Spanish researcher lists 200 jazz works linked to Don Quixote

June 26th, 2023



photo by Alberto Sánchez Valiente

Hans Christian Hagedorn, professor for German and Comparative Literature at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Ciudad Real (Spain), and author of the paper “Don Quixote’s Adventures in the World of Jazz: 200 Examples and a Few Remarks”








…..Jazz remains an art form of wonder and curiosity that publishers continue to find markets for and devote resources to, demonstrated by a wealth of jazz scholarship that has been published of late.  In recent months, several noteworthy biographies and studies have been published, among them:

Saxophone Colossus: The Life and Music of Sonny Rollins, by Aidan Levy

Holy Ghost: The Life & Death of Free Jazz Pioneer Albert Ayler, by Richard Koloda

Rhythm Man: Chick Webb and the Beat that Changed America, by Stephanie Stein Crease

The Gerry Mulligan 1950s Quartets, by Alyn Shipton

Easily Slip Into Another Word: A Life in Music, by Henry Threadgill and Brent Hayes Edwards.

…..Interviews with each of these authors have been (or soon will be) published on Jerry Jazz Musician.

…..In addition to these books, I was recently made aware of an outstanding article written by Hans Christian Hagedorn, professor for German and Comparative Literature at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Ciudad Real (Spain) that reveals the remarkable presence of Miguel de Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote in the history of jazz.  In the article, “Don Quixote’s Adventures in the World of Jazz: 200 Examples and a Few Remarks,” Hagedorn demonstrates that Cervantes’ masterpiece of world literature has left deep marks not only in classical music and opera, but also in jazz compositions and recordings made in 39 countries and on all continents, from the USA, France, Great Britain and Germany to Brazil, Italy, Canada, Portugal, Mexico, Israel, and Japan, among many others.  His work uncovers the formidable influence of Don Quixote in contemporary jazz.

…..In an email sent to me recently, Hagedorn wrote that “the finding that the majority of the examples listed in the catalog belong to 21st-century jazz is certainly one of the outstanding results of this study.  Some of the composers and musicians featured in this article are among the most influential figures in the genre’s history, such as George Benson, Luiz Bonfá, Stanley Clarke, Palle Danielsson, Bill Evans, Art Farmer, Jan Garbarek, Dizzy Gillespie, Egberto Gismonti, Rubén González, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Tom Harrell, Dave Holland, Jasper van’t Hof, Krzysztof Komeda, Wynton Marsalis, Vince Mendoza, Charles Mingus, Airto Moreira, Idris Muhammad, Milton Nascimento, Oscar Peterson, Rhoda Scott, Bobby Shew, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, Frank Sinatra, Tomasz Stańko, Sonny Stitt, Toots Thielemans, Nana Vasconcelos, and Kenny Wheeler.”

…..Memorable works in this catalog include Sancho Panza (1953) by Johnny Richards and Sonny Stitt, Sancho (1964) by Pucho Escalante and the Noneto Cubano de Jazz, Don Kichot (1967) by Krzysztof Komeda, The Windmills of Your Mind (1968) by Michel Legrand, Sweet Dulcinea Blue (1969) by Kenny Wheeler, Don Quixote (1973) by Luiz Bonfá, Don Quixote (1981) by Egberto Gismonti, Don Quixote (1986) by Cesar Camargo Mariano and Milton Nascimento, Quixote (1990) by Sylvain Kassap, Dulcinee’s Dance (2007) by Jeremy Manasia, Quixotic (2009) by Ivo Neame, Dulcinea (2009) by Virginia Ramírez, Dulcinea (2012) by Jasper van’t Hof, or Quixote (2017) by Vince Mendoza.


…..A particular aspect that Hagedorn’s work draws attention to for the first time is the existence of numerous jazz suites based on Cervantes’ novel: Kenny Wheeler’s Windmill Tilter (1969) and Mitsuaki Kanno’s A Song of Don Quixote (1981) are some of the most notable examples in the 20th century, while Don Quijote (2004) by the Roberto Nannetti Quartet, Chivalrous Misdemeanors (2005) by Ron Westray, Adventures of a Quixotic Character (2014) by Tom Harrell, and Don Quixote (2018) by the Stefano Corradi Matheric Quartet stand out as particularly impressive achievements in the Quixote-inspired jazz of the 21st century. Furthermore, Hagedorn also identifies important compositions that remain unrecorded or unpublished, such as Jean Rivier’s Ouverture pour un Don Quichotte (1929) and Ron Westray’s Chivalrous Misdemeanors (2005).

…..Hagedorn writes that “the approach of this investigation is innovative insofar as it explores an unusual path: studies on the reception of jazz in literature are not uncommon, but literary influences in jazz—literary works as a source of inspiration for jazz—are virtually uncharted territory.”  His article not only changes our view of Don Quixote’s phenomenal impact in music, but it also opens perspectives for future research on the reception of literary works in jazz.

…..Demonstrating the connections of literature and art to jazz music is a mission of Jerry Jazz Musician.  Hagedorn does that brilliantly.  His article is an inspiring, fascinating read, and I highly recommend you seek out the impressive assets he has assembled.


Joe Maita




Click here to access the journal’s contents page in order to download the article (PDF, open access), “Don Quixote’s Adventures in the World of Jazz: 200 Examples and a Few Remarks” (originally published in the Spanish journal Anales Cervantinos)


Click here to be taken to a comprehensive Youtube playlist Hagedorn assembled in association with this article


This is the Spotify version of the playlist


This Spotify playlist is an abridged version






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