Jump to content

Surly Jazz Thread


Recommended Posts

  • 2 weeks later...

So, had a bit of vacation time and got this from the local library:

 

spacer.png

 

Its more about Coltrane's progression and experience pushing jazz boundaries further, in the author's opinion.   The author definitely worshipped Coltrane, and gives a lot of insight (some would say "excuses") towards what would be known as his most "divisive" stuff.  But while obviously a fan, Mr. Nisenson was also quite the jazz scholar apparently.  He gives quite a few good music history lessons, tracing Coltrane's influences and peers up until (and a bit beyond) his death.  The focus is on Coltrane trying to reach God through his music, especially  after kicking his heroin addiction.

I have to say I first off don't know enough about music to really know even "modal" versus uh, non-modal.  Or "playing vertically" versus "playing horizontally."  I can somewhat grasp the notions, but certainly not to the point where I could tell anyone else the differences.  It was interesting to read about the pretty racists critics during the time frame (50's/60's) as well.  It seems Coltrane even prior to his "further out" stuff was quite often not well reviewed.  And the parts of the book after Coltrane's death becomes full on "everything after him has not been good" mode.  He has some withering critique of Keith Jarrett (very blistering), Wynton Marsalis, and apparently 99% of the jazz fusion movement.  I am personally not into much fusion (yet), but I don't know enough to know if the criticism is warranted the most or not.  The irony in the criticism is he starts to do what he points out other jazz critics did during Coltrane's time--seep into nostalgia and hate all things new.

That said, I overall enjoyed it.  It is my first "jazz book" to read, and the breadth is overall pretty good.  He is much more focused on the musical biography than the life events biography, so from that approach I think it is well done.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/17/2021 at 2:03 PM, MC Fresh Breath said:

The irony in the criticism is he starts to do what he points out other jazz critics did during Coltrane's time--seep into nostalgia and hate all things new.

For an art form that values innovation so much, there are sure a lot of cats hanging around that think jazz ended in the 1960s. It seems like most of them are writing books rather than playing music though. It’s weird, because Wynton is criticized for being backwards looking yet anything after 1970 is seen as new. It sometimes seems like there’s a very narrow window of acceptable jazz.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/17/2021 at 2:03 PM, MC Fresh Breath said:

So, had a bit of vacation time and got this from the local library:

 

spacer.png

 

Its more about Coltrane's progression and experience pushing jazz boundaries further, in the author's opinion.   The author definitely worshipped Coltrane, and gives a lot of insight (some would say "excuses") towards what would be known as his most "divisive" stuff.  But while obviously a fan, Mr. Nisenson was also quite the jazz scholar apparently.  He gives quite a few good music history lessons, tracing Coltrane's influences and peers up until (and a bit beyond) his death.  The focus is on Coltrane trying to reach God through his music, especially  after kicking his heroin addiction.

I have to say I first off don't know enough about music to really know even "modal" versus uh, non-modal.  Or "playing vertically" versus "playing horizontally."  I can somewhat grasp the notions, but certainly not to the point where I could tell anyone else the differences.  It was interesting to read about the pretty racists critics during the time frame (50's/60's) as well.  It seems Coltrane even prior to his "further out" stuff was quite often not well reviewed.  And the parts of the book after Coltrane's death becomes full on "everything after him has not been good" mode.  He has some withering critique of Keith Jarrett (very blistering), Wynton Marsalis, and apparently 99% of the jazz fusion movement.  I am personally not into much fusion (yet), but I don't know enough to know if the criticism is warranted the most or not.  The irony in the criticism is he starts to do what he points out other jazz critics did during Coltrane's time--seep into nostalgia and hate all things new.

That said, I overall enjoyed it.  It is my first "jazz book" to read, and the breadth is overall pretty good.  He is much more focused on the musical biography than the life events biography, so from that approach I think it is well done.

 

 

I suggest you make Miles: The Autobiography your second jazz book. It’s excellent. It helps if you don’t mind the word “motherfucker.”

cvr9781451643183_9781451643183_lg.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/2/2021 at 10:38 AM, MC Fresh Breath said:

 

Dang, I might be doing it again.  Some McCoy Tyner stuff has led me back to Coltrane. Can't quit playing "A Love Supreme."

So, jazzmeisters, please rank your favorite ( doesn't have to be the critical favorites) top however many Coltrane albums.  I'm going digging....

 

Coltrane is my favorite musical artist, by a mile. His top 3 for me are, in order:

  1. Giant Steps
  2. My Favorite Things
  3. Plays the Blues

Also, if you like vocals, check out John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. It has the definitive version of "Lush Life" which is one of my favorite songs.

I seriously consider Giant Steps to be an achievement of the human species, in the same league as Beethoven's best stuff or the Sistine Chapel, etc.

