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Nothing But Jazz July

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Goodsir





#11 | Posted: 07/01/2016 03:13 | Post subject: Reply with quote
To make things a bit easier, I'm posting the link to the Skype group, which is where the bulk of the conversation related to this will take place: https://join.skype.com/uUNcMfacbHZz
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Goodsir





#12 | Posted: 07/02/2016 20:16 | Post subject: Reply with quote
So the other members of the Skype group and myself have organized a schedule for the listen-a-longs that we'll be doing (we already did A Love Supreme today, sorry to those that missed out), that you can find here, and the plug room where the listens will take place is here. I'll edit the OP so all of the links are easily accessible. We haven't quite organized the times yet, but if you have any questions, just ask.
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SleepDealer




Location: Isca Dumnoniorum
United Kingdom

#13 | Posted: 07/03/2016 12:45 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Skinny wrote:
I accidentally started early and went to see Kamasi Washington tonight. Best gig I've been to since D'Angelo. Amazing.


I also saw Kamasi last week (Bristol). Best gig I've been to since Sufjan Stevens last year.
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Kool Keith Sweat
skronkist



Location: Tejas
United States

#14 | Posted: 07/06/2016 16:19 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Since this project started at the half-way point of the year, I figured it would be fun to share my ten favorite jazz albums I've heard thus far, with a small description of each. In rough ascending order:

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith - A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke
A piano and trumpet duo. Leo Smith started out as Anthony Braxton's sideman around 1970, has remained towards the forefront of adventurous music since then, and has recently had a tremendous creative renaissance with highly conceptual albums including 2012's Ten Freedom Summers and 2015's The Great Lakes Suites; I don't know much about Iyer except that he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship relatively recently. What I'm trying to get at is that these are two certified geniuses in a room, exploring the full range and boundaries of improvisational communication between their respective instruments, at which they're masters. It's not as impressive as other Leo Smith stuff, even from recently, but it's well worth a listen, and will likely be considered by many to be the best jazz album of the year.

Alexander Hawkins & Evan Parker - Leaps in Leicester
A piano and soprano sax duo. Once again, I know nothing about this pianist, but on here he compliments and communicates with Parker's style well. And Parker is on par with some of the best stuff I've heard him on here. Parker can lock in a repetitive groove or burst into a purely improvisational cacophony, and he does both here, and in between his sax seems to explore in a furtive, mercurial way which really seems like how a soprano should sound. It might be that I have a bias towards the sounds of soprano sax, but I like this release quite a bit, and the longer structure of songs helps too.

Fred Frith & Darren Johnston - Everybody's Somebody's Nobody
This is a guitar and trumpet duo. I don't know anything about Darren Johnston, but he communicates with Frith pretty well here; or perhaps, he does his thing until Frith comes in to add to it, and then they try to communicate. I like this mostly because I like Frith, and this is one of his quieter, more accessible recordings that I can think of.

Peter Brotzmann & Heather Leigh - Ears Are Filled With Wonder
A tenor sax and guitar duo. I've been told that Brotzmann has been getting calm in these past few years, and in fact the last time I saw him he was mostly on clarinet and seemed very tame next to each of the players he was with (Jason Adasiewicz, John Edwards, Steve Noble). This is not so on this recording. He is his usual firey, blustery self throughout most of this half-hour track (though with some quieter interludes). Heather Leigh is from Houston psych group Charalambides who, if you haven't heard, could be compared to a less-blustery Bardo Pond; apparently she's a well-established improviser as well, but here she seems to carry on the Charalambides legacy. So when this duo gets together, it sounds about as close to that Sunn O)))/John Coltrane youtube mashup as you could actually get in real life. Heavy, psychedelic jazz. Highly recommended.

Fire! - She Sleeps, She Sleeps
Mats Gustaffson is a highly technical, virtuoso player that tends to be the centerpiece of whatever he plays on, for better or worse. I've seen him perform and he is a poor communicator, often simply belting over everyone no matter what the other players have locked in to. Here though, the pace is slower and, because it's unlikely these tracks are highly improvised, he allows himself and all the other instruments to breath, and the record benefits from that. What you get is technical, highly emotional playing that's adventurous but easily digestible, rather than a madman screaming over everyone.

LOK 03+1 - Signals
Two pianists, a percussionist, and a turntablist. Thanks to dividesbyzero for this one. I just started listening to this one a few days ago, but I'm already enraptured by it. Still processing but I'm coming back to it daily.

Anthony Braxton - 3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011
Three massive, sprawling, hour-long, free orchestral arrangements. Think Free Jazz or Ascension on crack or, better yet, Anthony Braxton's previous orchestral pieces like For Four Orchestras or Creative Music Orchestra 1976, but now with MacArthur funding so he can do what he want. I'm still beginning to digest this, but it's on here because I keep on coming back to the tracks on here (only listened to it once all the way through so far though).

Jon Balke - Warp
A solo pianist blending classical and jazz influences into his improvisations, with added production complimenting it.

Jeff Parker - The New Breed
A guitar-based record with accompanying instruments. Jeff Parker incorporates a lot of hip hop and soul influence into this record. His playing style is perhaps not at his peak (e.g. The Relatives, Sworn Eyes), but it's more adventurous than most of the stuff he put on the last Tortoise record, and the important part is that he has a highly distinguishable style that's still evolving. This only came out about a week ago, so I'm still digesting it. A must listen for Tortoise/Chicago Underground/Isotope enthusiasts, but might not be a favorite for others.

