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#41 Greg P

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 02:50 PM

QUOTE(nardis @ Sep 29 2006, 03:23 PM) View Post

Umm... Paul Desmond (alto sax player with Dave B.) wrote Take Five wink.gif
This is true. However, i recall reading somewhere years ago that Brubeck was the one who actually introduced the famous 5/4 bass line first and that Desmond wrote the melody off of that. Regardless, Desmond was indeed the man.

RE: "odd" time signatures-- Most of the time when i hear them in jazz, fusion, rock or whatever, the results sound contrived. It's the 'ol "Look at me everyone while I switch into this weird meter with mathematical precision!". The challenge for any composer/performer, of course, is to play those less common meters in a very natural manner so that the listener is not distracted. Phish's "Split Open and Melt" morphs from a pretty standard 4/4 groove right into a 13/8 trance-like jam without batting an eye... and the average listener would never know. It so fluid. That's an art.


#42 Hugues

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 08:49 AM

Just to let you know that I've received everything I ordered (and I have ordered more, too, and I even started a blues collection, as well), and am digging it. wink.gif

I'm going at it chronologically, and loved what I've heard so far (Armstrong, Ellington).

Meanwhile, we've received a promo of one Patricia Barber's Mythologies at the local radio (where I work as a DJ), I have listened, and found it was mostly a bore. Then I went to AMG (a kind of Bible, you know... to me anyway), and read a review written by... guess? biggrin.gif

Given the fact I take Mr Jurek in high esteem, I think I still have a long way to go to enjoy contemporary jazz music.

Now, I return to my classics.

#43 Christian

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 08:56 AM

I haven't read Thom's love for Patricia Barber, but when I first heard her several years ago, my reaction was the same as yours, Hugues. Maybe I need to give her another listen.

#44 Hugues

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 10:00 AM

Starting with old jazz made me start with old blues too, I'm currently crossing the 20's: Mamie Smith, Bessie Smith, Lonnie Johnson... they call it blues, but it's jazz as much, and music hall too (for the first too). Louis Armstrong played with Bessie Smith, Coleman Hawkins played with Mamie Smith.

Lonnie Johnson, he's been like paving the way for Django Reinhardt as early as 1927. His father was a New Orleans musician. He learned to play violin before he take the guitar, and that's why he had a way to play the guitar differently than most other bluesmen of his age.

and of course, listening to 20's music is something special, in the sound department - biggrin.gif

It makes you hear another world, it's dizzy trip in the past. Almost 100 years ago...

#45 Christian

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 10:13 AM

Books & Culture, on The Gospel of Kurt Elling.

Elling represents a big gap in my jazz collection.

#46 Hugues

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 10:29 AM

So far I've listened to Louis Armstrong's Best of Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings (5 times or so), and I really love it, it's the best recording I have from the 20's. It's an absolute masterpiece, and that's not a scoop I guess. smile.gif

I now started Coleman Hawkins' Body & Soul (complete Victor recordings) and it's a delight, too. I love the sound of tenor sax.

Edited by Hugues, 14 November 2006 - 10:30 AM.


#47 Christian

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 10:34 AM

Hugues: Great choices. For some reason, I don't own either of those recordings -- an embarrassing admission.

Thom: Brushing up on Kurt Elling, I see that your bio of the singer hails Elling's "Flirting With Twilight" as "his most ambitious and satisfying recording." But on the discography, "Flirting" gets the lowest marks of all of Elling's recordings.

Which leads to a question you've probably addressed elsewhere, so forgive me for asking again: Why do the album ratings not match the bio description? Is this unusual at All Music, or par for the course? I'm guessing that the ratings are a compilation of critical input, while the bio is one writer's opinion.

#48 Michael Todd

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 03:01 PM

This thread rocks!

#49 Greg P

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 04:14 PM

QUOTE(Hugues @ Nov 14 2006, 10:29 AM) View Post

So far I've listened to Louis Armstrong's Best of Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings (5 times or so), and I really love it, it's the best recording I have from the 20's. It's an absolute masterpiece, and that's not a scoop I guess. smile.gif
Fantastic! I went through a phase about six years ago, when it was virtually the only thing i listened to for a loooong time.


