A half-century ago, on a spring night in New York City, 35-year-old Marilyn Monroe — literally sewn into a sparkling, jaw-droppingly tight dress — stood in a spotlight on a dark stage. She took a breath, began to sing — and 15,000 men and women who filled the old Madison Square Garden that night knew, simply knew, that they were seeing and hearing something that they would never, ever forget.
The song, of course, was “Happy Birthday,” and Marilyn’s breathy, intimate rendition — sung, as if the two of them were utterly alone, to President John F. Kennedy — has been celebrated, analyzed and lovingly parodied countless times in the five decades since that indelible performance.
Truly groundbreaking music from Ornette Coleman and his Double Quartet, amongst others: Don Cherry, Eric Dolphy, Scott LaFaro, Freddie Hubbard etc. Impossible to create bad music if you are playing with those kind of people…
A great starting point if you want to dip your toes in the vast sea of free jazz, but of course, the real Magic started to happen in the mid ‘60 with Albert Ayler and when Coltrane lost his mind.