Jazz for aficionados

Jazz for aficionados

I'm going to review records in my collection, and you'll be able to decide if they're worthy of your collection. These records are what I consider "must haves" for any jazz aficionado, and would be found in their collections. I wont review any record that's not on CD, nor will I review any record if the CD is markedly inferior. Fortunately, I only found 1 case where the CD was markedly inferior to the record.

Our first album is "Moanin" by Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. We have Lee Morgan , trumpet; Benney Golson, tenor sax; Bobby Timmons, piano; Jymie merrit, bass; Art Blakey, drums.

The title tune "Moanin" is by Bobby Timmons, it conveys the emotion of the title like no other tune I've ever heard, even better than any words could ever convey. This music pictures a person whose down to his last nickel, and all he can do is "moan".

"Along Came Betty" is a tune by Benny Golson, it reminds me of a Betty I once knew. She was gorgeous with a jazzy personality, and she moved smooth and easy, just like this tune. Somebody find me a time machine! Maybe you knew a Betty.

While the rest of the music is just fine, those are my favorite tunes. Why don't you share your, "must have" jazz albums with us.

Enjoy the music.

Wolf_garcia, I'm glad you brought that up. Music can not be created in a vacuum, the musician must have something to inspire him, he has to feed on the broader society and other musicians, creativity does not come out of thin air, as so many people believe.

The overall quality of life outside of your perfect listening room, in this country, has been deteriorating for years, and that's reflected in the creativity of the musicians, or more specifically the "music". In the past, there was so much more to feed the musicians creative muse, as well as many more creative musicians. This is reflected in today's music. While the musicians today, might be as good as the musicians of yesterday, the music just ain't there. No one has searched harder for new music than me. Every year I'm left with the option of something new and boring, or going back to the past.

Brad Mehldau is very good, but his music just doesn't convey the living emotion of jazz musicians in the past. I would love to spend an evening out listening to his music live, but in my listening room, I could do so much better, that it's doubtful Brad would get much play.

Even the best musicians who are still alive from better times in the past, don't seem to do much better than Brad Mehldau; consequently my search for the best music always takes me back to the past in hopes of finding something I haven't heard before. Although I'm in what's called a "phase lock loop", I will give every musician you mentioned a thorough listen.
While I would have said it without the slightly condescending edge, I agree with Wolf's basic premise; if not all his choices. I chose my must-have list using two criteria: a bow to what I know of Orpheus' preferred style, and because, for me, a must-have is a recording that has stood the test of time; it is something truly special in the scheme of one's understanding of the music. I love Scofield. But, a must-have? Maybe for guitar heads (sorry for not practicing what I preach) maybe. Frissel is a different story; a brilliant player who will certainly be put on the highest pedestal in the future; IMO. Speaking of Frissel, a player who has played with Frissel often and who has usually left me shaking my head over the adulation that he receives is Joe Lovano; until very recently. He is developing into a true giant.

I don't subscribe to the idea that the best jazz has already happened; or rather, that no new jazz will ever equal that of the past. The music is too vibrant and deep for that. I just don't think that the more contemporary jazz has yet been put in the proper context. Additionally, I don't think it is fair to judge it (from the standpoint of it's value in the overall history of the music) while taking our own individual cultural, age, and even more personal biases out of the equation.
Some folks think Jazz is just any improvised music. Jazz is rooted in the BLUES. That's the part that the current crop of Jazz folks don't get. Louis Armstrong put it this way: If you can't dance to it, it ain't Jazz.

I wish I could like the current stuff. The technology is better. That should result in better recordings. But what's missing is the essence of Jazz music. They improvise, but they are not improvising over the blues. They are trying to be too 'cerebral' or 'intellectual' too 'deep'. It's a happy party time music. Played is speak easys and cat houses. It's about women and love and sex. The boys from New Orleans would not even recognize this current day stuff as Jazz.

Amnother factor is the people who determine the path that the arts take. SOMEONE has to record these people, give them awards and sing their praises, they decide what popular music is and will be. I just got a CD yesterday from Amazon. As good as anything out of Blue Note back in the day. I never heard of them. I don't even remember why I bought it. No reviews on Amazon. Totally ignored by the media and the trend setters and opinion makers. But they can play! I will 'review' the CD tomorrow.

One man's opinion

Everyone always pines for the good old days, looking back with a selective memory. Now I like the jazz masters as much as anyone can, I don't canonize their music as perfection. Some was masterful, others, well. Parker was a genius but some of his stuff was heroin induced drivel. Coltrane was an absolute mofo on some and then on say Ascension, I simply had a hard time with it. The good old days were some good and some not so good. You talk about the blues.....heck, they were LIVING the blues. They couldn't eat or drink in alot of the venues they played...a sad time but I'm sure it inspired the music we all love today.

To Art Blakey.....saw him about 30 years ago in NYC with Donald Harrison and Terrence Blanchard. Lets get one thing straight....he was an old man then and he could play with a power and drive that you had to see it to believe it. I saw Buddy Rich in his prime and he played powerfully (think channel one suite) but Blakey was like a piledriver, simply amazing.

I look forward to following this thread as I appreciate the interplay but let's all admit that the good old days were never as good as people remember them to be. To say that the record companies are screwing it up today is to ignore that a group can record AND distribute their own music today from a laptop and the internet and bypass the record company. The good old days of music to which so many of us refer was inspired by the social change that was going on at the time. That was true for the great jazz (breaking down alot of barriers) and the great rock and roll (anti war, etc). Orpheus what's next? I'll vote for Charlie Mingus"Mingus Ah Hum".

" but let's all admit that the good old days were never as good as people remember them to be."

Can't do that. They were the good old days as far as music is concerned. You seem to think that Jazz started in the mid fifties. Try New Orleans, way back before any social change was on the horizon.

Doing your own thing and putting it on the internet is not much of a business model. Maybe for the boys that play in a garage, but not for mainstream America and the rest of the world.

You are cherry picking to talk about late coltrane. He did a lot before Ascension.

What's missing is creativity. Any compenent band can play music written down on sheet music. It's the creative part that they can't do.

The blues is a form of music started in the Mississippi Delta. It was not all about racial segregation. A lot of it was just people entertaining other people. Same as bluegrass. It was not solely about social conditions. To say otherwise is to say the players could only react to injustice. And most of the blues is about Women and sex, not injustice. Some people just don't understand the lingo of the blues. The creativity continued in Memphis, Chicago and many other places.