#50 Andy Whitman

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 04:20 PM

QUOTE(Christian @ Nov 14 2006, 10:34 AM) View Post

Which leads to a question you've probably addressed elsewhere, so forgive me for asking again: Why do the album ratings not match the bio description? Is this unusual at All Music, or par for the course? I'm guessing that the ratings are a compilation of critical input, while the bio is one writer's opinion.

I'm not Thom, but the ratings are based on one reviewer's take on a particular album. The biography is one reviewer's history of a performer/band. Usually the reviewers and the biographers are different people. Although the biography is, in theory, a strictly objective summary of a performer's/group's history, it's difficult to avoid critical commentary altogether. So you may occasionally see critical discrepancies when you compare the two.

#51 yank_eh

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 04:02 AM

I haven't had time to read the whole thread yet, so forgive me if my questions might already have been touched on.

Unlike Hugues, I am not necessarily looking to find a gateway into and a map of the ginormous jazz world. Rahter, I just want a couple recommendations you think I might like, based on my current, very limited, jazz enjoyments. The list is very short.

1) I've spent a little bit of time with some real cursory, basic compilations like the Verve Jazz Masters. I mildly liked some stuff, could take or leave the rest.

2)The Girl from Ipanema is one of my favourite songs. Not just in jazz. So some Samba (?) recs would be appreciated.

3) I have several Brad Mehldau albums and I like them a lot. I don't listen to them a lot but once in a while they hit the spot. I got into him because of his Radiohead (and other contemporary non-jazz bands) covers but I like him for more than just his covers now.

That concludes my very limited list. So any recommendations?? Again, I'm not looking to learn the entire history of jazz or develop any sort of serious relationship. We're still flirting.

#52 Andy Whitman

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 08:31 AM

QUOTE(yank_eh @ Nov 20 2006, 04:02 AM) View Post

2)The Girl from Ipanema is one of my favourite songs. Not just in jazz. So some Samba (?) recs would be appreciated.

In that case you'll love Getz/Gilberto from 1963, an absolutely great collaboration between saxophonist Stan Getz, guitarist/singer Joao Gilberto (and occasionally his wife Astrud), and composer/arranger Antonio Carlos Jobim. This is the quintessential bossa nova album, and it doesn't get any better than this.
QUOTE

3) I have several Brad Mehldau albums and I like them a lot. I don't listen to them a lot but once in a while they hit the spot. I got into him because of his Radiohead (and other contemporary non-jazz bands) covers but I like him for more than just his covers now.

Mehldau is heavily influenced by Bill Evans, so Bill Evans sounds like a natural connection to me. I'd recommend Sunday at the Village Vanguard, one of the greatest jazz trio recordings, and Conversations with Myself, a triple solo album of sorts in which Evans overdubs himself three times and achieves some remarkable interplay.

If you're looking for some interesting/fun jazz covers of rock/indie touchstones, I'd recommend The Bad Plus, whose first two albums (These Are the Vistas and Give) feature covers of Nirvana, The Pixies, and, amazingly, Black Sabbath.

Incidentally, pianist Christopher O'Riley has two solo piano albums of Radiohead covers -- True Love Waits and Hold Me to This.



#53 Hugues

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 09:15 AM

I've only played a few songs at random from the Brazilian albums I bought, and am totally fond of that music! On the Gal Costa's Best Of, there's a duet with Maria Bethânia in concert, and it's wonderful. I'm more than happy to have invested in these two great singers, I tell you! I also purchased the first two Maria Bethânia albums on one CD: what a voice! Not to speak of the first Caetano Veloso album.

