Guy Berger

Worst Attempt at Commercial Crossover by an Otherwise Respected Jazz A

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I'm curious what you think the worst (or "least successful from an artistic standpoint) attempts at crossover success by otherwise respected jazz artists have been. I'm sure there were a bunch in the 70s and late 60s. Be sure to post an album cover image and give a short description of the music.

I'm guessing that "otherwise respected jazz artist" is a somewhat vague term. I think most of us will agree that Chick Corea and Donald Byrd are "respected jazz artists", Kenny G is not. I'm guessing that David Sanborn and Bob James, whatever their merits in their favored styles and their occasional dabblings in jazz, are probably not "respected jazz artists". But obviously that's up for interpretation.

Guy

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I have never heard it, but from others' comments I would wager that Jackie McLean's MONUMENTS might place highly in such a poll.

monuments.jpg

Edited by ghost of miles

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I have never heard it, but from others' comments I would wager that Jackie McLean's MONUMENTS might place highly in such a poll.

That's what I've heard...well haven't heard. Don't know who owns the LP, but my feeling is that we won't see a cd reissue ever of this one. Can anyone provide an idea of just how bad this one is, from a listening experience? Didn't it pretty much ended McLean's recording career for some time after this one?

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Depends on how you look at it, but some people feel that Ayler's New Grass was a stab at commercialism.

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It has to be put into the context of the time, I think. After all, John Handy had big sales to the disco fraternity with his 'Hard Work' LP around this time and maybe the pressure was on for Jackie to deliver more of the same. Maybe they were hoping for major airplay on the decks at Studio 54. :crazy:

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I know Chewy will disagree but Bartz's Music is My Sanctuary seems to be a lame stab at commerial success.

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Joe Harriott's 'Personal Portrait' on UK Columbia was a definite attempt at 60s MOR crossover with so-so string arrangements but is redeemed by some nice playing by Joe. Not his greatest Columbia though. Similarly the Decca albums by Shake Keane - 'Dig It' and 'With the Keating Sound'.

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I have never heard it, but from others' comments I would wager that Jackie McLean's MONUMENTS might place highly in such a poll.

That's what I've heard...well haven't heard. Don't know who owns the LP, but my feeling is that we won't see a cd reissue ever of this one. Can anyone provide an idea of just how bad this one is, from a listening experience? Didn't it pretty much ended McLean's recording career for some time after this one?

I heard the LP when it came out (which is a long time ago). It is basically a disco album with strings, as I recall, and one track features a recitation by Jackie. As commercial efforts go, this one was a dismal failure.

John Handy's "Hard Work" is at least a catchy track, and presumably John made a few bucks.

Bill Evans' "Theme From the VIP's" is also a dud.

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yeah i don't know why this mclean album is so picked on. it is not good but handy, sonny rollins, michael white, arthur blythe, stanley cowell, mccoy tyner, etc all made some bad albums around this time. actually i really like the cowell "talkin' about love" album but i have a feelng others dog on it. i agree it needs to be seen in context. "monuments" sucks but many albums recorded during this time sucked.

and saying "music is my sanctuary" is a lame commercial stab is silly since bartz had been heading that way for a while. and saying it is a "stab" is also wrong, since it isn't even bart'z only mizell collaboration. i agree it is worse than "the shadow do!" but i have a feeling, no offense holy ghost, that you haven't heard that album.

why don't we just agree most "jazz" put out in the late 70s and early 80s sucked. especially i mean on the major labels.

i have a feeling most people in this thread will be dogging on albums they haven't even heard.

i mean can people rip some of those late gene harris BN discs? sure but they aren't bad in the context of what was happening. they're fine and have some good moments on them, IMO.

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i can see i guess how the mclean was more shocking though.

it must have come out of nowhere to his listening audience.

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yeah i don't know why this mclean album is so picked on. it is not good but handy, sonny rollins, michael white, arthur blythe, stanley cowell, mccoy tyner, etc all made some bad albums around this time. actually i really like the cowell "talkin' about love" album but i have a feelng others dog on it. i agree it needs to be seen in context. "monuments" sucks but many albums recorded during this time sucked.

and saying "music is my sanctuary" is a lame commercial stab is silly since bartz had been heading that way for a while. and saying it is a "stab" is also wrong, since it isn't even bart'z only mizell collaboration. i agree it is worse than "the shadow do!" but i have a feeling, no offense holy ghost, that you haven't heard that album.

why don't we just agree most "jazz" put out in the late 70s and early 80s sucked. especially i mean on the major labels.

i have a feeling most people in this thread will be dogging on albums they haven't even heard.

i mean can people rip some of those late gene harris BN discs? sure but they aren't bad in the context of what was happening. they're fine and have some good moments on them, IMO.

Well ok, maybe 'stab' wasn't the right choice of words, but I did have the cd, and dumped it almost immediately (I just have a real hard time with the vocals and the overall disco-funk-whatever you want to call it sound-to each his own). But if in fact that's what Bartz intended to do, then who am I to argue? Take it off the list. Still don't care for the album.

