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JSngry

BLINDFOLD TEST #4 - DISCUSSION

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Disc One:

Track 1: Not Monk, to be sure. This is from a pianist who has a smile on his lips a bit more often. (And who I think played better twenty years earlier)

Disc1-Track1

If only people would stop questioning Monk's technical abilities ..... such a comparison doesn't make any sense to me.

Is there any music without the strings or vocals on that LP? This is the only LP of him I never heard ...

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Is there any music without the strings or vocals on that LP?

Yes.

Daniel, are you saying that the pianist in question played better than Monk 20 years earlier, or that he himself played better 20 years earlier?

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OK, here is my take for Disc One -- sorry there will be nothing enlightening here, but I am having a GREAT time listening and thinking about these tracks anyway!

1-1: No idea. Get used to that phrase, guys, you will see it a lot more. Sounded a little like Monk for a bit, then a lot like Horace Silver. No idea what the song is. I liked the trumpet player a lot. Heck, maybe I should throw in a guess of Tommy Flanagan and then I've covered all the piano players I could hope to guess blindfolded :) Whoever/whatever it is, I liked it a lot and want to hear some more. Interesting how it really felt like two different songs altogether to me. I had to check the CD player to make sure it was still track 1.

1-2: No idea. The fuzz almost adds to the tune :) I can imagine some contemporary DJs really having fun with this.

1-3: I know less about Big Band than almost anything else in jazz, so I have to say Mingus. Definitely not Ellington or Basie-- more "modern" feeling that that. Got into the Sax, started getting bored with the piano, then the-- what four?-- horns got a little cacophanous for me.

1-4: I have to admit that after my griping about guitar being my least favorite instrument, the funky fuzzified guitar in this track made me laugh out loud. I don't even know what kind of music this is, much less who it is. Love that rude sax playing though, just short of honking. Wailing on the clarinet, like wailing on the flute, is a path fraught with peril. But someone does it here. Nice trombone solo. I Can imagine playing this while kicking back with younger friends-- I'd be the "Cool Guy with the Cool Tunes" for once...

1-5: I tried to skip all discussion of the BF discs before I got 'em, but I know there was some argument about the gender of a vocalist. This must be it. Sounded like a female singer for a bit, then the more "spoken" pieces sounded like James Brown. I'm reminded of the first time I heard Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" from Nashville Skyline-- even though I know it's him, I still can't believe it. Bizarre.

1-6: I bet this is a female vocalist :) This is really not my thing. Sickly sweet strings, the voice is "quality" iin the way that tea cakes and fine china cups are "quality." Boring.

1-7: There's definitely some Monk in here? I'm going to have to think about this some more. As to who the players could be, I have no clue-- most of my collection ends by 1970...

1-8: OK, so why is there a bass player here at all? I know next to nothing about organ (sorry Organissimo guys, but I do get a kick in the pants out of your CD!), but it seems like putting the organ and bass together just holds both of them back. The bass solo was actually pretty cool sounding, but I'd rather have heard it somewhere else. Most groups don't have both, right? Again a pretty sax part that really outclasses the rest of the band.

1-9: This track blows my mind. Blues? Native American? African? Despite myself, I actually liked this enough to listen a few times. I really need to sit and piece together the words and see if there is something coherent going on.

1-10: No clue. I definitely dig this a LOT though. Dueling sticks, old school. I wish I knew more about drumming.

1-11: Ah, one I know by complete serendipity. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=A8047gjyro6ic Knowing the history of this makes it a lot cooler to my ears.

1-12: AAARRGGGHHHHHHH. I'll probably get flayed alive for saying so, but this precisely the kind of music that I am convinced 99% of people listen to just so others can hear them listening to it and presume they are really hip. I'd sincerely like to get to the point that I can understand what is going on here and why it matters... give me the previous track any day.

1-13: AWESOME. This really swings! I enjoyed listening to it a few times. No clue who it is. Another track that will end up in a CD purchase, I'm sure. I don't know how to describe the difference between Big Band that really gets me going (rare) and that which leaves me cold (most)-- but this cut has it.

1-14: No idea. The guitar just wasn't my thing here, though it wasn't exactly boring. Piano player never really seemed to let loose. Nice sax. Getz? Or to show how clueless I am, the other name that comes to mind is Art Pepper, though normally I don't really think of them as having much similarity.

1-15: If it's vibes, then it must be Lionel Hampton. Or Milt Jackson. These are the only two vibe players I can name off the top of my head, so I may as well get them both in there. Every time I hear a nice track with vibes I think "I really need to listen to more of that kind of thing" but then I almost never do!

Disk Two later...

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1-12: AAARRGGGHHHHHHH. I'll probably get flayed alive for saying so, but this precisely the kind of music that I am convinced 99% of people listen to just so others can hear them listening to it and presume they are really hip. I'd sincerely like to get to the point that I can understand what is going on here and why it matters... give me the previous track any day.

Hear hear!!! I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this!

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Daniel, are you saying that the pianist in question played better than Monk 20 years earlier, or that he himself played better 20 years earlier?

I meant the latter!

I'm not questioning Monk's abilities... :) ...and not this guy's either! I just think he peaked earlier.

