Re: Sister, I'm the uncertainty of a poet

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It's pretty hard to compare favorably to Ella Fitzgerald.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:30 PM
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Yeah, I was going to say that wasn't very nice to Krall, but her's is pretty bad. Of course, I'd never heard of Diana Krall, so maybe oder.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:39 PM
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her's

Oh, you.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:42 PM
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I think I did something like that just recently, too. Oh well!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:43 PM
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I don't really like Krall's entire vocal timbre, to be honest. And the wimpiness of her band has already been noted. (Of course Joe Pass, Ella's accompanist, is somewhat well-regarded in his own right.)

I believe this is where I traditionally note my disappointment at finding out that Justin Timberlake's hit "Cry Me a River" wasn't actually a version of the standard. I would pay money to hear him perform the standard.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:44 PM
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At least in this song, Krall is doing way too much emoting and not much singing. There are about 200 version of the song on Rhapsody, including an unsurprisingly great one by Sam Cooke. Timberlake seems to know his limitations.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:47 PM
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I don't mean to belittle anyone's taste, (much), but do people sincerely feel that DK is the best jazz vocalist of the times? It's not my genre, but surely there are plenty of fairly well-known vocalists who could blow her out of the water. I agree about the timbre of her voice. There's something about it that is far too redolent of Bugs Bunny if you ask me.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:53 PM
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I lodge a general request of those posting extended video links: please provide captions. Some of us are on dial-up. We can figure out what you're talking about without watching the video if you provide a short explanatin.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:57 PM
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Best known. I don't really know from contemporary jazz singers, but she's everywhere (eg in starbucks), won grammys, etc.. And as that one American Idol finalist sang after she was eliminated: "America don't care for jazz". I doubt there are really very many well-known jazz vocalists ├╝berhaupt, if you confine yourself to the living.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:57 PM
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explanation


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:58 PM
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Sorry. Still need captions?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:58 PM
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I like Krall's voice, but yeah, I agree that she's kind of overrated. Madeline Peyroux, on the other hand, who no one's heard of, is completely awesome.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 10:59 PM
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I think that if you click on the embedded player, but not on the "play" button, it will take you to the youtube page for that video which will show you the description. The watch page is a little heavy, but a lot less so than the video itself...


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:00 PM
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Since it's impossible to figure out from the post or discussion thus far, I note for parsimon and anyone else on dialup that the third video is Scott Walker doing Jacques Brel's "Mathilde".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:02 PM
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Tierney Sutton


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:05 PM
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Madeline Peyroux, on the other hand, who no one's heard of

Wasn't she (relatively) unavoidable a few years ago? I seem to remember hearing her everywhere; I think I even saw an ad for her album on TV.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:06 PM
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Madeline Peyroux, [...] who no one's heard of

We have all four of her CDs here in the house.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:06 PM
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14: Thank you Ben. I was about to bitch at you about it, but the fact is that I'm just tired. 'night.

An introductory paragraph would be great.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:06 PM
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In fact, I'm pretty sure my mother, who is nobody's hipster, has them as well. You should probably get out more, B.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:08 PM
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Ah well, once again I show my lack of musical knowledge. Anyway, Apo's mom has good taste.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:10 PM
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"And the coffee empire has taken musicians and bands that would otherwise go largely unheard -- Antigone Rising, Madeleine Peyroux -- and made them into overnight stars (the company recently announced that it would be touting the debut album of one Sonya Kitchell). When Starbucks started selling Peyroux's album 'Careless Love' in its stores in late March, sales went up 241 percent. According to Newman, the chain sold more than 10,000 units alone, more than doubling the sales of the album at music stores and mass merchants like Wal-Mart for that week combined."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:11 PM
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Maybe B is Apo's mom. Have the two of you actually met?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:11 PM
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You will bow down before Starbucks.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:12 PM
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Have the two of you actually met?

Sorta.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:14 PM
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You can't fool me, apo. Careless Love is an (excellent) album by Zentralquartett.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:15 PM
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Ella is exquisite, and her phrases are shapely. But I like Krall's voice, you babe-haters. Remember also that great jazz vocalists who accompany themselves on piano are pretty rare. There's Blossom Dearie, for example, who's great but whose singing was constrained by her being seated at the piano and typically singing toward the side.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:25 PM
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If I may, I think Krall is too busy trying to deny the breathiness that comes with real emotion---she's being too "singerly" in the classical sense. It took me a long, long time to unlearn the habits of classical training, which tend to emphasize the voice over the breath. You can hear how full her voice is of pure tone, which is remarkable, but not, like, realistic.

The sound of actual pain is a fluctuating between the pure vocality of emotion and the sobbing breath of the body, in contest with one another. It's fucking hard to do on cue.

Fitzgerald handles it beautifully, not as fresh pain, but as a recollection, long-handled suffering made audible. Of course, I love her. Fetishize her, even. Who could blame me?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:41 PM
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I've always preferred Anita O'Day to Ella. Washington was ok on the bluesier stuff, but mostly Carmen MacCrae(?) otherwise
.
Don't Like Krall. Think I heard Peyroux and wasn't impressed. Was Cassidy jazz? I don't think she improvised.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:44 PM
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Ella, goddess for sure.
Love DK.
Sara Vaughn, anyone?
And I used to like Flora Purim's work.
But I'm aware I have no taste.
Certainly it is dangerous to judge among the immortals for the title of kallistos.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:44 PM
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Bob, you rule. I was just about to look up that clip. Anyone who hasn't seen Jazz on a Summer's Day, the film from which it comes, must.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:49 PM
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Breaks out into childlike sing-song voice -

"I've spotted an 'awesome'"
"I've spotted an 'awesome'"


Posted by: Herr Torquewrench | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:51 PM
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AWB: Really? Ella seems the more singerly to me: her version sounds more expressive partly because her technique and intonation are so great.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:54 PM
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Ella also knows how to hit pitches between notes with extraordinary skill, which has a lot to do with it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:56 PM
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32: She's fucking phoning it in, which is most of the genius, I think.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 2-07 11:57 PM
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Both versions are clearly referencing, and are derivative of, the definitive version: the 1955 Julie London/Barney Kessell version. The Fitzgerald/Pass version in particular is pretty much a straight facsimile of it. I like and rate Joe Pass and Fitzgerald and have several albums by both [quite a few by Pass, actually] but, as already mentioned, they are phoning it in slightly.

Also, Krall is a pretty interesting singer even if that particular youtube track isn't great. That slightly brittle thin timbre and stiff phrasing is something she uses as stylistic colour on her records. She's also quite capable of a more breathy, torchy/smoky style of singing too. Those records are often pretty interesting, too, and take more stylistic chances than I would have thought [before I heard them].

The Julie London/Barney Kessell version can be heard here. The guitar comping on it is a masterclass.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0Q1-PiU42U


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:15 AM
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Here's a Babe at Piano

The "Crossmaker" isn't so good, and a lot of her work was in her studio arrangements. But this is pretty good. But I know nuttin about music

Says way too much about me how much I love this woman. Or just a crush.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:19 AM
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In terms of younger jazz singers, a lot of people rate Jane Monheit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBPD887Luf8

[also, that vid has the excellent Jonathan Kreisberg on it]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:28 AM
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Annie Ross with Lambert and Hendricks
Twisted


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:38 AM
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I dob't know, seems like we went thru the sixties to get past the academic atelier precision craft stuff, and into art.

And how is that Jazz? Julie London & Joe Pass ain't exactly challenging my ass like Parker & Coltrane, ain't making me stand up and say:"Jesus, did she really do that? And why does it work?" Billie always did, O'Day and Ella often could.

There may be less skill, but there are more chances taken in rock/folk, blues/country. I'll take Annie Haslam over Krall anyday. Ot maybe Bjork.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:45 AM
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re: 39

Music doesn't have to 'challenge your ass' to be great. I yield to no-one in my love for uncompromisingly out-there improvisational music, but sometimes a really simple direct rendition of a song is also equally interesting.

Furthermore, if you want to find it, there is still absolutely tremendous, innovative jazz music being made where chances are still taken. The fact that a certain type of 'frozen in aspic' style of retro post-bop stuff sells well is no different from in the past. The really challenging musicians in the 60s weren't the ones selling lots of records.

And finally Holiday made crap records just like everyone else.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:58 AM
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35: Nurse Dixie McCall! Her version was truly awesome. But don't be hating on the singer's craft, people. Ella was able to phone it in so beautifully largely because her technique was so good. I think Schubert and Wolf would have loved her.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:01 AM
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40: And finally Holiday made crap records

Sir, I shall have to ask you to step outside.

Anyway, of artists recording today I'm still fond of Soledad Bravo.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:13 AM
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Ya know, when Sinatra died, I went out anf picked up a vinyl box-set of the classic stuff. And I tried, I really tried, but Sinatra is still gathering dust in the corner while Hank Williams, the Elvis Sun Sessions, and Muddy Waters will never leave my harddrives. Same period as Sinatra. It ain't that hard to be interesting.

I ain't asking for Meredith Monk. I got Emmylou and Nanci Griffith & Alison Krauss & Rhonda Vincent and lord knows how many others. I don't really keep up with recent stuff.

I am not yet sure what made Cassidy a little better, tho I have my days when even she is too loungey. Christine Collister has about worn out her welcome.

I am not keeping up these days, but when I was, there was no shortage of interesting rock frontwomen.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:33 AM
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Joel, I'll take Sarah Vaughn if nobody else will. Who was it said, "The thing about jazz singers is they don't actually sing jazz, unless they're called Sarah Vaughn"? Not technically as good as Ella (for whom Schubert and Wolf would have written whole cycles), but jesus, what she could do with a tune.

Youngish singer worth hearing, Kim Nalley. A bit brash and bluesy, but fine control. Did a Nina Simone tribute album last year.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 2:02 AM
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re: 42

I can get quite annoyed by the canonising of certain jazz musicians. While the canonised musicians are usually pretty damn great -- Holiday, Coltrane, etc -- their canonisation usually has little to do with how great they really were and everything to do with an absurdly romantic (and fucked up) view of the performer as tortured genius.

Holiday was a great singer, but like just about everybody else, had her off days. I have some later Holiday stuff that, by any sane standard, just isn't that good, unless what makes it good for the listener is that it fits with a certain romantic view they have.

[Personally, the lionising of Coltrane in particular is infuriating. ]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 2:49 AM
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However, Coltrane is possibly unique in having been literally canonised in some circles.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:44 AM
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I hereby challenge your ass, sirrah! I demand satisfaction!


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:50 AM
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by the way, everything Coltrane did, including laundry lists and notes to the milkman, was at least interesting. I'm not sure where this hidden archive of mediocre records that GcMM is alluding to exists.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:54 AM
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re: 48

I didn't say Coltrane made any mediocre records -- although somewhere I have a 5 album vinyl box of Coltrane rarities that includes some stuff that's not brilliant. The mediocre records thing above specifically referred to Holiday.

I just get annoyed at the whole Coltrane-above-all thing. It's similar to the way some classical music buffs go on about Beethoven. It's narrow-minded.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 4:12 AM
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Honestly, I find a lot of Alice Coltrane's work to be affected and somehwat pretentious. Not sure what y'all brits are going on about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 6:00 AM
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Also, female jazz vocalist-wise, I've always been fond of Nancy Wilson.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 6:07 AM
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I have to admit that I like the Joe Cocker version over either of those.


Posted by: joe dokes | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 6:22 AM
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I've always preferred Anita O'Day to Ella.

I'm not sure I'd go that far, but god, I love that clip from Jazz on a Hot Summer's Day. Such a great performance. Anita made a lot of lackluster records, but when she was on, whew. There's a live recording of her singing "It Never Entered My Mind" I used to have on some compilation that was just about the most perfect thing ever recorded. I lost it a decade ago and have been searching unsuccessfully for it since.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 6:22 AM
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How great is Cassandra? Really great.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 6:41 AM
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Jane Monheit, Madeline Peyroux ... what is this mainstream bullshit? My favorite jazz vocalist is this woman I heard humming something for a minute or two on a bus to Homer, Alaska, once, and who died shortly afterwards.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 7:26 AM
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I can get quite annoyed by the canonising of certain jazz musicians. While the canonised musicians are usually pretty damn great -- Holiday, Coltrane, etc -- their canonisation usually has little to do with how great they really were and everything to do with an absurdly romantic (and fucked up) view of the performer as tortured genius.

Sounds right to me.

I almost have a bias toward white jazz musicians now as a reflex against all the romanticized stuff.

Anita O'Day, indoors this time.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 7:44 AM
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Nobody beats Sarah Vaughan at her best. I don't know how you get "not as technically as good as Ella" - I've never heard another jazz singer with a fraction of the control Sarah had. One of the most embarrassing performances I ever sat through was Dianne Reeves homage/exploitation of Sarah, in which she sang a bunch of SV favorites, inviting a comparison which would necessarily be unfavorable. Best Sarah Vaughan album ever: After Midnight.

And now watch me start a fight. Billie Holliday: vastly overrated.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 7:47 AM
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Nobody beats Sarah Vaughan at her best

Except maybe the occasional boyfriend.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 7:54 AM
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No one's mentioned Abbey Lincoln? Her "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" is incredible. As is a lot of her other stuff.

Dinah Washington is a lot of fun. I've sort of OD'ed on Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan is too coldly virtuosic for me.


Posted by: alif sikkiin | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:12 AM
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Krall gets possibly too many bonus points for being the Pride of Nanaimo, and there are other Canadian jazz divas at least equally interesting.

Sophie Millman, Carol Wellsman and Heather Bambrick to name a few.

Canada's Jazz Station


Posted by: uncle rameau | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:28 AM
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56:Nope. When I was into jazz, I gradually preferred the 50s-early 60s Blue Note sessions. Coltrane's early session work proved his divinity. There is a lot of it, because he could not only smoothly comp any other player or combo, but he inspired and excited everyone he worked with. Everybody wanted him.

I still need someone to explain to me, in terms of the pure vocalizations, why London & Krall are jazz and Cocker is not.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:34 AM
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59--
second abbey lincoln. also a duet with her and getz on that same album, can't remember the title but a beautiful samba.

the first girl i kissed, many decades ago, was a 16 yr old ringer for julie london. fond memories of both.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:37 AM
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I still need someone to explain to me, in terms of the pure vocalizations, why London & Krall are jazz and Cocker is not.

Well that would be impossible, as you know. It's a matter of which songs they sing and which instruments accompany them.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:37 AM
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It's a matter of which songs they sing and which instruments accompany them.

Yet Nora Jones gets into the record store jazz racks, at least over here. Not that I want to discuss Nora Jones.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:40 AM
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I am also pretty racist when it comes to jazz. With the exceptions of Art Pepper and umm, the junkie trumpet guy, the West Coast sound did not excite.
But Brubeck & Mulligan? Ehhh.

Ok, Tristano & Giuffre. There are a lot of exceptions.

Red Garland had his own club when I first hit Dallas.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:42 AM
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"It's a matter of which songs they sing and which instruments accompany them."

I don't think we would have such easy standards for sax or piano. Saw a clip in Ken Burns of Armstrong singing something like "ole Man River" circa 1930, and I was wiped out. He left out entire words, bent the melody out of recognizable shape, changed tempos and keys, did all sorts of crazy beautiful shit.

Elvis was closer than London.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:50 AM
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I think it's undeniable that Coltrane had bad days. To pick an example out of a hat, some (not all!) of his work playing with Monk in the mid 50's is unlistenable because 'trane is so busy doing his own self-indulgent thing that he can't be bothered to listen to what his bandmates are trying to play.

As for Krall, all I really know about her is that you'd be hard pressed to read equipment reviews in audio magazines without encountering her name over and over again.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:53 AM
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65: Y'know, just yesterday I brought home a cd of the Red Garland quintet feat. John Coltrane. Maybe I'll put it on.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:55 AM
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When I was a kid, I didn't understand why the What A Wonderful World/Hello Dolly guy was so lionized. I've since learned.

What's interesting to me is how early on Armstrong was recognized by his fellow-musicians as definitive. But what amazed me was learning the mutual respect and borrowing going on between Louis and Bing - Der Bingle is nothing but a ghost of a punchline to the post-war generations, but Armstrong freely admitted borrowing from and admiring Crosby (and not just the super-early stuff), just as Bing always made sure Louis got his due. Their duets (esp. Gone Fishin') make me so happy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:56 AM
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64: I first realized that something nasty had happened to jazz when Sting's first solo record got a grammy nom in the jazz category. Ech, I just threw up in my mouth thinking about it.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 9:07 AM
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Here's one consideration of the difference between jazz and whatever else. (I wish I knew how to host an mp3, listening to the guy read this is much better)


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 9:11 AM
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re: 65

There's absolutely shit-loads of brilliant jazz made by white people. They're just European white people. The current UK jazz scene [not all white, obviously] is absolutely amazing, for example. Hoaching* with people making innovative, exciting music.

* this is a scots word meaning something like 'absolutely full of, or covered by, in much the way that insects or maggots infest a living thing'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 9:53 AM
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There's absolutely shit-loads of brilliant jazz made by white people. They're just European white people.

Or, sometimes, American white people. (Or even Canadian white people. Fucking Paul Bley.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:00 AM
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re: 73

Yeah, but, you know, European white people have naturally better rhythm.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:03 AM
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45: their canonisation usually has little to do with how great they really were and everything to do with an absurdly romantic (and fucked up) view of the performer as tortured genius.

Yeah, I simply don't think this is true. Before I was an educated listener of jazz (e.g. before I actually knew anything about the lives of any of the artists), I was happy to canonize Holiday for the uniqueness of her voice alone. Same with Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, etc. Same, for that matter, with soul singers like Dusty Springfield or (more recently) Amy Winehouse, whose voice carried the same resonance for me when she was a fresh-faced newomer as it does now that she's an alarmingly degenerated crack addict.

Tragedy or the lack of tragedy in the musician's biography really has nothing to do with it, and actually I doubt I'm alone in this. I still know virtually nothing about Charlie Mingus outside of his records; if I knew he was a junkie whose whole family died in a house-fire, would that make me like New Tijuana Moods any better? No. And I know more than I ever wanted to about Miles Davis; does his being an inexcusable narcissistic bastard make me like Sketches of Spain or Bitch's Brew any less? Again, no. It just doesn't work that way.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:16 AM
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74 is funny.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:16 AM
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re: 75

Sure, and most of these canonised musicians are really great and lots of people like them for no other reason than their music.

But I'd argue strongly that for a LOT of people it is some of those tragic aspects of their lives that they value. I've heard so much specious jazz criticism from people who are clearly talking out of their arse and much of it comes down to the same romantic notions that lead people to obsess over Beethoven or Van Gogh.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:20 AM
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56.2: Just go for the fucked-up white jazz musicians, like Chet Baker.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:21 AM
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77: Yeah, well, if people happen to obsess over Van Gogh or Beethoven for the wrong particular reason, I'd still call that a win.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:22 AM
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People with rough lives get a mythology built around them, but the primary judgment of quality seems to be largely independent of that. A crack addict who has always sounded bad doesn't get plaudits.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:22 AM
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Before Coltrane flew quite so close to the sun:
Turning Point (with Art Blakey, Donald Byrd, 1957 )
Dial Africa (with Wilbur Harden, 1958)
I like 'em. Had 'em on LP. Can't find CDs.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:23 AM
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re: 79

Heh, I wouldn't. It's annoying.

"So-and-so is really great"

"But not as great as Beethoven, dude. Who was like a romantic genius and shit, and just way more gnarly than that fucking charlatan. Shit, he had a happy contented life and everything. What kind of musician is that?'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:24 AM
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McG is clearly peeved about being happily married. *We* still think you're brilliant, ttaM.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:25 AM
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82: "Van Go? He was, like, a painter, right? Like Thomas Kincaid?"


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:26 AM
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re: 83

Can't type now, I'm trying to find a vein that hasn't collapsed.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:27 AM
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Greatest commenter ever.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:30 AM
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I find myself looking at comment 72 with a whole new perspective.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:33 AM
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I find that I can't appreciate jazz music because I don't concentrate on music when I listen to it. Jazz music or art music, both.

I have a bunch of jazz CDs from before 1950 for which paying close attention isn't necessary, though. Some would call this "swing" music and not jazz at all, but it includes those Louis Armstrong Hot Five and Hot Seven records.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:38 AM
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Someone who would call "swing" music not-jazz would be an idiot.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:41 AM
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My dad has a lot of records that seem objectively great by the Ornette Coleman and Archie Shepp and McCoy Tyner and Mal Waldron and Andrew Hill organizations. I put them on in the background and then they end after a while, with me periodically thinking "that new melody that just appeared and disappeared was pretty cool." It's hard to get anything out of them for someone used to the pop-song structure. Only at concerts can I concentrate on music without wanting to be doing something else at the same time that I am listening.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:43 AM
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Diana Krall is deeply mediocre. (thinking of US artists) `Cat Power', who doesn't really sing jazz at all, has 10 times the heart, and is closer to these divas than Krall will ever be. I'm not sure if that's a more comment on the lack in jazz at the moment, or the strength of so-called `indie'.


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:45 AM
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81:The Wilbur Harden sessions, orig "Tanganyika Suite" and "Africa", were re-released in the 90s under the titles "Tanganyika Strut" and "Complete Savoy Sessions" (with outtakes). Still hard to find. I have them, but I don't share, in order to avoid jail and bankruptcy. And because p2p and filesharing sites seem complicated.

I don't recognize the Blakey/Byrd songs, but didn't research much.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:45 AM
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re: 89

Some people feel that way, though. My old sax tutor once basically told me he didn't really rate anything pre-Parker. I'm sure he'd still have called it jazz, but as far as he was concerned 'real' jazz began with bop.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:46 AM
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90: I used to pride myself on listening to nothing but long abstract improvised jazz instrumentals. I was a dumb kid then, and have since expunged anti-pop snobbery (mostly) from my system. But I do feel the need to listen to something outside the normal pop song structure periodically. Luckily there's plenty to choose from, not all of it jazz.

91: Chan Marshall -- yes, that's completely right, actually.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:48 AM
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89: What about the sentiment "If Paul Whiteman could be the "King of" anything, that thing could not be jazz."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:49 AM
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re: 94

I'd imagine like a lot of people, I go through phases. I'm in a fairly big jazz phase right at the moment -- lots of piano trio stuff, for some reason -- but in a few weeks I'll probably be obsessed by something else.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:51 AM
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88:I don't consider the 5's & 7's "Swing" I like the twenties jazz, and everything between Parker & 1965, but not so much the Ellington-Basie-Goodman era/style. It is all personal taste, I suppose, but the dance/concert hall intent of much swing detracts for me.

Ellington on solo piano is immortal, though.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:52 AM
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93: Yeah, see, anyone (a saxophone player no less!) who wouldn't rate Coleman Hawkins I just couldn't take seriously.

95: Spot on, but of course not the same thing. (Paul Whiteman. Cripes. It's like the guy was born to be a symbol of pop culture appropriation.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:55 AM
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Slack has redeemed himself by being right about everything in this thread.

Except that I really don't want to believe all the gossip about Amy Winehouse falling apart, because I just really love her.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:56 AM
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I'm sure he'd still have called it jazz, but as far as he was concerned 'real' jazz began with bop.

And some people think it ended there (Dorothy Parker, my dad). They're equally wrong and you can't really have a meaningful discussion with either camp. Miles Davis said there should be a day every year when all the musicians went down on their knees and thanked Duke.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:58 AM
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re: 99

The UK press seems fairly keen on the idea that she's in a 'bad way'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:58 AM
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99: I'm always right about everything, B. It's just sometimes you notice!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:00 AM
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101, so does Wikipedia. There's a thousand words there about her activities of the past month, for God's sake.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:00 AM
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And yeah, the gossip about Amy Winehouse seems sadly plausible. I hate it. I also suspect that the press attention actually feeds that downward spiral.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:01 AM
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Youngish singer worth hearing, Kim Nalley. A bit brash and bluesy, but fine control. Did a Nina Simone tribute album last year.

I just heard her singing "Four Women" excellently, and missed hearing her name. Thanks, OFE.

It took me a long, long time to unlearn the habits of classical training, which tend to emphasize the voice over the breath.

I'm wondering how you did this unlearning, and how you would train differently, if you had it all to do over again from zero?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:05 AM
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re: 98 and 100

Yeah.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:05 AM
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105, me


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:06 AM
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Cat Power is the poor man's Feist.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:09 AM
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108 is just wrong. Leslie Feist is really quite good, but also Canadian (so does that count?).


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:14 AM
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108: Feist is all right, but really: no.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:15 AM
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Next you'll be sayingt Emmylou Harris is the poor man's Neko Case.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:17 AM
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111: damn you. I've got coffee on my keyboard now.

Nothing particular (as not in 109) against Feist, she's a fun listen. They really aren't in the same league though.

I think Neko Case has the same problem as Diana Krall; technically good voice, tuning spot on, etc. but some trouble breathing life into a song. I'm not saying Neko's technique is as developed as Kralls, just saying they both have too much form and not enough substance.


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:21 AM
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Men irrationally overlove Feist for reasons women cannot understand.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:22 AM
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112: as not should be as noted, darn.


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:22 AM
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112, what is "substance" anyway? Life experience?

Some of Neko Case's songs sound a little silly when she's imitating a gospel singer, but I think there's a lot of authentic emotion in "Star Witness" and "Margaret vs. Pauline", for example.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:25 AM
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I assumed Smasher was kidding. That said, Feist is pretty much every hipster's ideal girlfriend: cute, talented, fun, but apparently sane and normal; plus: Canadian.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:28 AM
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I cannot for the life of me understand what everyone has for Neko Case. Except for maybe Linda Ronstadt, I've never heard a more muscular delivery. Do not want. I think I have almost every recording Emmylou Harris has made. Your comment cuts, CN.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:29 AM
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Neko Case is sex*; come one, artster.

*not a typo


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:32 AM
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plus:canadian s/b plus canadienne.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:32 AM
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115: Technique by itself is boring. At some extreme you head towards computer generated notes. Perfect timing, perfect pitch, perfectly dull. To use a more human example --- one of those wunderkind violin players (take your pick). You start off by not being able to believe a 12 year old can play *that*, but at 18 or whatever it's all fireworks and no soul and you hope they will get better as they mature.

A White Bear alluded to the voice vs. breath thing, which is part of it. I think part of it is also breaking the rules a little bit, at the right time. I don't think life experience is the same thing, but I think it can definitely help. As something to draw on.

For the record, I like Neko Case too (as you note, she's a bit hit and miss). She just isn't any Emmylou Harris (yet?). For someone who started off as a punker (drumming) who knows where she'll end up.

Chan Marshall is a different story. At her best she can own a song in a way very few can. She's a bit hit and miss to --- and has worked with some pretty weak songs, which is less of a problem for a jazz singer. I don't know if the alcoholism was needed for that, or just came along for the ride. I'm pretty questioning of the whole `tortured artist' thing, too (although I do think that hard lives probably help people to focus on the one thing that is working for them)


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:35 AM
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I also suspect that the press attention actually feeds that downward spiral.

Agreed. I hate them all.

I've never heard a more muscular delivery. Do not want.

Sexist.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:36 AM
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I didn't know Neko Case before I saw her in concert. The entire show, she kept trading pseudo-lesbian (as in: for the benefit of all the males there) sexual banter with her female band member. Puke puke puke.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:36 AM
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The entire show, she kept trading pseudo-lesbian (as in: for the benefit of all the males there) sexual banter with her female band member.

Yuck.

It really is alarming how many young women seem to have bought into the whole - for want of a better term - frat-boy culture of the last decade or so. Neko Case, I'm given to understand, doesn't need to suck up to anyone. And yet there it is.

Coincidentally, Star Witness is the only thing of hers I have, and I like it; this morning I finally looked up the lyrics, realizing I had no idea what the hell she was saying, much less what it meant. The lyrics don't help at all, but apparently she explained it a bit once, and that helped some.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:44 AM
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123: I don't know how much it relates to her solo work, but I remember her or Dan Bejar saying that the typical way they would write for The New Pornographers was to write the entire melodic line before looking for lyrics that fit. That sort of approach ends up with some pretty abstract lyrics...


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:49 AM
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124, that's how Robert Pollard has usually (always?) written lyrics. It led to some great abstract stuff, but he got lazy around 1998 or so and the imagery dried up.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:53 AM
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I enjoy Neko Case's voice, in both her solo work and with the New Pornographers. I can appreciate that sometimes it seems a bit mismatched with the material (as noted in 115), but I am flummoxed by the notion that a "muscular delivery" is problematic. What, you only like wispy singing?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:56 AM
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125: Yeah, I'm sure a lot of people have done this. It's not a bad thing in and of itself, but it really shows if you are phoning it in on that end. I just meant that it might contribute to some of her lyrics being a bit inscrutable. With the the New Pornographers stuff, I'm sure it's because they have a handful of strong voices (unusual enough in a pop outfit) and want to try and fit them together in interesting ways, so they do that first. A lot of those songs are vastly more developed instrumentally that lyrically.


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:57 AM
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Y'all are crazy -- Furnace Room Lullaby is one of the best country albums of the last ten years.

125 - Unless you've got the answers, don't patronize the mountain man.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 11:59 AM
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I think that Neko Case's solo stuff is qualitatively different from Furnace Room Lullaby, and not in a good way.

Of course, at the show I saw a year or so back - shortly after the release of Fox Confessor, she spent every break going on about all the drugs she did as a teenager. It was a pretty jarring contrast to the already somewhat excessively moody and tortured vocals, and it wasn't entirely clear who she was trying to impress. The audience was probably 60% female and 30% hipster boy, fwiw.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:00 PM
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Whoa, semi-pwned and unable to close italic tags in the right place. Some of Blacklisted is OK, but as a whole it's clearly not as good.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:02 PM
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It's not a bad thing in and of itself, but it really shows if you are phoning it in on that end.

Yeah, I liked this song, for example, until I looked at the lyrics. What the hell? It doesn't even fit the rhythm of the song, unlike most of these, which are also a lot more evocative.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:03 PM
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81: The Coltrane record seems to be listed in catalogs as The Bethlehem Years -- "Turning Point" is a subtitle in sneakily large text. Some other releases containing tracks from those sessions:

* Art Blakey Big Band
* Art Blakey - El Toro Valiente c/w Ain't Life Grand
* Various Artists - Big Band Contrast
* Various Artists - Golden Jazz Instrumentals

(The Jazz Discography Project is awesome)


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:04 PM
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129/30 agree that she benefited from co-writing. Blacklisted is pretty good, and led to the hope she was just finding here solo writing feet. Fox Confessor is weaker though. The Tigers have Spoken has some good live tracks, though.


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:05 PM
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I find that I can't appreciate jazz music because I don't concentrate on music when I listen to it.

This is kind of the essence of what musical tastes (by genre) are about, isn't it? What kind of music you like depends on what you're using it for. When I'm not in a position to concentrate on listening, I listen to not-jazz, or jazz that I've listened to so much that I don't need to pay much attention. Jazz bores many people because you actually have to pay attention to get anything out of it. This is why the common perception of jazz as tinkley background dinner music makes me so sad.

I really like pre-electric Wayne Shorter, with the Messengers or his own band, for a kind of compromise between what's good about jazz AND pop. The melodies are catchy, the arrangements are tight, and the solos are interesting but not especially challenging.

And it's true, Ellington solo is sublime.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:09 PM
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Unless you've got the answers, don't patronize the mountain man.

