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The Jazz Thread


Ben
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Some that come to mind (that are likely to be on Spotify) are:

Milt Jackson - Sunflower (for the great version of People Make The World Go Round, also Herbie Hancock)

Luiz Bonfa - Jacaranda (for a whole slew of incredible players crafting magic, including Idris Muhammad & Airto Moriera)

Joe Farrell - Moon Germs (ridiculous quartet date with Stanley Clarke)

George Benson - White Rabbit (probably my favourite Brasilo-inflected fever dream)

Just realised that ^^^ those albums share plenty of personnel, the same year of recording (1972) and aside from the Luiz Bonfa are all CTI LPs, so should be up your alley..

Listened to George Benson this morning - I like. There's some Lonnie Liston Smith albums on Spotify (Columbia era I think) of which I can recommend Exotic Mysteries. Also listened to Freddie Hubbard's Straight Life today, which was pretty solid. I have The Love Connection lined up for tomorrow - Little Sunflower is such a beautiful song.

Sass anyone into John Coltrane* should check out Kamasi Washington - The Epic. It is fantastic and on Spotify but go and buy it.

*and if you aren't, you should be :quote:

Care to recommend a Coltrane album to start with?

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I think My Favourite Things is a pretty great place to start, in the past I've recommended that to people looking for a place to start with jazz in general actually. It's pretty great because everyone knows the melody of the title track instinctively so it's easy to hear what he's doing with it and recognise the little snippets and suggestions that he puts in the more exploratory passages. I could quite happily listen to his various versions of it all day. Here's a way more out there effort from a few years later, just because it's great:

Blue Train wouldn't be a bad choice either since it's rooted more in the traditional bluesy hard-bop style you'd expect from a Blue Note record in that period which makes it pretty easy to get into.

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Care to recommend a Coltrane album to start with?

Well A Love Supreme seems the obvious choice.

I am a big fan of Coltrane's Sound (Equinox is probably my favourite Coltrane track). Blue Train and Giant Steps are also good places to start.

And that's him on Miles's Prestige records and early Columbia stuff (including Kind of Blue) so you may be familiar with him already.

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ABB - Freddie Hubbard's 'Straight Life' is another one of those incredible early CTIs that has enough funk and balls to balance out the lushness, I adore it and am glad you dug it. In case you're not familiar with it - the meanass second cut from this album ('Mr Clean') is a Weldon Irvine tune (he plays tambourine on the Freddie Hubbard version). You should check out his own recording of it from his 'Liberation Brother' LP, the whole thing's a unique Rhodes & keyboard led beast.

I'm not too hip to the Columbia era Lonnie Liston Smith records, I should get on that. I can imagine they house some serious grooves. I do know the earlier Flying Dutchman records though, and they're all pretty amazing. He worked loads with the more militant New Thing artists like Pharaoh Sanders and Leon Thomas at the turn of the '70s. Records he's on like 'Spirits Known And Unknown' and 'Karma' are up there with my all time favourites across any genre, and his own 'Cosmic Echoes' spiritual jazz records (Astral Travelling, Expansions) are great. He'd gone almost full groove by this point so there's barely a trace of the more abrasive 'free' music he'd become known for a few years prior. Expansions probably takes the cake for having the most sampled basslines too, I'd wager.

Anyway

My gateway Coltrane album was an early Prestige recording (Coltrane, 1957) with a Cal Massey tune that punched me in the face, Bakai. It was specifically the back-and-forth between the - for want of a better term - voodoo hypnotism of the first section to the ultra cool smokiness of the second that destroyed me.

I'd cosign on the "My Favourite Things" 1961 LP as a good starting point for Coltrane as it's got some beautiful melodies from pop songs holding together some pretty heavy yet focused workouts. The version of 'Summertime' has to be one of the more furious and radical renditions recorded, and the title cut is a masterclass of tension-building showmanship. I've never been into the soprano too much but Coltrane wields it like a fucking sword.

The Africa/Brass big band record takes its lead from My Favourite Things but adds an orchestrally arranged swing. That might be a good one too.

I do adore Crescent probably the most of all though, after all these years. I don't think Coltrane ever sounded so melancholy or introspective as he did on this. I think he recorded it around the same time as A Love Supreme - and although that one is special as all hell (get the expanded "complete" set with the alternates and the Live Supreme at Antibes 1965) Crescent is definite desert island stuff for me.

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My sunshine wonder LP is Herbie Mann - At the village gate.

Only 3 tracks, with the best instrumental version of Summertime in existence, along with Comin Home Baby and It Ain't Necessarily so.

It's a flutey, breezy, groovy slice of vintage wonder.

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I own (I think) everything Coltrane ever recorded, and I think My Favorite Things is one of the best albums in Jazz, but, it isn't by the greatest quartet in Jazz. I think if you're going to truly experience the best of Coltrane you need to hear him in that quartet.

So for me the place to start would be the opening track from Coltrane, his 1962 recording for Impulse. He is in incredible improvisational form, but what really makes it shine is the way he plays around the ryhthms created by Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison. Elvin Jones especially is doing some incredible things during this performance. I often listen to it and only listen to Elvin Jones' drumming.

