Chummy MacGregor was born on this day in 1903 and died on March 9, 1973. It’s the rare listener to modern jazz who doesn’t know of the MacGregor composition “Moon Dreams,” which he wrote when he was a pianist and arranger with his longtime boss Glenn Miller. “Moon Dreams” is one of the most familiar pieces from Miles Davis’s Birth Of The Cool sessions of 1957. Gil Evans’ arrangement of MacGregor’s song had much to do with Evans’ early recognition as a central figure in the music. In case you can’t bring the performance to mind, here it is:
During World War Two, Major Glenn Miller recorded “Moon Dreams” with his Army Air Force Orchestra. The vocal was by Johnny Desmond And The Crew Chiefs.
In the early 1940s Martha Tilton’s version of ”Moon Dreams” was one of the first releases from Capitol Records, a company founded by Johnny Mercer, who wrote the song with MacGregor. These days, few listeners—indeed, few muscians—are aware that “Moon Dreams” began not with Miles Davis and Gil Evans, but with a 1940s pop hit.