2016 — THE FIELD OF JAZZ

…Being Part 2 of the Vinyl Connection end-of-year round-up

Could this be the 10 days of Jazz Christmas? Not really, just highlights selected from those jazz discs arriving at VC this year, presented in chronological order.

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Kamasi Washington – The Epic [Brainfeeder 2015]

Solar system huge, supernova-hyped. To these ears, pretty disappointing. As someone 1537 times wittier than me observed, those vocals just evoke Star Trek every time.

Visit respected blog colleague JHubner73 for an extensive (and much more positive) review.

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Esbjörn Svensson Trio – Live in Hamburg [ACT Music 2007]

Really lovely contemporary jazz piano playing. Don’t be put off by the dude on the right bearing a remarkable resemblance to Leon from Bladerunner.

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Dave Holland Quintet – Prime Directive [ECM 1999]

Fine ensemble album by the British bass player. Has Chris Potter on saxes, plus vibes and trombone. Varied and engrossing.

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Eberhard Weber – Works [ECM 1985]

This anniversary series showcasing the initial core ECM artists provide a fantastic introduction to ECM jazz. Great place to start if you are interested in the cool, spacious ECM sound. Weber, by the way, is a lyrical bassist/composer.

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John Abercrombie & John Scofield – Solar [Paj 1984]

Two of my favourite guitarists. Never even knew they recorded together. Surprisingly mellow.

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Charles Cha-Cha Shaw – Into Morning [Folkways 1976]

I wonder who invented the term ‘spiritual jazz’ for the kind of free-form blowing that John Coltrane explored so dramatically? Maybe JC himself. Anyway, that’s what this rare jazz-on-Folkways release is.

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Gary Burton – The New Quartet [ECM 1973]

Absolutely impossible to take a decent photograph of this shiny silver (and rather battered) cover. Fortunately the vinyl is in good shape and the music is excellent. Especially for a fan of vibes, which I most definitely am.

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Keith Jarrett – Facing You [ECM 1971]

Mr Jarrett’s first solo album on ECM and an early release on that legendary label. Love this record; it’s less romantic than, say, the famous (and highly successful) Köln Concert (covered by Vinyl Connection here). A vinyl upgrade from CD!

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Don Ellis – Electric Bath [Columbia 1967]

From the back cover of the LP: “My rock-oriented, teen-age son, Chris, and I have both flipped out over Don Ellis’ new band. Anyone that can reach these two opposite poles at once must be reckoned with and listened to.” — Henry Mancini

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Bud Powell – 1953 Summer Sessions Broadcast Performances [ESPDISK 1975]

 Have come (thanks to my pianistic pal BB) to highly regard Bud Powell. Here this pianist’s band includes Charles’s Mingus and Parker. Anyway, I would’ve bought this just for any of several reasons: the superb cover, it is a Japanese pressing, and the fact that it is on the ESPDisk label.

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If there is an album that piques your interest, mention it in a comment and I’ll try to say something helpful.

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26 comments

  1. Got to agree that The Epic disappointed. My comment to No. 2 son (who laid out $75 of his own for the vinyl) was that the use of complex rhythms and overlapping melodies didn’t improve my listening experience. Too harsh? Too much hype. Maybe another, less expectant, listen next year.
    Anyway, I’m making Bud Powell the No. 1 priority for 2017 and the others you mention will make a good list to check out over the coming months.
    Looking at my own year, I seem to have averaged one to two ‘new’ albums a week. My highest rating goes to Bobby Hutcherson’s Happenings. However, in the long run This Ones for Blanton (Duke Ellington and Ray Brown) probably got more ear time than almost anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Happenings’ is brilliant. Love it. Don’t know the Ellington – Brown, but if it’s Duke on piano just with bass, that sounds enticing.
      RE: Bud, the Proper 4CD box set is fabulous, if you can track it down.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Is that the Bud Powell Tempus Fugue-It (4CD)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the one.

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  3. Some really interesting albums on here. Very interested in the Abercrombie/Scofield joint. The Gateway records are incredible and I came to Scofield via ‘A Go Go’ which I love dearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen brother. Both Gateway albums are classics, for sure.

