Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Used Jazz Record Bin

It's not quite dead, yet.  There is no point in complaining about the steady disappearance of jazz sections in record stores when record stores are all but extinct.  It was a little disconcerting when I discovered that the modern jazz section of the Music Factory in New Orleans was all but gone.  It is pretty clear that jazz artists aren't going to sell their recordings at those venues.  However, this is not really anything new.  How many record stores have ever carried good jazz sections or even good alternative rock sections for that matter?  No record store in my hometown ever carried Patti Smith's great recordings.  What is new is that you can get almost anything you want online. 

What I am really sad to see go are the bins where you could find good second hand jazz CDs.  I did manage to find a couple of gems this weekend at Cheapo Records in the Twin Cities.  I have a respectable collection of Elvin Jones recordings, but I didn't have the double album Illumination/Dear John C. until now.  Well, I did have Illumination.  I was glad to get the second half for a very good price. 

Dear John C., as you might have guessed, is a tribute to Trane.  The lineup is Elvin Jones on drums, Charlie Mariano on alto sax, Roland Hanna and Hank Jones on piano, and Richard Davis on bass.  It's worth a listen.  I am playing the title cut and 'Love Bird'. 

I picked up Natural Illusions by Bobby Hutcherson.  It is a 1972 recording that seems to be rather lack luster, but it does fill out my Hutcherson collection. 

I was pleased to find Revue, by the World Saxophone Quartet.  This all star, all sax group is something you want to check out if you think, as I do, that the saxophone is the main register of modern jazz.  The quartet features Hamiet Bluiett on baritone sax and also clarinet; Julius Hemphill on alto, soprano, and flute; Oliver Lake on the same; and David Murray on tenor sax and bass clarinet.  There is enough texture here that you could float on it. 

I am playing the title cut and 'David's Tune'. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I hesitated over downloading this album.  What pushed me over the edge was the shear beauty of the trio's name.  Bassdrumbone.  That's jazz methodology applied to word play!  Another thing that led me to this album was an interest in Gerry Hemingway. 

Drummers and bass players have a position in a combo that is analogous to that of a catcher in baseball.  Either can sit (or stand) at the point from which the entire field is visible.  Paul Motian ranks as perhaps the most influential percussionist in modern jazz precisely because he played that position so well.  Maybe Hemingway is another such drummer. 

Anyway, The Other Parade (2011) is a splendid trio album, richly inventive and gorgeously recorded.  Here is the trio:
The consonance achieved by the three is hardly surprising, since they have been recording together since 1977.  I am guessing that one can hear a lot more in this recording than was possible back then.  Every guttural thump of the bass, every snort of the trombone and scrape of the drums is audible and tangible.  I wonder how much if at all it affects their playing to know that so much is going onto the signal.   

Here is one to spend a few eMusic dollars on.  I am playing 'Show Truck' and 'The Blue Light Down the Line'.