Jamal Moss, Mark Sanders, Orphy Robinson - 01.01.16
A turntablist, drummer, and vibraphonist. Just started listening to this one this week as well. Thanks to skinny and Complete Communion from The Quietus for this one. I'm pretty well aware of Mark Sanders record dates, and have heard both him and Orphy play on Spring Heel Jack records, so I was very excited for this one, but the actual product is a bit below my expectations. The vocal parts are very Sun Ra-esque. Still processing this one though, and I am coming back to it almost every day.

Beyond that, I've also been enjoying Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny and Ches Smith's The Bell; the former is pretty classic-sounding jazz fusion that can sound like cool jazz at some moments and highly adventurous in others, and the latter is sparser, atmospheric chamber jazz with a trio including a violist (I haven't heard many jazz violists, so it was a treat, I guess). There are some others from Henry Threadgill, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Kim Myhr, and Jenny Hval, Fire! Orchestra, and William Parker that I'm still digesting and deciding what my opinion is on them; I'm not a tremendous fan of vocal jazz, so I already have a bias against many of the pieces on these releases.

About half of my jazz listening from this year has been digital and a significant chunk of that has been devoted to new albums; the other half has been vinyl I spin at home, and in the past month or so I've mostly been putting on these: Anthony Braxton's Anthony Braxton (B-X0 NO-47A), This Time..., For Alto, Saxophone Improvisations Series F, Creative Orchestra Music 1976, and Five Pieces 1975; Andrew Cyrille's What About?; Fred Frith's Guitar Solos; Company's Epiphany; Polly Bradfield's Solo Violin Improvisations; Marion Brown's Quartet; Lol Coxhill's Welfare State and Miller/Coxhill; Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, and Han Bennink's Topography of the Lungs; and Grachan Moncur III's Echoes of Prayer. All of these are truly great and I cannot recommend one over the other, but for someone trying to first expose themselves to more jazz, I would suggest the Marion Brown and Grachan Moncur III; the former's "Capricorn Moon" contains adventurous improvisation over a groove among the ranks of great post-bop/hard-bop grooves like Dexter Gordon's "Cheesecake" and Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder" and the latter features a Blue Note outcast known for his spiritual and austere stylings gaining access to one of the premier free jazz orchestras of the '70s.

One trend in my listening that I'm on the tail-end of is listening to jazzy or jazz-inspired noise rock. A couple months ago, I picked up a trio of LPs from a series titled Ass Run, with Jackets in the style of BYG Actuel releases and music featuring the No Neck Blues Band, Shit Spangled Banner, The Max Factory, and Fuzzhead. Beyond those recordings, I've also been listening to Rake (e.g. The Art Ensemble of Rake), Gravitar (e.g. Gravitaativaravitar), and The Cows ('91-'95 run of albums). These groups are typically mostly noise rock and most of the jazz inspiration comes in the form of improvisation, attitude/aesthetic, and the occasional horn, but it's interesting to see where the influences of jazz can take people.
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Gowi
The Thanos of BEA


Gender: Male
Age: 30
Location: Detroit
Poland

#15 | Posted: 07/24/2016 02:21 | Post subject: Reply with quote
The project is sort of teetering itself into its final week, so I figured the thread was worth jumping to the front page for that alone. I want to apologize for not really contributing in the thread (though I have done plenty in the skype group imo), but I think if we can convert this into a general Jazz discussion thread we could have plenty more room and length to discuss jazz on BEA in a focused central area. What does everyone think about that prospect?
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Check out my yearly charts as they are constantly updated! Currently listening to: 1970 and 1992!
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alelsupreme
Awful.


Gender: Male
Age: 22
United Kingdom

#16 | Posted: 07/24/2016 02:26 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Sure why not.
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Kool Keith Sweat
skronkist



Location: Tejas
United States

#17 | Posted: 07/24/2016 22:50 | Post subject: Reply with quote
TheQuietus' Complete Communion column this month brought the Astral Spirits label to my attention, which is a small Austin-based label dedicated to releasing cassettes of adventurous, often improvised music (i.e. mostly jazz), including releases from Rob Mazurek, Joe McPhee, Boxhead Ensemble, and some other big names. They just released a batch of four albums this week; still digesting them, but they're all well worth a listen. Beyond that, mostly been listening to the 2016 albums I mentioned previously, plus the Dejohnette/Coltrane release from this year. Outside of 2016 jazz, this week I've mostly been doing repeat listens to Evan Parker's Marsyas Suite (2015, highly recommended), Coxhill/Miller, Marion Brown's Quartet, Steve Lacy's Clinkers, and parts of Leo Smith's Great Lakes Suites. That Robinson/Sanders release has gone up in my book since my last post. What has everyone been enjoying recently? from this year? from the Skype listening schedule?

EDIT: other than 'straight' jazz, the only other 2016 releases I've really returned to are Autechre, Andy Stott, and Tortoise. This week I've been listening to a lot of Spring Heel Jack, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, John Fahey, David Pajo, Pram, Jessamine, Ganger, June of 44, and HiM.
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Kool Keith Sweat
skronkist



Location: Tejas
United States

#18 | Posted: 08/02/2016 15:01 | Post subject: Reply with quote
So, I've decided that my own next listening "project" is going to be to go through four record label's catalogs. I've chosen: (1) Astral Spirits, which I previously mentioned; (2) Treader, which is run by John Coxon (one half of Spring Heel Jack); (3) Fataka; and (4) Otoroku, which appears to be largely dedicated to live performances at Cafe Oto, but I do have a reissue of Topography of the Lungs from them too. Each of these labels is relatively young, has been active in recent years (all but Treader have 2016 releases as of now), and specializes in improvised music. I've contacted Treader about ordering their discog and I've purchased the entirety of Fataka through their bandcamp; I've been moving around in Oto and Astral Spirits, but will move through them after those first two. Really just found or started paying attention to these labels within the last week or two. Pretty excited to have embarked on this adventure.
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