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    • Willow

      Welcome to the forum!   09/17/2017

      Please come in from the rain and sit by the fire! We're happy you found us and hope you will feel at home here.  

About This Club

A club for any fans of jazz, jazz-funk, jazz-rock and fusion whether it's their main musical passion or they are just "dabblers".

  1. What's new in this club
  2. Here are details of my favourite jazz albums. Some may think this is a misnomer as almost all of them are fusion albums but all were led by respected jazz artists. I am not a critic or an especially informed music analyst so I don’t claim these are the greatest jazz albums of all time or something similar – these are just personal opinions. I always like reading or hearing about what people like or dislike. Whether we agree or disagree with their judgements it can provoke thought and further enquiry. These are not listed any particular order of merit but simply alphabetically. Chick Corea (1972) Return To Forever An excellent fusion album with great work in particular from saxophonist / flautist Joe Farrell and bassist Stanley Clarke. Chick later formed a group of the same name which went in a more rock / Latin direction which didn’t particularly appeal to me. Miles Davis (1970) Bitches Brew A hugely important and well-known jazz rock album and deservedly so. Miles is really the man to whom we owe the jazz rock genre. The original six track album is excellent but the expanded version including many out-takes and material from related sessions is also splendid. It includes my favourite track of his - “Lonely Fire” - which includes Indian instruments among the rock and jazz elements. I am a big fan of Eastern (especially Indian) influences on jazz as will be seen below. Herbie Hancock (1971) Mwandishi Herbie had just done an excellent album called “Fat Albert Rotunda” within the soul-jazz genre but then switched to this remarkably experimental sound. The follow-up album Crossings is just about as good but this gets the edge for being first and for having a wonderfully-stark cover. Joe Henderson (1973) The Elements Tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson worked here with Alice Coltrane. She was very influenced by Indian music and it is to the fore on this brilliant album. Quincy Jones (1970) Gula Matari Quincy is probably best known today for his work as soul / funk producer, most notably with Michael Jackson, as well as his 1950s and 1960s work as a band leader and soundtrack writer. However he did a couple of fusion albums in 1969 and 1970 – Walking in Space and Gula Matari. Both are first class but this just has the edge for me, most notably its stunning gospel-influenced version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Hubert Laws (1971) Afro-Classic An outstanding linking of jazz rock with classical influences. Right from the first track – a cover of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” – it demands attention. Another highlight is the cover of “Theme From Love Story” which takes a nice but rather sentimental tune and gives it a darker edge. Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin (1973) Love-Devotion-Surrender I’m not normally a fan of the rockier guitar sound within jazz but this is very much an exception. Two outstanding guitarists collaborating superbly. Tony Scott (1959) Music For Zen Meditation and Other Joys Many may not regard this as jazz at all and I understand why, although Tony Scott is an acclaimed jazz clarinettist. On this album he works with Japanese musicians to create some extraordinary sounds. A few years later he did a similar fine album – “Music for Yoga Meditation” – with a more Indian influence but the earlier one is the best for me. Ben Webster (1959) Meets Oscar Peterson The only “straight” jazz album among my favourites but I could have picked many others by Ben and other tenor players. Oscar Peterson is probably the better-known performer but I think his work here as a side-man contributes to some wonderful sounds. I'd be interested of other people's favourites, whether it's just a single album or a larger number.
  3. The guitar is certainly a very versatile instrument and works well in most types of music. Perhaps as I entered jazz from the direction of soul and funk it might explain my preference for the saxophone as it's so central to those types of music. Those who come to jazz from rock music may be more drawn to the guitar in jazz but the tendencies may not be as straightforward as that.
  4. I don't have a particular favourite instrument, but I like the guitar (most of the fusion I won is guitar-driven), but also wind instuments like the flute. I particularly like the Canterbury style of jazz fusion - some are more rock-orientated than jazz, but all have been influenced by jazz or jazz fusion to some degree. I like and listen to bands like Caravan (they are my favourite Canterbury band), Earth, Wind and Fire, Frank Zappa, and French TV... French TV are great. Also folky fusion, like Arco Iris or Lot Lorien / Theodossi Spassov https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Goc-JGpYDLU
  5. There has been great jazz performed by many artists in a wide variety of styles but my favourite artists in terms of sheer consistency are tenor saxophonists Ben Webster and (to a slightly lesser degree) Coleman Hawkins. Within jazz rock it would be Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock and Archie Shepp for free jazz. The tenor saxophone is far and away my favourite instrument and can communicate so many different moods. All kinds of saxophone are great. Miles Davis deserves much credit for promoting the use of the soprano sax (initially played by Wayne Shorter, later by others) on his jazz rock albums but overall the tenor is the most versatile. Generally I like other reed instruments such as the flute and clarinets and oboe and bassoon on the very rare occasions they're played in jazz. I'm not a big trumpet fan although great music has been made by trumpeters. Other brass instruments for me only really work in brass sections and not as solo instruments. Piano, organ and guitar are fine as lead instruments but I prefer them to have some backing from saxes / trumpets to broaden the sound. Which artists, instruments or styles appeal to you?
