Tag: Jazz

2018, Movies

Post-Crash (2018) by Missing Waves

Jazz is at a weird place in the 21st century, like basically every other form of music. Boundaries between jazz and other genres sometimes completely disappear, as they do with this record. At times, I think for sure this is some kind of modern art pop (i.e. not jazz) but then there are tracks when …

1974, Music

Introducing The Eleventh House With Larry Coryell (1974)

This is fusion very much in the Mahavishnu Orchestra mode. In fact, listening to the opening of “Birdfingers,” you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking this was the Mahavishnu Orchestra itself, or perhaps Jeff Beck and the Jan Hammer Group, or something like that. As jazz fusion goes, a lot of it is very much on …

2010, Music

The Element Choir at Rosedale United (2010)

It must be hard to be in the art music field these days. Sure, you’ve got a world of genres to play with – most of them unknown or nonexistent in the recent past – but sometimes having too much choice is worse than having little choice. (Actually, that’s true a lot of the time.) …

2016, Movies

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (2016, John Scheinfeld)

This is a prestige documentary about John Coltrane featuring Denzel Washington of all people reading Coltrane’s own words, as well as a collection of interviews with Coltrane’s children (and step-daughter), critics, historians, biographers, fellow and later musicians and Bill Clinton. But if you are at all a fan of the man’s work, and you have …

1976, 1978, Music

Grupo Irakere (1976, 1978)

So much of what I’ve read about this band focuses on their Grammy-winning North American breakthrough, as if the first time North Americans heard this music was the first time it was really vital and worth listening to. And I do understand that distribution was a different beast in the ’70s, but still, it’s a …

1957, 1958, 1959, 1962, 2007, Music

Epitaph by Charles Mingus, conducted by Gunther Schuller, Live at Walt Disney Concert Hall, May 16, 2007

What the hell do we do with Epitaph?

2015, Music

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman Live at the Wintergarden Theatre, Toronto, Occtober 15, 2015

The last time I saw the Bad Plus they blew me away. But with Joshua Redman they are significantly more jazzy, significantly closer to the mainstream, far more within the tradition than I was expecting. It’s not that their old music wasn’t within the tradition – jazz musicians have been covering non-jazz songs since jazz …

1928, 1929, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1945, 1995, Music

Piano Man! His Greatest Recordings (1995) by Earl Hines

This is collection of 25 recordings featuring Earl Hines – solo, leading his orchestra, with Armstrong, Bechet and some other, less famous bandleaders.  It jumps around a little too much… The title track appears to be the 1939 “Piano Man” (there are four, confusingly) and it’s more of a celebration of Hines’ legend than anything …

2015, Music

RIP Ornette Coleman

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 …

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 …

1969, Music

Swiss Movement (1969) by Les McCann, Eddie Harris

The myth-making goes to hilarious extremes in the liner notes – with the writer denying the band had ever played together before this date before then detailing how they played together before the date – but that’s something that’s quite common to jazz (and to music in general) and this band still sounds fantastic for …

Music

Mingus, Songza, and the Problem of Curated Music

So I have been getting to know Songza lately, whether I knew it or not. For the last month or more, my boss has been putting on Songza playlists as our office music. These playlists have mostly replaced internet radio as our workplace soundtrack of late. (I wasn’t fully aware what this was until a …

1993, Music

Roy Hargrove Quintet with the Tenors of Our Time (1993)

This record should really be called the Roy Hargrove Quintet with the Tenors of Another Time or the Roy Hargrove Quintet with the Tenors of Our Parents’ Time. I didn’t know Wynton had discovered Hargrove; had I, I wouldn’t have borrowed six of his cds from the library. Oops.

2003, Music

Abaton (2003) by Sylvie Courvoisier, Mark Feldman, Erik Friedlander

So to make this super confusing, apparently the idea here was to actually credit this trio as Abaton rather than the record, despite the fact that there are at least three other bands in the world with that name. It’s a popular idea, I guess, sleeping in temples…

2004, Music

Camouflage (2004) by Acoustic Ladyland

Coming at an artists backwards is always a big of an issue. Not only as it’s sort of unfair to the artist – we get our notions of what the artist sounds like when they are “mature” and try to apply that to their early work – but also as it’s unfair to the listener, …

1980, 1997, Music

The Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark (1997) by Grant Green

This compiles the first three albums Grant recorded with pianist Sonny Clark before the band was expanded to a quintet later in 1962. Interestingly, none of these albums were released until 1980 (in Japan) which, given the quality of the music, it’s really hard to understand.

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.

1947, Music

The Complete New York Town Hall and Boston Symphony Hall Concerts (1947, 2006) by Louis Armstrong and his All Stars

So this is box includes both the complete concerts of the title and some additional performances from around the same time, including a performance held before a movie premier for a movie Armstrong was starring in, and some other miscellaneous recordings Armstrong features on that don’t really feel apiece.

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.

2013, Movies

Illusionary Sea (2013) by the Mary Halvorson Septet

Halvorson first came to my attention nearly a decade ago as a member of Trevor Dunn’s Trio Convulsant. At the time I was absolutely blown away by her playing. But due to my somewhat expansive music tastes it has taken me this long to seek out one of her sets as leader.

2013, Music

The Bad Plus Live at the Wintergarden Theatre, December 12, 2013

I only knew the Bad Plus from their excellent jazz covers of rock songs and I actually was completely unaware that they were doing their own material for some time.

2008, Music

History, Mystery (2008) by Bill Frisell

There is a part of me that wants to go a little overboard on the acclaim here, and I think the only thing holding me back is something I always nitpick over: some tracks are performed by the bull band, and some are not. That’s pretty stupid of me, but I can’t help myself. So …

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 …

1997, Music

The Best of Tommy Dorsey and His Clambake Seven (1997 Retrieval)

Dorsey – along with his brother – was often accused of not playing “jazz”, something of a hurtful accusation to someone who felt he was a jazz musician. This was actually a fairly common thing in the ’30s when jazz and popular dance music were pretty tough to distinguish. (To this day, many people will …

Music, RIP

RIP Dave Brubeck

I can’t pretend I know all that much about Dave Brubeck, the jazz pianist. Like most jazz fans, I know Time Out well. And I only know the rest of his career from reading about him. I don’t think I have listened to a single other Brubeck album though I have heard the odd additional track …

2001, Music

Young Miles (1945-50, 2001) by Miles Davis et al. (1945-50, 2001)

For die-hard fans of Miles Davis, or for people really interested in how cool came out of bop, this is probably pretty nearly essential.