All the summoned graces manifest in different places, there for us to see.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:10 PM
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134: I agree that good jazz demands attention. It's just a very time-consuming genre in that way. The first time I met my ex's best friend, he invited us out to his parents' place in the Hamptons, where we spent the next uncountable number of hours sitting inside listening to all 5 CDs of the Jack Johnson Sessions. Great stuff, but drugs would have helped the time pass differently.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:14 PM
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I somehow wound up imprinted on Devil Between My Toes and have never listened to any other GBV albums to anything like the same degree, which I suppose is a bit peculiar.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:18 PM
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I'll take N Case or Diana Krall over Celine Dion any day. She irritates me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:19 PM
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switchengine @ 132
Thank you thank you thank you
That version of "If I'm Lucky (I'll be the one)" occupies an important place in my emotional universe.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:19 PM
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Ned, remember what he said and you won't feel alone -- you won't remember at this time tomorrow when all of this sorrow is gone.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:20 PM
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I'm not convinced that good jazz requires more attention than some other genres to which I am very much attached, but it certainly does require attention, and attention that I am less able to give.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:22 PM
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140:

I know it's coming, and it's not a bad thing. You wouldn't hold back if you wanted to sing. You'd say, Hey! Look over there! June salutes you with her oncoming glare.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:24 PM
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I think this talk of Jazz requiring attention, while other kinds don't, is kind of off. Good jazz rewards paying attention. But that's true of good music from any genre.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:26 PM
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I really don't want to believe all the gossip about Amy Winehouse falling apart

"There was blood and vomit all over the bathroom [...] was also sick over a sofa as she sat drinking in the only restaurant at the exclusive Jade Mountain resort on St Lucia."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:32 PM
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143: I think that's off too. Good jazz demands attention. Mediocre jazz has very little to offer. And there is definitely music inappropriate to some activities. I often work with music on, but it has to be music that I won't concentrate on but will set a mood.


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:35 PM
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You know, I don't know anything about Jazz or Jazz vocalists, except what I've heard from others---that Billie and Ella are great. I've often meant to address this deficit, but since I mostly listen to music I actually own (I'm terribly antique that way) it's not happened much. If I were to go out and buy an Ella, Billie, and Sarah Vaughn record--one each---any recs?

I recently found a Yoshi's single from this woman, Jacqui Naylor in a pile of CDs my roommates left behind. I kinda liked it.

Zwichenzug!!


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:35 PM
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141: oh, definitely jazz isn't the only genre that has this feature for me either. With jazz the line is pretty strong for me -- it either isn't worth bothering with, or it's worth me putting some time into. Unless, as someone said, it's so familiar I can just sort of leave it there in the background and pick moments out of.


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:37 PM
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141: oh, definitely jazz isn't the only genre that has this feature for me either. With jazz the line is pretty strong for me -- it either isn't worth bothering with, or it's worth me putting some time into. Unless, as someone said, it's so familiar I can just sort of leave it there in the background and pick moments out of.


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:37 PM
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146: Saheli!!

145: I'm not really sure that we disagree, but let me just observe that sometimes a track won't really grab me until I hear it under the right circumstances.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:46 PM
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146: Also, "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook" is a good place to start, either with the mulit-disk set or the single-disk highlights. And those Ken Burns Jazz collections are generally pretty good introductions to any artist.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:48 PM
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145: fair enough ... some things take a bunch of spins before you get them, I'm not suggesting everything is immediate. I'll add the observation though: it's rare that I hear something the first time and think it's crap, then change my mind. More often, it's that I don't understand it, but I want to. Sometimes I later decide it's amazing, sometimes I never get it.


Posted by: musicweenie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:48 PM
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146: Given my bias toward white people and swing bands, I'll recommend Mildred Bailey's recent CD of songs backed by the Red Norvo band. Seriously. "Smoke Dreams" is a unique song.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:51 PM
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Given my bias toward white people

SEXIST


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:51 PM
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Kevin Dean is a friend from childhood. Most of what little I know about jazz comes from my family's long association with his (incredibly musically talented) family.

so: CD whoring

site-whoring

You can see him and hear some bits of his chops here

When I was back in Iowa over Thanksgiving, Kevin was in town and played a gig with some of the best locals.
Mostly standards: "Stella by Starlight", "Take Five" usw. I had the privilege of sitting across from the table from his parents, and watching them weep for joy and pride during the trumpet solos. Not unaffected myself, I have to admit.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:53 PM
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Howdy, Saheli.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:54 PM
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I think this talk of Jazz requiring attention, while other kinds don't, is kind of off. Good jazz rewards paying attention. But that's true of good music from any genre.

I don't think anybody said no other kind of music requires that you pay attention. And I certainly agree that any good music will benefit from paying attention (any good of any kind, really). But I can enjoy a good pop song with less attention paid than instrumental jazz, and this is built into the formal properties of the genre.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:54 PM
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156: It seems to me that this has to do with improvisation. Everyone agrees that improvisation is important to jazz, that without improvisation jazz is nothing more than Diana Krall singing. In order to tell a good improvisation from a not-so-good one, you have to be paying attention.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:58 PM
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144: I said I didn't want to know, Labs.

Re. "good jazz requires attention," wank wank: look. Good anything rewards attentive listening/reading/looking. But it is perfectly possible to play good music in the background and listen to it in a half-assed way; I do it all the time.

If anything, it's *bad* music you can't ignore.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 12:58 PM
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158.1: Apo! Dunno why I said Labs.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:00 PM
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If anything, it's *bad* music you can't ignore.

Not much music is actively bad to that extent. Boring music makes up the majority of music, and can be easily ignored.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:00 PM
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With jazz albums, I almost always start out playing them in the background. Sometimes a bit will rise up and grab me on first listening, but much more often it's the fourth or the tenth time through, after the structure and changes become familiar, that after the first few notes of a song I am compelled to stride over to the volume constrol and crank it so I can hear every note and slur.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:01 PM
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NOTE: I would like to redact the phrase "Everyone agrees" from 157 in order to prevent a pointless discussion of technicalities.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:01 PM
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I said I didn't want to know

You said you didn't want to believe it. But sorry.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:03 PM
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Not much music is actively bad to that extent.

Whoa! Sez you.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:05 PM
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160: I disagree. There's a lot of shit that drives me batty.

