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Jazz for the Birds

Penguins, ducks, and meadowlarks provide inspiration

Birds are an inspiration for many musicians. Before writing “The Penguin,” Raymond Scott probably saw these birds at the Central Park Zoo. Though penguins are clumsy on land, Gentoos like the ones pictured here are the fastest of any diving bird, reaching 22 miles an hour. Speaking of swimmers, Brazilian composer Joao Gilberto has swans, geese and ducks doing the samba in his song “O Pato,” or “The Duck.” And Dave Brubeck, who grew up in the West, undoubtedly heard the Western Meadowlark before writing “Strange Meadowlark.”

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Jazz For The Birds

Written by John Kessler

This is BirdNote!

Birds are an inspiration for many musicians. [“The Penguin” music]

Bandleader Raymond Scott probably saw these birds at the Central Park Zoo before writing his waddling 1937 hit “The Penguin.” [Gentoo Penguin]

All penguins are clumsy on land but these Gentoos are superlative swimmers - the fastest of any diving bird - reaching 22 miles an hour, and diving to 600 feet. [Mallards]

Speaking of swimmers, Brazilian composer Joao Gilberto has swans, geese and ducks doing the samba in his song “O Pato,” or “The Duck,” sung here by Karrin Allysson.  [“O Pato” music]

Jazz musicians improvise on a theme, and Dave Brubeck, who grew up in the West, undoubtedly heard the Western Meadowlark [Western Meadowlark] before writing “Strange Meadowlark.” The tune appeared on Brubeck’s legendary 1959 release “Time Out.” [“Strange Meadowlark” music]

For BirdNote I’m Mary McCann.

###

Musical selections: Raymond Scott "The Penguin" The Music of Raymond Scott, Sony 1992; Karrin Allyson "O Pato" From Paris To Rio, Concord 1999; Dave Brubeck Quartet   "Strange Meadowlark" Time Out, Sony 1959
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Gentoo Penguin [127117] recorded by G.F. Budney;  Mallards [3430] recorded by A.A. Allen; song of Western Meadowlark [1375111] recorded by G. Vyn. 
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org   July 2017   Narrator: Mary McCann.

ID# jazz-01-2013-07-11      jazz-01

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