The Music of WordPress

Matt and I are big Jazz fans. Each WordPress release is named after a legendary Jazz musician. Already speculation about the name of the next release of WP is brewing. But before we delve into the future, let’s review where we have been.

1.0.1 was named after Miles Davis. Everyone knows Miles. They know the West Coast Cool Miles at least. Raise your hand if you don’t already have a copy of Birth of the Cool, Sketches of Spain, or Kind of Blue? Okay, you two in the back put your hands down and go buy these albums so that you don’t feel left out. Miles was probably the greatest innovator of cool jazz, and the lyricism of his recordings from his cool period has made them staggeringly popular. Later in his career he jumped into electric and free jazz with the less popular and less accessible Bitches Brew. I love it all.

1.0.2 gave the nod to drummer and bandleader Art Blakey. Blakey and his Jazz Messenger’s produced some of the great classics of hard bop. Moanin’ and A Night in Tunisia are two of my favorites. Both albums feature Bobby Timmons on piano and Lee Morgan on trumpet. This is powerful, hard-drivin’ hard bop at its best.

Now we come to 1.2 series, which was named after one of my favorite jazz composers, Charles Mingus. His most popular album is probably Mingus Ah Um. Every track is greatness. “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” is a beautiful, melodic tribute to Lester Young. Fables of Faubus satirizes the governor of Arkansas who opposed school integration. “Better Git It in Your Soul” is a rousing gospel shout. “Open Letter to Duke”, “Bird Calls”, and “Jelly Roll” are tributes to Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Jelly Roll Morton, respectively. Ah Um is a great introduction to Mingus.

Blues & Roots is a swingin’ selection of blues and gospel that Mingus recorded as a response to those who said he was too European and couldn’t swing. Swing he can. “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting”, “Cryin’ Blues”, and “Moanin'” are the standouts with Mingus’ spectacular bass playing coming to the front.

The Clown brings us the amazing “Haitian Fight Song” and “Reincarnation of a Lovebird”. Mingus’ bass on Haitian Fight song is propulsive and intense.

On Oh Yeah, Mingus hires someone else to play bass so that he can sit down at the piano. He also sings/preaches on this very bluesy, easy-going album. On “Oh Lord, Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me”, he delivers his famous line, “Oh lord, don’t let them drop that atomic bomb on me. Don’t let them drop it! Stop it! Bebop it!” Mingus tips his hat to Fats Waller on the comical “Eat That Chicken” which is a fun song about the joys of eating chicken.

Mingus at Antibes features one of the best bands Mingus ever put together. Eric Dolphy, Booker Ervin, and a guest appearance by Bud Powell — enough said.

And now we come to an extended composition that is arguably Mingus’ masterpiece, The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady. Beautiful and emotional, this is one of the greatest jazz compositions ever. The liner notes feature interesting essays from Mingus and his psychiatrist.

Mingus had an interesting life, some of which he documented in his autobiography Beneath the Underdog, a sanitized version of his original manuscript with the more challenging and sensational title of “Half Yaller Schitt-Colored N*gger”. Beneath the Underdog is a stream of consciousness, exaggerated tale of his life complete with some extraordinary and unbelievable accounts of his sexual prowess with a large number of Tijuana sex workers. Mingus was a great composer, band leader, and bass player–and a very interesting character.

And now we arrive at the 1.5 “Strayhorn” series. Billy Strayhorn was Duke Ellington’s longtime musical partner. Strayhorn composed some of Ellington’s greatest songs, including his signature tune “Take the ‘A’ Train”. Shortly after Strayhorn’s death, Ellington recorded … and His Mother Called Him Bill. This tribute album is comprised exclusively of Strayhorn’s compositions and is a great way to get a feel for Strayhorn’s contributions to one of the great musical partnerships. If you want to know more about Strayhorn, the biography Lush Life is a great read.

So, who will the next release of WP be named after? That hasn’t been decided, but suggestions are being made. Eric Dolphy, Stan Getz, Lennie Tristano, John Coltrane, and Thelonius Monk have been mentioned. Who’s your pick?

87 thoughts on “The Music of WordPress

  1. Well, I’d name it after Elton John, but if I had to pick from that list, I’d say Coltrane. “1.6 Coltrane” sounds very cool, no?

  2. I simply love Coltrane, but I must admit that Thelonius would make a terrific name for a release… I really like the sound of it!

    Thanks for the piece of information about Strayhorn, btw, that was the only one so far in the series that I didn’t know yet. Another of WP’s innumerable advantages: you get to learn something about all that jazz too! ;o)

  3. I’m all about musicians from the period 1920-1950, but most of my favorites are slightly to greatly obscure. On the other hand, they provide great naming possibilities.

    Jabbo Smith
    Muggsy Spanier
    Jan Savitt
    Eubie Blake
    Kid Ory
    Jack Teagarden
    Jimmie Lunceford
    Kay Starr
    Gene Krupa

    And then there are more famous names.

