Jazz

It's only cool if no one's heard of it.

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dubsola
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Jazz

Postby dubsola » Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:57 pm UTC

What do you like? What do you hate? Obscure, well-known, wonky, straight, syncopated, rambling, controlled - it all goes in here. Let's make it geographically diverse as well. American, African, South American, European, and anything else you can think of.

American jazz

Who are your favourite 'classic' composers / bands? Count Bassie? Miles Davis? Thelonius Monk? John Coltrane? How can American jazz be subdivided? Chronologically? If it can be categorised, even roughly, what are the categories? Do you think Ken Burns' Jazz documentary is an accurate record? Is it all-encompassing? Did America ever have the jazz genre sewn up? What are some new American artists that you like? I really like John Zorn's Masada, but don't particularly understand it. What is going on there? What other klezmer jazz do you recommend? I've seen Salim Washington perform live - he's a composer, musician and writer. He's also a professor at Columbia University. What kind of jazz is it?


Funk and soul
Is Marvin Gaye jazz? Bill Withers? Smokey Robinson, Patrice Rushen, Minnie Riperton, Chaka Khan, Roy Ayers, the Isley Brothers, Prince. I confess, I love this music. All that old stuff is just so fine. And the new stuff can be very good, (but sometimes a little boring). The Roots, 4Hero, Quantic / Alice Russell. Are they bastardising jazz, taking it to new places, or just making good music? Has hiphop's endless sampling of jazz improved and widened the audience, or diluted it's purity?


Jazz Diaspora
It's pretty interesting, how jazz has travelled.

At the moment I'm particularly enjoying African music. Of course, there is the late, great Fela Kuti. He is awesome. Watch the documentary 'Music is the Weapon'. This Nigerian had a bunch of wives, was seriously political, pioneered Afrobeat, played with some incredible musicians like Steve Reid and Tony Allen, made songs which were usually around 10 minutes long (if not longeR), whose mother was killed by the oppressive government, and whose son, Femi, tours to this day playing incredible Afrobeat stuff. Check it out, it's really interesting. Jim Jarmusch's movie Broken Flowers put me on to Mulatu Astatke, an Ethiopian jazz composer who is just excellent, and will be playing in London soon, I hope. This is a good compilation for Ethiopian music. Tinawaren is from Mali, a group of Berber musicians who gathered to record a scratchy collection of songs, and are now touring around the world. Ali Farka Touré is supposed to be a pioneer, but I haven't heard any of his stuff yet. Same with King Sunny Ade. The long, drawn out Congalese songs with the predictable guitar meanderings is nice to listen to for a while. Ghanaian jazz is great. The Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra is newish, they're pretty cool. Benn loxo du taccu is a great resource for African jazz. As is Awesome Tapes from Africa. African music is cool.

The Necks is an awesome Australian jazz band, and if you ever get a chance to see them live, take it. Even if you don't like jazz that much, it's a truly epic experience that is like sleeping and making love combined.

What about other stuff... is A Hawk and A Hacksaw And the Hun Hanger Ensemble jazz? It's pretty cool nonetheless. I know vaguely that a lot of American musicians went to Europe when times were hard back in their home towns, and so there's jazz from Slovenia, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and a bunch of other Eastern European countries... I'd like to learn more about this.

I don't know enough about Latin music to even start talking about it! Let alone reggae, ragga, reggaeton, ska and dancehall. Indian jazz? Arabian/Persian jazz?


Electronic music and jazz
I'll take this chance to pimp my friend's band Roam the Hello Clouds, and the drummer, Lawrence Pike, is also in another jazz band called Triosk. These both use electronic sounds along with more traditional instruments, and involve sampling and looping as well as incredible traditional instrumental performances. Probably the farthest you can go down the jazz-to-electronics route is Jan Jelenik's Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records album, which is pretty awesome, and really weird.

Then you've got all the dance musicky stuff like The Roots and 4Hero, hiphop artists like Madlib doing a compilation of refits of Blue Note records called Shades of Blue, as well as writing and playing instruments in a band in his own mind called Yesterday's New Quintet. Koop, from Sweden - two guys wearing dresses made their first album sampling a bunch of old jazz records, and now have ended up performing live with a band. The've done stuff with the awesome Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano. Herbert, Phil Parnell and Dani Siciliano made an excellent jazz-ish album called 'Bodily Functions'.

