May-13th-2003, 11:44 PM
Talk About Your Favorite Albums
...as opposed to reviewing them. One of the reasons I don't start more threads in the review section is because I have difficulty putting in the time to write a thorough review. And if it's an album I really like, I want to write a review that does justice to the album. It's hard to find the time and energy to do this, so, more often than not, I don't write reviews.
However, in this thread, I'd like to hear your thoughts and feelings about albums you really loved and why you loved them. Hopefully, this approach will make discussion about albums easier. Btw, I got the idea from Signal To Noise magazine. In the issue with Public Enemy, they compiled comments from musicians and writers talking about their favorite albums. I noticed that the comments weren't really reviews of the albums per se. Instead, the musicians informally talked about why they liked the album. (I wished STN would continue this, as I enjoy reading these columns.) Anway, I thought we could do something similar here. (Feel free to talk about a favorite musician and why you like him/her.)
May-13th-2003, 11:56 PM
Great idea for a thread ;-)
I, too, have little time to hammer out a review of CDs I have listened to.
Now...I need to wreck my musical sense and come back to this thread with a few of my favorites.
And as a famous muscle head turned actor once said: I'll be bach.
Last edited by GoodSpeak; May-13th-2003 at 11:57 PM.
May-13th-2003, 11:58 PM
I've been wanting to write a review of Last Exit's self-titled album for a while, but for the reasons mentioned above, I never got around to it. Anyway, what struck me about that album was how the musicians brought Free-Jazz and hard-rock/heavy-metal together in such a seemless way. After hearing it I thought to myself, Why haven't more musicians tried this? Some other groups have tried to do this I guess, but I don't think very many of them have brought the different musical elements together in such an organic way.
There are several things that make the combination a good fit. First of all, a heavy metal rhythm section can be really monotonous, and to me, boring, but, combined with Free soloing, it makes a good fit. I never thought I would be able to enjoy juddering, heavy-metal basslines as much as I do here. Laswell really provides a solid anchor. In some ways, he's like Jimmy Garrison playing pedal points to anchor Trane's Quartet. Laswell anchors the music, but his playing also propells it.
What I wrote above may be misleading because Ronald Shannon Jackson is not a typical heavy-metal drummer, and he ain't boring. He definitely has that hard back-beat thing, but he's very polyrhythmic in an Elvin Jones kind of way. It's really hard to catgegorize Jackson's drumming. Is he fundamentally a jazz drummer or a rock drummer? He has a jazz drummer's facility and feel, even though a solid back-beat is a part of his drumming. It's not like he's creating a swing groove on his ride cymbals. Anyway, whatever it is it's great, and it fits really well with the soloists.
When I first heard this, I was really suprised at how much I liked Brotzmann. I'm not sure why that is, but there you go. He and Sonny Sharrock make a great team. Here's another thing that puzzled me: Why haven't there been more Free-jazzers taking off where Hendrix left off? Since then I've discovered guys like Masayuki Takayanagi and Keiji Haino, but many of the American and European Free-guitarists mostly seem to eschew feedback and distortion. Many of them have a thinnish, plinky kind of sound (Sharrock can be like that, too). Anyway, this is a really great album, and if you haven't checked it out I highly recommend it.
May-24th-2003, 06:07 PM
Miles Davis at the Filmore West--Black Beauty
Steve Grossman--soprano saxophone
Chick Corea--electric piano
Dave Holland--electric bass
Here's another album I've been wanting to do a review, but never found the time to write a decent review. This is really a kick-ass album. It's one of the albums I'd give to someone who claimed that Miles 70's period was watered down. Here are some random impressions/comments about this album:
--Miles sounds incredibly strong on this. His sound and the strength behind his sound is like a twenty-year old. At times, he sounds a lot better than he often did in the 60's. He doesn't play the harmon mute on any of the tunes.
--This is the first time I've heard Steve Grossman, and I was really impressed by his chops. I mean this guy plays the soporano in the egg-scrambling style a la Shorter and Trane. Also, when I hear his technical facility I'm thinking Evan Parker sans the mirco-tones, although Grossman does take the music out. Having said all that, I find his playing the least interesting. They sound like exhibitions of technique more than music.
--Imo, this is one of Miles' best rhythm section. DeJohnette just kills on this album. He's exhibit "A" for all those who think you can't combine rock and jazz drumming. DeJohnette has that rare gift to both use the cymbals with that light, swinging touch and yet have that "clumsy" rock pouding on the rest of the kit. He's killer.
