Davis And Dunbar: Summertime

On the calendar, summer is nearly three weeks away. In many parts of the United States, thermometers tell us that it is here. Whether you measure summer’s arrival by time or temperature, there are few Davis & Dunbarbetter ways to greet it than with George Gershwin’s anthem to the season from Porgy and Bess. This duo interpretation was filmed at a 1972 Highlights In Jazz concert in New York. The bassist is Richard Davis, the guitarist Ted Dunbar (1937-1998). Respected among musicians for his theoretical knowledge and teaching, Dunbar’s output of recordings was slight in relation to the size of his talent as a guitarist. This is a welcome addition to his legacy.

Thanks to Bret Primack, the Jazz Video Guy, for posting that performance on YouTube.

For a Rifftides piece about Davis being named an NEA Jazz Master earlier this year, go here. All of Dunbar’s recordings under his own name seem to be out of print. eBay lists his masterly Secundum Artem and a few other LPs here. Dunbar is featured on Kenny Barron’s Peruvian Blue, which has a classic take on Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Monk.”

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  1. Paul Hrycaj says

    Dunbar does another beautiful rendition of Summertime on Gil Evans’s Svengali recording; a real gem of a performance.

  2. Tony Burrell, II says

    Very nice! Mr. Dunbar had a very tasty, albeit not long enough, solo on Gil Evans’ well known arrangement of “Summertime” on the Svengali album. The tempo was a little bit slower than the version recorded by Miles Davis, but just as elegant. Interesting to hear how his guitar stood out even with all of the varied instrumental colors (including synthesizers and various percussion) that Mr. Evans was capable of evoking behind him. Left one with wanting to hear more for sure.