Song:Darn That Dream
Album:The Complete Birth of the Cool
Of course most jazz fans should be familiar with the 1949 Miles Davis album Birth of the Cool. It's one of the most important albums in jazz history. But the one question that is frequently asked is who is the singer on Darn That Dream? His name is Kenny "Pancho" Hagood. He sang with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra and other bebop pioneers. But he never released an album of his own and I guess that's why he is obscure. Hagood was born Apr. 2, 1926 in Detroit. At age 17, he sang with Benny Carter. But Hagood's most significant stint was with Dizzy Gillespie when Gillespie had his big band from 1946-48. Hagood also sang with Charlie Parker, Tadd Dameron, Milt Jackson and Thelonious Monk. The idea for Birth of the Cool came mostly from Gil Evans when he was working as an arranger for Claude Thornhill in 1948. He discussed it with Davis after Davis left Parker's band. Then they brought in Gerry Mulligan and he brought in Lee Konitz. Then they added pianist John Lewis, bassist Al McKibbon and drummer Max Roach. Hagood was brought in for a two week engagement at the Royal Roost in New York. He sang Darn That Dream and Why Do I Love You. When Davis signed with Capitol Records, Hagood was brought back for the 1950 Darn That Dream session. Darn That Dream was written by Eddie DeLange and Jimmy Van Heusen for the 1939 Broadway musical Swingin' The Dream starring Louis Armstrong. The show was a flop but Benny Goodman had a hit with Darn that dream featuring singer Mildred Bailey in 1940. Birth of the Cool is available on 2CDs featuring the 1948 Royal Roost recordings. Kenny Hagood moved to Paris and was briefly married to Alice McLeod in the early 60s. She would go on to marry John Coltrane. Other than recording with French sax player Guy Lafitte in the 60s, there isn't much known about Hagood's activities until his death on Nov. 9, 1989 at age 63. Here's a video for Darn That Dream by Miles Davis featuring Kenny Hagood.