      Scofield’s discography is impressive and extensive – almost 50 albums! – and I have but a dozen, beginning with ‘Who’s Who?’ from 1980. I first heard him with Miles on one of the Montreux DVDs, and fell in love with the utterly funk-infused ‘Groove Elation’ (1995).

      This one is much more ‘jazz’ (cf. fusion), and has a clean bop-flavoured sound throughout. Probably due to the production being by Orrin Keepnews!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was lucky enough to see him in Indianapolis with Medeski, Martin, and Wood a few years ago for their Out Louder tour. Incredible.

        I’ll dig into those older LPs. It’s about time. Up All Night and Bump are quite good.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Scofield with M, M and W? Sounds fabulous… Gig envy here!

          I’m playing M, M and W’s Radiolarians (2010) in tribute to your comment. Great album. Later we might have a Sco fave, Uberjam.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Love all the Radiolarians LPs. And Uberjam is a classic.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. That Sco and Abercrombie is new to me too, will have to investigate. The Weber compilation has one of my all-time favourite pieces on it – ‘Touch’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paj is Palo Alto Records & Tapes, Matt.

      Only three of the pieces have a rhythm section, the rest are duos. The band version of Wes Montgomery’s ‘Four On Six’ is a ripper.

      Eberhard’s Yellow Fields is a wonderful album, isn’t it?

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      1. Much prefer ‘Colours Of Chloe’, to be honest…

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  5. 1537 times wittier, that’s very gallant of you Bruce – but simply not true! I believe it is actually only 1536.

    Epic has disappointed me on a bit of an epic degree – it’s a lovely object and has a few good moments, but … I stand by my Star Trek comment, sadly.

    The est one is the one that intrigues me most and that is a brilliant spot, because that really is Leon!

    My best jazz buys were a few Jimmy Smith reissues this year, they are great but I’m not sure how many you need to buy before you’re just hearing variations on the same thing (so speaks a Ramones and AC/DC fan).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Y’know, I feel a little like that about Mr Smith too. I have probably a dozen or so, and there is a real sameness — perhaps because of the timbral characteristics of the Hammond B3.

      EST are really good. This is my intro, and I’m impressed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes I think you just need to say, ‘I’ve got enough of that’ – I’ve reached that point with synthy soundtracks this year. Time to move on and find something else.

        I will keep an ear cocked for EST too.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I was really interested in The Epic (even came close to buying it once or twice), but then I started seeing that word ‘disappointed’ appear and I thought “mnah”.

    I’m not familiar with the others at all, but that Charles Cha-Cha Shaw release has got my attention!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How could anyone go past a jazzman with Cha-Cha in his name? It’s quite uncompromising music, but I can imagine returning to it over time. With Kamasi, read John Hubner’s review for a more balanced (and deeper!) review…

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      1. Impossible to overlook a chap and album like that! Look at the. Over, too… it’s asking to be held, admired, and played.

        JH’s review of The Epic got me back onboard a little, but it’s quite the investment (more time than cost, I guess). That’s maybe time I could spend getting to know Cha-Cha, for example.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. “Actually I’m more concerned about electrocution danger to those foxy Don Ellis Orchestra cover ladies should somebody try and electrify their bath, but hey, it gives my old man a thrill to believe we share a flip out.” – Chris Mancini

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe Chris M now runs an Occ Health and Safety company specialising in spa baths.

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  8. As research for my own review on the album, I revisited The Epic recently after having given it a serious chance early last year and not being greatly impressed. Your concise take on it is wonderfully deflating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh. Sorry to have contributed (another) underwhelmed response, Adam. I want to say to Mr W, ‘Lose the vocals and give me what you got on two sides of wax’. See if some focus helps.
      Thanks for commenting. I’ll check out your review soon.
      Cheers, Bruce

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I want all those records. Catchgroove just did a nice review on a John Scofield concert this past weekend. Check it out. He has good takes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scrolled past it yesterday – ghastly week, no time for blogging! – but will go back. Thanks for the reminder, CB.

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      1. Don’t go away. You’re becoming a habit. Talk soon Bruce.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Not signing off yet, CB. But times like this is when I particularly appreciate a loyal reader of the back catalogue. Thanks!

          Liked by 1 person

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