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.
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.


No offense intended but your version of history is unfortunately incomplete. To say the blues was about some people entertaining others is to ignore its genesis from slavery forward. Reconstruction for many was actually worse for a large portion of the populace. The delta changed very slowly following emancipation and so much of the blues was from juke joint to juke joint. To say it was about entertainment is to ignore the downtrodden, sharecropper who worked 6 hard days tending his crops and the outlet that a Saturday night at the crossroads was for his sanity.

Louis Armstong and King Oliver would tell you today that New Orleans wasnt all that much fun for the African American/Creole of south Louisiana....which is why when given the opportunity to make some money while cruising the riverboats northward they jumped at it. Arriving in South Chicago and east St Louis along the way was pretty important as well where a young Miles Davis may have been inspired. As far as Coltrane is concerned, please dont mistake my admiration for him with my commentary on Ascension....rarely has a week gone by when I havent listened to some Coltrane.

Again, your understanding of a proper music business model notwithstanding, the music business prior to 1980 was horrific for all but the biggest stars. Any smart minded musician today can control their own destiny, unlike in the good old days.
Mingus- New Tijuana Moods
Coltrane- Cresent
Garland- Groovy
Ellington / Hodges- Back to Back

I will add one more. At a time ,about 15 years ago, when I thought Jazz had said all it could, I heard Chicago Underground Duo's " 12 degree of freedom". For some reason this record opened, no, reopened my eyes to what Jazz can be and still is. I hope you all get your eyes and mind opened regularly.