Also noteworthy: Innerzone Orchestra, Alva Noto and Ryuchi Sakamoto, Andrew Pekler, Atjazz, Build an Ark, Fourtet. Gilles Peterson plays this music a lot.


I don't like jazz
You don't like blues? Funk? Soul? Guitar solos? I know a lot of you are into Gorillaz / Damien Albarn. Tony Allen, drummer for Fela Kuti for a long time, is involved in Albarn's project "The good, the bad and the queen". I don't know if it's any good though. What about techno? Check out Konono, the mad DIY ethic in this African techno outfit.


What else?
What do you like? Recommend it! Jazz talk starts now.

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Re: Jazz

Postby Simius » Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:22 pm UTC

Though I haven't made a vast study of it yet, Jazz is certainly one of my favourite genres. I especially like the instrumental jazz, with lots of brass and saxes.

However much I enjoy the 'classical' Miles Davis kind of jazz, I really prefer the faster, more funky kind. Afrobeat is great too. If anyone can recommend good music that falls in these cathegories, it'd be greatly appreciated.

Some Jazz musicians I love:
SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS: a Japanese jazz band. I know it's a horrible name, but they make great music. (you didn't mention Japanese jazz? well, here it is :) )

New Cool Collective: a Dutch Big Band. Absolutely awesome music. Do a search on YouTube and listen to it. You'll like it.

Joseph Bowie (from Defunkt) has recently brought out a new cd together with a Dutch Jazz band called Monsieur Dubois. The cd is named 'Soul Integration' and is very good.

A few days ago I listened to a free sample of Tony Allen's Afro Disco Beat, and liked it. A lot.

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Re: Jazz

Postby dubsola » Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:38 pm UTC

Simius wrote:Some Jazz musicians I love:
SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS: a Japanese jazz band. I know it's a horrible name, but they make great music. (you didn't mention Japanese jazz? well, here it is :) )

A few days ago I listened to a free sample of Tony Allen's Afro Disco Beat, and liked it. A lot.
I just bought that Tony Allen thing, about a week ago! And the other funny thing - my friend put these things on my iPod called 'Pimpin' and 'Pimp Master' about a year and a half ago - but I haven't listened to them. Will do so now, on your recommendation.

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Re: Jazz

Postby davef » Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:42 pm UTC

If you like cool new big band stuff, check out Vienna Art Orchestra.

I'm not going to attempt to describe the stuff I like cos I'll be here all day. Suffice it to say, everything is great. There's SO MUCH fantastic music out there! How do they expect us to get anything done?
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Re: Jazz

Postby MuseSik » Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:07 pm UTC

I love Jazz, specifically cool instrumental jazz. Not a fan at all of electric jazz though.
I just got a hold of the Oscar Peterson Trio and Charlie Biddle Trio and I can't get enough of either.
Oscar Peterson is just amazing. I don't usually care for vocals in my Jazz, but Charlie Biddle Trio has this French dame and I love it.
Aside from that I'm into the big names, Davis, Mingus, Getz, ect.

Edit: I just remembered a few years ago when they closed the Blue Note here. What a sad day. I saw a lot of amazing sets there.

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Re: Jazz

Postby ChocloManx » Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:31 pm UTC

I very much like acid jazz, as in Jaco Pastorius and John Scofield, but I also like modal jazz. I prefer Coltrane over Davis.
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Re: Jazz

Postby Slacker Virtuoso » Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:50 pm UTC

Wow.... I could type for hours, but I'll try and keep it brief. :D As genres go, I'm a big fan of hard bop, and I also really enjoy Jaco's work outside of Weather Report. Too many artists, too many great albums, and that's just the commercially released stuff. There's fantastic live jazz being played every night of the week in almost every major city in the world.... hard to keep up! I don't actually listen to much recorded jazz these days, but try and see it live as much as I can.

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Re: Jazz

Postby someguy » Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:16 pm UTC

I don't 'get' most jazz on an intellectual level, but I enjoy a few things I've come across. I like the earlier Satchmo recordings with his Hot Five and Hot Seven, Miles' 'Flamenco Sketches', Charles Mingus' Blues & Roots and The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, and a few more things.
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Re: Jazz

Postby a386 » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:28 am UTC

people stress "getting" jazz too much. intellectualizing music is .. it's a necessary part of creating it, but just to listen? it's all about the way music makes you feel. some people who listen to very complex jazz or like freeform sorts of styles kind of wear the fact that they "understand" it like a medal .. it's missing the point. music should boil down to something much much more emotional than intellectual.

i like the big names, of course. trane, davis, monk, on and on. i like small combos and improv more than, say, a big band. i've been listening to pepper adams (a bari sax player) lately and i love his tone, it's got such energy. he's a fireball.

