Sunday, February 14, 2010
The Nilpferd A-listers- Jazz
A neat stop-motion video accompaniement to Giant Steps, showing what Coltrane's solo looks like in animated sheet music form. (Not sure if there's a sax-helper clip for this one yet, but it looks simple enough on paper.)
Lionel Hampton - Flying Home
Bill Evans - Lucky to be me
John Coltrane - Giant Steps
Ornette Coleman - Free Jazz
Miles Davis - Felon Brun
I've donned my turtle neck sweater to wind up the retrospective Nilpferd A-list series in chin-stroking splendour with the jazz picks. Each of these tracks- besides being very niiiice- has some historical significance.
Flying Home features the famous high energy "honking" Illinois Jacquet tenor sax solo which every subsequent saxophone player in Hampton's band had to learn off by heart, and which also influenced a generation of rock 'n roll sax breaks.
Giant Steps was John Coltrane's own breathtaking stride into the league of legendary tenor saxophonists, and a short-lived attempt to develop an entirely new scalar based language for jazz. But besides that, it also happens to be an incredibly fun piece of music.
Bill Evan's Lucky to be me develops Bernstein's song into an expressive, ambiguous meditation and was one of his first forays into "ambient" improvisation, while Ornette Coleman's double quartet produces a dazzling array of sound in the genre defining Free Jazz, but still manages to sound like the sort of party you can't quite bring yourself to leave. Admittedly many of you might not even have wanted to be dragged along in the first place, but I do recommend setting your expectations to one side and dipping in for a quick listen with an open mind. Comments welcome, though you probably don't need to tell me you think it is chaotic nonsense- I'll just assume that as the default position.
Felon Brun sits on the cusp of Miles Davis' move into rock- Tony Williams is explosive here and produces one of my all-time favourite drum performances. And there's a tie in with my opening post in this series- the self confident face double-exposed on the album cover belongs to Betty Mabry, shortly before she married Miles and became known as Betty Davis.