Listenin' to Jazz and Conversation

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lonson, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so Thread Starter


    I love Blacknuss and Passing Ships! I need to dig those out and listen to them again soon. Blacknuss is so full of energy, and mastery . . . Kirk knows the history of that music so intimately and he transforms it after digesting it.

    Absolutely, conversation is how we can learn, and thanks for participating.
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  2. Lloyd

    Lloyd Forum Resident

    Cleveland, OH
    I just picked up a used copy of this at Square Records in Akron for $3. Been enjoying it all week.
  3. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Toronto, Canada
    This is a great question, Archtop! Well, one choice I can definitely rule out is what you call the "mwah" sound of fretless electric players -- I think it was Ethan Iverson who said that that kind of bass sound is "heard but not felt." It definitely has its place musically in certain genres, but it's not my favorite as a rhythm sound.

    It's surprisingly difficult to separate sound from style. For example, Paul Chambers' playing has a delicate poise and lightness of movement that runs counter to his very thick and prominent sound. (And unlike @crispi, I enjoy his idiosyncratic bow playing; on "Yesterdays" on his own Bass on Top album he gets a beautiful orchestral sound out of his instrument that puts his boppier arco playing in a refreshing context.)

    As for #2, it's interesting to see those players grouped together. I never thought of George Mraz and Ron Carter as sounding similar, since their techniques are so different. Mraz does have a somewhat raspy sound, and his tone (both bowed and picked) is one of my favorite bass sounds. Ron, on the other's funny, he's on many of my favorite jazz albums, and I love his contributions to them. But I'm actually not a big fan of his tone or his playing style -- especially after the 60s, when it became so reliant on showy glisses and unsteady harmonics, and that plasticky amplified sound.

    Richard Davis is definitely my pick for the most immediately distinctive standup bass sound in the business. (Oscar Pettiford is another candidate for most distinctive sounding bassist, although his sound in most regards is the complete opposite of Davis's!) You can always pick Davis up from the first note. I'd call it a somewhat shaggy sound (Jimmy Garrison also has it) that perfectly complements his go-for-broke kind of riskiness in his playing technique. He's not to all tastes, but I always find what he's playing captivating even if his soloing sometimes overdoes it on the mannerisms. Charles Mingus, I thought, had a somewhat similar bass tone (and a not dissimilar approach to the instrument too), while David Izenzon suggests what you'd end up with if you combined Davis's technique with Pettiford's lightness of touch.

    If I had to pick a single bass sound for all acoustic jazz, I couldn't, but to me the ideal standup tone is probably Jimmy Garrison's, which is sort of halfway between Paul Chambers and Richard Davis. But Mraz and Chambers are up there too, as is Doug Watkins.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
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  4. Planbee

    Planbee Negative Nellie

    I rarely venture into the Jazz Beat thread and not sure I ever posted there. The format doesn't do much for me, and most of my jazz CDs are probably too mainstream for that thread anyway.

    The chorus from the song below was the first thing I thought of when I saw "jazz and conversation" in the thread title. :)

  5. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Weird thing with me on that Heavyweight box set. I bought it ages ago. Mainly due to the fact I liked John Coltranes more ballady stuff. Boy, did I misjudge lol. Completely sideswiped me and kind of frightened me ha. Anyway, I didnt get it at all. Too complicated, too much going on, no melody, what is this stuff?? Was my reaction.

    Ten yrs or so later I started my jazz journey. There it sat. Not played for many many years. For some reason I pulled it out one day. It may have been not long after my ears and brain finally could access "A Love Supreme".

    I listened to the whole box set. And played it again the next day. And two days later. Loved it. Didnt seem complicated at all and very melodic. So strange how time and exposure change our way of what we hear as making sense and enjoyable. Great box set imo.

    Oh, and for full disclosure: Right now Im listening to Led Zeppelins Presence not jazz :D
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  6. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Maybe someone here can help. Over in the Jazz Beat thread there was an album mentioned. The player sounded so smooth and played a baritone sax. Seems the album had a light blue cover with a sax drawn on it. Had almost an west coast cool jazz sound if I recall correctly.

