Tag: Modal Jazz

2017, 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 …

1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1998, Music

Cross Country Tour: 1958-1961 (1998) by Ahmad Jamal

This is an excellent survey of the live music of Ahmad Jamal and his trio in the late ’50s and very early ’60s. Jamal’s playing is so far from Monk – to my ears – that it’s rather incredible. His individuality in that sense is rather fantastic. Monk utterly changed piano playing and it must …

1965, Music

Point of Departure (1965) by Andrew Hill

This is an aggressively “avant” post bop / hard bop (and modal!) album that skirts the edges of bop so much that you could almost mistake it for free (even though it is decidedly not). The compositions are ambitious, as is the band itself (substituting flute and bass clarinet for sax at types). And the …

1962, Music

Undercurrent (1962, 2002) by Bill Evans and Jim Hall

This is an excellent duo outing which shows off both Evans’ sort of left field brilliance and Hall’s kind of safe, kind of conservative, but still very pleasant and exceptionally played lines. (I feel like I’m a little hard on Hall and I really shouldn’t be.) It’s a perfect example of how greatness can be …

1992, Music

The 1960 Birdland Sessions (1992) by the Bill Evans Trio

As much as this contains some pretty great music from one of the era’s greatest piano players, I have to think it is only worthwhile for devotees. The music is great but the sets are short – and there is a great deal of repetition between them – and there is an absolute ton of …

1961, Music

Ezz-thetics (1961) by George Russell

Too avant garde really to be post bop but too obviously bop / modal (too often) and too traditional to be truly considered part of the “new thing” (i.e. free), this one really defies categorization. But that’s okay. The playing is excellent on all accounts and this sort of feels like a direction a lot …

1961, 1997, Music

The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (1997) by John Coltrane

When Coltrane and his “quartet” recorded these performances, he was just releasing Ole Coltrane, so I think it’s safe to say that much of what was heard here came as a shock to anyone in the audience who wasn’t constantly seeing him live. And even when the LP version came out the next year, much …

1995, Music

The Heavyweight Champion: the Complete Atlantic Recordings (1959-60, 1995) by John Coltrane

If Coltrane had died before he moved to Impulse, I still think he would be ranked as one of the two greatest jazz saxophonists ever. His Impulse recordings may have moved him into first place, but his Atlantic recordings are still a marvel.

1968, Music

Nefertiti by Miles Davis (1968 Colbumbia)

This is probably best known as Miles Davis’ last wholly “acoustic” album, before he began to embrace fusion and abandon bop. (What “acoustic” means in this context is twofold: the instruments are not amplified and also the studio editing is not obvious.) But that makes it sound like it is somehow more conservative than it …