“The Connection” was a 1959 Off-Broadway play (in New York City) that was produced by Jack Gelber. “The Connection” was very successful and unique because of the subject matter. It dealt with heroin addiction and the Jazz community. There were real professional Jazz musicians in the play itself (Freddie Redd – piano, Jackie McLean – alto saxophone, Michael Mattos – bass, Larry Ritchie – drums). Freddie Redd composed all the music and recorded an album in 1960 with the same musicians. In 1961 Howard McGhee recorded another version of this play and featured different musicians except for Freddie Redd, he remained behind the piano. The same exact songs were used (“Who Killed Cock Robin”, “Wigglin'”, “Music Forever,” “Time To Smile,” “(Theme for) Sister Salvation,” “Jim Dunn’s Dilemma,” “O.D. (Overdose)” but arranged differently. Both albums are extraordinary.
In 1962 Cecil Payne and Kenny Drew co-composed a new score for this play and it featured different songs.
Note: “The Connection” was translated into five languages and produced in ten nations.
In 1962 Shirley Clarke’s film “The Connection” was released, it can be purchased here. Check the trailer out: