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Proto-Cool & Birthdays Of Al DiMeola, Janis Siegel, Billy Taylor, Johnny Hodges & More

Monday, July 22

Night Train kicks off “proto-cool” week, exploring some of the influences on the groundbreaking Birth of the Cool album being featured this month on the show.  Tonight – one of the key influences on the Birth sessions, Claude Thornhill, a bandleader, pianist and composer whose distinctive large ensemble sound was a blueprint for the smaller group textures Birth of the Cool hoped to capture. Also several participants in the Birth of the Cool sessions came from Thornhill’s band – Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan and Lee Konitz. We’ll hear Thornhill with Billie Holiday and with his own orchestra, along with a cover of one of his classic compositions, and a special about him in hour two of the show. Plus birthday salutes to guitarists Al DiMeola (also featured this evening on Global Village), Joshua Breakstone and Jimmy Bruno, soul jazz organist Don Patterson, and drummer Will Calhoun.

Tuesday, July 23

Night Train marks birthdays of singer Janis Siegel (of Manhattan Transfer fame), vibist Khan Jamal, and soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy (whom we’ll hear with Gil Evans, one of the architects of the original Birth of the Cool sessions). Speaking of Birth of the Cool, Night Train’s July feature, we’ll also hear Gerry Mulligan’s later effort, Re-Birth of the Cool, a tribute to cool singers Chris Connor and June Christy from Dominique Eade, and a special in hour two for this week’s proto-cool theme, exploring the work of Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz.

Wednesday, July 24

Night Train marks birthdays of pianist and educator Billy Taylor, alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, and also Trinidadian trumpeter Etienne Charles, who will also be featured in a special concert performance from the Savannah Music Festival in hour two of the show. Plus the latest from drummer Mark Walker, British vocalist Claire Martin (in a tribute to Wes Montgomery), and baritone saxophonist Carol Sudhalter.

Thursday, July 25

Night Train marks birthdays of vocalese star Annie Ross, adventurous bandleader and composer Don Ellis, and saxophonist Johnny Hodges (featured in a special on swing giants in the ‘60s in hour two of the show). Night Train also wraps up a week-long look at ‘proto-cool,’ some of the influences on the groundbreaking Birth of the Cool sessions featured this month. Tonight it’s music from Lester Young, whose relaxed playing style and cool tone were the essence of cool. And, finally, there’s also new music from singer Mary Stallings and pianist Michel Camilo.