    Any clue to who this might be?
  7. Crispy Rob

    Crispy Rob Cat Juggler

    Oakland, CA
    Well said re: Blacknuss. I had a few other Kirk albums previously, but stumbled on this one after reading a glowing review in the Editor's recommendations on the front page of the All Music Guide site a couple years ago.

    I was introduced to Kirk, although I had heard the name, about 20 years ago through TJ Kirk, local band featuring Charlie Hunter, Will Bernard and one other guitarist (John Schott, I think) and Scott Amendola on drums. Their entire repertoire was medleys of Thelonious Monk ("T"), James Brown ("J") and Roland Kirk (you know where that fits in). Original name was going to be James T. Kirk, but they wound up changing it for legal reasons, but the new name referenced the two most well-known Shatner characters, so it worked out. They were lots of fun live, and I really enjoy the two studio albums they made. Unfortunately, I slept on their live album which became expensive once it went OOP.
    jfeldt likes this.
  8. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so Thread Starter

    I hadn't thought about that, but yeah, jazz and conversation, that's right there in that song. Also, one of my brothers is Lester, and he was sort of a night fly then. . . :)
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  9. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so Thread Starter

    I too am amazed at how our ears and brains "grow" and suddenly our perception of music is changed.

    I played the new remaster of Presence last week. They did those remasters right. BBC sessions is due soon. . . we'll see how that (rougher) material comes out.
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  10. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so Thread Starter

    So cool that you came to Kirk via TJ Kirk. I got into Kirk a long time ago. I remember in the early 'seventies thinking he must be some sort of novelty act playing all those horns at once. But it took just a few spins of "Prepare thyself for a Miracle" to make me realize he was an astonishing talent and an amazing musical mind. I rewatched the Live in Paris DVD lately. . . wow, Kirk in an art museum in spirited form. Has to be seen if you're a Kirk fan.
    Crispy Rob likes this.
  11. Dahabenzapple

    Dahabenzapple Forum Resident

    Livingston NJ
    Current tone or sound of bassists live - the purest I've heard is Mark Helias. Mr. Archtop needs to give Open Loose a listen. The most recent one on Intakt is in/out with many of those moments!!

    Open Loose is Helias with Malaby & Rainey. Mostly compositions - in this case all but 2 tracks and in this case very succinct and focused tenor & soprano playing from my man Tony Malaby.

    Barre Phillips at 80 sounded amazing last year with Evan Parker.

    Trevor Dunn, John Hebert, Ken Filiano among others playing in the downtown scene are all sounding great these days.
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  12. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so Thread Starter

    Do you think it was perhaps a Gerry Mulligan LP? He was a West Coast player and he was instrumental in the birth of the cool jazz sound.


    Another person with a wonderfully smooth baritone sound is Barney Wilen, though he's mostly known as a tenor player, he's a wonderfully lyrical player and had a beautiful sound on alto and baritone and soprano as well. He was a French musician of French and American descent.

    PHILLYQ Forum Resident

    Brooklyn NY
    I first saw him opening for Santana(I think) at the Fillmore east, and at that time it just seemed very strange, this guy with a bunch o'horns playing more than one at a time. Got into jazz about a year later(Thanks, Mahavishnu!) and saw Rahsaan at the Village Vanguard, where he proceeded to make my jaw hit the floor multiple times! Playing three horns at once and it was all integrated, well I saw it but could hardly believe it(I was about 17 then and looked older, so I got in the VV). Astonishing player and a walking encyclopedia of jazz, could solo in any style.
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  14. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    No sir. More obscure than Gerry. Ill look Barney up.
    Lonson likes this.
  15. Archtop

    Archtop Soft Dead Crimson Cow

    I've got about 7,000-8,000 hours in but have been on hiatus for the past 15 years or so, having blown out the ulnar nerve on my playing hand. I relearned all the fingerings excluding the use of my ring finger except in thumb position, but I spend more time on fretless electric (not overly mwah-ey, FYI) and jazz-box guitar these days.
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  16. Aggie87

    Aggie87 Gig 'Em!

