Nights At The Roundtable - Alec Wilder - 1939

Nights At The Roundtable with the music of unclassifiable American composer Alec Wilder in a recording of one of his Octet pieces, "Such A Tender Night" from a 1939 session for Brunswick Records.


When I first came up with the idea of doing this series of posts, I envisioned Nights At The Roundtable cutting a wide swath as far as musical styles and musical periods were concerned, since the Roundtable in question is actually a turntable with which to play records on (those old things made of either shellac or vinyl).

So tonight I thought I would dive into something a little different. Alec Wilder was a musical personality who really did defy classification. On the one hand he was a gifted and talented song writer, with a huge catalog of standards to his credit. But he was also and equally gifted and talented composer, straddling the worlds of Jazz and Classical. Many critics say it was Alec Wilder who actually pioneered the genre of Third Stream Music; that successful blending of Classical form and instrumentation with Jazz Style.

In the late 1930's he recorded a group of his Octets for the Brunswick label, one of which we're featuring tonight. Such A Tender Night is typical of the Wilder style; Classical in form and instrumentation and Jazz in execution and tempo.

Alec Wilder has maintained a pretty consistent cult following over the years and it's grown in stature ever since his recent centenary celebration of his birth (in 2007) with numerous recordings and live performances of his work and tributes to his unique and original talent.

If you've never heard of him before, or heard about him but never actually heard any of his material, here's a nice introduction. Alec Wilder performing Alec Wilder. From the horse's mouth, as it were.

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