I'm not a big fan of electric piano, but I love it on this. I love how Corea gets a keening feedback sound. Plus, I just love the way Corea plays. I put him in the same league as Hancock, Evans, and Jarrett.
Dave Holland is on electric bass, and this is one example where I prefer the electric bass in a jazz context. The great thing about Holland is that he keeps the music grooving, but he also creates these interesting counter-melodies. I really miss this element when Michael Henderson replaces him a little later.
Last, but not least: Airto Moreira. People tend not to talk about him when they talk about this period, but he's a crucial element to the music, imo. Part of the reason, he's easy to forget is that he's really adding color to the music, instead of layering Latin rhythms on top of the jazz/rock groove. Miles used incorporated percussionists into the music better than anyone I've heard. It's not like he's just throwing Latin/African grooves into the mix, instead the colors seemlessly compliment the music. Moreira is more of colorist than a rhythm player, but his contributions really add to the music, imo (Pat Metheny is up there, too.)
--One of my favorite tracks, "Miles Runs the Voodooo Down" just kills. I wish I had a copy now of BB to compare the two versions, but from what I remember, BB's version (and the album in general) is a watered down version of the stuff you hear on the live recording! Right at about 2:20, Holland takes the music in a funky direction, and the groove starts picking up. Damn, they're really rocking and grooving now. Miles sounds so great, and everybody so locked in. DeJohnette and Holland are just smoking!
--Often, when Miles sits out, the rest of the guys take the music pretty far out. They get into a kind of spacey, free-ish thing. But when Miles comes back in, they lock right back in and start grooving. The free moments are OK, but when you hear how hard this band grooves, you kinda wish they just did that all the time and eschewed the free excursions.
One last thing, I think this (along with the other Filmore dates with the similar line-up) should be listened to right about that Columbia box of the 2nd great quintet. Just skip *In a Silent Way* and *Bitches Brew* and listen to this recording and the you'll hear the connection and the evolution. Man, this is a great album.
Btw, there are some problems with the sound. For example, there's a section on the first track of disc one, where Miles sounds far in the back. There mixing problems at times, but not very much. And other than that, the recording quality is solid.
May-30th-2003, 06:53 AM
A few random ones. Some are so deeply ingrained from formative experience that it's hard to comment on them critically. I wouldn't expect my love for them to necessarily translate.
Marc Johnson - Bass Desires (ECM, 1985)
I bought this when I was just beginning to actively seek out new jazz, based on a 5-star Downbeat review by Bill Milkowski, I think. This was my introduction to Bill Frisell, who's in my top 5 favorite jazz/whatever artists, and features great rapport between Frisell and Scofield, great playing by all, and a nice set of tunes. A great cover of Trane's "Resolution", and an absolutely GORGEOUS "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair". One of those albums I can replay in my head, and a permanent DID.
Perez Prado - Voodoo Suite (Bear Family, orig. RCA, 1954)
Available on a Bear Family cd twofer, I think, this was an album-side of Prado leading Short Rogers' big band in 1954, perhaps Prado's most jazz-like recordings, with great big Afro-cuban motifs, mambos, and hefty big band soloing and riffs. I grew up with this, and love it like a family member.
Sean Bergin - Kids Mysteries (Nimbus, 1987)
My introduction to lots of the European (particularly Dutch) scene, and also heard early on and often. Wonderful, catchy tunes, nice soloing (great Alex Maguire here), and my first Han Bennink.
Jim Black - Alasnoaxis (Winter & Winter, 2000)
A more recent album here - one I think really indicates some of the fresh options jazz can still take, melding in modern jazz, post-rock, wailing and ambient sonics, careful composition - all combined seamlessly into what I hear as a completely successful and fresh synthesis. It's an album that's definitely grown on me with every listen.
Rob Blakeslee - Waterloo Ice House (Louis, 1999)
Maybe not a "favorite", but I really really like this record, a quartet with Rich Halley on tenor, and it's probably not over-exposed. Subtle, moody, incisive. Almost the epitome of what I look for in a modern jazz record.
May-31st-2003, 04:14 PM
I like the Bass Desires eponymous album, too. At first, I thought the two guitar line-up might be overkill, but somehow they really work well together. My favorite is the improbably successful "Samurai Hee-Haw." I say improbable because the title describes the nature of the song--Asian flavor plus a C&W vibe. The combination and the title seem, well, dorky, but it's a really catchy tune, and the group really rocks it.
May-31st-2003, 04:46 PM
I think the Reviews section can be a great vehicle for just spouting off a dew lines about your favorite recording. You don't need to write a Jurek-length review.
