SONG OF THE DAY: Milt Jackson- “Bag’s Groove”

 

One of my favorite sounds in the world is that of the vibraphone, a lesser-known jazz percussion instrument. When I hear it I see* small, luminescent, neon green (a color I’ve never seen in any other sound) orbs that tumble over each other like marbles and constantly swell and contract.

“Bag’s Groove,” composed by vibraphonist Milt Jackson and first recorded in 1952, is a 12-bar blues track with a catchy head comprised of descending notes. It features lively solos by Milt Jackson, alto-saxist Lou Donaldson, and pianist John Lewis. I personally go for the first and less famous recording because it’s concise, its pace is brisker, and (of course) because it has more vibraphone.

For the famous version, check out the Miles Davis Quintet’s recording. This track feels cleaner and more spacious in contrast to the rushed vibe of the original recording, probably because it’s eleven minutes long  and has a more laid-back pace. And while Milt Jackson (who was part of the quintet) has a strong presence, it’s definitely more horn-heavy.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia

Here’s a rough illustration of the song: