When I listen to classical, often I go for minimalism like the early stuff from Eric Satie. Every note counts. Every pause counts. Less is more...
Does anybody have some suggestions for minimalistic jazz?
Any duet CD with Mal Waldron and Steve Lacy (I recommend "Hot House") might be up your alley. It's not a coincidence that both of those musicians greatly admired Monk and played his music often.
If you like the "less is more" approach, check out these guys:
Louis Armstrong - Louis always played good, soulful lines all throughout his career - he just didn't have to use as many notes as other players. Louis was often criticized later in his career for not playing like he did from the mid 20's to the early 30s, because his solos tended to have much fewer notes. But Louis was such a great player he could still say as much with 3 or four notes as many younger players could say with a dozen. Check out "Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy" and you will see what I mean.
Bix Beiderbecke - A great trumpet player who recorded from the mid 20s to early 30s, Bix was always able to put a lot of feeling into his music while not having to use a barrage of notes. I remember reading a bio of Bix and a friend and fellow musician told a story about how one night he asked Bix "Why do you use so few notes? Why don't you get hot? You know what your problem is? You're a note miser!" Bix simply replied to his friend "You know what your problem is? You use so many notes, but they mean so little." This made a big impression which his friend never forgot. A good place to start with Bix would be the discs "Bix Beiderbecke Volume1: Singin' The Blues" and "Bix Beiderbecke Volume 2: At The Jazz Band Ball". Both are available on the Columbia label.
Lester Young - My personal favorite sax player, Lester was greatly influenced by the recordings of Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer, and so it's no surprise that Lester fits into the "less is more" school of players. Lester played beautiful flowing lines and realized that it was just as important to know when not to play something. "The Lester Young Trio", which also has Nat King Cole on piano and Buddy Rich on drums, is a good album to start with.
Miles Davis - Miles was another one of the masters who could say so much with so little. Miles (like Louis and Bix) had great tone and never seemed to have to play clusters of notes to get his point across. If you don't own them yet, I would probably get albums like "Kind of Blue" or "'Round About Midnight" for starters and then dig deeper into Miles' music. Miles made a lot of great recordings, so there is a whole lot to choose from, but he also went to a lot of different styles, so just keep in mind that just because you like "Kind of Blue" doesn't necessarily mean you will like an album like "Bitches Brew".
I hope you find this to be helpful. Good luck with your search!
Each of the following I think may have what you're looking for:
Two piano trio discs by Marilyn Crispell:
Crispell, Peacock, Motian -- "Nothing Ever Was Anyway, The Music of Annette Peacock"
Marilyn Crispell Trio -- "Storyteller"
Trumpet player Tomasz Stanko's "Lontano," which came up in the trumpet recs thread.
Iro Haarla's "Northbound" is another with a decidedly minimalist approach.
For something with a little more classical influence, Francois Couturier's "Nostalgia -- Song for Tarkovsky"
As you may notice, all of these are ECMs, which, as Jay says, is a label that tends to produce a lot of music that is quite spacious and contemplative.
"There comes a time in all of our lives where silence is a betrayal." -- The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Tord Gustavsen Trio's Changing Places and The Ground
Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, Michal Miskiewicz Trio
All are minimalistic, contemplative and wonderful recordings.
As far as minimalistic jazz stuff, there's alot to check out. Here are some recommendations for you:
Tomasz Stanko - Suspended Night
Tomasz Stanko - Soul of Things
Tomasz Stanko - Wolnasc W Sierpniu
Paul Motian Trio - I Have The Room Above Her
Bill Frisell - In Line
John Abercrombie - Characters
John Abercrombie - Cat 'n' Mouse
John Abercrombie - Class Trip
John Abercrombie - The Third Quartet
Marcin Wasilewski - Trio
Arild Andersen - The Triangle
Tord Gustavsen Trio - Being There
Tord Gustavsen Trio - The Ground
Jimmy Giuffre 3 - The Easy Way
Terje Rypdal - Lux Aeterna
Terje Rypdal - Descendre
Terje Rypdal - Waves
Terje Rypdal, Jack DeJohnette, and Miroslav Vitous - self-titled album
Rypdal/DeJohnette/Vitous - To Be Continued
Jan Garbarek - Rites
Jan Garbarek - Twelve Moons
Jan Garbarek - In Praise of Dreams
Jan Garbarek - I Took Up The Runes
Jan Garbarek - Legend of the Seven Dreams
Jan Garbarek - Officium
Jan Garbarek - Dis
Jan Garbarek/Art Lande - Red Lanta
Keith Jarrett - Arbor Zena
Keith Jarrett - Belonging
Keith Jarrett - My Song
Ralph Towner - Blue Sun
Ralph Towner - Solstice
Ralph Towner - Open Letter
Ralph Towner - Old Friends, New Friends
Ralph Towner - Solo Concert
Kenny Wheeler - Angel Song
Kenny Wheeler - It Takes Two!
I would also look into some of Miles Davis' collaborations with Gil Evans. All of those albums Miles did with Gil are top-notch and have very open quality to them. Miles and Gil were doing some very different things together. These albums that Miles did with Gil, in my opinion, are some of the finest examples of large ensemble jazz playing arouind. There were also some Bill Evans that I thought were minimalistic: check out his albums "I Will Say Goodbye" and "You Must Believe In Spring." Both of these albums are quite beautiful.
This should be enough for now, but as you can see, there's alot to look into for this kind of "open" jazz. Hope these recommendations help you in your search.
To all who've responded,
Thank you very much! There's a whole lot of information here. Rather than just post individual "thank you's" let me just say I'll be checking these out. Man, I got a lot more than I had hoped for.
You're welcome. Let me know if you like any of these musicians and I can make you copies of their albums and send them to you.
I've been listening to this type of jazz for about 10 years. I've been playing it for even longer than that and I didn't know exactly what it was.
I was doing things like Steve Reich would compose, but I added my jazz influences to it. I've been working on this type of textural jazz stuff since I started playing the guitar, which was about 17 years ago.
Anyway, let me know how your search is going.
I want something really gripping...I want the world to stop, time to stop...
Mr Minimalist: Count Basie
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