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Harpsichord in jazz

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I enjoy Amina Claudine Myers on that one track from Threadgill's 'Song Out Of My Trees' (a favourite Threadgill album for me...) - although it does sound to me like it might be an electric harpsichord...

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I enjoy Amina Claudine Myers on that one track from Threadgill's 'Song Out Of My Trees' (a favourite Threadgill album for me...) - although it does sound to me like it might be an electric harpsichord...

Good catch. Forgot about that one completely.

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Freddie Hubbard's Blue Spirits has Herbie Hancock playing (rather inconsequentially) some harpsichord on one track. The liner notes refer to a celeste... Also, I don't have my CDs to hand but I think Jack Wilson plays some tracks on harpsichord on the Earl Anderza Pacific Jazz album. I agree with the majority view here that it usually doesn't seem to work very well. I can imagine some interesting uses of harpsichord in free improvisation (Ligeti's solo harpsichord piece, sorry I can't remember the name, gives some indication of the directions one could take the instrument).

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Yeah, Wilson on the Anderza - one of the good examples, to my ears!

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Cal Cobbs playing the harpsichord at Albert Ayler's 'Spirits Rejoice' recording session in 1965. Gary Peacock is on bass. The great photographer W. Eugene Smith, at right, pays close attention to the proceedings.

An image I took when the musicians were in between takes at the session.

srsessiongk1.jpg

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Cal Cobbs playing the harpsichord at Albert Ayler's 'Spirits Rejoice' recording session in 1965. Gary Peacock is on bass. The great photographer W. Eugene Smith, at right, pays close attention to the proceedings.

An image I took when the musicians were in between takes at the session.

srsessiongk1.jpg

Thanks for posting that, brownie. Helps to fill in some lost history.

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Wonderful.

Suppose the Jazz Loft Project is aware of Smith's session photos?

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Technically, that's a spinet Cal Cobbs plays. Same sound producing mechanism, but the case is shaped differently and the strings are much shorter - initially this was invented for amateur players of harpsichord music who wanted to save on money and had less space. Good harpsichords are as big as a piano. Most spinets sound rather thin in comparison.

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Yeah, Wilson on the Anderza - one of the good examples, to my ears!

Wilson also played some harpsichord on Gerald Wilson's Pacific LP, Everywhere.

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Wonderful.

Suppose the Jazz Loft Project is aware of Smith's session photos?

I would say yes. Smith photos (including the ones from the Ayler session) are available from The University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography.

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For a jazz album with harpsichord used throughout, try any one of these answers to "What if jazz had come about in a much earlier era?" I like each of them a lot!

Eighteenth Century Jazz by The Jack Marshall Sextet

Silhouettes in Jazz by Michael Coldin Septet

Jazz 1755 by The Harris-Leigh Baroque Band and Brass Choir

All are available in vinyl only.

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This appears to be through-composed, but certainly close enough for inclusion here...

Jimi Hendrix on Harpsichord HEY JOE!

Another (professional) recording of the same thing here, a better recorded and perhaps a better performance.

Nice idea, but his timing is too sloppy - no real groove.

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Jack Marshall's "18th Century Jazz" on Capitol is a real gem. It has my very favorite version of "Invitation."

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Garner??

Garner played harpsichord on two cuts of each volume of a 2 volume Columbia release entitled Paris Impressions.

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I have always enjoyed Gene Harris playing celeste on "Introducing the Three Sounds" and "Bottom's Up!". Also Monk plays it on "Pannonica" from the "Brilliant Corners" album.

I think Andrew Hill plays some harpsichord on the Blue Note session with Sam Rivers (i think it was released on CD as "Change").

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gordon beck playing the harpsichord on the title "gut bucket" from the wonderful album "whole lotta tony" by tony crombie from 1961. i love this album. there is a tune called "brazilia" that sounds like the microscopic septet 25 years later!!!!

keep boppin´

marcelpost-1254-0-79080300-1342735404_thumb.jp

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I've always hated those harpsichord tracks on See You at the Fair. In general, I think harpsichord sounds awful on any music that postdates the advent of the piano. Landowska playing Bach is another matter.

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