May-31st-2003, 04:50 PM
I guess, I think I look at the review section as something as a resource that will be there "forever." If I'm going to review albums I love, I don't know want to leave a half-assed review. I don't see this thread as the "official" review of any albums. It's just people talking off the top of their heads about albums they love.
Are you thinking that this would be better in the review section?
May-31st-2003, 04:53 PM
It's not like your future writing resume is going to be affected by some half-ass review at Jazz Corner. Hell, Lois may even delete them on accident one day.
June-2nd-2003, 05:48 AM
I think the point of this thread is entirely legitimate, and not covered in full by the intent of the Reviews section, because to my mind the poster is as important here as the selections (whereas the Review section is completely album-specific). Now, I don't think Reid's reviews above quite fit his initial description, because they're more substantive as the average initial Review submission. Still, this thread would presumably have a flavor of WAYLT-like poster-centricity. Plus, there's really not that much incentive to post a review of an older, perhaps well-known album - in this case especially it's the poster's association with the album that's more interesting.
June-5th-2003, 01:22 AM
John McLaughlin--electric and acoustic guitar
John Surman--baritone and soprano saxophone
Let me start by saying that I'm not a big McLaughlin fan. Most of the time his playing leaves me cold. I often feel like his incredible technical displays either do not fit the music, and/or they just seem lacking in moving musical ideas. (I prefer how he sounds in Shakti. For some reason his style of playing seems to fit that context more than the jazz or Fusion context.) Anyway, his playing is different on this album. He doesn't have a lot of fast runs, nor does he use very much distortion. If you heard this as a blindfold review, you may not even guess it's McLaughlin. I guess what I'm saying is if you don't care for McLaughlin for the kinds of reasons you might want to give this album a shot.
So why do I like this album (other than it lacks the aspects of McLaughlin's playing I don't like)? Well, this album, to me, is about the compositions and the group more than solos and individuals. I think all of the songs are very strong compositions with really good melodies. The tunes on the album also come together very well.
Another misconception that some people may have about this album is that it's a Fusion album. I really don' t think it's a Fusion album at all, although I don't feel comfortable calling it a post-bop album either. The album has a largely acoustic feel to it, and the solos--particularly Surman--have a jazz quality to them. Well, even that's misleading. The language of the soloists and the music are almost beyond any of the jazz categories. (Maybe somebody with more knowledge of musical theory can help me out here.)
I really like the rhythm section team of Brian Odges and Tony Oxley. Some of you know Oxley as a free-drummer, but Oxley swings here in a way that few people would dispute. I like his use of cymbals on this (I think of Tony Williams, but I would have to listen more carefully to confirm that). I like the sound Odges gets on bass, and he seems to be someone who anchors the music, while avoiding repetitive and boring playing. (Odges made me think of Dave Holland when I first heard the album).
Man, I'm really not breaking down the arrangements or the group interplay, but those are the aspects I like on this disc. I'm listening to this disc now, and there is a kinda folk quality to the music, too. Sorry, that's not very helpful.
Anyway, it's a very good disc. I've never heard McLaughlin play like this ever again, although there's a lot of stuff I have yet to hear.
Finally, the Penguin guys gave this one a crown, and I totally agree with them.
June-5th-2003, 04:02 PM
Mulgrew Miller - piano
Kenny Garrett - alto sax and flute
Steve Nelson - vibes
Charnett Moffett - bass
Tony Reedus - drums
Rudy Bird - percussion
Recorded in 1987. I love on the title tune when Garrett briefly quotes "Parisien Thoroughfare," kind of a statement about caring about bebop. I love "Soul-Leo" because it could have come from a Lou Donaldson session--except the playing is much, much better. I love hearing Steve Nelson sing along to himself while he solos. I love the spooky descending line of "The Eleventh Hour."
Sonny Fortune - alto sax
Kenny Barron - piano
Charles Sullivan - trumpet
Wayne Dockery - bass
Reggie Workman -bass
Billy Hart - drums
Angel Allende - percussion
On the opening cut, "Triple Threat," I love when Sonny finishes soloing, and he's just been blistering, and Sullivan comes in with a series of very cool arpeggios, and it sounds like a waterfall after a fireball. On the next cut, "Nommo," I love Reggie Workman's long opening solo, where he gets a lot of vocal effects out of the bass, and later bows it so it sounds vaguely Japanese. It's dignified, it's hilarious, and it's funky, all at the same time. And then Sonny takes over the tune, pushing a three chord vamp to the limit, sounds like he's gonna blow the horn apart, totally hot. There are a couple other cuts where Kenny Barron gets a great sound out of a Fender Rhodes, and Sonny plays a little wah-wah flute. I'm sure it seems dated now, but to me it still sounds fresh as can be. There's also a short, lovely ballad, "For Duke And Cannon."
