Posts Tagged ‘Jazz’

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Arturo Sandoval – Best of Arturo Sandoval

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I couldn’t find the album art for the compilation I have.

Arturo Sandoval is a beast of a trumpet player. Consider him the Latin version of Maynard Ferguson. If you want jazz, salsa, and latin music that screams, with interesting and complex rhythms, than look no further than Arturo Sandoval and a greatest hits compilation.

Like a lot of classical and jazz music, I discovered Arturo Sandoval while playing in jazz band. We played “A Mis Abuelos,” which remains my favorite Sandoval tune.

If you’re looking for something a little out of the way that you wouldn’t normally listen to, then these songs are fast and fun. Just listening to Sandoval’s range is mind-blowing. This album is a must for any trumpet player, and jazz enthusiasts would do well to listen to this beast of a trumpet player.

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Miles Davis – In A Silent Way

Tuesday, February 17, 2009
In a Silent Way (1969)

In a Silent Way (1969)

It this album were more laid back, it’d be horizontal. As its namesake suggets, In a Silent Way is very peaceful. At first it’s best heard as back ground. As it gets more famliar, it warrants a closer listening.

The album features only two tracks: “Shhh / Peaceful” and “In a Silent Way / It’s about that time.” Each runs about twenty minutes.

This record is important because it marks the birth of jazz fusion, a step almost as revolutionary as Miles 1959 release of “Kind of Blue.”

It is also a lot more unaccessible than Kind of Blue. But most works of genius take patience to unlock.

My favorite is probably the intro/outro of track two, or, the “in a silent way” segment. This is most beautiful and peaceful and dreamy music I’ve ever heard. John McLaughlin is breathtaking on guitar. He and Davis (the other muscicians names on the record are lost onme) really conjure something special here.

In a Silent Way  changed the world of jazz forever, and is probably my favorite Davis album.

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Charles Mingus – Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus

Friday, February 13, 2009
Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (1964)

Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (1964)

My first jazz album. I bought it in Norway, of all places, after my senior year. Music stores there have a much wider jazz selection. In a way, it’s a shame America’s classical music is more treasured across the pond.

But I digress. Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus.

This music really draws me in. I don’t know  the history of the album, or even Charles Mingus, well enough. I mean, I’m only 21. This album was released in 1964, twenty four years before I plopped into the world.

Though I’ve heard tale Mingus popularized the smashing of the guitar onstage, as he was prone to fits of anger (only he did it with his bass). This inspired Pete Townshend, who is usually credited with the act.

Since I’ve had this album a while, I’ve listened to it a lot. It starts out strong with “II B.S.,” a rendition of the “Hatian Fight Song,” an earlier recording by Mingus. Mingus has to be strumming one of the greatest basslines in music history. But I might as well say that for every one of his songs.

Things cool off with track two, “I X Love,” a ballad to Mingus’ ex-wife. This might be my album favorite. The notes carry you someplace else. Somplace not Earth. It’s a ride.

“Celia,” too, is great, featuring several time signature changes that keep things interesting.

“Mood Indigo” is an original by Duke Ellington. Charles Mingus idolized the legnedary man, and his cover is good tribute.

“Better Get Hit in Yo’ Soul.” Well, if you don’t get hit in yo’ soul after listening to this song then blow my dress up and call me Charlie. This 12/8  swing is one of the most fun songs I’ve heard. This tune gets my blood a-flowing and my heart a-pounding. It bleeds pure, raw energy.

“Theme for Lester Young” is a take on Mingus’ very popular “Goodbye Porkpie Hat,” a very popular tune in the late fifties. I like this one better than the original off Mingus Ah Um.

“Hora Decubitus” is just a groovy tune. But that’s just how Mingus is – fun, groovy, makes you want to yell.

The last track is  “Freedom.” Oh, how I love this track! Released in 1964, this song was right on time for the Civil Rights movement. Not being an expert on African American culture, I can’t say whether “Freedom” is an old African American spiritual  or whether Mingus penned it himself. Regardless, it’s a powerful way to close the album.

This album wins at everything. In fact, I want to apologize for this review, as my words cannot convey how great it is.

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John Coltrane – A Love Supreme

Saturday, February 7, 2009
A Love Supreme (1965)

A Love Supreme (1965)

Interestingly, if you don’t know a thing about jazz and you ask a jazz afficionado where to start, chances are they’ll either point you to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue or John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. If you fall in love with either, you’re bound to exlore further the discography of either artist- if you like those albums, then it’s onto branching out into different jazz artists. Then, you’ll come to discover jazz is a lot bigger genre than you first thought it was.

At least, that’s what happened to me. I started of with Kind of Blue, and soon after, A Love Supreme. I then asked my roommate for him to give me some fusion, which introduced me John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Which is when I decided that exploring jazz throughly would be a project for a future date.

In the meantime, I’ll be content with my Coltrane and Miles Davis. A Love Supreme is my favorite jazz album I own (I really don’t own too many – maybe ten).  Like most complex music, it does take a while to get into a wrap your head around unless you happen to be born with that kind of temperement (which I wasn’t).

But when I do sit down to listen to A Love Supreme, it really is heavy stuff. It’s satisfies me in a way that less complicated music, say, the Killers, can’t really do.  A Love Supreme isn’t just good – it’s an absoulte masterpiece. Listening is a spiritual experience – it will bear you away to the highest of heights and the deepest of depths.

Some music you just want to veg out and enjoy. Some, you want to engage and think, and be carried away to entirely different level. Expand your horizons, so to speak. Better yet, rise above your horizons. A Love Supreme is that kind of album.

I could attempt to go in depth explaining each song, but I don’t want to kill what the music could be for you by contaminating it with what I think. Suffice it to say, it’s pretty complicated. I’m horrid at music theory, though I’ve tried, so any attempt to explain it would never do this album justice. All I know is that listening to it makes me feel amazing, body and mind.