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JSngry

BLINDFOLD TEST #4 - DISCUSSION

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The discs went out yesterday, and although for most it will probably be 5-7 days before yours get to you, some of you will have them a lot sooner. So I might as well get the discussion forum in place now.

This test covers a lot of differnt kinds of music, not all of them "pure" jazz (and a few not even "jazz" at all). This is NOT always going to be "jazz from God that you never knew about". Apologies in advance for any disappointment or whatever that might result from this. Some of the stuff is more fun than profound, if you know what I mean. But there's a logic to the selections, as well as to the sequencing (I'm hoping that that gets picked up on, and I'll discuss it in the Answers thread), and I definitely think that all the selections are worthy of hearing for one reason or another. Hopefully some interests will be piqued, and/or something/somebody will be heard (or will hear!) in a different way. The music is either jazz, or jazz-tangental, but above all, it's MUSIC - genre is just a way to classify it for whatever reason. So proceed accordingly.

There's a fair amount of fairly obscure things in here too, in terms of actual recordings. But remember - although playing the detective game is great fun for those so inclined, it's not the primary purpose of this endeavor. If you don't have a clue about even a single cut, discuss anyway. Liked this, hated that, reminds me of X, etc. Whatever. Just feel free to discuss the music in whatever manner strikes you - THAT is the object of the game. However...

One request, please -

If you know exactly what a cut is, please don't reveal it directly here. Post an AMG link or something like that. Let's keep the guessing, and therefore the thinking and the discussing, going as long as possible. If you know who some of the artist(s) are, but not the specific album, fine, throw it on out there. What I'm talking about is the EXACT revealing of a cut. Be discreet, ok? ;)

Ok, here it is, the BFT #4 Discussion thread, ready to go. Nothing left to do now except check you mail!

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Jim,

many thanks for encourage to discuss tracks even if we don't have a clue what artist played on particular tune.

Still some of us waiting for discs, as soon as we get them - here we are!

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Hey Jim,

I never got a reply from you to the email I sent. Didja send me one too?

Thanks.

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There's a fair amount of fairly obscure things in here too, in terms of actual recordings.

Obscure my ass!

I know for sure track 1 has Zamfir on the pan flute, and I'm next to positive that track 2 is none other than former BNBB star Kathy Reynolds.

Track 6 sounds to me like the end result of Prince pulling Arsenio Hall's finger, but in reality it could be anybody.

JS, I need a hint... ;):g

Seriously, I'm looking forward to my first time participating in the AOTW fun!

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Hey Jim,

I never got a reply from you to the email I sent. Didja send me one too?

Thanks.

I sent you a reply. Whether or not you got it, I don't know. But the answer is yes, I sent you one. Addressed it myself, in fact!

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Just can't wait to get it 'n' listen ...

Edited by mikeweil

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Also a first time participant, and I can't wait. Duly noted points, Jim... I think that's a great idea as compared to some of these tests to say more than "This sucked, don't know"... explain what you think sucked about it. sounded like you put a lot of thought and effort into it, and there's a good amount of variety... I'll look forward to hearing it.

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Got mine yesterday and, gulp, looks like I'll be the first to give my guesses! Well, what the hell, here goes. This is for DISC ONE only of this 2-CD blindfold:

1. Monk's "Ask Me Now." Can't identify the musicians, although the whole thing sounds very familiar. The arrangement of the theme for the trumpet and tenor has a very young-lion sound to it, especially at the beginning and end, and I can easily it imagine being played by Marsalisites. But the musicians sound more seasoned than that. I recognize the horns, and I keep coming back to individual phrases they play that are familiar to me; I know I've listened to these guys, but can't put a name on them. I like it, though. Something about the trumpet player's cool, very clean and controlled playing over the YLish arrangement reminded me of Wallace Roney.

2. No idea. Cute but trivial. Some kind of ironic, kitschy novelty item, I'd guess. Is this "lounge"?

3. My first, perhaps odd, thought was that this sounds like a 60's version of what the David Murray octet gets up to nowadays. Then it struck me it was very much like a Mingus Workshop performance, but the tune doesn't sound like Mingus to me. Somewhere between Mingus and a more standard 60's multi-horn thing, nice and comfortable but leaning towards greater freedom.

4. Spunky! Sounds like the late 60s, when a lot of jazzers quite naturally incorporated the bass guitar and the rock/soul backbeat since it was so much of the times. It sounds that bit dated to me from this vantage point, and one can prefer a lighter, more swinging rhythm, but it fits. I especially like it when the clarinet comes in after the guitar. I know the Thad & Mel band did that kind of rhythm a lot back then, but I don't know if they had a guitar like that.

