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 toOrchestrion or We Live Here and you will understand why I make such claims. I trust you will be transported.
I 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.
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
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 Hancock – Head Hunters, the Jazz Masterpiece originally released on October 13, 1973. I recall that I played Chameleonand Watermelon Manoften 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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*
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
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
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.