and "always will be ") Wes Montgomery. Thanks for the links. Because it's hard to get enough of any of those vids.
posted by nicolin at 4:47 AM on May 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Now this is Reality TV I can get next to.
posted by Jode at 6:02 AM on May 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Once my job at the Edmonton Alberta jazz festival was to drive Max Roach and his band around. They all wore immaculate suits and cracked jokes about "Man, I heard they had a mugging here just last month!"
posted by sneebler at 8:13 AM on May 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

This will save my Friday administrative work drudgery. Thanks!
posted by SoundInhabitant at 9:18 AM on May 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks, Kattullus.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:33 AM on May 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Monk. Monk, gaddammit, MONK!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:38 AM on May 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Don't miss a musical pun by Steve Race, composer of the show's theme (also its presenter).

Observe the end of the intro here, at 0:27 of the MJQ episode:


As the digits "6 2 5" go dark, the melody stingers hit "C, F, B-flat." In the theme's key of E-flat, these are tones 6, 2, and 5.
posted by unblinking at 4:09 PM on May 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

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