5. James Brown! I knew he did more standard stuff before he invented The Funk, but I didn't know it sounded like this! I love it! I'll have to hunt this down.

6. I don't know who this singer is, but she's good.

7. Am I the only one who has trouble matching Monk's tunes with their names? With a handful of exceptions, I know the tunes but I'll be damned if I can remember if a given composition is "Green Chimneys," "Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are," "Shuffle Boil," "Gallop's Gallop," or one of the dozens of others. Anyway, I finally twigged that this was in fact a Monk tune being performed by the piano/tenor sax duo. I immediately thought of this album, but I don't think it's the right tune, and am too lazy to verify.

8. Dunno. I was surprised by the bass guitar solo! Don't often hear bass solos on these organ/tenor things.

9. Had no idea, but the lyrics make this easy to search for on the web. It's a drummer I dug a lot back in the 80's, but he did a bunch of stuff that interested me less and I kind of lost track of him. This is great!

10. I know *exactly* what this is, so as per Jim's request I will reveal nothing. I've been amassing material for my own upcoming blindfold (#20!), and amazingly, I had picked this very piece to start it with. Back to the drawing board!

11. I'll make a wild guess and say Jim Europe, during or immediately after WWI.

12. Great transition from the previous piece! Gotta be the AEC. I love the contrast between the previous one, a patriotic glorification of trench warfare, and this one: "Get in line!" shouted ineffectively over wild and uncontrollable movement... and then that nostalgic, corny ending. Brilliant!

13. Meanwhile, back home... the war is over and bebop is getting the big band treatment. Now here's some discipline for you. Very nice. The clarinet made me wonder if this isn't Buddy De Franco and the Metronome All-Stars. Just a guess.

14. Beautiful Lesterian performance. I'll guess early Stan Getz, with Johnny Smith on guitar (I don't know Johnny Smith at all, but I know Getz recorded with him in the early 50's, so it seems like a good guess). This performance reminds me of Miles Davis's praise for Getz, saying he had the patience to really get the beauty out of a melody. That's what's I hear here, the patience needed to concentrate on that particular, laid-back melodic/rhythmic vein and keep mining it, without succumbing to any temptation to give a few dramatic flourishes or go for some easy effects. (And that's so even if I'm wrong and it's not Getz.)

15. I love this kind of stuff. It's so jaunty, so proud, so upbeat and fun. This is music that shines its shoes and combs its hair because it's going out on the town. I'll guess Lionel Hampton.

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Thanks for breaking the ice, Tom. :tup

Interesting responses, too.

Sorry to "steal you thunder" on # 10, but I guess great minds think alike, eh? ;)

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I just received my copy today. I've listened through it once.

Thanks again to Jim and the others who helped in this effort! :tup:g

I'm not going to make my guesses yet, but I think I know track 10 on disc 1 and I definitely know track 3 on disc 2 :D .

I'm really excited about listening to this and trying to figure out what everything is.

It makes me want to sign up and create a blindfold test. :D I have one question: Are the blindfold tests only supposed to be tracks ripped form LPs, or is it okay to take tracks off of various CDs?

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I have one question: Are the blindfold tests only supposed to be tracks ripped form LPs, or is it okay to take tracks off of various CDs?

There are no rules to my knowledge. I have both LP-only & CD cuts, and was tempted to use private recordings as well. I decided not to, though.

Bottom line - Give the people what you want them to hear!

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Cool!

I think I'm going to start working on my compilation. I have a bunch of ideas.

Thanks again! I'm really enjoying the CDs. :tup

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Well, I hate to pee in the punch bowl, but my response to Disc 1 ranged from, "OK" to "pretty nice" to "this sucks big time" to "this really sucks big time" to "how in the hell could this suck even worse than the last one?"

Sorry, but I'm being brutally frank here. I certainly hope others enjoy this one more than I did. The rundown for Disc 1:

Track 1-Monk, Ask Me Now. I was surprised when the band came in after the super long solo piano opening. The tenor has certainly ridden the Trane a few times around the track. OK.

EDIT: Don't want to imply I'm guessing its Monk, just saying its Monk's tune.

Track 2-What the hell is this? Don't Know, Don't Care , hereafter abbreviated DKDC.

Track 3-Not a clue; didn't do much for me either.