Edited by Daniel A

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Chris said:

"1-12: AAARRGGGHHHHHHH. I'll probably get flayed alive for saying so, but this precisely the kind of music that I am convinced 99% of people listen to just so others can hear them listening to it and presume they are really hip. I'd sincerely like to get to the point that I can understand what is going on here and why it matters... give me the previous track any day."

IMHO - this track has to be taken in context with the preceeding track. I think one of the points of this is that we have similar effects being used on recordings that are WIDELY seperated by time and the perceptions of the listener. Tr 11 is from the dawn of recorded Jazz and may not be considered jazz by some listeners, while tr 12 is more recent (when? - I dunno) and might be considered avant garde and ALSO may not be considered jazz by all listeners.

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1-12: AAARRGGGHHHHHHH. I'll probably get flayed alive for saying so, but this precisely the kind of music that I am convinced 99% of people listen to just so others can hear them listening to it and presume they are really hip. I'd sincerely like to get to the point that I can understand what is going on here and why it matters.

Depends on what you are expecting from listening to music. I feel about it this way: this music is telling stories and creates pictures in your head (at least in mine), similar to a film; it's not about foot tapping in the first place.

Your argument reminds of Big Al's Out To Lunch thread.

Edited by rockefeller center

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RE: Disc 1, Track 12 - on the rare occasions when I've listened to this group in public, I have received nothing but strange looks and not a little bit of ridicule. If you are trying to look hip, I don't recommend them. If you love music that takes chances, tries to surprise, and has a sense of humor... go for it.

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Your argument reminds of Big Al's Out To Lunch thread.

With the crucial difference that Out to Lunch is a great album :g

Seriously, that's why I put the proviso that I'd like to get to the point where such a track had some meaning. As it is, I don't hear anything particularly "musical" to listen to. I have the same cold response to that track as I do much of the techno/trance/electronica/etc dance music that my wife spins-- it has left "behind" all the elements that make something music to my ears...

I understand the disparity between this track and the previous in terms of TIME, but I don't see much other relationship...

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RE: Disc 1, Track 12 - on the rare occasions when I've listened to this group in public, I have received nothing but strange looks and not a little bit of ridicule.

Note the all important word TRYING in my post :)

I'm not on a crusade to see this kind of music stopped or anything. To each their own. But I'm not sure at what point something doesn't really qualify as music anymore if elements like rhythm and melody are gone. At some point it becomes pastiche or it becomes impossible to determine whether something is the garbage produced by an amateur or an experienced word.

Given that my tastes have changed when it comes to literature and painting to where I embrace much more experimental work than I used to, there is hope that the same will happen with music. Until then, I will continue to be honest and be the jazz equivalent of the yokel at the museum or library who doesn't get Pollock or Finnegans Wake... :)

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Until then, I will continue to be honest and be the jazz equivalent of the yokel at the museum or library who doesn't get Pollock or Finnegans Wake... :)

Glad I’m not the only local yokel around here! YEEEEEEHAW & move on over there, Punkinhead!!!

Seriously, though, I agree with everything in Chris's post, but I especially agree with what he was saying about TRYING. I guess I’m still in the same boat; I’ve tried to listen to this track, but have yet to make it all the way through. Maybe once the answers are posted and the context is put in its proper place, it’ll make more sense to me.

On an unrelated note, I listened to these discs in the car on Saturday, and if nothing else, these make for a reasonable facsimile of some great undiscovered jazz radio station somewhere. I imagine that future (and past) BFT discs will be much the same! At least, I hope so!

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Well, I finally had some time today to sit down and jot down a few notes while listening to disc 1 of Jim's Blindfold Test. Hopefully, I'll be able to listen to disc 2 later today. I would like to thank Jim for sharing this music with us and for opening up or minds and ears to a broad range of music. My reactions to the music were mixed. Some of it I like and some of it made me cringe. My thoughts on each track for disc 1 are below.

1. This song/performance didn't really do anything for me. It's as if the musicians were just going through the motions.....somewhat uninspiring. Makes for nice background music though. 3.0 stars

2. The melody in the piano part is somewhat interesting, but overall this is big......SO WHAT. Nothing I'd want to listen to again. 1.5 stars

3. Nice tenor and alto unison lines....interesting theme at the beginning and end of the song. The bending of the notes by the alto player is not very effective. Overall, I liked this song. 4.0 stars

4. Big band with a muted trumpet solo, muted trombone solo, bari sax solo, electric guitar solo, and even a clarinet solo. Now this is inspired playing. Very NICE! 4.5 stars

5. Female vocales with a big band. Not bad, but I didn't really care for the vocalist. 3.0 stars

6. Female vocales with a string section, harps and drum set. Nice plucked bass.....good arrangement. I liked this. 4.0 stars

7. Alto sax and piano. This is very much in the style of classical saxophone music. The piece reminds me of the Denisov Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano. Not a bad performance or song choice, but there is much better classical music out there for saxophone and piano. Hey Jim, if you like this, I suggest you give the Denisov Sonata a listen. 3.0 stars

