Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Night in Tunisia

First recorded (as “Interlude”) by Sarah Vaughn w/ The Dizzy Gillespie Septet (1944).
Also recorded by The Boyd Raeburn Orchestra (1944).
“Night in Tunisia” first recorded by Dizzy Gillespie (1945).
Also recorded by The Charlie Parker Septet (1946), Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker (1949), and Miles Davis (1955).

From the wiki: “Dizzy Gillespie began writing the then-unnamed tune while he was performing with Benny Carter in New York in 1942. During a break in a show, Gillespie composed the basics of the song on piano. According to To Be or Not to Bop: Memoirs of Dizzy Gillespie, Dizzy was sitting at the piano playing chord progressions when he noticed the notes of the chords formed a melody with a Latin/Oriental feel. Adding a Bebop-style rhythm to the melody, Gillespie came up with what would become ‘Night in Tunisia’.

“Sarah Vaughan spent the last months of 1943 touring the country as the pianist with the Earl Hines Big Band that also featured Billy Eckstine as the singer. Eckstine left the Hines band in late 1943 and formed his own big band with Dizzy Gillespie. Vaughan accepted Billy Eckstine’s invitation to join his new band in 1944, giving her an opportunity to develop her musicianship with two of the seminal figures of that Jazz era. Eckstine’s band also afforded Vaughn first recording opportunity: a December 5, 1944 date that yielded the song ‘I’ll Wait and Pray’ for the Deluxe label. That date led to critic and producer Leonard Feather to ask her to cut four sides under her own name later that month for the Continental label, backed by a septet that included Dizzy Gillespie and Georgie Auld. In was in these sessions she recorded ‘Interlude’ with Gillespie and Charlie Parker as sidemen (and lyrics written by Jon Hendricks).

“‘Interlude’ would also be recorded in 1944 by The Boyd Raeburn Orchestra. Raeburn hired Gillespie as a special guest for an appearance at New York’s Apollo Theater and the following day recorded Dizzy playing his arrangement of ‘Night in Tunisia’. A year later, Gillespie recorded the tune again with his own small band including tenor saxophonist Don Byas and vibist Milt Jackson (who later became an integral part of the Modern Jazz Quartet). The Charlie Parker Septet, with Miles Davis on trumpet, covered the composition in 1946. Parker and Gillespie would team to record ‘A Night in Tunisia’ in 1949. Miles Davis would revisit ‘Tunisia’ with his Quintet’s 1955 recording.”

Boyd Raeburn Orchestra, “Interlude” (1944):

Dizzy Gillespie, “Night in Tunisia” (1945):

Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker, “A Night in Tunisia” (1949):

Miles Davis Quintet, “A Night in Tunisia” (1955):

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