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Re: Jazz

Postby no-genius » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:06 pm UTC

dubsola wrote:I don't like jazz
You don't like blues? Funk? Soul? Guitar solos? I know a lot of you are into Gorillaz / Damien Albarn. Tony Allen, drummer for Fela Kuti for a long time, is involved in Albarn's project "The good, the bad and the queen". I don't know if it's any good though.

AFAIK, they don't really have a name - they called the first album 'the good, the bad and the queen', but they get a bit annoyed when people call the band 'tg,tbatq'. From what I heard, it was ok, but I only heard a few songs when they were on TV.
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Re: Jazz

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:40 pm UTC

It's hard to bring up electronica and jazz in the same breath without then mentioning Squarepusher.

Most of the music I legally own is jazz, so it doesn't make sense for me to list all of it, but some of my favorites that are less obvious (i.e. take it for granted that I have and love Giant Steps, Kind of Blue, etc.) are:

Yellowjackets - Blue Hats
Although the Yellowjackets are generally known for jazz fusion, this is one of their more recent acoustic albums. It retains their unique compositional style (hybrid chords, suspended time, advanced tonic systems and nontraditional "key") but with a more traditional small group instrumentation. It can take a bit of listening before you can wrap your brain around some of the grooves and melodies, but it's worth it (or at least, those were both true for me).

Bill Cosby - Hello, Friend
Although Cosby is a drummer himself, he doesn't play on this album, serving instead as producer. The first song is an original composition of his and the rest are standards. The group is an octet (four horns, rhythm and congas) with a very relaxed, comfortable sound and a basically traditional style that has just enough contemporary inflection to be relevant.

Horace Silver - It's Got To Be Funky
This album features a few soloists including tenor saxophonist Branford Marsalis and vocalist Andy Bey with the Silver/Brass ensemble on several of Silver's original compositions. It has a great brassy sound without the harshness of a blaring/screaming trumpet line in a traditional big band, and with french horns, flugels and I believe euphonium added into the mix.

Bobby McFerrin & Chick Corea - Play
This live album contains some solo pieces by McFerrin and some duets with Corea, plus some of the usual concert banter and jokes. If all you've ever heard from McFerrin is "Don't Worry, Be Happy", you need to listen to this album. He doesn't scat so much as play his voice as an instrument, and his musical chemistry with Corea is amazing.

The Modern Jazz Quartet - Together Again ("Echoes")
This is a reunion album recorded after the members of the MJQ had been playing around in other settings for a while. Compared to some of their earlier albums I find it to be more centered, a little more thoughtful. Piano, bass, drums, vibraphone; this is the kind of music you would hear at a classy restaurant with a view of the river and a glass of wine. A combination of subdued tones and relaxed tempos with playful energy and interesting compositional flavors ("That Slavic Smile", "The Hornpipe").

Freddie Hubbard - Born To Be Blue
Small group west coast jazz (two horns +rhythm, I think) at its best, with strong modal and hard bop influences. The opening track ("Gibraltar") is a high-energy latin groove underneath characteristic west coast two-voice unison and harmonies in fourths; there are subtle hints of the avant garde in a few of the tracks but the groove and the progression stays rooted.

Thelonius Monk - Plays Duke Ellington
This is one that's almost too classic to mention, but I will anyway. Monk is an acquired taste for many people, and this is the perfect introduction, as the album was recorded for just that purpose. It's pretty self-explanatory; Monk plays an assortment of well-known pieces from the Duke on solo piano, in his own quirky, oft-imitated but never duplicated style.

McCoy Tyner - Revelations
You might recognize the name from Coltrane's early 60s quartet; McCoy Tyner is one of the great pianists of the second half of the 20th century. This is a solo album recorded in the late 80s, a mix of standards and original compositions. Whenever I listen to this I am reminded of Gregory Hines' improvised tap dance routine from a scene in the movie White Russian. It's bounding, leaping, energetic, romantic, joyful; there's such an outpouring of exuberant ideas and phrases that it seems he barely has time to catch his breath between them. This album really does its title justice.