8. Organ with tenor sax. Good performance, enjoyable. 4.0 stars

9. Male vocales and a drum set. This was just plain HORRIBLE! I give it 1.5 stars for the drum playing, but I have to subtract 1.0 star for the AWFUL vocals....who the hell would want to listen to this? 0.5 stars

10. Interesting percussion solo......for about 30 seconds. Then the solo get old.....very old. 1.5 stars

11. Early jazz with a male vocalist. Sounds like the soundtrack to some old TV show. Not my cup of tea. 2.0 stars

12. I did not find this interesting or appealing (except the very end). The music seems to be all written out. Not sure what the purpose is for this type of music, it just leaves me cold. There is no real harmony, no rhythim except for the bass player, and no melody. This music almost borders on pure noise. How can someone even enjoy playing this crap? The saxophonist sounds constipated......he/she can't even play a decent multiphonic or overtone. Who ever is doing that vocal part should be shot. This is avant garde music at its worst. However, the very end of the song is actually interesting and somewhat enjoyable (the quiet after the storm perhaps). 1.0 star for effort

13. Nice big band performance. The alto saxophonist has a very nice open sound and give a good solo to boot. 4.0 stars

14. This was my favorite selection on disc 1. The tenor saxophonist has a very nice smooth and open tone which I find very appealing. He/she almost sounds like Gerry Mulligan on Tenor (or what Mulligan would sound like on tenor). I really liked the arrangement and the trading of fours between the players. Very nice recording by all. 4.5 stars

15. I know this tune, but the name is not coming to me. Nice interaction between the vibes and piano, but overall there is nothing special about this performance. 3.0 stars

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Okay, now onto disc 2.

1. Wierd electric vibe here. What effect is that on the tenor sax? Some sort of reverb or something? Totally ruins the entire song. Nice bass solo, and that drummer is really smokin'..... 2.0 stars

2. Nice trombone playing and the performance has a good groove. This is just okay. Can't say that I enjoyed it or found it stimulating......just....okay. Oh yeah, that Ornette Coleman chant is really cheesy. 2.0 stars

3. Talking about cheesy vocals.......this may be the king of cheesy vocals. The tune has a nice beat. Who's the tenor saxophonist? Hmmm, another 2.0 stars

4. Laid back fusiony type thing. Sounds like the guitarist is the leader. Nice background music. 3.0 stars

5. This track really swings! Not what I typically listen to, but I enjoyed this track. 3.5 stars

6. Another big band recording. Nice arrangement, I like that unison saxophone line at the beginning. Decent solos, but nothing special. Average.... 3.0 stars

7. This is interesting..... a really uptempo big band piece. It has a kind of frantic theme or melody to it. Very interesting piece that must have been difficult to put together. Almost sounds like rush hour traffic from some movie. 3.5 stars

8. A big band in the classic swing style. There's a bit of a boogie woogie groove going on in the piano. 2.5 stars

9. Some Charlie Parker tune. Nice performance. I like how they didn't use a piano. Although I really like this performace, there's just something about the saxophonist that bothers me. I don't know if it's their tone or intonation, but somethings just a bit off. 4.0 stars

10. Now this piece has a sort of blues/funk vibe to it. Song has a nice beat and the electric guitar is nice. 3.0 stars

11. I believe this is Ornette Coleman. The instrumentation is very bass and percussion heavy. The song has a nice groove and an active rhythm. The use of guitars add some color to the song. I really liked the trombone solo. 4.0 stars

Now to start reading everyone elses reactions....

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i know i´m late, i know i don´t have a clue who´s playing what (and i've avoided to read the discussions/answers before posting this) but...

Disc 1:

01 - my favorite tune of the whole BFT4. for me it´s a Monk one and i just loved it. if this is available on CD i WANT it!!!

02 - not my cup of tea

03 - loved this one too. the trumpet reminded me Woody Shaw

04 - i´m not a fanatic for big band stuff but i do respect

05 - JB´s!!

06 - dunno the singer but it seems familiar to me...dates with strings aren´t my favorite ones

07 - nice tune. i´m very curious to know who is playing. it´s a Monk tune i guess

08 - organ stuff. good enough for me

09 - we have a very primitive form of religion here in Brazil known as Macumba. i felt i was on one of their celebrations!!!

10 - not bad, not fantastic

11 - god, how old is this? never connected myself with this genre of music

12 - not my cup of tea at all

13 - just ok

14 - beautiful tune, very west coast for me. i need to check out on the answers promptly...

15 - the tune is well known i guess but i don´t have a clue who is the vibe player

Disc 2

01 - too advanced for me....

02 - really liked this one! who´s playing this????????

03 - a big surprise! meet with my favorite Marvin´s album on a BFT disc!! just brilliant

04 - the annoying guitar really pissed me off...

05 - very traditional but i do respect

06 - just ok

07 - idem

08 - as i said before, never connected with this kind of music

09 - this is the jazz that i like :)

10 - oh man this is damn good..i´m hating myself to not identify who is singing...

11 - not bad, not good

my overall sensation is that Jim has a wider taste for music and i do respect this a lot. thanks Jim for your BFT!!

Marcus Oliveira

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