stratcat

Starting Member
13
UK
cumbria
there's not a city for miles here!
It makes me happy to see so much positive and knowledgeable jazz conversation on here, and so much I agree with.



This is interesting to hear about jazz in the UK. I love a lot of British jazz, but it's not the 50s and 60s hard bop you like. However, it's not Evan Parker's free jazz so much either. I listen to a lot of John Surman, Kenny Wheeler (I know, born Canadian, but for all intents and purposes he was a British jazz musician), John Dankworth and John Taylor. Do Dave Holland and John McLaughlin still count as British, since they moved far from the British scene?
I guess I was talking more about the grass roots scene. There are, and have been, of course, some spectacular jazz musicians in and from the UK. But, it seems that it's a case of ever diminishing (no pun intended!) circles. With nowhere to play where will the 'new' players hone their craft. It's not as easy to learn to play Jazz sat at home with a laptop and youtube videos like you can with rock and pop music. So much of Jazz relies on interaction with other musicians.
 

Intrepid

Super Member
1,744
United States
Okla.
Nichols Hills
These vocal groups are hard to classify, but I agree on Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross. Pretty sure that they were an earlier vintage, and were precursors to groups like the "Manhattan Transfer".

Funny, when MT does 4 Brothers, it lets you mentally blend this in with the original Woody Herman group that included such future giants as Al Cohen (who wrote it, I think), Zoot Sims, and Stan Getz.
 

Matt S

Connoisseur
7,801
United States
NY
New York
I guess I was talking more about the grass roots scene. There are, and have been, of course, some spectacular jazz musicians in and from the UK. But, it seems that it's a case of ever diminishing (no pun intended!) circles. With nowhere to play where will the 'new' players hone their craft. It's not as easy to learn to play Jazz sat at home with a laptop and youtube videos like you can with rock and pop music. So much of Jazz relies on interaction with other musicians.
I see. The only younger guy I'm familiar with is Gwilym Simcock, but I know he's been playing with Americans lately.
 

immanuelrx

Senior Member
947
Belgium
Hainaut
Jurbise
I took a Jazz history course in college. I love a wide range of music and am always looking for something new. I figured experiencing the history of Jazz would be perfect for me. I was disappointed that I couldn't get into it. There were some good songs here and there, but nothing really caught on. I will have to say my favorite is Count Basie though. I can listen to him every once and a while.
 

SlideGuitarist

Advanced Member
2,199
United States
VA (Virginia)
Reston
I'll admit to significant blind spots in my tastes. Because I listen to music mostly at work (this will change, as I now have a new house with room for a stereo), I tend toward more extroverted music, or music that I already know very well, and so I don't mind listening to it passively, over and over (e.g. Bach's keyboard music: I figure I still have decades to absorb it). I can't recommend "mind-blowing" jazz albums, because I don't know if my mind was ever blown by a recording. Live performances, yes: I had heard Cecil Taylor on LPs, but then I heard him live in Stuttgart, with Tony Oxley on drums, and was so excited afterward I couldn't sleep. I saw Sun Ra's Arkestra in Stuttgart as well...and yeah, that blew my mind. Even the "free-blowing" seemed to be part of some inviting ritual, and it was interspersed with furious, old-fashioned swing that had 100s of German couples jitterbugging.

Perhaps you have to have been a band geek to appreciate the power of a swing band. It took me a long time to get to the point where I can find the Eroica rhythmically more exciting than most rock music, but part of the excitement is in the unfolding: it's not a property of just one bar of music.

I know that Bill Evans is one of the most influential pianists of my lifetime, but I haven't yet made the effort to know him. Because of my listening habits, harmonic subtlety is going to be something I'll just miss. It matters. I think you begin to appreciate Kind of Blue more when you sense the harmonic components that are still floating around, but no longer constraining the melodic flow.

I stick to my perverse recommendation of songs as an entry into jazz. Honestly, if you learn the words to "Sophisticated Lady," they will provide a mnemonic scaffold for the harmonies, and help you keep your place within instrumental versions.

* Love & Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver, by Dee Dee Bridgewater
* Carmen Sings Monk, by Carmen McRae (I got a kick out trying to learn to sing some of these)

Commonly accepted classics with (I think) immediately arresting compositions that should convince you that the difficult harmonies serve some purpose, even if you don't yet know what it is:

* And His Mother Called him Bill: Ellington's tribute to Billy Strayhorn, with a heart-rending version of the torch song "Daydream" as a threnody;
* Getz/Gilberto (no number of incompetent renditions can ruin these songs);
* Juju by Wayne Shorter, or anything from that period, or any of this recordings with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers;
* The Sidewinder, by Lee Morgan (catchy, sort of "soul jazz," but the catchiness is spiked with more difficult harmonies);
* Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Moanin'
* Clifford Brown & Max Roach

"Hard Bop" was a movement away from the speed-demon tempos of bop and extreme angularity, and most listeners like it right away. As you get into the late '60s, things get trickier.

I'd recommend any album with the word "Standards" in the title, with Bill Frisell on guitar and Paul Motian on drums. Great way to learn the standards.
 