Django Reinhardt - Douce Ambiance
The awesomeness of a gypsy guitarist losing the use of two of his fretboard fingers in a caravan fire and going on to become one of the most acclaimed guitarists of the 20th century should be enough to convince anyone who likes jazz to check out some Django Reinhardt. In particular I like this album because it has some of my favorites of his compositions, it has clarinetists, and according to Wikipedia Django would sometimes skip his own sold-out concerts in order to take a walk on the beach. I bet he brought a tent. Gypsy jazz for life.

Billy Strayhorn - Lush Life (the 1992 release, not the 2007)
Those in the know will recognize Strayhorn as the composer of many of Duke Ellington's most well-known tunes, including "Take The 'A' Train". The album is a mix of Strayhorn on vocals and solo piano, and instrumental tunes for mid-sized and larger groups arranged by Strayhorn. If you ever went to a dusky bar in the 1940s to drink away your loneliness or unrequited love, this is exactly the kind of thing you'd be listening to. Well, if you went to a good bar in the city, anyway. Where Strayhorn happened to be playing.

Mingus Big Band - Tonight At Noon
Woody Herman & His Big Band - Fiftieth Anniversary Tour

Those are the highlights that come to mind when I think about the music I own. Anyone who is interested in listening to a sample of one of those can PM me. I won't send you the album but I will send you a low-fidelity track, your choice of either a 30-second excerpt or a full track with a loud audio watermark (with stereo effects so you won't be able to get rid of it, you sneaky pirate, you).
Last edited by Bakemaster on Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:53 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Jazz

Postby someguy » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:09 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:Mingus Big Band - Tonight At Noon

I love love love "Blues for Walt's Torin" off that one. It sounds like a big band on acid.
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Re: Jazz

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:29 am UTC

That's actually not the album I'm talking about (there are two, one is Mingus and the other is Mingus Big Band which is a different entity). I'm sorry to say I haven't heard that one, but then there's a whole lot of jazz out there I have yet to hear.
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Re: Jazz

Postby dubsola » Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:13 pm UTC

Bakey - how do you classify the jazz you've listed? Is it possible to label it in any kind of genre or sub-genre, for the purposes of understanding roughly where that stuff sits in the jazz spectrum? Or is that list pretty diverse? I'm more or less familiar with MJQ, Thelonius, Horace Silver, and a couple of others, having heard it from friends, and always think of it (rightly or wrongly) as 'traditional' jazz. This is because it kinda seems like the thing that most people imagine when they think of jazz, and also I recognise some of it from that Ken Burns' documentary, which didn't really seem to cover any of the weirder or more geographically diverse jazz at all.

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Re: Jazz

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:59 pm UTC

Because I love this music so much I am more than happy to edit my post with some brief descriptions. Though I do listen to a wide range of jazz, all my favorites are somewhat to the center of the jazz spectrum, leaning toward the traditional but often with modern influences. I've added the descriptions for some of them and am about to go to lunch; I'll try to remember to finish up at home tonight.
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Re: Jazz

Postby dubsola » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:48 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:Because I love this music so much I am more than happy to edit my post with some brief descriptions.
And also because you are pretty nice. :D Thanks!

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Re: Jazz

Postby Simius » Sat Nov 17, 2007 7:17 pm UTC

dubsola wrote:And the other funny thing - my friend put these things on my iPod called 'Pimpin' and 'Pimp Master' about a year and a half ago - but I haven't listened to them. Will do so now, on your recommendation.

I haven't heard the Pimpin' one, but I do have the Pimp Master cd. It's quite good, if you skip the parts where you just hear Japanese people screaming. I liked their Pimpoint album a lot better.

davef wrote:If you like cool new big band stuff, check out Vienna Art Orchestra.

Thanks for the tip. Been YouTubing (yes, it's a verb now) a bit and the music is pretty cool. The style is somewhat different from the New Cool Collective though (which is not at all a bad thing).

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Re: Jazz

Postby phuzle » Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:41 pm UTC

dubsola - you mention classification in terms of sub-genres twice, so I thought I'd put in my two cents. I am a professional jazz guitar player, and I've got a ton of experience with all types of jazz. For the most part, the sub-genres equate to time periods of when certain elements were popular.