  6. Not a fan of Johns style (too fidgety for me) .... but I did like some of his work with Phillip Catherine. I think Jan Garbarek album 'My Song' is a classic. Bill Connors album 'of mist and melting' another classic . There are so many. Thanks to media 'playlists' of old, most people have never heard of so many of the accomplished groundbreaking musicians.
  7. I was particularly interested to hear his early albums because some of the tracks employed the "bass saxophone" rather than his usual tenor and I was curious to hear the sound. It's a distinctive rumble but it's not surprising it's never become a lead instrument! Leaving aside that unusual element I thought those were pretty good albums and generally I feel the early works of most artists in any genre are their best. This is often when their ideas are freshest and - if they later become popular - less likely to be affected by commercialism or complacency. The fusion works of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock are huge favourites of mine, especially Herbie's early seventies albums "Mwandishi" and "Crossings" which are more experimental and radical. The Mahavishnu Orchestra didn't work for me but John McLaughlin is a great guitarist. His "Love-Devotion-Surrender" album with Carlos Santana is one of my all-time favourites.
  8. The background accompaniment and overall chemistry is often the greater slice of the pudding .... Session musicians (when followed) take us to all kinds of new musical acts. In another lifetime I would like to be a professional musician. I'm too old for this one and there is too much reliance on processing and gizmos for me to easily understand. Some brilliant works made on 78s without any of that ... and I expect before the invention of recorded medium too!
  9. That's absolutely true Gone Home. I think it's really important to know who's actually made the music, not just the headline artist. As we move more into a download age or people listening online it can become harder to find out who played on a particular track or album.
  10. Thats what I miss about album covers ... they were historical documents and always provided a direction for further listening
  11. I used to love the ECM label, Jan Garbarek was a favourite
  12. Interesting thoughts and recollections Gone Home and Nesf. It's true that immersion in one type of music often leads to exploration elsewhere. When I was becoming deeply involved in soul music I would study the personnel - the musicians and producers - and these would lead me to seek out their own works or other albums they'd been involved in. Quite a lot of the musicians had jazz backgrounds and were very talented instrumentalists. The same happened when I started to explore jazz rock, e.g. those who worked with Miles Davis. I also read a lot about the music and that led me to explore different albums and artists. Some jazz artists such as Hubert Laws also had classical influences and that encouraged me to dip my toe in the waters of classical music which also went on to become a major musical interest. There's some great music in almost every genre (one or two such as country music continue to elude me) but principally I come back to three: soul; jazz; classical. Re jazz and prog rock I quite like Soft Machine who are on the border of jazz rock / prog rock. An interesting album is "Colours of Chloe" by German bassist Eberhard Weber from around 1975 which ostensibly is jazz but could easily pass as a prog album. It was on the ECM label and a lot of its releases are nominally jazz but cross over into other genres.
  13. My interest in jazz lies mainly in jazz fusion, which has some overlap with progressive rock. While exploring progressive rock, I also delved into jazz fusion/jazz rock, and came to appreciate the work of artists such as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu Orchestra, or artists with strong jazz influences such as Modry Efekt, If, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Frank Zappa, and artists which combine jazz and ethnic styles, like Arco Iris, Mekaal Hasan Band or Lot Lorien.
  14. In the 1980s I spent 5-6 years visiting the council record library .... I'd borrow 6 albums and record what interested me before doing the same a week or two later. It exposed me to alot of music I would never had come across otherwise. Before that I was into guitar hero type rock music (which I don't like very much now apart for the sake of nostalgia). Things naturally progressed to jazz, classical, folk, world etc. with continued exposure to new material. Nowadays I don't restrict myself to any genres ... I also don't seem to have the time to be too focused as there seems alot of daily responsibilities to try and take care of currently ... Regarding crossover ... I quite like some movie soundtracks as they are not ego based. Dave Grusin and comrades have produced some nice pieces. Music is an interesting phenomenon as the sounds alone can stimulate intense emotion ... or intellectual interest if you study structure. I'd like to play with people, but it doesn't happen due to isolation. I guess that where aspergers can be a pain - when you want to participate in activities that require socialisation
  15. Like many people when i was growing up I only really listened to chart music, i.e. pop and rock. As a late teenager and young adult my musical interests started to specialise and deepen, principally into soul music of which I am still a great devotee. There is a crossover between soul and funk into jazz funk and i became interested in some of these sounds. That widened into soulful jazz fusion. After a while this enveloped jazz rock, most notably via the work of Miles Davis and early Weather Report. Then came an interest in the much more challenging and experimental "free jazz" such as Archie Shepp and Pharoah Sanders. Ultimately i started to explore some more mainstream jazz sounds. My jazz preferences still largely comprise a twenty year period from the mid-1950s and the onset of hard bop through to the mid-1970s. The earlier and later periods don't really appeal to me although i haven't heard much mainstream jazz from the last few decades. While there may be some big fans of jazz on Asperclick it would also be interesting to hear the thoughts of those who perhaps only like the crossover material or perhaps particular artists / collaborations. Jazz has been very influential, even if that influence sometimes slips under the radar.
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