Last edited by Dr Dave; June-5th-2003 at 04:03 PM.
June-6th-2003, 02:44 AM
Thanks for the comments, Dr.
Weren't you the one who raved about that Billy Harper disc with Stanley Cowell, Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille (or was it Billy Hart)? I think it was called *Just Friends* or something. I never found that one.
Btw, did you see my recommendation of Rick Margitza's *Memento*. Mulgrew's on it, and he shines on this. Margitza's a guy I think you should check out if you haven't already.
June-6th-2003, 08:47 AM
I can't believe you remember that, Reid! The band was called "Great Friends" and was released on the French Black & Blue label.
Sonny Fortune - alto
Billy Harper - tenor
Stanley Cowell - piano
Reggie Workman - bass
Billy Hart- drums
I just found out that Evidence has re-released this! It's a MUST! They'd just come off a long European tour and went straight into the studio, so the playing is just about telepathic. Great playing, great compositions, especially Workman's "East Harlem Nostalgia" and an energetic reworking of Fortune's "Awakening" from his first album.
The cover photo is the same, but there's been some redesign. But the music is the same!
June-6th-2003, 07:41 PM
I remember the album because I was drooling over the line-up, and I never could find this one.
Btw, happy birthday, man.
June-6th-2003, 09:35 PM
There is also a recording called Such Great Friends. Same crew sans Fortune. I have it on cdr.
I listened to a fantastic album this evening. Jascha Heifetz working his magic on the Brahms Violin Concerto with Fritz Reiner and the boys. Doesn't get better than this when it comes to the Brahms Violin Concerto.
June-9th-2003, 09:12 AM
Plus ça change...
FWIW, I'll take Szyering over Heifetz in the Brahms any day.
Last edited by walto; June-9th-2003 at 09:13 AM.
June-9th-2003, 11:18 AM
Peace and Light!
Vince, Rob Blakeslee can fucking play!
Shrugs, my kids use the phrase "on accident" as well. I like that.
June-9th-2003, 12:48 PM
Originally posted by Reid
Why haven't there been more Free-jazzers taking off where Hendrix left off? Since then I've discovered guys like Masayuki Takayanagi and Keiji Haino, but many of the American and European Free-guitarists mostly seem to eschew feedback and distortion.
Have you ever heard of Tisziji Munoz? I had never heard of him until I received a recent email from DMG. From these reviews I found on his website taken from the Wire it sounds like his work might be what you were looking for:
"The second track "Shenai Letticia Muñoz (Prayer For a Safe Birth)" is where the blast-off happens. The track coasts in on a titanic wave with Crispell sounding iconoclastic chords that tumble through huge melodic conceptions, while bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Lukas Ligeti blur in a multi-directional dervish. Muñoz finally enters with the most sumptuous run of fuzzed notes, wailing over the group with the higher-minded logic of Ware and a tone as epic as Neil Young. Crispell scatters the group with a solo that briefly halts the insane momentum, as she sends fountains of notes spurting skyward, before Kaiser takes a punk solo that leaves everyone drooling. From here on in they’re unstoppable, even steamrolling Brahms’s "Lullaby" when it innocently strays into their path. If you’re looking for a date that combines high energy rocking with the dizzy cranial power of free jazz, then this is most assuredly it. As Muñoz himself shrugs in the liner notes: "They can kick it!"
By contrast, Breaking the Wheel of Life and Death, for which Muñoz and Crispell are joined by bassist Don Pate and drummer Rashied Ali, doesn’t quite make it. It’s certainly heavy as hell-Muñoz’s tone is even more gnarled and insane than usual-but the group doesn’t quite gel like they did on Auspicious Healing! In the face of that kind of achievement, however, it still feels pretty heroic."
June-9th-2003, 04:32 PM
Originally posted by walto
FWIW, I'll take Szyering over Heifetz in the Brahms any day.
and have you heard the Heifetz in "Living Stereo"?
Last edited by shrugs; June-9th-2003 at 04:33 PM.
June-9th-2003, 05:58 PM
Plus ça change...
and have you heard the Heifetz in "Living Stereo"?
Yeah, but keep in mind I don't have the kind of stereo you do!