At the beginning, we've got Dixieland, or traditional jazz, which was very popular from 1900 to maybe 1920. These years are very, very approximate. Then we've got the swing and big band era, which is 1920ish to 1940ish. Bebop begins in the 40s quickly becomes just one of many languages a musician would use in all of the sub-genres to follow. The 50's see the first time that many different branches exist at once. There is cool jazz, which has almost no blues or bebop. Hard bop is extremely blusey and gospelish. The modal thing came at the end of the 50s. Post bop is a catergory that can almost be given to everything we might not have a place for from the 60s and onward. Post bop has blues, bebop, simple pretty melodies, virtuosity, and everything else - often all in the same song. At the same time, you've got free jazz starting to pick up, which basically just means there is no form to the music, often no set harmonies, and relies almost entirely on rhythmic interaction and free expression. The end of the 60s see the birth of fusion, which is basically just the addition of electronic instruments and the subtraction of the swing feel. The music can be acoustic, but generally always has straight rhythms, like rock or "latin" music. Which brings up another whole set of genres - the term latin jazz is stupid, because there is no such style. Instead there is afrocuban, samba, bossa-nova, and maybe others (im no expert here), but they are all very different from eachother.

Anyways, since fusion there are not very many real terms given for sub-genres of jazz. The term neo-bop has been used, and I think this mostly refers to the snobby, intellectual jazz scene in New York. Some of this music is amazing but I believe it comes from a "art for art's sake" place, rather than a "music for the sake of joy" place that jazz originally came from. And, while this is the biggest commercial area for jazz, there are a lot more boring albums coming out than there are amazing inspired ones (my opinions, of course). Another term I have heard is classicalism, which basically just means going back to the roots for the sake of making old sounding music - which I believe to be purely a commercial endeavor.

All in all, it basically is all just jazz. These terms exist mostly just to market it. If anyone has any questions about what sub-genre(s) certain musicians fit into, just ask. I'll just say that Miles Davis exists in all of them.

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Re: Jazz

Postby dontiego » Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:28 pm UTC

After some comments here, I bought Tony Allen's Afro Disco Beat...
... and I didn't like it.

One chord per song, I think it's boring (specially with songs that are 10 minutes long).
I guess the point is more the groove than the harmony, but still, it leaves me cold. :(
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Re: Jazz

Postby dubsola » Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:49 pm UTC

I'm sorry to hear that, dontiego. It sounds like you'd prefer Fela Kuti's stuff, as it's not so... minimal. See if you can find "Water" or "Lady" online and have a listen. I like your sense of adventure, buying stuff unheard, but it's probably best to have a decent listen first.

I have another recommendation. Tinawaren is an African group from north Mali.
The world is full of unlikely stories about talented musicians who emerge from obscurity and hardship to achieve global fame. But few acts rival the tale of northern Mali’s Tinariwen, champions of desert folk-rock, pioneers of modern Tuareg music and one of the most authentic and soulful African groups to reach the world stage in many years. The Tuareg are a collection of nomad desert clans, with Berber (Amazight) roots, who make their home in the ever-expanding, inhospitable vastness of the Sahara desert.


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Re: Jazz

Postby une see » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:00 am UTC

Ella Fitzgerald + Duke Ellington + Louis Armstrong + John Coltrane = <3.

I don't have that much jazz, but I love listening to it. Makes me want to dance.
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Re: Jazz

Postby saxmaniac1987 » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:10 am UTC

Gah i need to contribute to this thread at some point but haven't had a chance to get my thoughts together. I would right now... but I need to go to jazz band. :D
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Re: Jazz

Postby Klye » Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:40 am UTC

yes*


*I didn't read anything except the title of the topic... jazz=yes.
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Re: Jazz

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Nov 28, 2007 6:42 pm UTC

une see wrote:Ella Fitzgerald + Duke Ellington + Louis Armstrong + John Coltrane = <3.

I don't have that much jazz, but I love listening to it. Makes me want to dance.

