Posts filed under “Friday Night Jazz”

Friday Night Jazz: Thelonious Monk

Thelonious_monk_with_john_coltraneOne of my all time favorites Jazz musicians is Thelonius Monk.

I stumbled across this video via a random click, and it reminded me just how much I have always loved Monk’s work, hence, another Friday Night Jazz featuring Monk.

Our man Monk was a three way genius: As a composer, as a jazz pianist, and as an improvisationist, he was without peer, and shaped the future of Jazz. Some notable discs:

Monks_dreamThelonious Monk with John Coltrane — what more can you add to these two geniuses riffing off of each other? Simply a monst    rous most own.

Monk’s Dream is a great example of Thelonious Monk in a Quartet format, with Monk at the peak of his career peak.

Monk’s Music a classsic compositions & recordings; Bold and inspired, with Coltrane, Blakey and Hawkins. Just fabulous.

Solo Monk a man, a piano, a studio tape recorder. Brilliant. 

and

Monks_music

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall accidentally discovered in an unmarked box by a Library of Congress engineer early 2005 (previously mentioned in our year end review). 

 

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Videos after the jump . . . 

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Friday Evening Jazz: Dexter Gordon

FNJ has a guest DJ tonite: BondDaddy is in the house!

Dexter Gordon is one of the greatest tenor sax players. He had a strong tone and incredible sense of melody. Some players like Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson had a slippery sense of time; their phrases speed up and slow down, moving within the rythm section’s accompaniment. Not Dexter. Dex’s time was rock solid, never wavering. The rythm section had to accompany his time.

Our_man_in_parisHis playing is incredibly melodic, easily followed by the listener. Ideas naturally morphed from one to the other, always following a logical pattern. However, he was also able to surprise listeners with a run into upper chordal extensions.

His playing provides a logical link between Parker and Coltrane. Dex used many ideas from Parker, but played them with a tone that was deep, bold and soulful.  His tone provides the link to Coltrane, who also favored a deep and rich tenor tone.

Gordon swung — and swung hard. If your feet are not tapping within 8 bars of his starting to play, you’re just not listening.

Our Man in Paris:
This be-bop session is a meeting between three of the most influential
musicians of the forties. The rhythms crackle, the solos fly; Our Man
In Paris is essential Dexter. A nice compilation of standards.

HomecomingHomecoming: Live at the Village Vanguard. Dex lived in Amsterdam for about 10 years, and this was the album be made when he came back. Very cool set. Woody Shaw is on Trumpet, and the two work really well together. THis is Dexter at the very top of his game (and probably one of the top 25 live jazz albums of all time).

He also starred in the Round Midnight, probably the best jazz movie ever made

Go:  Its been widely reported Gordon himself considered this his greatest achievement. Brimming with conviction and poise, Gordon’s gentle-giant sax carries itself with a sort of graceful edge that is difficult to emulate. Never has anyone made the diminished scale sound so musical.

Ballads

Ballads: This is a compilation of his ballads (duh), and he could play just beautifully on these. Gordon delivers his almost sleepy and smoke-filled solos with real grace. Some of the most romantic playing you will every hear.

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Videos after the jump

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Friday Evening Jazz: Kind of Blue

KINDA blueA few months ago, Hale took an eclectic look at some of the lesser known works of Miles Davis. Tonite, I want to go in the opposite direction, and simply focus on one disc: Kind of Blue.

Why? Not only is Kind of Blue Davis’ best-selling album, it may very well be the best-selling jazz record of any artist, of all time. Even though it was released almost 50 years ago, it still sells over 5,000 copies per week today. In addition to its commercial success, it has come to be described by many Jazz critics as the greatest jazz album of all time.

Writing in AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted: “Kind of Blue isn’t merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it’s an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of “So What.” From that moment on, the record never really changes pace — each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality.”

The one jazz record to own even if you don’t listen to jazz — the band is extraordinary: John Coltrane,  Julian “Cannonball” Adderley on saxophones, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums. I recently received a remastered CD of kind the album, thus retiring my scratchy hiss and pop laden vinyl version.  (And another intelligent CD pricing: $7.47 at Amazon)

For those of you looking for some , check out NPR:  Kind of Blue (54 minutes)

videos after the jump . . .

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Friday Night Jazz: Andreas Vollenweider

Category: Friday Night Jazz

Friday Night Jazz: Open Thread

When it comes to music, I normally try to do the heavy lifting around here — writing about and recommending a new or beloved artist, or discussing whatever it is I happen to be listening to at the moment.

Tonite, something a little different.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU GUYS — What’s new and interesting? What old favorites have been replaying? What are you listening to right now? What concerts are you going to — or hoping to see?

What say ye?

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UPDATE: Februrary 22, 2008 9:42am

Wow, thats quite a list!

TBP readers are quite an eclectic bunch; 
All of the various FNJ recs readers made can be found here;

Most of the discs mentioned are linked to via Amazon or MySpace or some other site (after the jump):

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Friday Night Jazz: Billie Holiday

All_or_nothing_at_allBy now, you should have some feel for my taste in music, and the wide ranging and eclectic flavors that live on my iPod. But unless you are a fool or a wizened old pro, any attempt at doing a Friday Night Jazz on Billie Holiday is likely to fall flat on its face.

Lucky for us, Nat Hentoff — formerly the Music critic of the Village Voice, and now the Jazz columnist  of the WSJ is just such an old pro. In this week’s WSJ, he looked at a few new reissues of Lady Day’s music:

"Billie must have come from another world," said Roy
Eldridge, often heard accompanying her on trumpet, "because nobody had
the effect on people she had. I’ve seen her make them cry and make them
happy." Lady Day, as tenor saxophonist Lester Young named Billie
Holiday, still has that effect through the many reissues of her
recordings, including the recently released "Lady Day: The Master Takes
and Singles" of the 1933-44 sessions (Columbia/Legacy, available on
Amazon) that established her in the jazz pantheon.

Rare_live_recordings_19341959I grew up listening to those sides, which infectiously
demonstrated — as pianist Bobby Tucker, her longtime pianist, noted –
that "she could swing the hardest in any tempo, even if it was like a
dirge . . . wherever it was, she could float on top of it." But none of
the previous reissues, as imperishable as they are, have as intense a
presence of Lady as in the truly historic new five-disc set "Billie Holiday: Rare Live Recordings, 1934-1959" on Bernard Stollman’s ESP-Disk label.

This is a model for future retrospectives of classic
jazz artists of any era because researcher and compiler Michael
Anderson, in his extensive liner notes, provides a timeline of her jazz
life — describing the circumstances of each performance in the context
of her evolving career. One example: a live radio remote from Harlem’s
Savoy Ballroom in 1937 when the 22-year-old singer "began a special
association with her comrade, ‘The Prez,’ Lester Young" — grooving
with the Count Basie band in "Swing Brother Swing."

Complete_billie_holiday_on_columbiaHow could I possibly hope to improve on that?

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For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Lady Day, a great place  is NPR Billie Holiday: ‘Lady Sings the Blues’ special. There’s a 54 minute radio broadcast discussing her history and music.

As far as albums go, there are lots of choices, but they pretty much come down to a) Boxed Sets; 2) Early work; 3) Later years.

If you want to start with something basic, go for A Musical Romance -  agreat duet with Holiday and her long time friend and msucial collaborator, Lester Young. You can also go to the 2 disc All or Nothing at All. The 2 CD Complete Decca Recordings is also quite good.

Complete_billie_holiday_on_verve_19For the more ambitious, the boxed sets are the way to go:

Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (1933-1944)

The Complete Billie Holiday On Verve, 1945-1959   

The set Hentoff refers to above is the 5 disc set  Rare Live Recordings, 1934-1959   

Students of her latter work will be interested in:

Lady in Satin 

Lady in Autumn

Lady_in_satin

 

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Videos after the jump . . . 

 

 

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Black Friday Night Jazz

BLACK FRIDAY

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On days like this, where the market opens up over 100 and closes down 170, I always get that "Black Friday" feeling — that no one really wants to carry much equity exposure over the weekend.

On rare occasions, these days set up ugly Mondays (Wait! Didn’t we just have one of those?)

Katy_lied

But its Friday night — Enough market talk! Its time for some jazz to mellow out to.

I’m a big Steely Dan fan. Saw ‘em live a few times, always loved this song.

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Friday Night Jazz: John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman

Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Friday Night Jazz: The NightFly

Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music

Friday Evening Jazz: Oscar Peterson (II)

Exclusively_for_my_friends_box_setOscar Peterson has been recording and performing for over half a century. He passed away Christmas Eve ’07 at the age of 82.

He may be the single most recorded of all piano players. 

Oscar bridged the swing and bop eras, rooting himself in a style that was at the same time stunningly complex yet soulfully elegant. 

Nobody used more notes to swing! Oscar is sometimes dismissed because he wasn’t groundbreaking in the way that many of his contemporaries were. But the range of expression he achieved on the piano along with his technical prowess is hardly rivaled in mainstream jazz.

Trio_2 Many consider his solo recordings of the late 60s and early 70s to be his most outstanding work, but do not overlook his trio recordings both with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen and later with Joe Pass and Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson.

The live album "The Trio" from 1973 (not to be confused with a Verve release of the same title) is a great recording of Oscar with Pass and Pederson and shows Oscar at his most virtuosic. Check out the Brown Thigpen work live here.

Satch_and_joshFor a
compendium of his 1960s work in both trio and solo settings, the
excellent box set "Exclusively for My Friends" will keep you
entertained for years.

Of course, there are the standard "songbook"
albums (George Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc.) and the duets with greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Clark Terry and
Dizzy Gillespie.

I am also partial to A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra.

Night_trainThe 1962 album "Night Train" with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen is also a favorite. It showcases Oscar at his best on both ballads and uptempo numbers and he really shows his blues chops.

A_jazz_portrait_of_frank_sinatra

Oscar Peterson will be missed . . .

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Sources:


80th Birthday Tribute to Oscar Peterson
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4829211
 PLAYER

http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=4829211&m=4830843


Oscar Peterson’s ‘Jazz Odyssey’
   
Hear an extended version of Bob Edwards’ interview with Oscar Peterson.   

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1170182


Oscar Peterson, 82, Jazz’s Piano Virtuoso, Dies
 
RICHARD SEVERO
NYT,  December 25, 2007    

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/25/arts/25peterson.html

A Jazz ‘Behemoth’ Moves On
NAT HENTOFF
WSJ, December 28, 2007
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119878787299653457.html


Tributes paid to Oscar Peterson

BBC, Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 08:00 GMT     http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7159772.stm>

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Category: Digital Media, Friday Night Jazz, Music