  • Hook 'Em 1
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, VelvetFreeze said:

sorry man, I figured that was you.  you seem to have a history of seeing and meeting the greats. don't take it personally.  Should I be proud I couldn't place Kenny G?

I have been mistaken for Kenny G. 

Time to die.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If I recall correctly, that's from back when Kenny was on tour with Miles opening for him.  This was also when Miles himself was dropping albums like Decoy and Star People.  Don't get me wrong, I'll take those albums over anything Kenny G's ever done; But this is not his Kind of Blue era.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TexasHooch said:

If I recall correctly, that's from back when Kenny was on tour with Miles opening for him.  This was also when Miles himself was dropping albums like Decoy and Star People.  Don't get me wrong, I'll take those albums over anything Kenny G's ever done; But this is not his Kind of Blue era.  

Yeah, Miles was adventurous.  So was/is Herbie Hancock.  I'm not much of a jazzbo, I have only dabbled as a weak player and undereducated listener, but I definitely think the idea of Miles touring with Kenny G is the most absurd construct ever.  It's like starting David Ash over A-aron Rodgers.

Edited by jimmyjazz
Link to post
Share on other sites

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Freedom_Rider

 

Found out about this one on a reddit post:

Quote

 

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - The Freedom Rider

Blue Note 4156 - Original Mono First Pressing

The Freedom Rider, the title of course refers to the freedom rider movement which began in February of 1960 saw southern black students desegregating lunch counter facilities in many cities. In 1961 the Supreme Court ruled that discrimination against interstate travellers in bus terminal restaurants illegal. This ruling was put to the test when 13 freedom riders (7 black and 6 white) set off on a bus trip to New Orleans, throughout their journey a bus was bombed almost killing the passengers and further on their journey a mob savagely beat the passengers. Hundreds more freedom riders poured into the south until an order was issued by the inter-state commission which implemented the Supreme Court ruling with specific penalties and instructions.

During the time of this recording however the freedom rider battle had not been won and we see Blakey here with the title track lay his emotions and feelings down on the matter with a HUGE drum solo!

The other compositions come from Morgan (22 at the time!) and Shorter.

The track Tell It Like It Is is an absolute hurricane and we hear Blakey and Merritt shouting encouragement throughout such as “Make ‘em walk!” And of course “Tell it like it is!”

 

 

Personnel:

Art Blakey — drums

Lee Morgan — trumpet

Wayne Shorter — tenor saxophone

Bobby Timmons — piano

Jymie Merritt — double bass

 

Listening to it on Spotify.  Very good one.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/23/2021 at 5:23 PM, jimmyjazz said:

Yeah, Miles was adventurous.

You don’t say.

I’m not really interested in anything Miles did after 1980. And the stuff he did with Gil Evans never moved me. But everything else, just, wow.

If you’re in to the late stage Miles with Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter and Tony Williams and Herbie Hancock then you’ve got to start with ESP.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MC Fresh Breath said:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Freedom_Rider

 

Found out about this one on a reddit post:

 

Personnel:

Art Blakey — drums

Lee Morgan — trumpet

Wayne Shorter — tenor saxophone

Bobby Timmons — piano

Jymie Merritt — double bass

 

Listening to it on Spotify.  Very good one.

I have this via Vinyl Me Please and it is fantastic. I've seen rumors that it will be a Tone Poet in 2022 as the VMP exclusivity window closes. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, WhatTheBuck said:

You don’t say.

I’m not really interested in anything Miles did after 1980. And the stuff he did with Gil Evans never moved me. But everything else, just, wow.

If you’re in to the late stage Miles with Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter and Tony Williams and Herbie Hancock then you’ve got to start with ESP.

 

Your Gil Evans opinion is bad and you should feel bad about it. The range of colors that Gil Evans found on those recordings were amazing.

Post 1980s Miles often feels like Miles was more interested in being cool than in making great music. Of course, that time period also gave us this great bit of awkwardness. There's a great moment where Miles interrupts to ask who the organ player is only to discover a teenage Joey DeFrancesco. Joey was touring with Miles a few months later. It happens around 32:30. Christian McBride is on bass too, so it's a pretty great house band.

 

Edited by Mole
  • Hook 'Em 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody should feel bad about their opinions, really.  You either like something or you don’t.  Telling someone they should feel bad for not being moved by something is snobbery and helps nothing.  No reason to harsh a thread about jazz.

I think my favorites are also the Quintet stuff.  Relaxin’ is a personal fave.  But I can appreciate most of his catalog, just depends on the mood. 

Kind of Blue is also the jazz album for folks who don’t even like jazz for a reason.   It and Brubek’s “Time Out” are spectacular gateway drugs.

 

Edited by MC Fresh Breath
Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the tongue-in-cheek comment was more apparent than it apparently was. My apologies. 