I haven't even mentioned McCoy Tyner but you know, it's McCoy Tyner!

What I find fascinating about Coltrane is that he recorded regularly through a period where Jazz went through enormous changes, and you can see him going from a competent saxophone player playing fairly safe bop, to becoming a vanguard of Jazz's new direction, and eventually the most influential jazz saxophonist of his (or any other) time. It seems to me that you can hear the change occur after he recorded Kind of Blue with Miles Davis. It seems that he immediately grasped the potential in a modal approach to Jazz for completely changing the way you looked at improvisation. It allowed him to give full voice to the expressive capabilities of Jazz in a way that he hadn't been able to before, and led to him recording some of the most furiously intense Jazz records you'll ever hear.

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Not listened to Coltrane yet, but did check the remaining recs from spankey.

Milt Jackson - Sunflower was fantastic, right up my street. Loved the orchestration on the opener and People Make The World Go Round and Sunflower are both so good.

Luiz Bonfa - Jacaranda was pretty decent too but without any as instantly catchy/recognisable.

Joe Farrell - Moon Germs had some nice ideas but it went a bit too hard for my liking.

I also stumbled onto Freddie Hubbard's Bundle of Joy which was very much my sort of thing, too.

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God yes, The Real McCoy! When I was first getting into jazz before the internet was really a thing getting hold of Jazz CDs was an epic adventure in itself, and I remember importing the Japanese reprint of that album for a small fortune (well 30 quid I think but I was a student). Of course I went to Meadowhall a few weeks later and found it in HMV for a fiver, it was right at the start of the re-issue of vast swathes of the Blue Note catalogue. Still it was worth every penny.

Elvin Jones again bashing out rhythms that come from somewhere way beyond the ken of normal folk like me.

I actually miss the days of buying CDs having never heard them, and having to wait to get them. Putting The Real McCoy into my CD player was the first time I'd heard a single note of it, and it was mind-blowing. Listening to something someone links on Youtube just doesn't have the same impact.

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Briefly: the McCoy Tyner solo on My Favourite Things is probably one of the most profound musical experiences i've ever had, and I have it every time I hear it. It's out of this world.

One Coltrane album I didn't see mentioned and I totally adore: Olé Coltrane. Blows me away.

I'd usually be loath to post something like this as it's a bit of a novelty, but check out this 11 year old Indonesian kid:

WTF!

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This thread put me in the Coltrane mood, so I watched the Masters of American Music documentary about him yesterday.

It contains some really excellent televised performances by the classic Coltrane Quartet, and does a very good job of explaining just why Coltrane was so special, and why what he did influenced so many people.

Ole Coltrane is a great shout as well, the title track is absolutely stunning, and reminds me there's another Coltrane album that doesn't get enough attention. The ballad album he did with Johnny Hartman. The version of Lush Life they do is really beautiful.

I won't link to any more Coltrane, but if that floats your boat the album he did with Duke Ellington is an absolute gem.

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You could go on forever with him really, he's got so many classics. Impressions, Meditations, the 1962 self-titled, Ballads, the one he did with Monk.. I don't think those have been mentioned. Nor either version of the incredible Ascension, though that probably wouldn't be an ideal starting point for most!

The one with Ellington is great, I love it whenever I hear the Duke playing with the prodigious younger guys and at times it seems like they're struggling to keep up with him ^_^

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Sass anyone into John Coltrane* should check out Kamasi Washington - The Epic. It is fantastic and on Spotify but go and buy it.

http://youtu.be/NtQRBzSN9Vw

*and if you aren't, you should be :quote:

So a friend showed me a few huge chunks of this, and I can't help think you've grossly undersold it. Greatest actual new jazz record I think I've heard in a looong time. Pretty much essential.

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So a friend showed me a few huge chunks of this, and I can't help think you've grossly undersold it. Greatest actual new jazz record I think I've heard in a looong time. Pretty much essential.

Yeah brilliant stuff, I've just bought it too. There's obviously a Coltrane-esque quality to it, but I actually think it's more reminiscent of the stuff McCoy Tyner did after leaving Coltrane's group.

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  • 4 months later...

There's still a few of us jazz nuts around, resuscitating it every now and then (I like hip hop too though).

I went to see Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah last night in Nottingham. Playing with the same ensemble featured in this video.

He's a phenomenal player, and a very charismatic bloke, and he's gathered together an incredible group of virtuoso musicians for this band. The CD he talks about in this video is available from all specialist music shops and is worth seeking out.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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I've decided that Freddie Hubbard's Red Clay is now one of my favorite tunes so I've been trying to find as many different versions of it as I can. As you do.

There's a cover of it on an album by Charles Earland called Leaving This Planet. It features Hubbard himself, and Joe Henderson amongst others and is based much more in the fusion mould than Earland's usual jazz funk stuff (although I really like that too). Of course it's still pretty funky.

This is one of the tracks from the album:

and the cover of Red Clay which made me pick it up.

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