I was recently reminded about all the great jazz artists that appeared on the Muppet Show. They had their own Muppet Orchestra, of course, but I haven’t found a definitive list yet of who most of the sound track musicians were. Some of those muppet studio musicians had to play with some great jazz musicians. How would you like to be Ronnie Verrell, who plays Animal’s drum parts and have to drum battle with Buddy Rich?
Frank Reidy supposedly played a lot of the saxophone and clarinet parts for the Muppet Show. He got to follow Dizzy Gillespie’s trumpet solo on Swing Low Sweet Cadillac.
And while not really an example of burning jazz playing, the Sax and Violence sketch from the Muppet Shows reminds me of the Dizzy Gillespie’s bit with his big band performance of Doodlin‘ at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957.
Then there’s this version the Muppet Orchestra did of the jazz standard, Honeysuckle Rose. While the buzzing gets annoying to me, the interplay between bass and sax is fun and I like how the bassist covers the melody at times.
There are other children’s television shows I can think of that often featured jazz or other art music. What are some of the ones you can think of? Post your YouTube links below if you can find them.