Horace Silver had a dream once. A strange dream. The hard-bop pianist imagined jazz visionary Duke Ellington and classical pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff met up in heaven. Duke then took the classical pianist to meet all jazz and blues greats like Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins and Muddy Waters to give him an appreciation of his music.
Unlike you or me, Horace Silver remembers his dreams in striking detail, and thus began his creation of his strange jazz-theater piece that attempted to stage the meetings. Here’s what Silver says in the liner notes:
When I finished writing it I said to myself, “How am I going to get this play on stage?” I went to Mayor Tom Bradley and said if he could help me to put this musical on in the city of Los Angeles I would donate my services free. The proceeds could go to his favorite charity, which was “Challengers Boys and Girls Club” of Los Angeles. Only the musicians and the singers and the dancers and our choreographer (Donald Mc Kayle) had to be paid scale. Chuck Niles our narrator would accept no money.
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