George Wein on the Rebel Festival - JazzWax

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July 02, 2010


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All of the Mingus Candid sessions were done on the Fall of 1960 after the Festival. These dates produced a number of alternate takes which have been put out in haphazard fashion over the years. The Mosaic box straightened this all out, but of course has been unavailable for many years. You will find the discography particulars here:


This very "Newport Rebels" LP (and its pal "Reincarnation Of A Lovebird") is one of my all-time favorite recordings.

It features everything what jazz is for me:

The joy of playing swinging jazz disregarding of individual styles, veterans join the "newbies", and a splendid mixture of originals and standards.

This is timeless improvised music. It's mind-blowing and entertaining at the same time.


P.S. -- Thanks to Mr. Wein for letting the jazz rebel #1 live his dream, and a very big thanks to Mr. Hentoff who recorded them rebels.

Doug Zielke

I enjoyed reading Mr. Wein's book, "Myself Among Others: A Life in Music". You get an insiders view of many giant figures of the music.


I second Doug Zielke's comment above - a great book! Coming off stage after a famous performance with Monk, Miles tells George "Monk plays the wrong changes to Round Midnight." Lots of stories like that.


@David -- This was Miles' famous comeback in 1955 which has been recorded. -- Miles asked Monk when they shared a cab after the concert: "How was I doing?" Monk: "You still didn't play it right." (Or something like that. I quoted from memory what I have read in the German translation of Miles' autobiography.)

And Monk was perfectly right: Miles is always playing a straight E-flat minor chord upwards, instead of the two fourths 'round that very chord. My rely to Miles: "Monk played *his* changes, Miles, and not the wrong ones."

Miles has not only changed this composition to make it fit to his style. "Straight, No Chaser" is originally in B-flat, Miles plays it in F. "Well You Needn't" has been melodically simplified by Miles, he plays the bridge in a different key too.

Miles' "When Lights Are Low" is completely different than the original by Benny Carter: Benny's beautiful bridge had been substituted by Miles with the A-part, only a fourth higher.

Rab Hines

Nice to see someone who, after all his successes, still has a realistic view of himself.

Thanks to Mr. Wein, and to Mr. Myers.


Correction: Please make that "my reply to Miles" ... what else?

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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