A Night at the Jazz Circus! - Part 1

Ludovico Granvassu By

Sign in to view read count
Click the play button to listen to this episode.
Circus is like Jazz. They both require a great deal of originality and a capacity to improvise and be in the moment. They come out of a sense of urgency and self-expression since artists do not embrace them to get rich. And they both demand incredible dedication and discipline.

This week we explore the connections between these two performative art forms, focusing on jazz inspired by the circus world, composed for circus shows, or evoking—in a way or another—the "The Greatest Show on Earth"!

Sit back, relax, enjoy the show, and—like the great Charles Mingus put it "Don't Be Afraid, the Clown's Afraid Too."


  • Ben Allison "Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash & Pyeng Threadgill)" 0:00
  • Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers "Circus" Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers (Impulse!) 0:16
  • Host talks 5:28
  • Raffaello Pareti "Colazione Da Barbara" Il Circo (Egea) 7:03
  • Host talks 10:08
  • Django Bates "Night At the Circus" Summer Fruits (And Unrest) (JMT) 11:21
  • Emile Parisien, Vincent Peirani "Le Cirque des Mirages" Belle Époque (ACT) 15:39
  • Otello Savoia "Il circo" Dispair (Caligola) 22:21
  • Host talks 26:15
  • Michael Shrieve "Circus! Circus!" Fascination (CMP) 29:19
  • Bobby Previte "Spring Steps Out" Music of the Moscow Circus (Gramavision) 34:05
  • Kamikaze Ground Crew "Turn Your Lights Off" Kamikaze Ground Crew (Koch) 39:35
  • Host talks 42:45
  • Richard Galliano "Huit Et Demi -La Passerella D'Addio" Nino Rota (Deutsche Grammophon) 45:47
  • Sexmob "Volpina (Amarcord)" Cinema, Circus & Spaghetti (Sexmob Plays Fellini: The Music of Nino Rota) (The Royal Potato Family) 51:04
  • Wayne Horvitz "The Circus: Scene I" Film Music 1998-2001 (Tzadik) 57:26
  • Host talks 1:00:51
  • Geri Allen "Tears of a Clown" Grand River Crossings (Motown & Motor City Inspirations) (Motema) 1:02:50
  • Mary Lou Williams "Pagliacci" Ladies of Jazz (Koch) 1:08:16
  • Leïla Martial "Le sourire du clown" Warm Canto: Baa Box (LABORIE Jazz) 1:10:57
  • Charles Mingus "Don't Be Afraid, the Clown's Afraid Too" Let My Children Hear Music (Columbia) 1:14:38
  • Host talks 1:24:10
  • Willem Breuker Kollektief "Hap Sap" Misery (BVHaast) 1:26:02
  • Henry Threadgill's Very Very Circus "Try Some Ammonia" Too Much Sugar for a Dime (Axiom) 1:32:20

Post a comment


Shop Amazon

Radio & Podcasts

Singing and Plinkin'

Tune in daily to hear the internet's top jazz programs including Mondo Jazz, Jazz Bastard, World of Jazz, The Third Story, One Man's Jazz, Jazz at 100, Neon Jazz, A Broad Spectrum, Liner Notes and more.

View by program...

Program Schedule | JazzWeek Chart


Read Charles Mingus: An Essential Top Ten Albums
Read Top Ten Kennedy Center Musical Moments

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.