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Fred G. Unn

Super Member
1,005
United States
NJ
Plainsboro
* Juju by Wayne Shorter, or anything from that period, or any of this recordings with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers;
Juju is great, but I'd say Speak No Evil and Night Dreamer are probably more "essential" recordings, at least to me. Speak No Evil is sort of a desert island level recording. From Art Blakey's recordings at this period I'd say Free For All is a must own, followed by Mosaic, then maybe Ugetsu, Caravan, etc.

I love this video from San Remo of them playing "Children of the Night" from Mosaic. Check out Art's cymbal around the 2:58 mark, LOL! Curtis comes to his rescue.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ln_2CSht5E

From the 50s Messengers, I agree that Moanin' is definitely a must have. The Live at Birdland sessions with Clifford Brown and Lou Donaldson are of course great too!

Other 60s recordings that I think are really in the must have category (in addition to The Sidewinder which you already mentioned) are Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage and Empyrean Isles, McCoy Tyner's The Real McCoy, Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth, Horace Silver's Song For My Father and Cape Verdean Blues, and Joe Henderson's Mode For Joe (or several other of his recordings).

Joe's Live at the Lighthouse is one of my personal faves. The front line of Joe and Woody Shaw is just amazing! George Cables posted this on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. Check out the time of the gig!
 

gamma68

Honors Member
4,219
United States
Michigan
Detroit
Other 60s recordings that I think are really in the must have category (in addition to The Sidewinder which you already mentioned) are Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage and Empyrean Isles, McCoy Tyner's The Real McCoy, Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth, Horace Silver's Song For My Father and Cape Verdean Blues, and Joe Henderson's Mode For Joe (or several other of his recordings).
All of these are superb recordings. Horace Silver's bluesy-soulful LPs are a good introduction to jazz. I love his album "Tokyo Blues."

I wouldn't recommend this to beginners, but I really dig Max Roach's quintet sans piano, with Booker Little on trumpet and Ray Draper on tuba (!). The album is "Deeds Not Words."

And Eric Dolphy cannot be forgotten. Again, not for beginners, but man does Dolphy hit the spot. My favorite record of his is "Out There." He also recorded "Live at the Five Spot" with Booker Little.

Kenny Dorham had a really great ensemble he called "The Jazz Prophets" (a takeoff of Blakey's "Jazz Messengers"). That group recorded a couple albums live at the Cafe Bohemia that are exemplary. There's a mournful quality to that music that really appeals to me. Plus, the album cover is awesome:

 
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SlideGuitarist

Advanced Member
2,199
United States
VA (Virginia)
Reston
Nice posting, Gamma! I was trying to think of more extroverted recordings that would come out to meet the listener more than halfway (notwithstanding the length of my posting, I was at the office).

The Blue Note sound is pretty easy to like. 1. Do we have any enthusiasts for the Soul Note / Black Saint era? The AACM? I'd recommend the Art Ensemble's Full House. 2. Can we think of recordings in which the sheer virtuosity of the lead player should delight even the novice (say, Tuck & Patti? Joe Pass?)?

This is already a "vintage" recording:
https://www.mosaicrecords.com/Novus-Columbia-Recordings-of-Henry-Threadgill-Air-247/productinfo/247-MD-CD/

So is this:

 
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32rollandrock

Connoisseur
6,894
United States
illinois
springfield
Shaver, anyone with an open mind and a desire to expand their musical horizons is welcome to join in.

All righty then...

My guess is that SG doesn't like jazz because it is not as approachable as punk. With the Sex Pistols, Ramones et al, you either get it or you don't, and you get it instantly (kind of like heroin, when you think about it). Jazz requires a more sophisticated ear, and I am somewhat surprised that no one has mentioned Coltrane's Ballads as a gateway drug. To me, at least, that's one of the more approachable jazz records.

My grandmother, RIP, made certain that I was educated about jazz. She never shoved it down my throat, just made sure to expose me to the genre, and I'm eternally glad that she did. We saw just about everyone we could; Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and on down the list. Never saw Miles Davis or Pops, though, which I have always regretted. I didn't catch on immediately, but once I did, the rewards have been immense.

When people who love music--the kind of people who spend more on their stereo system than their car--create their list of Desert Island discs, they, almost inevitably, include records that are not approachable. While not a jazz record, Trout Mask Replica is an excellent example. You can listen to that record again and again and again and again and catch something new almost every time. That's why, if you had only a limited number of records that you could hear, you would choose Trout Mask or something by Charlie Parker or Miles Davis over Never Mind The Bollocks or any given Rolling Stones record. The latter records would drive you batty after awhile. The former selections can be played and replayed and then played again without growing stale.

So, SG, it is, really, a matter of getting out of it what you put into it. If you're the sort who sees music as a backdrop, something to play while you're cooking a meal or fixing the car or mowing the lawn, then you are not, I think, as likely to enjoy jazz as someone who puts the needle down then sits back and concentrates, really concentrates, on what is coming out of the speakers. Ken Burns had this part, at least, right: Jazz is as close to a purely American music as can be found on this planet. With this in mind, the only real question is: Why do you hate America?
 
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