Monday, November 2, 2009
30 Minutes Over Tokyo - 2009 A Jazz Odyssey
"I'm a sprightly 31 years of age, living in Tokyo with my lovely Japanese wife, a child of grunge and Britpop, I now listen to a wide wide range of stuff (except Jazz and classical - but i'm willing to give 'em a try) my specialist subjects (if this were mastermind) would be obscure and forgotten Britpop never-were's, and the current US psychedelic drone underground which I love to bits. This week i've been listening to a LOT of Metallica!"
This is a (rather embarrassing) extract from my original e-mail to Blimpy upon becoming a Spiller.Well, I was true to my word, although I haven't gone into classical territory yet. Before joining the Spill I had never, not once, deliberately listened to any jazz at all. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
But along came Radio Abahachi and a small spark was lit, the timing of it was combined with an unexplained urge that made me get Miles Davis' "Live at Fillmore East" CD out of the library.
I wasn't hooked instantly, but I found something that definitely connected and I made a silent promise to try to find out more about the mystery that was "jazz". I kept my eyes and ears open to any mention of jazz on RR and the 'Spill and quietly went about investigating the weird and wonderful names via the wonder of Wikipedia.
I still didn't really know where to start with such a big genre, so I headed to the shop in the picture which is 3 storeys (+ a seperate all vinyl floor) of nothing but jazz. This first visit I didn't buy anything, but spent about a hour and a half in the shop methodically going through each section and familiarising myself with the exotic titles, names, record labels and getting to grips with the whole aesthetic; colours, fonts, style; (mostly) young (mostly) black men looking improbably cool.
The next time I went back, I picked up a copy of Ornette Coleman's "The Shape Of Jazz To Come", this was a calculated purchase based upon my background reading thus far, I was looking for the link between the improvised noise of Lightning Bolt and the musicality of Jazz . I excitedly took it home and dropped the needle (every jazz album i've bought so far has been on secondhand vinyl, mostly for under a fiver, not counting the odd download and the Blue Note compilation albums I got from the library), readying myself for the anarchy and chaos I had read about.....it didn't come, but I did discover a beautifully mournful sound that made me make another personal pledge to buy one jazz album a month, just to keep the interest up and hopefully discover some new tunes.
I stuck with this for a couple of months, but around March or April after getting some great tips from a jazz-lovin' friend in Canada, it started to snowball and I got bitten by the jazz bug! The classics (and not so classic) came thick and fast; Duke Ellington (thanks Goneforeign) Cannonball Adderly (cheers nilpferd), Sonny Rollins, Wynton Kelly, anything and everything on Germany's FMP Records and soon I was buying not one, but three or four jazz albums a month!
My jazz collection, has then, ballooned from zero to a small collection (it would have been at least double what it is if it hadn't been a credit crunched year). I still remain a complete sophist in this vast and complex ocean, but I am enjoying the journey so far and am looking forward to the next turn. Any tips and recommendations from all you knowledgeable jazzers out there are always welcome and will be greeted with grateful enthusiasm.
Here is just a small selection of some of the wonderful music I have discovered over the past year that has caught my ear and taught me to re-evaluate the way I listen to music.
After writing all of the above I have decided (possibly against my better judgement!) to turn the playlist into a full on podcast, maybe the journey needs to be explained in a little more detail....here goes my no doubt poor attempt.......
30 MOT - 2009: A Jazz Odyssey Part 1
30 MOT - 2009: A Jazz Odyssey Part 2