One of the great and most inventive musical geniuses of the 20th century collaborating with one of the great and inventive orchestrators of the 20th century is like finding out that Beethoven and Berlioz got together for a couple of symphonies. A lot of it doesn't feel like jazz as we'd usually think of it, but it's something amazing and beautiful.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, MC Fresh Breath said:

Nobody should feel bad about their opinions, really.  You either like something or you don’t.  Telling someone they should feel bad for not being moved by something is snobbery and helps nothing.  No reason to harsh a thread about jazz.

I think my favorites are also the Quintet stuff.  Relaxin’ is a personal fave.  But I can appreciate most of his catalog, just depends on the mood. 

Kind of Blue is also the jazz album for folks who don’t even like jazz for a reason.   It and Brubek’s “Time Out” are spectacular gateway drugs.

 

Good points. I love jazz but in reality my taste is pretty narrow. The heyday is probably mid-50s to mid-60s for me. Hard bop and modal jazz. Later free jazz and fusion don't do a lot for me in most cases. Even earlier stuff, straight up bebop like Bird/Dizzy/etc is just OK to me. I used to think, "oh, I'm not a real jazz fan" or that I'm too traditionalist, but it's ok to like what you like. Indie rock fans don't have to also like metal just because it's also rock.

Even then there's always gonna be exceptions. One of my favorite albums ever is Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" which is definitely starting to move in a more fusion-y direction.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Mole said:

Your Gil Evans opinion is bad and you should feel bad about it. The range of colors that Gil Evans found on those recordings were amazing.

Post 1980s Miles often feels like Miles was more interested in being cool than in making great music. Of course, that time period also gave us this great bit of awkwardness. There's a great moment where Miles interrupts to ask who the organ player is only to discover a teenage Joey DeFrancesco. Joey was touring with Miles a few months later. It happens around 32:30. Christian McBride is on bass too, so it's a pretty great house band.

Pffft. Ever dropped acid and gone to a Dead show? Don’t talk to me about colors. I know all about colors. I’ve seen colors. I’ve heard colors. I’ve tasted colors. What turns me on is a musical conversation. You don’t get that with big, composed, orchestral works. (Although Frank Zappa pushed the boundaries with some innovative approaches to conducting.)

Want to buy my copy of Sketches of Spain? I’ve got around 40 Miles albums and a handful of bootlegs. I almost never listen to it. It’s nice but it’s practically elevator music. The best thing it did was to inspire the Grateful Dead’s “Spanish Jam,” which I was fortunate enough to catch live at the Dean Dome in ‘93. (Another great version can be heard on disc 1 of Dick’s Picks 22 from 2/23/68, performed at a bowling alley in Lake Tahoe, CA.)

That era of Miles I cited before, bookended by ESP and Sorcerer, preceded Miles’ best work (imo). Starting with In A Silent Way, all the electric fusion stuff Miles did from the late 60’s until his hiatus in the late 70’s is gold. You want color? Thats where you’ll find it. Bitches Brew is one of the greatest albums of all time. On The Corner might be his most underrated album. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

That seems an oversimplification.

How so? There’s a big difference between playing notes written on paper and just playing, listening, and responding to what the other player plays. A person can do that. Several people playing a written composition can’t. The Miles and Gil Evans stuff gives Miles room to solo, but the rest of the orchestra is playing what’s written for them to play.

Is that a novel concept?

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, WhatTheBuck said:

How so? There’s a big difference between playing notes written on paper and just playing, listening, and responding to what the other player plays. A person can do that. Several people playing a written composition can’t. The Miles and Gil Evans stuff gives Miles room to solo, but the rest of the orchestra is playing what’s written for them to play.

Is that a novel concept?

I guess it comes down to the definition of "musical conversation".  It's not a hill I'm dying on, I just don't necessarily elevate improvisation over composed works "because".

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

I guess it comes down to the definition of "musical conversation".  It's not a hill I'm dying on, I just don't necessarily elevate improvisation over composed works "because".

If the difference between composition and improvisation isn’t self-evident, I can’t help you. For a guy with “jazz” in his username, I shouldn’t have to.

If you and three or four of your friends recite the Pledge of Allegiance together in unison, I can sing my ABC’s on top of that any way I please. I can do it different 50 times in a row. As long as you and your friends are reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in unison, which you have to do because it’s written that way and you can’t each change the words and the timing around any way you please, we’re not having a conversation. 

  • Fuck You 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, WhatTheBuck said:

If the difference between composition and improvisation isn’t self-evident, I can’t help you. For a guy with “jazz” in his username, I shouldn’t have to.

If you and three or four of your friends recite the Pledge of Allegiance together in unison, I can sing my ABC’s on top of that any way I please. I can do it different 50 times in a row. As long as you and your friends are reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in unison, which you have to do because it’s written that way and you can’t each change the words and the timing around any way you please, we’re not having a conversation. 

