We Mourn The Loss of Claude Nobs

I am sad to learn that we have lost our patriarch of live jazz music. An intimate friend to musicians and music fans all over the world.

We salute you Claude. Your 46 year commitment to the Montreux Jazz Festival and the merits of live music lives on in all the music of our hearts.

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Jazz

Orchestrion (Pat Metheny album)
Orchestrion (Pat Metheny album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Widening Horizon – Olga Spiegel

My favorite musical genre the past decade has been jazz. I enjoy jazz for the improvisation and inventiveness of the musicians, the instruments that they master and the nature of the compositions.

Jazz appeals to my intellect. It is the most stimulating of all the music genres I listen to and that I absorb into my consciousness.

I love jazz because I encounter it a technical person as cerebral. Jazz takes me on profound and satisfying journeys.

The jazz musician I journey with most innately is Pat Metheny. I have seen Pat Metheny in concert several times live. He has taken me on some memorable, breath-taking excursions. Give a listen to Orchestrion or We Live Here and you will understand why I make such claims. I trust you will be transported.

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Jason Moran – Grammar, A Documentary Film About Jazz

https://i1.wp.com/stanfordjazz.org/archive/newsletter/images/Moran,%20Jason%20web.jpg?resize=384%2C473I have learned so much from the dedicated focus of jazz pianist and composer, Jason Moran.  It’s only fair that I help his artistry in return by making a contribution to his Kickstarter project, Grammar, a documentary film about jazz. We will all benefit from his combined evolution of jazz, hip hop, performance and visual art.

Jason Moran is a 2010 MacArthur Fellow and the triple-crown winner of Downbeat Magazine’s 2011 Critics Poll. A graduate of the acclaimed jazz programs at the Manhattan School of Music and Houston’s High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, Jason now presides as the Kennedy Center‘s Artistic Advisor for Jazz and serves on the piano faculty of the New England Conservatory.

Pat Metheny Solo – What’s It All About

I just pre-ordered the new Pat Metheny solo recording, What’s It All About from Music Today. The pre-order includes a limited edition, 9″ by 12″ print (a number of which will be signed, fingers crossed here 😉 and the download track “Alfie”. I like how the guitar track feels so smooth 🙂

The new acoustic solo guitar album from Pat Metheny features classic tunes from songwriters like Paul Simon, Lennon & McCartney, Burt Bacharach, and Henry Mancini. Pat describes it like this: “I wanted to record some of the music that was on my radar before I ever wrote a note of my own, or in a few cases, even before I played an instrument. Every one of these tunes has something going on that is just hip on a musical level, no matter how you cut it. They have all stuck with me over the years.”

CD Track Listing:

1. The Sound of Silence (Paul Simon) 6:33
2. Cherish (Terry Kirkman) 5:25
3. Alfie (Burt Bacharach & Hal David) 7:41
4. Pipeline (Bob Spickard & Brian Carman) 3:23
5. Garota de Ipanema (Antonio Carlos Jobim & Vinicius de Moraes) 5:07
6. Rainy Days and Mondays (Roger S. Nichols & Paul H. Williams) 7:10
7. That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be (Carly Simon & Jacob Brackman) 5:57
8. Slow Hot Wind (Henry Mancini & Normal Gimbel) 4:23
9. Betcha by Golly, Wow (Thomas Bell & Linda Creed) 5:12
10. And I Love Her (John Lennon & Paul McCartney) 4:22

Pre-Order Pat Metheny What’s It All About CD/Limited Edition Print Combo

Eric Harland, Jazz Drummer

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Eric Du’sean Harland is the most captivating, innovative drummer I have seen perform live. I am still reeling from watching the magic his percussion made with the Charles Lloyd New Quartet this past Friday evening at Wesleyan University.

Here is a YouTube clip that will give you a taste of what I am sweetly savoring 🙂

Eric has an impeccable sense of timing. His command of the drum kit and the sticks is extraordinary to witness.

Visit Eric Harland‘s Web site, it’s a very engaging experience. I am digging the music loop.

You will be hearing and seeing much more from Eric Harland, trust me, he’s the real deal!

Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters – Daily Post 2011 #1

Herbie Hancock performing at The XM Sonic Stag...
Image via Wikipedia

My son, Matthew, got me a $50 gift certificate for music at Cutler’s Record Shop in New Haven. I took him to this store last year and he really liked it, which made me very happy :), as I used to hang out there frequently in my college years from 1972-74, as a matter of fact its a frequent music haunt in my travels still 😉

My wife, Rosemary told me the money was burning a hole in my pocket and she was right of course ;).

This is the first of the three recordings I purchased. I’ll write about the other two recordings tomorrow and Monday…

Herbie HancockHead Hunters, the Jazz Masterpiece originally released on October 13, 1973.  I recall that I played Chameleon and Watermelon Man often when I was an FM disk jockey at the University of New Haven, on WNHU-FM. I minored in music at UNH and learned a great deal from my world music college professors who all came from Wesleyan University. We analyzed Head Hunters in my jazz class extensively, which was one the freedoms of taking free form music classes that  I dug in the early 70s.

We’d learn things like the quote below which further increased my interest in ethnomusicology, “On the intro and outro of the tune, percussionist Bill Summers blows into a beer bottle imitating hindewhu, a style of singing/whistle-playing found in Pygmy music of Central Africa. Hancock and Summers were struck by the sound, which they heard on the ethnomusicology LP, The Music of the Ba-Benzélé Pygmies (1966), by Simha Arom and Genviève Taurelle.[11]

Herbie Hancock’s historic “re-imagining” of the classic Headhunters band took place on the Bonnaroo stage in 2005.

The 20-bit remastered edition on CD plays better than I even remembered from music class and radio days. I’m listening to it now as I write this blog post 🙂

The Herbie Hancock Group

Herbie Hancock – Keyboards, Synthesizers

Bennie Maupin – Sax (Soprano, Tenor)

Paul Jackson – Electric Bass

Harvey Mason – Yamaha Drums

Bill Summers – Percussion

Top 10 Recordings of 2010

These are my selections for the 10 best recordings of 2010. I used the following criteria to establish the field of artists.

1) I had to purchase the recording. None of these recordings are samples from the record companies or the artists or the music distributors. Each one of the Top 10 recordings was an out of pocket expense.

2) My emphasis this past year has to become more of a student and benefactor of jazz music, its derivatives, nuances, etc.  I split the Top 10 between five top jazz recordings and five other "genre" recordings.

3) The recording had to produce repeated plays and create a memorable impression.

4) There was a live performance or tour associated with the recording, in other words I was compelled to see the music performed live. In some instances the recording was the impetus to see the artist live.  Live performances are denoted by an asterisk *. You’ll notice that 7 of the 10 Top 10 recordings had live associated events. This speaks to the integrity of these recordings and the artists chosen.

The Five Top Jazz Recordings

1. Pat Metheny Orchestrion*

Orchestrion

Pat Metheny has accomplished an amazing feat with his Orchestrion. He makes a powerful statement with the use of robotics, pneumatic devices and the syncopation of all these entities. I bought the recording on the first day on the strength of Pat’s innovative creativity and was not disappointed one iota.

We saw the last Orchestrion one man show of his nearly year long concert tour in Torrington, Ct. It was a jaw dropping, cosmic excursion. As a long time technologist myself I applauded Pat’s incorporation of technology to the levels that he takes it to.

There will be a DVD of this break through concept of musical diversification coming out in 2011. I am eager to own that video replica of what I saw and heard live. I give this recording 5+ Stars.

2. Herbie Hancock – The Imagine Project*

Herbie Hancock continues his mastery of collaboration with a recording that took place around the world. Herbie has a tremendous ear for musical harmonies and exchanges. The collection of artist friends on this recording is striking and a testament to how many people want to work with Herbie Hancock and company. Herbie’s core band, which consists of Lionel Loueke on guitar, Vincent Colaiuta on drums,  and Tal Wilkenfeld on bass is quite the nucleus.

My favorite tracks on the recording are "The Song Goes On" Featuring K.S. Chithra, Chaka Khan, Anoushka Shankar, & Wayne Shorter, anIndian based raga composition complemented by sitar, tablas and the soothing sound of Wayne Shorter on soprano saxophone.

“Tamatant Tilay/Exodus” Featuring Tinariwen, K’Naan and Los Lobos was recorded worlds apart but sounds like they all gathered in the next room.

