The Lee Konitz Duets (1968)

Categories: 1968 and Music.

Konitz presents a series of duets, plus some brief solo playing a one full band track, that explore a wide variety of jazz styles available in 1968. Konitz is excellent throughout and the guests are all great (even though not all of them are as famous). It works really well as a survey of jazz right at the dawn of fusion – the possibilities of what could be accomplished in the music before electrification (and with only a touch of editing) but with very few instruments. Really great stuff. 9/10 Read More

The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra (1968)

Categories: 1968 and Music.

Let’s put aside the ridiculous title for a minute. This is one of those ’60s efforts to try to bring free jazz into more conservative musical traditions. At least in conception, it reminds me a little bit of the [i]Symphony for Improvisers[/i]. There was definitely a group of musicians in the ’60s who wanted to use the language of the past to claim greater authority for their free jazz experiments. This one is pretty successful, the solos are about as out there for 1968 as you could imagine and even the band playing is pretty nuts at times. But the Read More

The Missing Link (1979, 1984) by Fred Anderson

Categories: 1979, 1984, and Music.

Anderson apparently got lots of exposure in the ’60s as part of the AACM but never got an album as leader until this one, and then this wasn’t released for five years. Listening to this music, it’s hard to understand why that was. Anderson plays relatively straight-forward (and often slower) lines for a “free jazz” saxophonist, and the title appears to allude to the space he seems to have found between traditional blues saxophone and free jazz. Like a number of free players, he seems interested in connecting free with tradition, rather than just trying to explode are traditions. But Read More

RIP Ornette Coleman

Categories: 2015 and Music.

I am not the man to write an obituary about Ornette Coleman, but what the hell, I’ll try to tell you what he meant to me anyway. If you don’t know him, Ornette Coleman ostensibly invented free jazz, that is the style of jazz that abandoned the previous rules of jazz and embraced free improvisation (i.e. doing whatever you want). Initially, this was just in the solos, deviating from the conventions of the genre which said you had to stay in certain ranges and keys during your solo. Coleman’s early quartet, fearturing him on alto (a plastic one!), Don Cherry Read More