To hell with it, I'm tired of arguing.  Believe you have the corner on the definition of "conversation", it makes no difference.

Edited by jimmyjazz
  • Fuck You 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Comparing the work of Gil Evans or any other performance of a composition to a reciting the pledge is asinine. If we’re using spoken dialogue analogies, a more apt comparison is watching a performance of Hamlet. The words may always be the same, but the impact, context, and emotional content can vary wildly. The printed page, be it music or text, can only convey so much information.

Quality musicians reading from parts are absolutely engaging in the same kind of “conversation” as in improvised music; it’s more of a difference in degree of freedom. When reading music, you have to turn notes into musical ideas within the context of an ensemble all doing the same, like a conversation. Call it a conversation of interpretations. When improvising, you’re generally still confined by the chord changes and whatever substitutions you can imply, but there’s certainly more freedom. It’s still an interpretive conversation, just will fewer constraints.

Then there’s the reality that improvisations are often built on preconceived ideas and plans, not unlike a composition. If you listen to enough solos by the same players over the same tune, you’ll hear the same patterns come up and sometimes even whole solos almost entirely get reused.

Check out these two performances of Straight, No Chaser by Clark Terry and Bob Brookmeyer. These are two different performances with roughly the same solo by Clark Terry.

 

 

 


Then of check this one out with Clark Terry and Wes Montgomery from around the same time period. It’s a little bit different, but it sure does sound familiar, and not just the opening lick.

 

And just because his feel is so good, here’s Monk playing it the same tune.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’d add that there’s an immediacy and intimacy to the great small groups that is magical and worthy of all the romanticizing that they get. Kind of Blue was famously minimally prepared to encourage that kind of immediacy. Watching players compose in real time is magical, even if they’re developing previously developed ideas. But it’s not so much the notes they play but the character they bring to those notes.

Students transcribe Miles solos all the time; they copy his sound and approach, but they don’t sound like him because of the character he brought to his playing. People become obsessed with the notes, but it’s the interpretation and style of those notes that move you, just like reading off parts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched "I called him Morgan" on Netflix over the weekend.  Not exactly a happy show, but definitely compelling and done pretty well.  We're left not really knowing all that much about him other than the stories you've most likely already read.  But the tragedy itself is set up well, the music bits are of course, fantastic, and the luminaries who contribute their thoughts are worth the view.

Also read "A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album" by Ashley Kahn.  There's a forward by Elvin Jones.  I would consider it kind of just OK, but I am glad I got the the print version from the library, because the pictures and layouts are nice.   In terms of covering the subject matter, it does a good job, overall.  

  • Hook 'Em 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Listening to “Takin Off” by Herbie Hancock on vinyl.  Freddie Hubbard was a bad ass.  
 

Also, I have taken to loving the Rudy Van Gelder instrument set up.  One horn on left, one on right.  Drums center right, piano more center.  At least, I think that’s right.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

This is driving me nuts. I was going to post this anyway because Jerry Garcia did it all. He was like a cross between Earl Scruggs and John Coltrane. He and Howard Wales recorded a studio album but the one-off jam session that preceded it was far superior.

They’re quoting some song toward the end of this track (probably earlier too). I suck at remembering the names of instrumental songs. It’s not All Blues, that was my first thought, but it’s not even close. I know it’s something. I tried singing it to Shazam to see if that would turn up anything but I guess I suck at singing too. Listen to the whole thing because it’s a great jam and a good example of why Jerry was so unique. He could play rock and blues and jazz and country and bluegrass and funk and disco and play them all in one show without a prepared setlist. But this is just jazz. They’re definitely quoting a song I know at the 16:30 mark. What the hell is that?

I feel it’s got to be Miles. I tried a half dozen different albums. The problem is that as soon as I listen to one song, that tune gets stuck in my head and I have to keep going back to this track to refresh my memory on what I listening for. I’ll bet musicians don’t have that problem. 

Edited by WhatTheBuck
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, castolon said:


Looks like you’ve got a solid setup going there

We need a record player homies thread. Maybe there is one. I've got a Fluance RT81 but it's just hooked up to a decent Sony Bluetooth speaker right now. Has started to hum for some reason that I can't figure out. Not an audiophile by any means, but I'd like to eventually at least get a nice pair of bookshelf speakers and maybe a sub.

Link to post
Share on other sites
We need a record player homies thread. Maybe there is one. I've got a Fluance RT81 but it's just hooked up to a decent Sony Bluetooth speaker right now. Has started to hum for some reason that I can't figure out. Not an audiophile by any means, but I'd like to eventually at least get a nice pair of bookshelf speakers and maybe a sub.

We do have a vinyl thread.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...