Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Music Reviews, Classic Jazz & Afro Blues

I worked at a record store for almost fifteen years as a result I spent a large part of my day listening to albums. In the years since then as music played a less central role in my life my choices became more passive. I still listened to music mainly when I'm working on the computer. And I listen to the radio or my Pandora stations.

A couple of months back a friend of mine gave me a stereo system with a CD player so I've begun spinning my own tunes once again. Most of what I listen comes from the local library which has a pretty good selection, for example they have the Stooges “Fun House”. Also stuff I pick up at the local record store where they have an extensive array of bargain discs for a couple of bucks.

So after taking a couple of months off of online activity I'm returning with a post of the discs I've been listening to.

First up “Talking Timbuktu” a east meets west collaboration between roots explorer Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure a guitarist from the the African country of Mali. When you add in Clarence Gate mouth Brown & Jim Keltner you end up with a musical stew of afroblues. It's twenty years old but well worth seeking. I couldn't find any video from this LP but did find this appearance of Toure performing one of the selections from it.





Next up were a pair of jazz albums. First the all star line up of; Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Hank Jones, Sam Jones and Art Blakey. All on the 1958 masterpiece “Somethin' Else” on the Blue Note label. The tunes are a mixture of originals as well as standards like “Love For Sale” and Autumn Leaves. This 1999 compact disc release contains a track not on the original lp “Bangoon”. Really good stuff here one of the albums that got me interested in jazz music.

In fact some people call it perfect like A.B. Spellman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Quoting from a story on the NPR site.

not a wrong note on it. Not a tune on it that's a throwaway. It is a marvelous record. We catch Cannonball Adderley here at his best, I believe, because Cannonball was such a fluid musician. He was a musician for whom playing was so easy, that sometimes it seemed that he wasn't even paying attention to what he was doing. He just played a lot of lovely little solos. But they don't stand out in the sense of the kind of permanence of great music that we look for in this collection.

To read the whole interview click here.



“Money Jungle” was the other excellent jazz disc I listened to today, listening to it now in fact. It's a 1962 release that features a trio consisting of; Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. There was a, not always, beneath the surface tension between drummer Roach and the sometimes difficult Mingus. This is an expanded edition featuring a number of alternate takes and unissued cuts.


There's more information on this pivitol recording on it's Wikipedia post. To see it click here.

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