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Thread: now I have a few favourites and need further recommendations - but, Iīm a hard nut :)

  1. #1
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    Jun 2008

    now I have a few favourites and need further recommendations - but, Iīm a hard nut :)

    hello to everyone - thanx in advance for the help! hereīs my story:

    I found it hard for a very long time to get into Jazz. Iīm a musician and my musical taste goes from Penderecki & Ligeti (Neue Musik) to Sonic Youth (Indie) & Underground Resistance (Techno) to ... everything.
    I always had my troubles with Big Band music, Swing, extreme Free Jazz, and things too uplifting/funky. simply: my taste is broad but very very exact and, hmmm, stubborn/ignorant for a lot of things that are out of "my picture".
    I love atmospheric stuff, music that simply takes you on a journey. Bitches Brewīs quiet moments, Another World when they enter such less traditional (for Mr. Stan Getz) territories etc.

    my fave jazz albums are:

    Miles, of course: Bitches Brew (esp. side A & B), Sketches Of Spain (on the other hand couldnīt get into Kind Of Blue and In A Silent Way), On The Corner, Ascenseur pour L'echafaud (on the other hand nothing else that early), and some live stuff (In Concert, Pangaea, Agharta)

    Hancock: roughly 1969 - 1988 (of course a lot there not 100% mine but still... strangely I can "take" Herbieīs funky & uplifting stuff, but heīs an exception)

    Stan Getz: Another World and of course also the Getz/Gilberto "hit" album

    Pharoah Sanders - Elevation (whatīs the album thatīs closest to it?)

    Weather Report - Heavy Weather (not really Birdlandīs uplifting, happy moments but the moody moments)

    I tried Sun Ra and the snippets I heard from Strange Celestial Road were great, but apart from that album I canīt get into his sound which was either too "bigband" or too "free" or too "funky"/uplifting for me. but there should be something for me in his catalogue I think...

    Iīm especially looking for suggestions in terms of a bit more "out-of-the traditional" from John Coltrane (what I heard so far sadly was too traditional for my taste but I know he has recorded something for my taste, just donīt know what album) and Thelonious Monk (heard a great album with a woman on vocals and some other albums, but as I searched for those I just found ones with more traditional sounds, not the modal/atmospheric, moody sound I was looking for).

    please donīt take my "standard"/"traditional" etc. comments not as judging, I can see the quality in it and respect all good music. but itīs simply not MY sound, it doesnīt speak to me on an emotional level.

    I tried a bit Gabarek and Corea but what I heard was too "cheesy" for my taste.

    many many thanx for your suggestions, I hope my descriptions havenīt offended anybody.

  2. #2
    Retired Member dsschicago's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Bluegrass Country
    I've never read a Sonic Youth interview, but I would find it unsurprising if they named Pharoah Sanders as part of their answer to the inevitable who-were-your-influences question. The musical pattern of peace becomes chaos becomes peace again so predominant in Pharoah Sanders can be heard in Sonic Youth tunes.
    As far as the album that's closest to Elevation, that's a tough question to answer. How about I put it this way: The following Pharoah Sanders albums appeal to me both as a Pharoah fan and as a Sonic Youth fan.
    1. Thembi
    2. Jewels of Thought
    3. Karma
    4. Summun Bukmun Umyun (Deaf Dumb Blind)

    These four, aside from being fantastic albums, have a sound similar to Elevation. Put very roughly, Thembi would kinda be your Sonic Youth "Washing Machine", Summun, a bit quieter throughout, perhaps the "Murray Street" equivalent. I'm not gonna bother trying to match the other two albums; I'm already stretching things a bit at this point. As I said, all four are really great albums, and if you like "Elevation", I can't imagine you'd be disappointed in any of them.
    As far as the tags you employ to describe the different categories of music: don't worry about that. The fact is, not only are you showing a sincere interest in the music but also taking the lengths to describe what you're looking for. That makes it easier for people here to tailor their recommendations to your tastes. It's no sin to struggle to find words that inform but don't offend. Besides, even tho I enjoy listening to a cd of his from time to time, I think Garbarek sounds kinda cheesy too.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2007

  4. #4
    Registered User Justin V's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    South Euclid, OH
    Have you tried Ornette Coleman? There was an 'All things Ornette' thread a few months back. His newest release, "Sound Grammar," is quite good.
    When I grow up, I want to be like Roy Haynes.

  5. #5
    Retired Member Alypius's Avatar
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    Jun 2008

    A few contemporary suggestions

    Tom asked for some suggestions. The favorites he lists are classics, especially from Miles Davis, especially from the 60s and 70s. Yet he mentions enjoying “noise rock” like Sonic Youth and electronica, as well as avant-garde classical. Let me suggest a few things from very recent jazz artists.

    Look at the work of trumpeter / composer Dave Douglas. Like Miles Davis, he recasts his sound from album to album. He’s extremely prolific. So where to start? Here’s a few suggestions:
    1. Soul on Soul (RCA, 2000) (a homage to jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams)
    2. The Infinite (RCA / Bluebird, 2002) (the sound is like Miles Davis’ great 2nd quintet)
    3. Witness (RCA / Bluebird, 2001) (edgy, avant-garde, using a string quartet)
    4. Keystone (Greenleaf, 2005) (the sound is more like Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew / In a Silent Way electric sound)

    Look also at the remarkable albums coming out from the Cryptogramophone label. It’s what one might call “accessible avant garde”:
    1. Nels Cline Singers, Instrumentals (2002) (Nels Cline is one of the finest guitarists out there, and is currently the lead guitarist for the group Wilco, and if you like Sonic Youth noise rock, you’ll love this); by the way “Singers” is a joke, since no one sings; they’re all instrumentals.
    2. Bennie Maupin, Penumbra (2006) (Maupin played bass clarinet on Miles' Bitches Brew).
    3. Jeff Gauthier, House of Return (2008) (Gauthier is a virtuoso violinist; a brilliant new effort, hard to classify yet accessible).
    4. Alan Pasqua, The Antisocial Club (2007) (sounds like Miles Davis In a Silent Way period; Pasqua as a young man played with Tony Williams).

