I had the pleasure last night of a long discussion about jazz with a friend and former student. J.G. is a more serious collector than I am, and has a mastery of knowledge about musical labels that puts me to shame. He is also much more fond of edgy avant garde than I am. J.G. is a fine abstract painter, and that may have something to do with the difference in our tastes. I like J's paintings very much, precisely because they are challenging.
Well, free jazz is all about challenge. J.G. and I agreed about a lot. We are both very fond of Eric Dolphy and Booker Ervin. But he expressed skepticism about David Murray and Wayne Shorter, and we almost had to fight about that. It seems to me that there is a taste in jazz and art that is almost allergic to theme and coherence and anything else that might draw in a larger audience. I am trying to recruit J. to blog for Jazz Note. Keep your fingers crossed. He has a lot to say.
J.G. recommended two artists who I knew of but hadn't explored much. Inspired, I downloaded a recording by Dave Douglas. Douglas is a trumpet man, with a strong classical swirl in his ice cream. I am not yet persuaded by Convergence, though it is part of the Penguin Guide core collection. But here is a sample:
Dave Douglas/Bilbao Song/ConvergenceWilliam Parker was the other jazz man that J. suggested. I got a hold of the bassist's Painter's Spring, and it was captivating. Page Four Jazz to be sure, but unlike Churchill's famous pudding, it doesn't lack a theme. Here is a good sample of the disc, blues based and maybe that make the difference. Daniel Carter is featured on sax, and he is magnificent. This is simply delicious jazz. Boy will I buy more of this!
There is deep heart in that one. Give it a listen, buy the recording, and let me know what you think.