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Teasing the Korean

Let's Talk About Gary McFarland Now!

61 posts in this topic

Well, what are we waiting for?

I have most of the albums he was involved with, either as a leader, arranger or producer...And I've got to say, I love them all - the jazz, bossa, and pop albums, equally.

Love him or not, he's a pretty unique figure in jazz, at least in the US. He's the only US musician I can think of who could switch from jazz to pop to rock as effortlessly as the Brasilians do. (They are light years ahead of Americans in this regard).

What a shame more of his stuff isn't readily available.

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He's the only US musician I can think of who could switch from jazz to pop to rock as effortlessly as the Brasilians do. (They are light years ahead of Americans in this regard).

I can think of a few others - Pat Williams, Mike Mainieri, George Benson, a few others, but your point is well-taken nevertheless. I wonder if maybe this is at least partly because American culture has always been about finding a place of your own through finding a place apart, often out of an overriding neccessity to do so just to get away from all the bullshit. But I also wonder if we've not lost a certain level of connectiveness in the process, if perhaps our very real need to exist on our own individual terms keeps us from realizing and building upon certain broader commonalities. No easy answers...

I'll tell you this, though - a world where people bitch about pop being mindless pap and then complain that the little bit that isn't such isn't really "important" because it is pop is a world that maybe doesn't want to be connected at any level to any other world than the one that already exists for them. Fair enough, but more and more I find myself asking why the "dumb people" should have all the fun. I mean, there's a huge difference between whoring out & just making real music that's not too "complicated" for a larger audience to get. But that then becomes a matter of spirit, and our spirits have been conditioned to tribalize and defend against intrusion as a material and spiritual survival mechanism. And that's a very real consideration.

Still, simple pleasures (in life and in music) do not always equate to meaningless (or even less meaningful) pleasures. We lose sight of this at our peril, I believe.

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Timely, I was enjoying the Bill Evans collaboration on the complete Evans Verve set yesterday. Can't say I've got very much else apart from a smallish group on an Impulse lp. I've certainly not heard the Skye recordings.

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Timely, I was enjoying the Bill Evans collaboration on the complete Evans Verve set yesterday. Can't say I've got very much else apart from a smallish group on an Impulse lp. I've certainly not heard the Skye recordings.

The Impulse CD with Richie Kamuca et. al. stays near the top of my replay pile.

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i just found this thread, and count me as a fellow mcfarland fan. have you seen the documentary "this is gary mcfarland"? here's a link to the film's site.

additionally, "scorpio and other signs" (on verve) was recently issued in japan following issues of "butterscotch rum" and "today" (which are both late period recordings).

i'll say that i've not heard "slaves". from what i understand it's sort of suite-like, similar to "america the beautiful...". anyone?

-e-

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I saw an advance copy of the 'This is Gary McFarland!' documentary and was pretty impressed with the work involved. I was not aware of how he died. The film has interesting interviews on that sad ending!

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So how did he die? Why was his death interesting?

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essentially someone slipped a mickey, a poison, into his drink. as i recall, he wasn't the only victim, but i believe he may have been the sole fatality. in the documentary his widow speculates on it being mob related.

-e-

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I saw the film too. The filmmakers did a really good job considering the lack of material they had to work with (i.e. hardly any footage of Gary). I like both the aforementioned "Scorpio" and "Point of Departure" on Impulse. I think on these two albums he came closest to reconciling his jazz and pop alter-egos.

I wish his scores for 13 a.k.a. Eye of the Devil and Who Killed Mary What's-Her-Name will be released someday. 13 was actually slated for a Verve release, but it was canned at the last minute for unknown reasons.

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no kidding! i've been waiting for that one *forever* myself...

-e-

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no kidding! i've been waiting for that one *forever* myself...

-e-

I absolutely LOVE soundtracks from this period, especially ones done by jazzsters who were given half a budget and no creative limits. The best ones contain an insane mix mutant pop, jazz, and dissonant symphonic mayhem. And the "pop" music never sounds like anything the kids were really listening to. Taken as a whole, its almost as if the composers collectively created a soundtrack for an alternate universe that existed only in pages of Vogue and Playboy.

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fantastic tableau!

i'd be curious to know what some of your current favs are...

-e-

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Bumping up an old thread that I started, inspired by my recent spinning of "Soft Samba Strings."

Since I started this thread, "Eye of the Devil" has been released on CD.

I need to spin a bunch of Gary's stuff - it has been a while.

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i just found this thread, and count me as a fellow mcfarland fan. have you seen the documentary "this is gary mcfarland"? here's a link to the film's site.

At the site it mentioned this documentary would be "coming soon to DVD". Anyone know if this ever happened? I haven't found it anywhere.

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It's coming - I'm in touch with them and they are working on it. I'll keep you posted.

Bertrand.

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"I find myself asking why the "dumb people" should have all the fun"

I'd like to try to answer this but I'm having too much damn fun to even think about it.

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I love "Soft Samba Strings." It feels like a long lost Jobim album. Sumptuous, gorgeous, and every other slobbery cliche I can think of!

That was the first McFarland I picked up and have since picked up "Tijuana Jazz," "Point of Departure," and "Big Band Bossa Nova." What I love most about these albums is that none of them sound the same. Hell, they don't even sound like they're by the same guy!!!

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Hmmmm... Last day of October...

Time to haul out The October Suite again?

What a beautiful album that is!

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Listened this this one again

http://www.allmusic.com/album/big-band-bossa-nova-mw0000196996

a few weeks ago after many years and was very impressed not only by the subtlety of McFarland's writing (in particular by the way, a la Gil Evans but in an individual manner, his timbral gestures almost always were rhythmic ones as well) but also by the moments of real heat (these too often achieved through timbral-rhythmic means).

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I am looking forward to this documentary. Sometimes, Gary's music is the only thing to fill that moment.

Edited by .:.impossible

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GM always did interesting things in the many idioms he wrote and played in- jazz quintet, tasteful pop, big band arr., movie scores, experimental pieces for strings, woodwind quintet and piano (Steve Kuhn, Bill Evans) and even folk-rock.

I can't wait for the doc, but word is, it's not as probing as it could have been.

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IMHO October Suite is a masterpiece. Although it postdates most of the "third stream" in its original incarnation, the integration between the writing and the improvising is way ahead of most of the works that came out under that rubric. And the transitions in Kuhn's playing between written and improvised passages are seamlessly handled: in fact, I'm not always sure which is which!

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October Suite is indeed amazing. Latin Shadows, with Shirley Scott, is a nice one too.

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