    The Chicago jazz scene is remarkable and sometimes edgy. One group that skirts between rock and jazz is Tortoise. Technically classified as “post-rock,” this is instrumental rock with a jazz aesthetic. Led by drummer (and producer) John McEntire, these guys are amazing multi-instrumentalists. In concert, they may have 3 drummers or 4 vibes players or 3 guitarists. While complex rhythmically, it’s still really accessible. Start with:
    1. TNT (Thrill Jockey, 1998)
    2. Standards (Thrill Jockey, 2001)
    Tortoise members appear in other striking jazz groups. Check out:
    3. Chicago Underground Quartet, Chicago Underground Quartet (2001)
    4. Exploding Star Orchestra, We Are All From Somewhere Else (2007).

    One last suggestion: One intriguing newcomer is Nik Bartsch’s Ronin, their album entitled Holon (ECM, 2008). Bartsch combines avant garde classical's minimalism (a la Philip Glass or Steve Reich) with jazz instruments. He calls it “zen funk”. Hope these help.
    Last edited by Alypius; June 27th, 2008 at 02:42 AM. Reason: add italics for titles

  6. #6
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    Jun 2008
    wow, thank you!

    dsschicago: Thembi seems to be the one for me (judged by the MP3 samples I found on the net). the layers of percussion as well as the sound (recording/mixdown) really do it for me, this will definitely be ordered (and now I find it strange that I passed when I heard those samples for the first time).

    randalljazz: I think the very last period of Coltrane will be appealing to me. earlier periods just donīt touch me. in general all that counts for me is the composition & atmosphere, how it develops, the concept and what the artist wants to say/express. the greatest musicianship in the world in Jazz before letīs say 1968 is simply not appealing to me when it has those bigband/swing/etc. orchestration, arrangements and predictable chord-progressions. the greatest interpretation of a theme absolutely wouldnīt touch me when the composition has no deeper "spiritual" meaning. again, just my taste and no disrespect.

    what have been the last 2 (the regular ones, not those compilations and live rcordings) and most "out there" albums of Coltrane? Interstellar Space and Om? never heard Om...

    Justin V: tried Coleman and found one or another track but thereīs always things I canīt get into.

    Alypius: (I base my comments on the short samples I heard, so I might be wrong) īKeystoneī indeed is the most appealing out of those 4 to me. hopefully thatīs pressed on vinyl (my format of choice, I donīt even own a CD player). īWitnessī seems to have tracks that fit me, but also ones that donīt. thatīs the tricky one, I always listen to the whole albums, concentrated and relaxed. I expect albums to take me on a journey with soft switches from one mood to another. even more, if an album just follows ONE respective sound itīs even better for me. if thereīs a long atmospheric track and then suddenly a "funky", uplifting one it would spoil my "journey". or the other way round. how a record is put together out of individual tracks, thatīs very very important to me. uuups, I drifted away from the topic, your recommendations.
    Nels Cline "Singers" with an "Instrumental", hahaha... ok, thatīs fantastic, will purchase. Bennie Maupin, Alan Pasqua - purchase.
    you really hit it with your list. and thereīs more to discover (label wise, as you suggested etc).

    House Of Return is a fantastic albums as well, but I donīt like solo violins in Jazz. no matter how or what is played, the tones always remind me on Folk/Rock (absolutely stupid, I know, but what can I do, itīs like a neurosis, hahaha). I love strings in Avantgard/Neue Musik/classical, or in a Soul/Funk constellation. but in Jazz and as solo instrument, I donīt know why, I see a bearded long-haired colourfully-dressed Hippie or a leather-boots-Guiness-drinking-woman (nothing wrong with it actually, hahaha) everytime I hear it before my inner eye. silly.
    this album would be great, but... (same things with Jazz that "swings". I always see a Goodman-like saxophone section moving their instruments in syncī left to right with the sound, like in those old movies).

    have to run now... thank you again to all of you!

  7. #7
    Registered User Johnny Murgatroyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Atmospheric and dark?

    -Miles Davis and the Second Quintet: "Nefertiti", "Plugged Nickel"

    -John Zorn: "Live At Sevilla"

    -Pharoah Sanders: "Black Unity", "Jewels of Thought"

    -Sonny Rollins: "On Impulse"

    I know you say you don't want free jazz, but:

    -Albert Ayler: "Live At Greenwich Village"

    -John Coltrane: "Olatunji Concert", "Living Space", "Live In Japan"

    -Ornette Coleman: "This is Our Music"
    Last edited by Johnny Murgatroyd; July 1st, 2008 at 01:53 AM. Reason: error

  8. #8
    Composer/Drummer Jay Norem's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Lumpen Post-Industrial District
    How about Boney James? Have you heard Boney James? I hear he's quite successful.
    "Funny...when you talk to Jay on the phone, he actually seems quite normal and not insane at all." Phil Kelly

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