    Medford, NJ
    Funny this thread started today. I just listened to Miles Davis' "Star People" earlier this evening, from the Complete Columbia Album box (which I acquired courtesy of this thread's starter). I've always been a John Scofield fan, so I had my guitar-ears on for this album tonight.

    Now I've moved on to college football - keeping up with both S. Carolina/Vandy and Appalachian State/Tennessee.
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  17. eeglug

    eeglug Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, USA
    It used to make my skin crawl to listen to music with that stereo separation like this tune, with bass and drums on one side. I also remember being really bothered when I bought Ornette's Change of The Century having to listen to Ornette on the left and Don Cherry on the right. Nowadays it all sounds good to me!
  18. Dahabenzapple

    Dahabenzapple Forum Resident

    Livingston NJ
    For those interested in the music of Andrew Hill, two very attractive shows at The Jazz Standard this month:

    9/20: Smokestack with:

    Vijay Iyer: piano
    John Hebert: bass
    Mark Helias: bass
    Eric McPherson: drums

    9/21 (which I would love to go to but I am already seeing shows on 9/24, 9/27 & maybe on 9/28):

    Frank Kimbrough: piano
    Ron Horton: trumpet
    J.D. Parran: woodwinds
    Marty Ehrlich: woodwinds
    Mark Helias: bass
    Nasheet Waits: drums

    Now THAT is one incredible band!! I saw Andrew in 1997 or 98 with Horton & Ehrlich - the rest of the band was Scott Colley, Billy Drummond & a mystery tenor player. As good as Colley & Drummond were/are, Helias with the *great* Nasheet Waits are a bass/drum tandem that is pretty much the best you can get playing Andrew's music. Hill played with Nasheet the last few years of his life and also played with his late dad, Freddie decades earlier.

    Fwiw - I'm of the viewpoint that Marty Ehrlich on either alto saxophone & clarinet (and to a lesser extent on flute or bass clarinet) is as accomplished a player and improvisor on those horns as anyone alive. Strong words / go see him or at least find some of his recordings!!!

    My guess is they might take on some classics which Andrew avoided in most cases as far as I know. He melded older tunes with new forms at times but loved to play his new compositions right up to the end.
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  19. Speaking of Andrew Hill and Richard Davis track down Andrew Hill's Nefertiti, not the Wayne Shorter tune. Came out on East Wind records in the 70's. The CD has great mastering and not hard to track down.
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  20. Wow, would love to see those shows. Marty Ehrlich played with Andrew Hill on his last two albums and I got to them together live before he passed. Kimbrough is a great player and knows Andrew's music really well based on some of his other records and tunes he wrote in the style of Andrew Hill.

    Big Vijay Iyer fan also.
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  21. I got to see the first TJ Kirk album release party at Great American Music Hall in SF, they blew the roof off that night.

    Seemed like John Schott dropped of the music scene as I haven't anything about him sense TJ Kirk unlike the others.
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  22. I hope this thread idea takes off, I started off in jazz beat as it seemed the most obvious place to interact with fans of the music, but as Lonson said, it isn't a whole lot more than puffing about one's collection and occasionally being obscurantist just for the hell of it. I really haven't bothered with it for the last few months.

    Already the posts here have given me something to mull over. Just for now I'd have to agree that Wilen is an absolutely top class player, I have the great majority of his recorded work and would recommend him to anyone. He deserves a lot more exposure. A consummate musician.
  23. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Im supposing one of my first exposures to live jazz was a military band. Im not sure what branch it was. Maybe Army. These guys were apparently well known and had quite an act. The drummer was very cool. He would come off the drums during a jam and start playing the wooden stairs and find whatever sound he was looking for. Pretty amazing and fun to watch.

    As we "converse" Im listening to Hank Mobley Quintet on MM BN. The cut "Old World, New Imports" is playing. Like that song quite a bit :)
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  24. miklew

    miklew Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    [​IMG] This?
  25. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Yes, thats the one! Thanks!

    I think thats a great album. Love the guys style and tone. Fun stuff.

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