Rifftides reader and Detroit Free Press music critic Mark Stryker alerts us to an improbable happening in Chicago—a debate on an ESPN sports radio program over the authorship of “Take Five.” The story on drummer Ted Sirota’s website includes audio of the argument. From Sirota’s preamble:
I told him I was a jazz drummer and he put me right through! That’s the first time I’ve ever been treated better by saying I’m a jazz drummer! Usually they tell me to go away or go through the back door or the kitchen. Anyway, the whole thing was pretty funny. Check it out.
To listen to the rumble, click here. Sirota doesn’t identify the debating experts. Maybe one of our Chicago readers can.
Mark Stryker adds:
Not that those guys ever would, but they should have you on the show as Desmond’s biographer to talk about the song and related issues and ironies.
On a somewhat related note, there was a sports talk show here in Detroit for a while that used Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder” (original recording) as its theme song. I heard the host – well known as a huge Bruce Springsteen fan — refer to Lee Morgan and the song by name once, but I never heard anything like the extensive discussion about “Take Five” on the Chicago station. I always wanted to call the station here and ask if the folks knew that there were two Detroiters on that record – Barry Harris and Joe Henderson – or that Lee had been one of the great prodigies in jazz history and died under tragic circumstances, or that “The Sidewinder” had been used in a car commercial.
Jazz can show up in some pretty crazy, unexpected places — otherwise improbable films, TV shows, commercials, radio, literary references, etc. One that comes to mind is the use of Mingus’s “Haitian Fight Song” behind a love scene in “Jerry Maguire” (details at this web page).
Maybe others can give more examples …
Coda: Regarding “Jerry Maguire” — the Nanny in the film is played as a stereotypical jazz geek but he misidentifies the date of the Miles/Trane recording. Also, and I’m going from memory here, I think at the very end of the scene Tom Cruise reacts to the music (Mingus) by saying in a bewildered tone, “What is this music?” My initial read is that he’s actually breaking character but they decided to keep the line in the film.