In a rare national television appearance filmed April 2, 1959, the legendary trumpet player performs with the Gil Evans Orchestra and one of his ‘great quintets,’ featuring tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Opening the set with “So What” off Kind of Blue (1959) — the biggest selling jazz record of all time — Davis takes extra solos prior to and directly after Coltrane to make up for the absence of alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, who purportedly was unable to attend the taping due to illness. Tunes from Miles Ahead (1957) follow: Dave Brubeck’s “The Duke” and Ahmad Jamal’s “New Rhumba.” Taped for The Robert Herridge Theater at Studio 61 in New York City, and first broadcast July 21, 1960, this special should be considered essential viewing for jazz enthusiasts, or anyone who enjoys great timeless music. —WNET
Emmy Award-winning director Jack Smight was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 9, 1925, the offspring of Irish immigrants. After graduating from the unfortunately named Cretin High School, where he was a classmate of Peter Graves, he served in the US Army Air Force during World War Two, where he flew combat missions in the Pacific Theater. After the war he attended the University of Minnesota, where he again met up with Graves—both were matriculating in the theater department as drama students. After graduation they hooked up in Hollywood, where they rented a room and made the rounds, looking for work as actors while Jack worked as a carhop and Peter drove a cab, ignoring the advice of Graves’ older brother, James Arness to head straight back to Minneapolis.
Unlike his friend, Smight did not achieve success as an actor and became a stage manager and then turned to directing. Graves later said of his friend that his acting background helped him understand actors. “He was… read more