Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

My Vinyls 3: Charlie Parker Memorial Part 2

I don't know how I got this one. It basically is a collection of Bird songs from 1944 to 1948, mostly with short failed takes released on the Savoy label. The playing is brilliant, not only by Bird but also by Bud Powell and a young ambitious trumpeter called Miles Davis. You can hear Parker whistle when something goes wrong to stop the band.

I had a tiring day at school. I suck at memorizing stuff, and had to sing by heart 2 Miles solos and even hours after the exam I was still singing them in my head. Came home and practiced a little bit and wanted to listen to some good music to ease my mind. This precious piece of bebop history did it well for me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Vinyls 2: East Broadway Run Down (Sonny Rollins)

The musician I listen to most these days is probably Sonny Rollins. His big tone, endless stream of ideas and immaculate feel of time and rhythm continues to amaze and inspire people all around the world. This 1966 album consists of a quartet a la Ornette Coleman (trumpet, sax, drums and bass) with Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones. I must say the latter two, being part of Coltrane's rhythm section for 5 years at the time, sound really tight. Although Hubbard's playing on the long title track (20:27) is fabulous, he is not included on the other two.
The wikipedia article quotes this link and says that the title track is an improvisation on the Lionel Hampton's 'Hey Baba Rebop' riff. I personally associate the song Blessing In Disguise (first track of side B) with that riff. This song also happens to be my favorite on the album with Sonny's playing being much better and focused than from the Run Down. The Hammerstein/Rodgers tune We Kiss In A Shadow, the only ballad, concludes the album. I am not a fan of ballads being played by saxophone trios and this tune makes no exception. Plus, I don't really get the idea of mixing the free jazz sound (the noise elements vs. the lick oriented bebop phrasing that outlines the harmony) with standards like this one. Still, the interaction between Jones and Garrison makes the song going.
A fact also worthy of noting is that it is Rollins' last one for the Impulse label and his last before he took his second sabbatical (yes, he was doing this stuff before it became hip and when it was actually risky to do so!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Vinyls 1: The Clown (Charles Mingus)

For my 29th birthday I was offered a vinyl player, and a copy of the beautiful album "The Clown" by Mingus. So I guess it's my turn to have my share of the vinyl comeback madness that has been going since these last couple of years.

The album is composed of two tracks on each side, and includes two of my favorite Mingus tunes: the uncompromising Haitian Fight Song, and Reincarnation Of A Lovebird (my first encounter with Mingus was through this incredible ode to Charlie Parker that we have played a couple of times over the last year, although I must say pretty disappointingly) . The other two songs are Blue Cee, a blues in C (although I think they switch to Bb and back) and the title track The Clown which, according to wikipedia "[.. ]tells the story of a clown who tried to please people like most jazz musicians do, but whom nobody liked until he was dead. [Mingus'] version of the story ended with his blowing his brains out with the people laughing and finally being pleased because they thought it was part of the act. [He] liked the way Jean changed the ending; leaves it more up to the listener."

There is a peculiarity on the cover of my copy: The Atlantic 1260 part below the image is missing. Maybe the image above that I took from wikipedia is from an earlier -or later for that matter- print.