How about Coleman Hawkins? I love to listen to Body and Soul when it's snowy outside. If I had a library with big leather chairs and a fireplace and snifters of brandy and a phonograph with a big curvy horn, it would be even better.
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Re: Jazz

Postby clayasaurus » Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:41 pm UTC

My parents listened to jazz pretty exclusively when I was growing up, and I never really got into it. I love classic rock, classical music, and electronic music primarily, any recommendations on where to try diving into jazz?
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Re: Jazz

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:18 pm UTC

Well, you could go right into the classics that have the widest appeal, like Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue". Another strategy is to look at styles that intersect with your preferred styles, which is where I might recommend Weather Report's "Heavy Weather" (jazz-rock fusion). Squarepusher is an electronic artist with a lot of jazz influence, but I can't think of a specific album to recommend. Actually, what might be even better than Weather Report (maybe) is Blood, Sweat & Tears. That's a good mix of jazz, rock, blues, soul. Try their self-titled album.
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Re: Jazz

Postby phuzle » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:30 pm UTC

If you like dance music, as in jungle and drum+bass type stuff, check out the Grant Green albums Live at the Lighthouse and Alive!. Both are absoutely amazing, and are very accessible for ears which may be unaccustomed to jazz. I am currently in a phase of jazz listening where I like energetic, rhythmic music. I get bored by ballads and slow, emotional playing.

For great fun music, check out Wes Montgomery with the Wynton Kelly trio on the album Smokin' at the Half Note, and Pat Martino's album El Hombre. These albums will not disappoint. Kind of Blue by Miles Davis is an amazing album, but it's more of a chillin out kind of album. I like to put it on at night before I go to bed. The other albums I mentioned (Grant, Wes, and Pat) are all albums I wouldn't mind throwing on at a party. They won't get people grinding (well, Live at the Lighthouse might), but they are fun music!

To mention a few contemporary musicians that might be enjoyable from a dance or high energy perspective are The Bad Plus (the album Give), Medeski Martin and Wood (any album or live concert), and John Scofield (A Go Go, Bump).

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Re: Jazz

Postby clayasaurus » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:33 pm UTC

gonna go thru both postsworth of recs, tyvm

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Re: Jazz

Postby b.i.o » Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:46 pm UTC

saxmaniac1987 wrote:Gah i need to contribute to this thread at some point but haven't had a chance to get my thoughts together. I would right now... but I need to go to jazz band. :D


I need to get into one of the jazz bands here at college. It's the one thing I miss from high school.

And last year (senior year in HS) jazz band was by far the most fun I've ever had playing trumpet ever.

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Re: Jazz

Postby koalabäh » Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:15 pm UTC

Yummy thread.
My jazz has always been more modern, so I'm looking for more classic jazz of the lyrical, patient variety. As much as I admire the skill involved in fluttering up and down scales on a horn, I just really don't dig the sound much. Kind of Blue is a favorite, so I suppose I'm looking for more of that. Any suggestions?
clayasaurus wrote:My parents listened to jazz pretty exclusively when I was growing up, and I never really got into it. I love classic rock, classical music, and electronic music primarily, any recommendations on where to try diving into jazz?

If you have a bit of patience, you might check out the huge intersection of jazz and electronica of the downtempo/chillout variety. It isn't much like classic jazz, which often focused very much on the skill of individual members of the band; electronic jazz is more about building atmospheres and soundscapes, concentrating on the track rather than the solo. That being the case, even if you develop a taste for electronic jazz, it may still be difficult to re-tune to classic jazz -- it is for me.
The Ninja Tune label is (imo) the capital of electronic jazz, with artists such as the Cinematic Orchestra and Funki Porcini (usually dark, atmospheric, "cinematic"), 9 Lazy 9 (more Mediterranean, laid-back groove), Bonobo (funky-groovy), Amon Tobin's first album (drum'n'bass meets jazz, but later he got hardcore), Jaga Jazzist (full jazz band + d'n'b), Herbaliser (the best marriage of jazz and hip-hop I've heard), Kid Koala (turntablism)... Artists from other labels who inhabit the jazz/electronic intersection include Zero 7 (very smooth feel-good; almost pop), DJ Shadow ("instrumental hip-hop"), Fila Brazillia (very eclectic: jazz, funk, rock, whatever),...
Er, that should suffice. This is probably my favorite sub-genre, so I get a little carried away. :oops:
I second Medeski, Martin & Wood - they are made of groove, though they get pretty freaky far-out sometimes. Anyone who likes them should like Herbie Hancock as well. Squarepusher: I've never thought of him as very jazzy, but maybe it's cause I'm not very familiar with his earlier albums.
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Re: Jazz

Postby someguy » Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:58 pm UTC

phuzle wrote:Kind of Blue by Miles Davis is an amazing album, but it's more of a chillin out kind of album. I like to put it on at night before I go to bed.

