Tag: Big Band

1977, Music

The Lee Konitz Nonet (1977)

Perhaps it’s because I was just listening to Duets but this almost feels like a spiritual sequel to that album – Konitz’s band tackles a variety of jazz styles and performs them all very well. It’s compelling music and it’s easy for me to see why this is considered one of his better albums.

1962, Music

Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962) by Ray Charles

Though is definitely a pop soul version of the soul Ray Charles helped create, and though the backing vocals and syrupy strings date the record horribly, this album transformed two genres so drastically it’s probably hard to imagine either without it.

2000, Music

Ken Burns Jazz (2000) by Fletcher Henderson

This is a decent one-disc compilation of Fletcher Henderson’s big bands, which are more notable for the featured performers than for anything Henderson did (with an exception or two). Like all single disc compilations of a productive artist, it doesn’t give us the greatest picture of his work. But what it does function as is …

2009, Music

Emergence (2009) by Roy Hargrove Big Band

So Hargrove tackles big band and the results aren’t that different from early in his career, when he was way too in love with tradition. (You might say he was drowning in it.) Well here we are again: Hargrove’s big band touches on numerous previous jazz big bands. And the whole thing is really conventional. …

2010, TV

Treme (2010)

This contains some spoilers I wanted to love Treme, I really, really did. I consider The Wire to be the greatest thing in TV drama history, and Generation Kill was pretty good too. But something got lost in the execution here. The characters are interesting, the sense of place is incredible – at least, as …

1993, Music

Birks Works: the Verve Big Band Sessions (1956, 1957, 1993) by Dizzy Gillespie

I recently listened to this band’s performance at Newport and was underwhelmed. It just goes to show you the power of mood. I guess just wasn’t in the mood and I imagined the Newport show as some kind of semi-modernist response to Ellington’s Newport show of the year before. I think I was over-thinking. Here …

1957, Music

Dizzy Gillespie at Newport (1957)

There is something in me that wants to see this as some kind of newish generation response to Ellington at Newport the year before but I guess that’s me just trying to impose some narrative on this. I wasn’t expecting to like this, as I am not a huge fan of ’50s big band arrangements …

1995, Music

The Complete RCA Victor Recordings 1937-1949 (1995) by Dizzy Gillespie

Gillespie is probably the greatest trumpet player ever, but this is the first time I’ve really gotten into his discography, a major oversight on my part. These sides cover both Gillespie’s band and some session work he did over slightly more than a decade, when he was literally changing the nature of jazz. They don’t …

1956, Music

Ellington at Newport 1956 (1956, 2009)

Though Ellington is one of the most famous leaders in jazz, and probably the greatest composer in the music’s history, this is the first set I have ever heard (deliberately) by his band. The reason for that is simply because I got into jazz through Miles Davis, whose entire career has been played in the …

1998, Music

Women in Jazz (1998, Retro Music) by Various Artists

The cheapie box set is an interesting phenomenon: Gather some recordings from major artists where the copyright has lapsed (or never existed), Put the recordings in any arbitrary order you choose, Use more discs than are necessary to convince the buyer they are getting a great bargain, Give it a catchy title. I have a …

2002, Music

The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Lecagy Box Set 2002)

Christian may not be the first electric guitarist, or the first jazz electric guitarist, but he was the first important one on both counts. Though ostensibly a swing player, his influence on bop guitarists is beyond profound. I mean I absolutely love Wes Montgomery, but wow does Wes ever owe a lot to this guy. …

1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1948, 1952, 2004, Music

The Music Master by Benny Carter (Proper 2004)

First, a disclaimer: my library only has the last three discs so I am not reviewing the first disc. Though this music (at least the music on the second and third discs) is not really my thing, I find myself becoming a big admirer of Mr. Carter. He appears to have mastered three separate instruments …