Track 4-Kind of liked this-the riff the band was playing behind the soloist sounded awfully familiar. The trumpeter reminded me of one of those high-noted trumpeters that played with Blood Sweat and Tears-Marvin Stamm or Lew Soloff?

Track 5-JB-the end gave it away. OK.

Track 6-Outside of Ella, don't really know the chick singers.

Track 7-No clue whatsoever.

Track 8-I thought of Houston Person, from the Prestige years? I know the tune but can't place it. Never been good with organists so I won't hazard a guess. If not Person, maybe Rusty Bryant or another of Prestige's tenor/organ stable?

Tracks 9-12. Sheer hell to listen to. One was worse than the last. DKDC.

Track 13-Compared to the four that went before, like a sip of water to a parched soul. Relative to the last four, 1,000 stars. In reality, 3.

Track 14-Almost Like Being in Love. Zoot, perhaps, with maybe Barry Galbraith? The best tune of the disc.

Track 15-not a vibist I'm familiar with, so I'll say Hamp.

We'll see if I have the guts to pop on Disc 2 tonite. I'm thinking that like medicine, its best if its taken quickly.

Edited by Dan Gould

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OK, I took my medicine. Disc 2-second verse, same as the first.

I won't bore you with the details. Cut 5 was the best and that's an extremely relative term. #2 I kind of dug but it got boring. #3 and #10 are jazz? Don't think so.

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didn't get my disc yet... but I hope people will come up with something more creative to my test than whether or not the tracks are "jazz"... shades of bnbb Hardbop posts.

If you don't like it, that's cool, but try to give a little more explanation of why... that's how these things work best.

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#3 and #10 are jazz? Don't think so.

Come on, Dan, don't be such a grump. :( Give us some juicy details on why you hate some of those things. In your DKDCs (don't know, don't care), the vast majority of us will share the DK part, but try to care! Seriously!

Jim did say it wouldn't all be jazz. I haven't listened to CD2 yet, but maybe jazz does have some relationship to other music? Maybe the connection between those tunes and jazz would be interesting to consider? Maybe the juxtaposition of one tune to another is trying to point something out? I dunno. Just my two cents.

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Jim did say it wouldn't all be jazz.

Jim also said that there would be things on there to offend every taste.

I am a man of my word! :g:g:g

Seriously - no harm done. An honest reaction is the best kind, no matter what.

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Here's another honest opinion:

On that really old track with the male vocalist, my first instinct at the very beginning was to wonder whether I was about to hear Andy Kaufman singing the theme to "Mighty Mouse". Afterwards, I wished I had. :wacko:

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Here are some of my honest opinions:

I listened to disc 2 last night (on my headphones) when I went to be last night.

My guess is that this was compiled late at night.

I really dug the groove and feel of it. I'm very happy with the music.

I don't have time to get into a track by track analysis, but late me say one word: Harmolodic B)

There are some tracks that really pull you in as they go on. Track 4 especially for me. I just dug the changes as it went on.

I really dug the vocal track (which is the second to last song).

:tup

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On that really old track with the male vocalist, my first instinct at the very beginning was to wonder whether I was about to hear Andy Kaufman singing the theme to "Mighty Mouse".

That would have been a somewhat appropriate comment for Disc One, Track Two. And that's as much of a hint as I'm giving about any of this.

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"7. Am I the only one who has trouble matching Monk's tunes with their names? With a handful of exceptions, I know the tunes but I'll be damned if I can remember if a given composition is "Green Chimneys," "Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are," "Shuffle Boil," "Gallop's Gallop," or one of the dozens of others. "

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one!

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Here are my guesses and comments for DISC TWO:

1. I'm not sure if this is vintage electronic experimentation in jazz from the early 70's (sounds like Stanley Clarke on bass), or contemporary nostalgia for that sound from someone like Christian McBride. The possibility of Stanley Clarke had me briefly consider the Stan Getz quintet he worked in with Chick Corea, Tony Williams, and Airto, since it seems to be that instrumentation. And it could be Corea, and it could be Williams. But naaaah. It would be just like Jim to serve us up Getz in such uncharacteristic clothes, but I don't hear it. So I just don't know.

Musically speaking, I think it's an honest, creative effort to deal with those sounds, not a commercial sell-out (thank God it doesn't have a funky backbeat - would have killed it). I think it works pretty well, but the new sounds part has definitely dated. The ideas were not bad--I like the layered texture at the beginning--but you can't help but hear the technology as primitive nowadays, when the same thing could be done so much more smoothly. That's if it's from the 70s. If it's contemporary it's just retro trendy.