    Glenn Miller
    Benny Goodman
    Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey
    Louis Armstrong (a.k.a. Satchmo)
    Fats Waller

    I got a hundred more…

  4. Coltrane or Getz … due props to Monk, but there’s that television show right now that might confuse, and likewise the whole notion of cloistered celibacy could cast WP in a curious light to the uninitiated.

    Myself, for last names that resonate I’d consider: Reinhardt, Calloway, Joplin, Armstrong, Guaraldi, Montgomery, Jobim, Hampton, or Krupa.

    If picking from first- or nicknames: Thelonious is just fine. Also consider the merits of Zoot, Satchmo, Errol, Toots, Duke, Dizzy, Bird, or Django,

  5. I agree with 12thharmonic, it only makes sense to name it “Buddy” or “Buddy Rich”. Any true Jazz lover knows him and his contributions to the music scene. And since the release is to include the rich text editor, it is begging for that kind of connection.

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  7. My vote definitely goes to “Thelonius”! Apart from Thelonius Monk being one of the greatest jazz musicians of all times it just sounds good.

  8. if “Jazz” is a must i wanna suggest the composer, singer, and virtuose player of hammond, guitar, drum, trumpet, sax, piano, vibraphone, etc Helge Schneider as WordPress 1.6 ( Schneider ) brings phonetic swing, no?
    else i’d vote for WP 1.6 (Kraftwerk) 😉

  9. If I have to restrict myself to the suggestions, I would go for Monk. If I can choose anyone it would be Jaco Pastorius.

  10. My vote is for Coltrane, hands down.

    I knew there was a reason I liked WordPress! How can you go wrong with something developed by jazz fans? 😉

    Matt Rutherford: The finest drummer ever? I would say one of two of the finest drummers ever…

    WordPress 1.6 Rich/Krupa

  11. I’d go with Monk. Has to do with Monk’s Miracles. Which is /stroke mode on/ sorta what I think of WordPress //stroke/. 🙂

  12. Well, not jazz, but a hop skip and a jump away and ya got yourself blues – I’m feeling an SRV edition :grin:. Just my $0.02.


  13. Thelonious Monk – Has the style, the class, the history and the respect . It’s a dead ringer for WordPress!

    Of course – Keith Jarrett ain’t no slouch either! 🙂

  14. Just posted this as a comment on Lorelle’s blog before realising I hadn’t read the post properly 😉

    Coltrane would be a good choice. Just because I’m a massive fan of his music 😉

    For WordPress, though, as blogging is all about words, how about naming after a singer? It could be named Fitzgerald, Holliday, Armstrong.

    Or if you definitely want top soloists – how about Ornette Coleman, the man who broke down barriers with the Free Jazz LP?

  15. Definitely 1.6 Monk.

    But what about Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, and so many others? Hopefully each will get a chance to shine as WordPress grows and develops.

  16. I’m with 12thharmonic and JAWjaw–Buddy Rich for the rich text editor. Krupa was an amazing drummer too but a bit before my time, while I saw Buddy live six or seven times. His West Side Story suite, oh man, and let’s not forget his attitude. Perfect for these times.

  17. Personally, I think you should give a nod to some of the great female jazz artists. Nina Simone was a wonderful vocalist, pianist, arranger, AND composer.

  18. From the list you provided and the antecedents you described, it would probably need to be Coltrane.

    If you want to go outside the list, consider a canary – Billie or Ella, especially if the interpreters goes to what you are attempting to accomplish with the new release.

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  20. I’ve been pulling from the very beginning for a “Bix” release (after Bix Beiderbecke).

    When my wife was in college, her jazz instructor always wanted one of his students to name a child “Bix”, just because he thought the name was cool 🙂

  21. Let’s not use Thelonious if only because so many people insist on misspelling it and it drives me crazy!

    I vote for Booker Little, John Coltrane, or Fats Navarro… or the best: Satchmo!

  22. In light of recent events vis-a-vis Hurricane Katrina, I think it would be fitting to name 1.6 after a jazz great from New Orleans. There are many, but I’d like to suggest Louis Armstrong (obvious but you can’t go wrong), Sidney Bechet, or Kermit Ruffins (still with us).

  23. 1.6 pharoah (sanders)

    coltrane (and alice too), duke, sun ra, lester bowie, etc I’m sure they will all get a chance as each issue grows.

    Thank you, WordPress.

  24. Lest you forget:

    Art Tatum
    Charlie Parker
    Dizzy Gillespie
    Toots Thielemans (ok, just in there because I wanna see software named “Toots” 😉

  25. What, no Herbie Hancock?

    How about Trey Anastasio?

    Or best of all why no Reinhart Django?

    Id go with Django if I where you, but then again, Im not.

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