11 May 2007

Open mic - influential albums

What are your favourite or most influential albums? CJ’s “Open mic” is a chance for you to write for CJ. Just add a comment below. Tell us your 2 or 3 favourite jazz albums and give us a short blurb on why they are important to you. Make it as long or short as you like. If you are a muso, tell us what you play. You can write as anonymous, but I’d prefer your first name. Over to you.

4 comments:

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

I don’t always listen to these albums, but they have been in my musical awareness since I bought them in the 70s. For me, they are profound musical journeys, with great musicians, but with the added spark of commitment to a cause outside of the music: black American racial issues and the Back to Africa movement for two, and an impassioned commitment to seriousness in life and music in the other. Too serious? It seems that way these days, but these are products of the ‘70s: after Malcolm X, the Vietnam War (the American War for the Vietnamese), student revolutionaries, Miles going electric, the move of the left into individualist difference politics; and then came the response: the death of hippiedom, the demise the youth alternative in ’68, and the move of power to the Right. It was a heady era, but then perhaps all eras are heady when you’re in them. Whatever, these are albums of considerable profundity despite their obscurity.

The cry of my people / Archie Shepp

Fabulous gospel music played by excellent jazz players. Beautiful songs and lovely, spirited male and female voices. An album of purpose. Powerful solos from Shepp and Charles McGhee on trumpet. Includes both string and horn accompaniments. Players include Ron Carter, Cornell Dupree and James Garrison. Tunes include some haunting songs like Rest enough (song to Mother), The cry of my people, and Come Sunday. Highlighting the back to Africa period, there’s also the African Drum Suite, Parts 1&2.

Love from the sun / Norman Connors

Norman Connor’s album also has a Back to Africa theme, and features a drum suite called “Drums around the world”, but then Norman Connors was a drummer. Apparently he went into disco later, but this album is excellent. Buster Williams, DeeDee Bridgewater, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Henderson, Carlos Garnett, Gary Bartz, Hubert Laws and others. I particularly love Buster Williams’ fat, sliding bass lines.

Let my children hear music / Charles Mingus

How can a music lover not be seduced by the awful seriousness of Mingus when he writes “Let them hear … music. Not noise. My children! You do what you want with your own!” Great tunes written by Mingus, orchestrated by Mingus and others, and played with the passion that Mingus always demanded in his sidemen. Titles include The shoes of the fishermen’s wife are some jive ass slippers, Don’t be afraid the clown’s afraid too and The chill of death. That gives you the feeling: powerful, committed, demanding, unrelenting and of great, orchestrated beauty.

Eric, bass player and CJ’s editor

CamG said...

Looking back, three albums I listened to a lot in the early days come to mind...

Mysterious Traveller / Weather Report

One of the first things I bought after discovering jazz was a box set of three early Weather Report albums. After recovering from an initial period of complete confusion I became totally addicted to Mysterious Traveller. Nothing beats Joe Zawinul when it comes to opening a young musician's mind.

Bar Talk / John Scofield

One of Scoey's early albums with Adam Nusbaum and Steve Swallow. Some of the best playing I've ever heard from Scoey and Steve Swallow. It's long been out of print and when a friend of mine emailed Scoey to ask where we might still get it, he replied "That album? I have no idea. I don't even think I have a copy."

Live in New York / Jaco Pastorius

This is some sort of boot-leg recording of Jaco with Hiram Bullock, Victor Lewis, Steve Ferrone and Kenwood Dennard. The audio quality is horrible but as a bass player, it was my first exposure to Jaco - what can I say!

Anonymous said...

Full House/Wes Montgomery

These Rooms/Jim Hall (Feat. Tom Harrell)

Moanin'/Art Blakey and the jazz messengers

Someday My prince will come/Miles

Soul Station/Hank mobley