Oh, and I think it's "Nature Boy."

2. Tenor sax, french horn and... djembe? Recent vintage. I'd guess Tom Varner on french horn and Tony Malaby on tenor sax, but that's all it is, a guess. I dug it.

3. Marvin Gaye, and a great track. I don't know this song at all. Marvin had his heart on his sleeve, all right. "Why did you turn me in to the police"? That must have been a turbulent relationship!

4. The only bass guitarist I know who plays melody like that is Steve Swallow, and I think it's him, overdubbed for the second bass part, probably with a Carla Bley band. Interesting - a slow, intense, almost Booker T vibe in there, but in jazzier clothes. It's like Jim is pointing to something shared between the soul singers he's been programming and jazz... for me it has something to do with the lyricism and body heat of the blues added to more subtle sentimentality. Or something.

5. Very nice! This is what I think is referred to as the Chicago school of New Orleans playing, but relatively late in the day. From the sound I'd guess it's from no earlier than the mid- to late 50's. I think I recognize Bud Freeman and Pee Wee Russell. No clue about the others, but the trumpeter is good and very much up front--maybe it was his date.

6. I'll guess Lee Konitz with a European big band - I couldn't begin to guess which one it is. Metropole? NDR? The tenor player sounds very familiar, too, but I'm not sure who it is. This is another one I'm going to seek out.

7. I know what album this is from, but I'm not sure about the title, and even if I were I couldn't reproduce it on a keyboard. ;-) I believe it is this album. And damn it, I was planning on putting something from this album in my blindfold! That makes two!

8. Basie with Lester. We can draw our own connections - clearly the bandleader for number 7 had heard Basie. But what would Basie have thought of that bandleader?

9. A live Sonny Rollins trio date. Of the bassists he did trios with, I'd say that would be Henry Grimes, which would put this in the late 50's. He goes way outside for a bassist at that time, I'm impressed!

10. Everyone knows who this is, of course. Except I can't think of his name. One thing that did come to me is that Sly Stone listened closely to him. Nothing earthshaking, but very warm and hip. I enjoyed this thoroughly.

11. The instrumentation and the characteristic alto sound lead me to say confidently that it's Henry Threadgill and one of his bands. I love it when he plays flat out like this. There's a thing in his sound that seems to come right from Earl Bostic. I like this better than his more recent records. Very joyful. The island rhythms remind me of when Threadgill played with Olu Dara's lyrical, lilting Okra Orchestra - the first version, with Craig Harris, Jean-Paul Bourelly, and Coster Masamba, before it got louder and funkier.

Good show, Jim. I'll be coming back to discuss further, since I think this one will engender a lot of discussion!

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BLINDFOLD TEST #4

disc one

1. The piano intro is nice, not too sweet. The composition isn't boring, seems to weave around if that makes any sense. Not bad. No idea who it is.

2. Great driving music, somewhat sinister. I like the steady beat. Is "Almost Good" what the guy's saying? No clue.

3. Woody Shaw came to mind for some reason, but I wouldn't venture him as a guess. Pretty good, I like the drums and bass on this one.

4. This one doesn't appeal to me right off the bat. I think it is that "big" sound of the horns, too over the top. The fuzzy guitar solo was suprising. Was that a clarinet later on? I like some aspects of the drumming...haven't the foggiest.

5. Not a JB song I've heard before, and like most songs of his I like this one.

6. Not my type of stuff but...well...it's purty. Would be a great choice for a romantic comedy, right in the reflective-we're-not-sure-if-the-relationship's-gonna-make-it scene.

7. Melancholy, uncertain, strange, difficult to categorize, a bit unsettling.

8. Stan & Shirley maybe?

9. Whoa! Sounds drunk! I like drunk. :g

10. I like this kind of showboating, this drummer is a madman. Are those bottles?

11. WW1 music? Must be obscure.

12. Scary, chaotic, is that what they're after? A pause, and then some slow paced creepiness more structured than the first part. As a whole...I just don't know what to make of it.

13. Enjoyable. I've given up guessing.

14. Again, not bad, not great.

15. I like the vibes, but I can't distinguish one player from another at this point. The touch of the mallets, whether they're hard or soft...can't hear it yet. Perhaps the last three songs are more rewarding with time...all three weren't bad, but somehow not exceptional...

disc two

1. Some probing, spacey, improvisational fusion...I can dig it. Weather Report maybe?

2. Funky little hypnotic-paced rhythm, the chant of "Ornette Coleman" is intriguing since I have avoided OC to this point.