#54 Hugues

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 03:33 PM

Some comments/first impressions on what I've listened to so far:

Louis Armstrong: The Best of the Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings (1926-1928)

These recordings are filled with poetry and a kind of joy that seems lost today. It's indispensible to any collection, and a great starting point. 5/5

The Boswell Sisters: Shout, Sister, Shout! (1931-1936)

I'm just amazed how good it is, and wonder if they're well-known? I've never hear more perfect vocal harmonies, and rhythmically, it's always inventive. Pure listening pleasure. There's something light and creamy in Connee's voice (lead singer). She recorded solo after the trio broke up, in a torch-singer style that wasn't a great success, I've read. I thought of purchasing it to make my opinion (I feel almost like a Connee Boswell fan), but decided to go to Lee Wiley for a next step instead. Anyway: I highly recommend this Boswell Sisters collection to anyone. It's hard to beat in 30's swing era, if not any era. 5/5

Coleman Hawkins: Body & Soul (Complete Victor Recordings, 1939-1956)

I enjoyed the first CD, but didn't find the second one as good, due to the strings. 4/5

Peggy Lee & Benny Goodman The Complete Recordings (1941-1947)

I first thought it was good. But actually it's forgettable. Peggy Lee wasn't self-confident enough and hadn't found her style yet. And Benny Goodman's loud big band ends to be tiresome in my opinion, with all due respect. "Why Don't You Do Right?" was a lovely hit, though. 3/5

Charlie Parker Yardbird Suite (1945-1952)

I was lucky enough to find that great collection used, at affordable price, since it's out of stock and highly expensive now. If you ever find it the same way, don't wait, buy it right away (if you don't know Charlie Parker already, of course). So, my opinion? Simply put: the best thing I have heard in jazz music so far. It's my first listen of the whole thing, and if you except a few tracks on the second CD (again, with useless strings), I'm totally impressed. With Charlie Parker it seemed to be about doing "soli" (do you write it that way too?) the most naturally possible, as to make them a new form of music, filled with feelings and deep emotion. Some players are economical with notes, but with Parker it's the opposite. It wasn't about being economical, but about getting over endless improvisations, while playing with textures and notes, to the point of reaching a high grace. I think he paved the way for free jazz to some extent. I will realize that later while listening to Lennie Tristano (which was today). 5/5

Miles Davis Birth of the Cool (1949-1950)

Several sessions released in the 50's under the name of Birth of the Cool. I enjoyed it. It's light music, with an interesting sense of orchestration. What Miles Davis brought to the jazz world, it seems, is Vision. Unlike Parker, with whom he played a lot (and probably learned a lot, too), Miles isn't immediately impressive. He does seduce our ears in a more ambient way. 4/5

Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio (1952)

First impression: good stuff, but I'd need more listens to say more. Nothing immediately impressive to me. 4/5

Peggy Lee Black Coffee (1953+1956)

Do you know that in a slow, sensual and smoky swing style, Peggy Lee may be the Queen? She proves it here, with special highlights such as "(Oh The Apple Trees) When The World Was Young" and "You're My Thrill", and also with the almost equally marvellous Dream Street recorded in 1956 (along with the extended Black Coffee sessions). 5/5

Sarah Vaughan Sarah Vaughan (1954)

Well, thanks for the recommendations, it's a masterpiece indeed! So far I can say I prefer Sarah over Ella and Billie as a singer. What's impressive with this album is its "science" and savoir-faire (whoopi, a French word). Only one listen so far, and I feel I can hear it many times before I even start to be tired of such mastery. Fave tracks: "Lullaby of Birdland", "April in Paris", "I'm Glad There Is You", "It's Crazy". And what a beautiful album cover. 5/5

Miles Davis Round about Midnight (1955-1956)

It's a very nice album, but nothing extraordinary at first spin, either. I certainly need other listens. Nice album cover as well. 4/5

Frank Sinatra In The Wee Small Hours (1955)

A concept album - lots of tracks for the times - the LP was called Hi-Fi, and 15 songs collected in a same tone, that was a big effort. I must say I'm not a big Sinatra fan so far, there's something mundane in Sinatra's music that doesn't touch me. He's a great singer, no question about it, but I'm not fond of the place he goes to. He sounds like the urban ladies guy, the crooner of a world made of Hollywoodish dreams. In the real world at the same time, you could listen to the lonely urban voice of Lightnin' Hopkins, which sounds like Taxi Driver compared to Gone with the Wind. Is my critic fair? I don't think so. I'm just sharing a feeling. After all, there always were many different musics for everybody everywhere... 4/5

Thelonious Monk Brilliant Corners (1956)