How about some later Miles? Like Miles in the Sky? I play that one often, or more specifically the opening cut, 'Stuff'. I really like the sound they got on that one, that sparse/funky vibe with the Fender bass and Rhodes keys floating in the mix... it's just insanely cool.

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Re: Jazz

Postby tiny » Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:06 am UTC

Jazz scares me and makes me all twitchy. I don't know why, but it feels like it collides with my cognitive patterns or something. My SO loves jazz... Hm...

I have a question to you gourmets of jazz:
What exactly is free jazz supposed to be? I once had to listen to some of that, and I totally didn't get it. Are there any rules at all, putting some subtle, delicate order in there, that just evades my ears?
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Re: Jazz

Postby someguy » Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:14 am UTC

tiny wrote:Jazz scares me and makes me all twitchy. I don't know why, but it feels like it collides with my cognitive patterns or something. My SO loves jazz... Hm...

If you feel like giving something a try, obtain the—er—song (?) 'Flamenco Sketches' by Miles Davis; put on your favorite headphones, turn off the light and just... listen. Make sure you can hear a good amount of low end (bass, though not just the instrument) for that womb-like, immersive feel.

Are there any rules at all, putting some subtle, delicate order in [free jazz], that just evades my ears?

From what little I've read and understood, I think the answer is very much 'no'; I believe that was/is the whole point.
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Re: Jazz

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:24 am UTC

Avant garde or "free" jazz is something that most people need thorough musical training and/or experience to understand. There are people who don't quite "get" it but who enjoy it anyway. There is more and less accessible stuff out there, and there's free jazz that's just kind of crappy, in a technical sense. The good stuff comes from players who so thoroughly understand basic and advanced harmonies and song structures, that they hear more complex relationships where a non-musician usually hears "wrong" notes.

For instance, I recall a Cannonball Adderly solo where during one chorus he decided to solo in the key a half-step above the key of the song. It wasn't the whole solo, just that one chorus, and the rest of the band kept playing in the normal key, but Cannonball decided to do something different. To someone without musical training it sounds like a lot of wrong notes, but if you can hear the two keys simultaneously, both together and separate, it sounds really cool. The notes don't necessarily sound better, but it makes some sort of sense; you can see what he's doing, and it's fun. That's just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

Of course, the freer you get, the less sense it makes at all. Sometimes it's just about intervals, modes, emotional reactions, moods. Still, the performer needs to do something more than play random notes; they need technical skill and an intuitive sense of the connection between mood and notes and other notes and their audience, or they're just kind of wanking. And there are people who dig that, but not for any musical reason (posers).
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Re: Jazz

Postby b.i.o » Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:53 am UTC

Bakemaster, could you provide any specific examples? That sounds pretty cool.

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Re: Jazz

Postby ChocloManx » Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:06 pm UTC

Silver2Falcon wrote:Bakemaster, could you provide any specific examples? That sounds pretty cool.


Moonchild by King Crimson.

I think.
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Re: Jazz

Postby a386 » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:00 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:For instance, I recall a Cannonball Adderly solo where during one chorus he decided to solo in the key a half-step above the key of the song.

i was at a jazz class one time and somebody did something like that but a tritone higher instead. sounded wild.

koalabäh wrote:Kind of Blue is a favorite, so I suppose I'm looking for more of that. Any suggestions?

Freddie Hubbard. something like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qorvyRszZKs]this?[/url] him and herbie were pretty chill together. uh .. milestones? that's a good album, but someone already suggested later Miles.

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Re: Jazz

Postby b.i.o » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:56 am UTC

a386 wrote:Freddie Hubbard. something like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qorvyRszZKs]this?[/url] him and herbie were pretty chill together. uh .. milestones? that's a good album, but someone already suggested later Miles.


Breaking Point, and The Blues and the Abstract Truth are ones I listen to fairly frequently.

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Re: Jazz

Postby Yummy Tree Sap » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:15 pm UTC

I am an avant-garde and free jazz fan, myself. I don't limit myself to that, but I do tend to go for it more than I do more traditional jazz.

'Smooth' jazz in particular is awful tripe.
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Re: Jazz

Postby Yummy Tree Sap » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:16 pm UTC

Oh, and to add:

Sun Ra is the man.
NO! Sorry.
Sun Ra is the man.

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