3. Weird funky soul vocal...the lyrics aren't repetitive. Cool. I know who it is, I think.

4. Mellow and breezey--is that guitar looped electronically? Sort of cheesey.

5. ZANY! Not my kind of stuff.

6. I like this better than the other big band tracks that are included...but still it doesn't do much for me after two listens.

7. Something slightly "off" about the whole thing...not sure if I like it or not.

8. I picture black & white camera footage of people dancing their asses off when I hear music like this. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

9. Played it three times. It struck me that the horn player has a lot of stamina, and the bass solo is impressive.

10. Damn, this is some funky bluesy type stuff. I like it!

11. This has got this whole okeedokee hokey country vibe that I just don't dig.

Thanks a lot JSngry for the cool discs! And thanks again to RDK for the distribution.

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From a first listen to disc 1:

1: Surely it’s latterday Horace Silver (I didn’t twig to this on the opening solo, but Silver’s mannerisms are more apparent in the later solo with the band). The horns sound terribly familiar & I’m sure if I looked up the lineups in Silver’s bands I could sort this out but won’t bother. OK track, didn’t love it; I didn’t like the rhythmic feel too much. But I don’t really like Silver much anyway of whatever period. Mostly enjoyed the sound of old vinyl, as my record player isn’t working & I miss it. I can’t say it sounds at all like “Ask Me Now” to me, it's probably a Silver original.

2: pity about the horrible fuzz. I liked hearing it once, would have enjoyed it more but for the sound quality.

3: This is a really good track, with a great rhythm section & it’s annoying that I know that I know all these players but can’t quite place them: the trumpeter & drummer in particular sound very familiar. Avant-Blue Note-ish. I liked the use of half-time feel, & the slippage between minor- & major-key blues. The saxophonist is surely a Mingus graduate.

4: Entertaining period piece, virtually defies criticism. It ain’t subtle, that’s for sure. The old-fashioned clarinet solo was the biggest surprise. My guess is an old big-band leader, probably the clarinetist, making a misguided attempt to modernize his sound.

5: This isn’t really my thing: don’t like the extreme juxtaposition between the smooth big-band arrangement & the rough-edged pleading voice (I presume James Brown’s?).

6: Ick. Boring arrangement, a style of vocal I don’t like much. Makes me want to take this off & put on something like June Christy & Pete Rugolo’s albums to hear this kind of thing done right.

7: The altoist sounds familiar – the little fast licks he puts in a few points in particular. A wild guess would be Michael Moore, though I’d have to listen again to confirm it. Maybe then it’d be Fred Hersch on piano, as Fred likes this tune (“Little Rootie Tootie”: there’s a version on Toots Thielemans’ Only Trust Your Heart). Whatever the case, I like the Tristano-school tactic of avoiding the head until the very end.

8: I hate it when organ albums have a separate bass player. Use your feet, for cripes’ sake! Anyway, for what it is it’s fine, though not for me a really standout organ/tenor track. The tenorist sounds very familiar. A little overfond of following out a lick to the bitter end: if he laid off a bit I’ve have enjoyed this a little more.

9: Amusing interlude, if nothing else. I could probably get a better idea who it is if I listened to the words closely, but life’s short.....

10: No idea, though I note that Atavistic has recently reissued Baby Dodds’ solo drum album as part of its UMS series, so that wouldn’t be a bad guess.

11: this one is easily i.d.’d via Google.

12: This one made me feel warm & fuzzy inside. My wife & daughter complained vociferously about this one. With #3 & #13 my favourite track on disc 1. I haven’t heard it before but the Art Ensemble of Chicago would be the very obvious guess.

13: Phil Woods and Zoot Sims with a big band, not sure of the clarinetist. Annoyed that I can’t place the tune; the chord changes of the A section are those of “Confirmation”, so this is presumably whatever tune Parker based that tune on. Nice feel. West Coastish. If it's not Woods then Bud Shank would be my next guess.

14: Not sure. Very late Al Cohn or Zoot Sims maybe. Or Ted Brown even? Very by-the-books white-guy-Lester sound, not enough surprises in the tenor solo (that suggests it ain’t Brown). The Basie-minimalist piano solo a nice touch. Nice, if not a standout. Didn’t quite like the rhythmic feel here, a little inconsistent & not always as graceful as necessary.

15: A tribute to the Goodman/Wilson/Hampton sides, obviously, though the pianist is in an Earl Hines bag instead, a little too scattershot for my tastes though. An OK track, nothing to get too excited about.

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