That jazz one sounds pretty close to "musique contemporaine" (I don't know how you name it in English). You know, Boulez, Satie, stuff like that. Of course I'll give it more listens. 4/5

Sonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus (1956)

Cool stuff. Sonny Rollins likes drums soli. Did he influence all these metal and prog rock bands ten years later? I found Way Out West (1957) better again. 4/5

Frank Sinatra Songs for Swingin' Lovers! (1956)

Same comments as the other Sinatra album above. 4/5

Mel Tormé Lulu's Back in Town (1956)

Nice voice, good stuff, but I need several listens to say more, as I must say it left me kinda cold, too. 4/5

Lennie Tristano Lennie Tristano (1956)

I did know nothing about this man, I just bought that album after what I've read about him. I didn't really know what to expect. I just knew he was a pianist, and I was figuring out stuff similar to Bill Evans (I have a little idea of what Evans sounds like, though I haven't heard his full albums yet - they're on my list). I've been immediately impressed. The first four tracks are studio recordings, and I find them essential. The other tracks are recorded live, and leave space to an alto sax player called Lee Konitz. As early as the first track, "Line Up", I thought Lennie Tristano was the piano Bird, if you know what I mean. Reading the booklet, I see the beautiful second track, "Requiem", was dedicated to Charlie Parker. So I feel right on my point. Lennie Tristano is actually considered like a free jazz pioneer. I don't know why he's not more highly regarded: this is EXCELLENT stuff! 5/5







#55 Hugues

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 07:00 AM

Hello Nardis, thanks a lot for the recommendations!

Yes I think I enjoy more the recordings Peggy Lee did with Dave Barbour - I have some from the Best of Miss Peggy Lee comp (with a DVD), and songs like "It's a Good Day", "It's All Over Now" and "Golden Earrings" are delightful. There's something cosmopolitan, "chic" and modern in Peggy Lee that I appreciate, she wasn't a purist and tried different things, nevermind how light it could be, it was refreshing, and done with feeling. She was a great pop singer. I wouldn't be surprised if I was enjoying her latin albums, too.

How about doing another thread for the Brazil stuff? I'll post my little list there. I haven't listened to the full albums yet, since I'm going at it chronologically.

I could also suggest a BLUES thread, since I also invested in a basic collection of some of the most essential blues pioneers. smile.gif

To which I'dd add country and folk as well. grin.gif

#56 Andy Whitman

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 08:43 AM

Thanks for your comments, Hugues. I could head off in many directions here, but I'll focus on Sonny Rollins.

I love the album (Saxophone Colossus) that you thought was merely pretty good, so keep that in mind as you read. But I find that that there are so many worthwhile albums that I have to recommend a few more.

Since you are smitten with Charlie Parker (and with good reason), you might enjoy Sonny Plays for Bird, a 1956 album of Sonny playing songs usually associated with Parker. It might be interesting to listen to the album and compare the very different saxophonists playing the same tunes. From the same year, I'd also recommend Sonny Rollins Plus 4 -- Sonny sitting in with trumpeter Clifford Brown (just a couple months before his tragic death) and Max Roach. Tenor Madness is a straightahead blowing session, but check out the competition: John Coltrane. To hear those two trading off on solos is a wondrous thing. And from a few years earlier (1953), I'd heartily recommend Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins. Rollins was a part of Monk's early '50s band, and, in my opinion, recorded the definitive version of "Misterioso" in 1951. So this album is a reunion of sorts, with Rollins playing a few of Monk's best-known compositions, and an absolutely shredding version of the standard "The Way You Look Tonight." Listen to that and you'll never be able to hear Sinatra's well-known version in the same way again.

I agree with Nardis -- The Bridge is a classic album.

And from an often overlooked period in Sonny's music, I'd recommend the three mid-'60s albums on Impulse Records -- Sonny Rollins on Impulse!, Alfie, and East Broadway Rundown.

Edited by Andy Whitman, 27 November 2006 - 08:51 AM.


