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A Night at the Jazz Circus! - Part 1


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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

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