163: Lalalalalalalala I am not listening to you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:05 PM
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Doh, upthread I said the best Sarah Vaughan album was After Midnight, which is crap I made up. After Hours is what I was after, and god is it good. Recorded in 1961, she's old enough to have her style well in place, but her voice is in great form, and she's backed up just by guitar and bass, and miced so close, it's like she's singing just for you. Oh is it good.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:05 PM
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156: I'm confused by this. Is the idea that jazz tracks can't have the same sort of engaging immediacy found in pop? Because I just don't think that's true. Even leaving aside big band music, there's a lot of jazz out there which fits those criteria. Some examples: "Ole" from Coltrane, "I'm an Old Cowhand" from Sonny Rollins, and just about anything by Dexter Gordon.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:07 PM
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I love jazz, but I listen to it in a very shelter way.

Kind of Blue
My Favorite Things
Sketches of Spain
Mingus Ah Um
Wynton's Joe Cool's Blues
A Love Supreme
Birth of the Cool
Porgie & Bess
the Monk Coltrane Live cd
Then, I repeat. Sometimes I include Bitches Brew (which I love) or . I need to get more jazz cds.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:12 PM
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157: Agreed, that's pretty much what I was referring to by "formal properties." The harmonic and rhythmic tensions and resolutions pass by more quickly during an improvisation, and without repetition to help you predict them the next time around, as in a simple song form.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:13 PM
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No, no, no, all this slandering of Case on the "pseudo-lesbian" front will not do at all. I've seen pseudo-lesbian roleplaying for the benefit of males, and I've seen about forty-five billion Neko Case shows*, and I've never seen her do it. (Not that she isn't known for risque jokery of all types, but the sense of humour she's playing to is her own; t.A.T.u. it isn't.)

Anyone who thinks Case has trouble breathing life into a song cannot have heard "Furnace Room Lullabye" or "Bought and Sold."

Feist is indeed awesome, but I don't know why anyone would compare her to Chan Marshall.

(*actual number may vary, but it's a lot.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:17 PM
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146: The Verve Jazz Masters series is excellent. For an introduction to any of those artists I'd start there.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:19 PM
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Is the idea that jazz tracks can't have the same sort of engaging immediacy found in pop?

Nonononono. Definitely not. I guess I was really talking about improvisation. Some jazz songs have a good hook, and without much improvisation, there may not be much important difference between them and pop songs. A lot of what Ella Fitzgerald recorded, for instance, *were* pop songs.

I'm not trying to be a jazz-chauvinist, here. Actually, I like boogaloo/dance-jazz a lot, and that's pretty simple, unchallenging music. But the improv can still be great, and I'd never notice if I weren't paying attention.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:20 PM
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169: I'm getting a better idea now. But it seems to me that your claim is too strong. It isn't that Jazz can't possibly have any properties which are attractive when not listening closely. Rather, it is that there are particular properties which cannot be appreciated unless one is listening closely.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:22 PM
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168: Kind of Blue is really an extraordinary album, in that it's so accessible to non-fanatics, but keeps rewarding repeated listening long after fanaticism has taken root. Cannonball Adderley's solo in So What is perfection.

You listen to good stuff Will. Although, I'm suspicious of that "Wynton" thing.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:24 PM
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173: Yeah, I'd agree with this. And if I claimed the former, I didn't really mean to.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:26 PM
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Well, your 45 billion to my one, but she was definitely playing with it that night. And if it was a joke, it was one pretty poorly pitched to her audience.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:34 PM
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36: I'd never heard of Judee Sill before, but wow, talk about wrong first impressions. She looks like a librarian from an Amish village sitting there at the piano, and then that voice comes out of her.

Then, you read her Wikipedia entry and see that she died of a drug overdose and had served prison time for writing bad checks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judee_Sill

Thanks for the link Bob.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:35 PM
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175: Fair enough. As far as that goes, I may have been reading you as making a stronger claim than you meant.

But so that we can continue to disagree, here's something. This struck me as a very intellectualized way of talking about the listening experience:

The harmonic and rhythmic tensions and resolutions pass by more quickly during an improvisation, and without repetition to help you predict them the next time around

I don't want to say that listening for this sort of understanding is *wrong*, but I do think that it's possible to get hung up on formal properties and miss the art.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:39 PM
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But I can enjoy a good pop song with less attention paid than instrumental jazz, and this is built into the formal properties of the genre.

Vandermark 5, "Knock Yourself Out".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 1:51 PM
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176: I mean, I can't refute a statement about a show I wasn't at, but overall Neko Case's stage patter has never seemed that different to me from Carolyn Mark's (with whom she was once bandmates). Maybe that night was an exception. It certainly wouldn't be in character.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 2:01 PM
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I cannot for the life of me understand what everyone has for Neko Case ... I've never heard a more muscular delivery.

That's what is so great about her - sometimes you want it turned up to eleven.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 2:56 PM
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re: 174

I think that's right re: Kind of Blue There are other jazz albums that have the same property for me -- that of being instantly accessible and yet rewarding repeated listenings. Sonny Rollins' Volume 1, for example.*

But Kind of Blue has that thing like almost no other album.

* Sonny Rollins was also, at one time, just about the coolest looking dude on the face of the earth. Actually, for a man nearly 80, he still looks sharp as shit now.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:07 PM
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149: I feel like I should make some sort of hugging gesture, but I'm not sure what's appropriate on these staid boards.

So far I've got Ella singing the Duke Ellington songbook, Sarah Vaugh's After Hours CD, The Verve Masters Collection, and Mildred Bailey. Any Billie?

Howdy, Armsmasher.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:15 PM
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Also, how does Dusty Springfield fall into all of this? I have a soft spot for Dusty.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:16 PM
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182: I find lots of Cannonball Adderly to be that way. Also Head Hunters.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:17 PM
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183: I have A Musical Romance, a collection of Billy Holiday tracks with Lester Young on sax, which I like, but I'd guess that others can provide better guidance than I can.

Apparently, I should get this After Hours recording that everyone's talking about.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:21 PM
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183:There are far too many Billie compliations out there. I do strongly recommend you look for the late 30's stuff, especially with Lester Young, for a first exposure. The heroin did her damage, as it did Parker.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:24 PM
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184: If you like Dusty, get Dusty in London. Lots of brilliant stuff on there.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:28 PM
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re: 185

Yeah, the Head Hunters stuff is great. And Adderley, I don't have much of his stuff, but I find myself singing along with his solos on the stuff I do. It's a rare gift for melody he has.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:28 PM
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Re: 183
I feel like I should make some sort of hugging gesture, but I'm not sure what's appropriate on these staid boards.