#57 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 12:13 AM

QUOTE(Hugues @ Nov 26 2006, 05:33 PM) View Post
Frank Sinatra In The Wee Small Hours (1955)

A concept album - lots of tracks for the times - the LP was called Hi-Fi, and 15 songs collected in a same tone, that was a big effort. I must say I'm not a big Sinatra fan so far, there's something mundane in Sinatra's music that doesn't touch me. He's a great singer, no question about it, but I'm not fond of the place he goes to. He sounds like the urban ladies guy, the crooner of a world made of Hollywoodish dreams. In the real world at the same time, you could listen to the lonely urban voice of Lightnin' Hopkins, which sounds like Taxi Driver compared to Gone with the Wind. Is my critic fair? I don't think so. I'm just sharing a feeling. After all, there always were many different musics for everybody everywhere... 4/5

Frank Sinatra Songs for Swingin' Lovers! (1956)

Same comments as the other Sinatra album above. 4/5


Well, considering your opinion, you are generous with your ratings. You might be right about Sinatra, but there are things to consider. Male vocalising has changed since Sinatra because of him. It is a challenge not to sound like him as a baritone. One has to attempt different things within the song to separate oneself. Elling's poetic flight of poetry for example. Sinatra never did vocalese. That is another point of separation. Watching old film of him singing is anti-climactic. On recordings, his sound is powerful and his phrasing and breath control a challenge to duplicate. To see him do all of this is to watch him do it all so effortlessly as to seem to toss it off. Like he isn't even singing. Finally, he was never excessive in his interpreations and his performance. No chorus after chorus of improv. He sort of straddled ballad singing and modern jazz singing. It is hard not to list singers as before and after Sinatra.



#58 Hugues

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 05:14 AM

I would never deny the high quality of Sinatra's recordings, my comments are subjective, and first impressions, I can change my mind upon several listens. My ratings try to be less subjective, I guess.

Since my latest comments, I've listened to Where Are You? and was blown away. The difference? Gordon Jenkins! He does the best strings ever! smile.gif
On this album, I heard what I was hoping to hear from Mr Sinatra: a deep, echoing voice, on voluptuous, spacious orchestrations. 5/5!

and how about the album cover:

IPB Image

The same happened to me with Nat King Cole: I wasn't that amazed by his songs, until I hear "When I Fall In Love" and "Stardust", songs arranged and conducted by... Gordon Jenkins. Wow!

Anita O'Day: I've listened to Anita Sings the Most last night and want to say how great this album is! She's a great singer, as early as the first track, "S'Wonderful/They Can't Take That Away From Me", I was in the ether. She's accompanied by the Oscar Peterson Quartet, and Peterson on piano and Herb Ellis on guitar play stunning counterpoints. Other favorite songs: "Love Me or Leave Me", "Taking a Chance On Love" and "Them There Eyes". Anita Sings the Most: 5/5.

IPB Image

And I played "I've Got the World on a String" at the radio today. Did we just lose the best white female jazz singer?

Thanks Andy for the Sonny Rollins special recommendations. Looks like he has a big worthy body of work, which of course doesn't surprise me, it must be the case for many other great jazz names.

Edited by Hugues, 28 November 2006 - 08:24 AM.


#59 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 05:36 AM

QUOTE(nardis @ Nov 28 2006, 02:50 AM) View Post
Here's the thing (for me) about Sinatra, even at his best: I like his singing, but really dislike the arrangements he used. (I bet he'd have been much better off doing a lot of this material with small combo backup.)

Not a fan of Nelson Riddle in general, his arrangements are on what I think are some of Sinatra's best recordings. Fascinating counterpoint to his restraint. Have you heard his late fifties recording with Basie?
QUOTE
Rich, I have a feeling that you'd enjoy his work a lot.


I've had my ups and downs with him. Like him or not, he's the elephant in the room for male singesr and particularly baritones. I am still amazed at what he did with so little evident range. Most baritones can go a bit further up and down.



#60 Christian

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 01:49 PM

QUOTE(nardis @ Nov 28 2006, 12:26 PM) View Post

(His Mafia ties and tendency toward violence - includes hitting reporters - have always colored my view of him...)


And his work with Linda Ronstadt.

Kidding. I actually kinda liked that stuff, which, I confess, is the ONLY Riddle stuff I know sad.gif