I really like Space Captain which brings Herbie and his group to Derek Truck’s studio in the Florida Everglades. Susan Tedeschi sings with such a soulful touch on this number. The interplay between Herbie and Derek is a marvel to witness.

Here is the video of that collaborative effort, which I know you will watch more than once Smile

A Southern Collaboration You’ll Really Enjoy

3. Charles Lloyd Quartet – Mirror

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Just an exquisite series of selections that you want to listen to again and again and again. I am ticketed to see the Charles Lloyd Quartet on January 28, 2011 at Wesleyan University Winking smile

4. John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension – To The One*

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I have been a long time fan of John McLaughlin’s and he continues to reinvent himself in his tireless efforts to make music that challenge the senses and stretch the boundaries. To the One is a tight set of tracks that blasts off in lots of intriguing directions. Pay special attention to the drumming and keyboarding of Gary Husband on this recording. This recording works its way into your soul and consciousness in inviting ways.

5. Ted Nash, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – Portrait in Seven Shades

Portrait

Ted Nash has designed, composed and developed a visual/aural treat for the senses with Portrait in Seven Shades. Each composition is a tribute to a famous painter on display at the Museum of Modern Art., giving you a new appreciation for textures and sound.

My best advice is to look at the MoMA Web site, read about Ted Nash and MoMA and then listen to this recording to fully appreciate what Ted has accomplished. I was very inspired by Ted’s work and developed some Web pages on my Web site, LearningEdje in honor of his stellar thinking and arrangements.

The Other Top Five "Genre" Recordings

1. Jeff Beck – Emotion and Commotion*

Jeff Beck_Emotion & Commotion

Jeff Beck has truly outdone himself on this recording. Once you give it a listen you’ll know why it was nominated for 5 Grammy Awards.

We caught an early preview of several of these tracks when we saw Jeff Beck Live at Madison Square Garden this past February.

The track that will impress you on a new and exciting level is Nessun Dorma the aria from the opera by Puccini.

2. Ryan Montbleau Band – Heavy on the Vine*

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Ryan Montbleau Band have put together a very listenable recording. It plays effortlessly from track to track. I like Ryan’s voice and the fun his lyrics provide. The CD can be set on repeat play and you just want to hear it again and again.

We have seen the Ryan Montbleau Band three times now in concert and they really are a joy to hear perform live.

My favorite song is More and More and More about all the choices we are overwhelmed with in this life.

3. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – I Learned The Hard Way

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Raw, soulful energy. Sharon Jones and Dap Kings show us why Brooklyn epitomizes R&B, Soul and makes you want to kick up your heels. You can’t help but love this recording and smile in awe of this get down with it group. Ms. Jones has a thing going on, trust me Winking smile

4. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Mojo*

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers nailed it on this recording. Reaching back into their Southern roots, placing the accent on the blues and rock and roll, this CD has many listenable and playable tracks.

They were giving this recording away for free, which told me how much Tom Petty believed in this musical effort. Turned out he was so right about that belief.

It helped to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform these songs live. We spent an excellent summer evening on the lawn in Hartford with them this past year.

5. Los Lobos – Tin Can Trust*

tin-can-trust

Los Lobos produces another strong recording. You’ll love “Do The Murray”, a fun shake your booty number.  I love their rendition of “West LA Fadeaway”, Los Lobos covers the Grateful Dead so well.

The song “Tin Can Trust” as David Hidalgo explains is about that tin can you have by the side of the bed on your nightstand where you place your loose change along with your dreams every night.

From Nick’s Taste of Texas, Covina, CA

We were fortunate to buy the CD before it was released and get it signed when they played the New Haven Green on July 31st.

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Lots of great dancing songs on this CD.

Los Lobos, Peace, Ese.

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Best Jazz Recording of 2009

Wow! Check out Historicity by The Vijay Iyer Trio. Its as monumental an effort for your listening senses as the cover displays 😉

Year-end acclaim for Historicity by the Vijay Iyer Trio:
#1 Jazz/Pop Album of the Year – The New York Times
#1 Jazz Album of the Year – National Public Radio, U.S.A.
#1 Jazz Album of the Year – Los Angeles Times
#1 Innovative Jazz Release of 2009 – Chicago Tribune
#1 Best Jazz of 2009 – PopMatters.com
#2 Jazz Album of the Year – JazzTimes Poll (40 critics voting)

Peace, Ed