I did admit that I've never heard the McLean, but I have New Grass, and because I am a fan of Ayler, I've decided to keep it-I give it a try every so years and I can't get past the first track on that one either. Love the album cover on that one though.

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Jimmy Smith's "Stay Loose" is about as horrible as it gets when it comes to lame words and a basic "let's try and cash" in mentality. That said, the track is groovin'! Just the words are horrible...the refrain of "Freedom, Freak-out & Free for all" is about as mind-numbing as it sounds.

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i mean can people rip some of those late gene harris BN discs? sure but they aren't bad in the context of what was happening. they're fine and have some good moments on them, IMO.

As the former Gene Harris Fanatic, I can assure you that you would be incorrect.

There are no redeeming features or moments on those albums. :bad:

:g

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Jimmy Smith's "Stay Loose" is about as horrible as it gets when it comes to lame words and a basic "let's try and cash" in mentality. That said, the track is groovin'! Just the words are horrible...the refrain of "Freedom, Freak-out & Free for all" is about as mind-numbing as it sounds.

b0bcca8629b04e8bb2dba61db2053b25.jpg

Cool album cover!

Edited by Guy

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why don't we just agree most "jazz" put out in the late 70s and early 80s sucked. especially i mean on the major labels.

I think that this statement is way too broad. Columbia put out a series of very good Dexter Gordon albums during this period, and Arthur Blythe's "Lenox Avenue Breakdown", "In the Tradition" and "Blythe Spirit", all of which were excellent. Woody Shaw put out a series of excellent acoustic small group albums on Columbia at the same time. Those are just a few I can think of without looking at my collection, off the top of my head.

McCoy's album with Santana and Phyllis Hyman was not very good, but it was also not particularly commercialized--the different elements just didn't jell, but it was not a disco/smooth type of production.

There were hundreds of superb jazz albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s on smaller labels such as Muse, Milestone, Steeplechase, Inner City, Horo, Watt, BeeHive, India Navigation, IAI, Tomato, and even ECM--the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sam Rivers, and Jack DeJohnette were recording great things on ECM at the time, not in the stereotyped ECM dreamy sound. There were other smaller labels, too, putting out great stuff at the time. That has been the subject of longer threads.

Edited by Hot Ptah

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i will stand by my comments.

as far as blythe, i was definitely not referring to "lenox avenue breakdown".

"put some sunshine in" or whatever it is calles is pretty lame, for instance.

the seventies are my favorite era so i am definitely not dogging on the good stuff, but woody shaw, for instance, was probably among the musicians in the best shape at that point in time so it isn't maybe fair to compare what he was up to to everyone else.

and i am saying on the larger labels. labels like ECM and india navigation were putting out great stuff.

i mean we can start ragging on carla bley who suddenly started throwing out a few cheesy albums...but i like this music. i like "night glo" for instance. i am fine with a lot of the stuff. a lot of those groove merchant albums with the crappy babbitt, mironov, maelen crew...i can enjoy all of it.

but in general, looking at guys like jimmy owens, sonny fortune, blue mitchell, steve grossman...as some random examples...not everyone was in shaw's position. a lot of people were making albums with steve gadd and will lee.

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i mean can people rip some of those late gene harris BN discs? sure but they aren't bad in the context of what was happening. they're fine and have some good moments on them, IMO.

As the former Gene Harris Fanatic, I can assure you that you would be incorrect.

There are no redeeming features or moments on those albums. :bad:

:g

I beg to differ. :g

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i beg to differ also.

there are some good tracks on those gene harris albums.

jerry peters, john rowin-that crew knew what they were doing.

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A lot of stuff on the major labels was trot:

all the Stanley Turrentine Elektras I've heard (and some of his Fantasy albums);

Sonny Criss' "Joy of sax" (though not "Warm & Sonny" which was beautiful and commercial); and in particular

Almost everything produced on Blue Note by George Butler.

But the worst, I think, on a major label, that I've actually got, was Wynton Kelly's "Comin' in the back door", the only (slightly) redeeming feature of which is tht it's less than 28 minutes long. It's an album on which almost nothing whatever happens.

On minor labels, in a similar vein to the Kelly, there's "Hampton Hawes plays movie musicals" on Vault. (Oh yes, and this one's just over 28 minutes, thank goodness.)

MG

Edited by The Magnificent Goldberg

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I think the worst was Kai Winding's "More," on Verve. Bought the single (remember those?) and my heart sank.

I did own the McLean (and still have the 12" single from it), there were 2 okay tracks.

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I think the worst was Kai Winding's "More," on Verve. Bought the single (remember those?) and my heart sank.

YOU WON THE CONTEST! You were the first to name a record I like! :lol:

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Manny Albam did an album for Impulse of movie themes. Nothing wrong with this in theory; its just that it had the most dumbed-down, vanilla arrangements I ever heard him do. (Assuming an A&R guy was behind this).

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