June-10th-2003, 03:05 PM
I wore out "Awakening" after buying the vinyl soon after its relese. It's my favorite Sonny Fortune album. Workman's intro to Nommo is great.
I also have Wingspan. Solid alll-around.
June-10th-2003, 06:55 PM
Thanks for the information. The local jazz dj recommended him to me, but I never got around to checking him out. The description you posted sounds enticing. I'll have to look for him.
Btw, I've been listening to Dark Magus, and Cosey is probably another guy you could add on that Free-Hendrix playing.
June-15th-2003, 11:40 AM
As evidenced elsewhere, I'm not the least bit capable of writing about music, so I'll stick to just how an album affected me in a personal way. I had always liked 'Ganryu Island' with John Zorn on reeds and Sato Michihiro on shamisen, but 4 years ago on a trip back to my homeland of Turkey, I experienced a bit of a revelation.
The album is a series of improvisations, a 'duel' between the two players, so to speak. The publicity blurb on the Tzadik site puts it pretty nicely and accurately (not always the case):
This was, I believe, 2 nights before the earthquake of '99 outside of Istanbul around Adapazari that devastated the area and the country, killing somewhere around 20,000 people, which is unheard of. Earthquakes happen, people die, but that many...? This in itself is a painful memory, as I hadn't been back since '88 and was supposed to be on vacation at this time.
Ganryu Island has been hailed as one of the most successful recorded meetings of "East And West." Named after a small island off the coast of Japan where legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro met for the first and last time, John Zorn's meeting with Tsugaru shamisen master Sato Michihiro is at once surprising, dramatic, hilarious and revelatory.
I was on a night bus leaving Istanbul heading for Selchuk, a small town near Izmir, the Aegean Sea and only 2 miles from the ruins of Ephesus. About 2-3 hours into the bus ride almost everyone on the bus was asleep. I couldn't seem to catch any shut-eye with all the family drama bullshit in Istanbul and the alienation I felt I was experiencing from fellow Turks after visiting following an 11 year absence. It was bad enough I had to struggle with that shit in Canada, I had to experience it in the motherland, too.
I popped 'Ganryu Island' in my portable player with headphones on, thinking "anything to take the edge off". Maaan, the way I felt is quite indescribable... as I felt a very strong case of 'a stranger in his homeland'. Zorn has, somehow, always been able to tap into my sense of feeling like an outsider, that sense of 'otherness' or isolation. Yet, all was right with the world. It's as if, within that short hour I was able to negotiate / resolve / make sense of my place in the world.
It's funny it was not one of Zorn's Masada projects that did the trick. I've always loved the Masada material. The same way, I think, certain musics are 'the voice of a generation' in how they capture the feelings and the experience of people of a certain era, or whatever, Masada material seems to speak for me, to me and moves me big time -as a person who's Muslim by birth, no less! Again, it makes me feel OK to be who I am, neither East nor West, but an independent entity, an amalgam, if you will.
Zorn has become one of the great iconoclasts of the avant world and, yet unfortunately, by some not considered a serious music maker anymore, which I believe has got to do less with the quality of the music he puts out and more to do with jealousy. Over the years, the man has paid his dues, making some stunning music, supporting the creative music scene that had been good to him along the way... and still puts out some remarkable music.
Of course, the earthquake a couple of days later that bruised the whole nation's sense of security and being, brought on so much pain and many issues, but that's for another post. Sorry, if it got too sappy, folks...
June-15th-2003, 12:09 PM
That cat Munoz is Bob Moses' guru!Very interesting...
I've been checking Rob Blakeslee out.Just bought "Lifeline"recorded in 92'.Also have him on Michael Bisio's"Undulations".
What are your faves of his Dennis?
June-15th-2003, 12:18 PM
His own Last Minute Gifts is incredible.
Vinny Golia Dante No Longer Repents
Against The Grain. baby
June-16th-2003, 08:25 AM
I'll look for yours and Vince's recs...
June-17th-2003, 08:16 AM
I scored Vince's recommendation and its a very good one! Thank you!
June-17th-2003, 02:16 PM
I don't know how he does it, but when I listen to Bobby Watson and Horizon, life seems positive and full of possibility. "No Question About It" (the opening cut, "Country Corn Flakes" in particular), with Roy Hargrove and Frank Lacy, seems like a wonderous extension of the works of Art Blakey and Cannonball Adderley. There's joy in the music. That's all.
June-18th-2003, 10:58 PM
That's my least favorite bluenote of Watson and Horizon. I love *Post-Motown Bop* and *The Inventor*, however. *The Inventor* may be in my top ten albums of all-time.