Kind of Blue

 

 

Today’s runner is a classic piece of plastic.

“…tell me you “grew up” just a little bit after listening to this album and admit your foot was keeping time with that awesome snare…This may be called “Kind of Blue” but it is all jazz…”

…I listened to this album on a walkman (of all devices) lying back on my sleeping bag alone in a tent in the Indian Grinding Rock State Park Campground listening to it pour outside my tent all day. The contingency of skiers had abandoned me telling me I was crazy to camp in what they predicted would be snow so they kept going to Kirkwood where I would end up a day later – but I would not have missed that 24 hours in an empty campground with Miles Davis, a moody rainy day in a tent, a soggy fire that kept going out because “So What”.

Thanks for the share Meri G.

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Small Change

 

Tom Waits conjures up the spirit of Louis Armstrong in his classic 1970s Club Crest style. Small Change is steeped in poetry, jazz and blues, perfect to throw back a few stiff ones and contemplate misfortune, love lost and days of auld lang syne.

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The Hope Six Demolition Project

PJ-Harvey---The-Hope-Six-Demolition-Project-(2016)

 

My birthday came early this year with the April release of PJ Harvey’s 11th album The Hope Six Demolition Project. Once again, Polly Jean removes the frills, glam and make-up and gets down in the dirt to tackle some fairly squalid subject matter. Harvey strikes uneasy chords combining avant-garde jazz saxophone wales with her signature guitar and drums on songs like Ministry of Defense and The Wheel. She also creates moving spiritual chants on songs like Chain of Keys and River Anacostia.  Hope Six is raw, hard hitting filled with stark bitting lyrical imagery. It takes you to the abject poverty and destruction of the middle east, through the ruins of Kosovo and Afghanistan and then drops you right down Near the Memorials To Vietnam and Lincoln in the heart of our own decaying capital – Washington DC. This album is not just good, it is serious good, heavy stuff delivered with PJ Harvey style and tenacity.

“Wade in the water, God’s gonna trouble the water…”

If you prefer your alternative pop sweet and sugar coated, this is not for you. The Hope Six Demolition Project goes down like a stiff drink and it is by far my favorite album of 2016. It’s volatile cloth is cut very much in the same vein as Lou Reed’s New York. It will move you and open your eyes no matter how rose colored your glasses may be. Stream it for yourself and see. Enjoy!

 

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Saxophone Colossus

SaxC

 

Sonny Rollins is joined by Tommy Flanagan on piano, Doug Watkins on bass and the drums of the great Max Roach on this, perhaps his finest set from the 50’s – Saxophone Colossus. Here we are introduced to St Thomas, given a killer version of Mack the Knife (titled Moritat) and then Rollin’s rips his classic solo style on the album closer Blue 7.

Enjoy!

Saxophone Colossus
St. Thomas
You Don’t Know What Love Is
Strode Rode
Moritat
Blue 7

Also, check out more sounds of Sonny.

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Hot Rats

HotRats

 

In 69 Frank Zappa fires the Mothers of Invention and creates one of the first rock-jazz albums.

Hot Rats
01 – Peaches En Regalia
02 – Willie The Pimp
03 – Son Of Mr. Green Genes
04 – Little Umbrellas
05 – The Gumbo Variations
06 – It Must Be A Camel

Not enough? How about Chunga’s Revenge

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Conception

conception

 

The 1951 All-Star team of jazz was Miles Davis, Lee Konitz, Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan all of which played on that year’s landmark album of “cool” Conception. Each delivered a tune or two to create this now classic release. Guitarist Billy Bauer delivered tonal color to Indian Summer one of two Saxophone duets he played with Lee Konitz and pianist Al Haig shines on two Stan Getz originals Intoit and Preservation. Hell, who isn’t on this record! Art Blakey, Max Roach, Roy Haynes and Stan Levey work the drums; Jackie McLean throws in some Alto Sax along side Sonny Rollins and Zoot Sims on Tenor. Kal Winding and J.J. Johnston add some bebop slid trombone while Gene Ramey and Arnold Fishkin keep time. By the end of the decade, they all would become big names in the world of Jazz.

Conception finds Miles Davis painting the broad soundscapes he Mulligan and Konitz first constructed during the Birth of the Cool sessions recorded in the late 40s. He would go back to this big band classical style several times in the 50’s with the help of arranger Gil Evans. Together they created the classic albums Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain, which earned both Davis and Evans a Grammy in 1960.

Miles gets a lot of well deserved credit for the birth of the “cool style”, but the real stars on this record are Konitz, Getz and Mulligan, each of which were instrumental in the idiom’s conception, and its burgeoning popularity. If you ever wondered where the slang term comes from, here you go. Cool huh?

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