Well, what I did was go to facebook and bite you with my zombie. But that's me.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:29 PM
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I am very fond of the Nina Simone collection put together by Dianne Reaves, both the selection and sequencing are excellent (partially because it doesn't try to be representative of her entire range of material).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:30 PM
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177:You are welcome. Obscurities 1965-75 is mostly what I do. Essra Mohawk, Perry Leopold, Faine Jade, Tir Na Nog, Midwinter, Stone Angel, Gospel Oak, German Oak, Celeste, Spring. And these aren't really the obscure ones.

Was reading the good WaPo piece on Sill. Geffen used her I think. Started a label, Asylum, and signed an idiosyncratic, demanding, expensive, mostly non-commercial, but well-known-in-Laurel-Canyon circles asshole as his first artist thereby establishing a particular kind of reputation. Then after Geffen had his stable he dumped her.

Sill claimed Ronstadt stole her boyfriend, J.D. Souther, I think. She did lie a lot.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 3:39 PM
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* Sonny Rollins was also, at one time, just about the coolest looking dude on the face of the earth.


Rollins was also the first jazz musician to relate his playing to a spiritual exploration. Years before Coltrane. In the 60s his concerts were incredibly intense; too many ideas, only one gob. He, and Kirk, played London more frequently than I could afford, or deserved.
I don't think jazz is well-served by its vocalists, now or ever, but Meredith D'Ambrosio, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roberta Gambarini, Ian Shaw.


Posted by: dave heasman | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 5:34 PM
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I'll take N Case or Diana Krall over Celine Dion any day. She irritates me.

I'd take Celine Dion over Diana Krall, who's a human Xanax. At least Celine would hit some high notes that wake you up. Neko Case has volume, lacks soul, but of course that's true of Celine Dion as well.

If I'm pressed on this, I'll have to admit to not having listened to that much from singers I don't like...that's always the problem in music trolling on the net.

Dusty Springfield...now there's a genius.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 6:56 PM
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Also, how does Dusty Springfield fall into all of this? I have a soft spot for Dusty.

Dunno if this is the actual etiology, but Dusty introduces Scott Walker in the third clip.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 7:42 PM
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Okay, I'll bite.
This struck me as a very intellectualized way of talking about the listening experience:
The harmonic and rhythmic tensions and resolutions pass by more quickly during an improvisation, and without repetition to help you predict them the next time around
I don't want to say that listening for this sort of understanding is *wrong*, but I do think that it's possible to get hung up on formal properties and miss the art.

Intellectualized, fair enough; I mean, I was trying to describe formal differences that might affect how we form preferences for different styles of music, and only had words to do it with. But I didn't mean that I sit there mentally diagramming every jazz solo I hear. Mostly I just tap my foot. As far as I know, what makes music feel good is alternately generating and relieving harmonic tension, and confirming or violating timing predictions based on the rhythm. Improvised jazz solos are kind of like very condensed melodies in their potential for harmonic play, and the syncopation and undlerlying subdivision in swing-based jazz allows for dense rhythmic play. So all I'm saying is that a good player can potentially fit more feel-good into a bar of jazz than many other forms, and you don't have to be a formally educated listener for this to be true.

I'm pretty sure there are people here who know more about music than I do, though, so I'm open to being schooled on this point.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:09 PM
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179 is a recommendation?

Also, if some criminal type were to come in here and force me at gunpoint to smoke a bunch of weed, there's nothing I'd rather be listening to than Head Hunters.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:11 PM
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Really? I would never have imagined. Weed, you say?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:13 PM
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179 is a recommendation.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:14 PM
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2x kobe


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:52 PM
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194: Neko Case has volume, lacks soul, but of course that's true of Celine Dion as well.

Compare and contrast: Neko Case. Celine Dion. A person saying the first lacks soul, much like the second, is using a pretty bullshit idionsyncratic definition of "soul."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:59 PM
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Fuck, I fear I've incurred the wrath of grammarians.


Posted by: Neko Case | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 8:59 PM
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196: Here I am trying to foment disagreement and you insist on writing sensible things. Bah.


Posted by: zwichenzug | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:02 PM
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Also, Patsy Cline was lacking in soul, much like Ethel Merman.


Posted by: The Grammarians | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:07 PM
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204: I call shenanigans!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:08 PM
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Hey, don't drag us into this. It was that Boone bastard got her drunk and talked her into doing that album, we were just along for the ride.


Posted by: Shenanigans | Link to this comment | 09- 3-07 10:11 PM
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Krall is fun on some of her goofier covers -- "Popsicle Toes," "Peel Me a Grape."

The person wondering what Ella to get, could do worse than vol. 1 of the Cole Porter songbook, or indeed the Ella "best of the songbooks."

Was amused to see the comment on whether jazz went to hell when bop came in; Jack Vance, the SF writer, thinks exactly that, and lord knows he was around for it when it happened (b. 1916 or so).


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 09- 4-07 8:27 AM
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Among modern (jazz) vocalists, Patricia Barber is one of my favorites. Also, Jewlia Eisenberg.

Coltrane and Johnny Hartman's album (called just John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman) is another sweet collection of jazz vocals, especially for Coltrane fans.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09- 4-07 9:16 AM
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Jewlia Eisenberg

Let me save LB the trouble.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-07 9:27 AM
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Jack Vance, the SF writer, thinks exactly that,

Mr. "Servants of the Wankh"? Let's take that under advisement.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 4-07 10:32 AM
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Krall is fun on some of her goofier covers -- "Peel Me a Grape."

Ick. That and that goddamn song in the voice of the little kid talking about elephants that was in heavy rotation on the jazz station about the same time, just make me want to smash things.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09- 4-07 10:41 AM
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It took you people 208 comments to get to patricia Barber? Sheesh. She's a bit intellectual -- you can live on Ella alone in a way that you can't on PB -- but she's got sleek with the smarts, too. And her standards are luscious. Her Two For The Road on Split is one of my favorite tracks.

Jane Monheit is chirpy and fun; Diana Krall is cool and accessible and I think her "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" is the single best performance of that song ever. Like no other rendition, you can tell that "Little" is a stand-in for "Fucking", and the dark parts of the song rise to the surface (what are "our troubles", anyway, and why are they such a huge part of the song?)

Neko Case is whiskey and Jenny Lewis is candy, but I think of them as the chick vocal poles of indie rock. Cat P. is a bit further out to drape your cloth on.

Thanks for sticking around for the late set. Tip your servers.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 4-07 6:52 PM
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Where does Jennifer Charles fall on the Case/Lewis scale?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 5-07 10:59 PM
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