JazzLover451

Albums it took you a while to start enjoying

50 posts in this topic

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but for some reason it took me a long time to start enjoying Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. This is especially strange for me because I'm a long time fan of Jack Johnson, In a Silent Way, and the Live Evil/Cellar Door stuff that came along in its wake. Perhaps something inside of me just refused to hear what was going on in that album, because it took me more than a decade to really start enjoying it, but it also got me thinking about music that takes a while to fully absorb or appreciate. So I'm curious, what albums did it take a while for you to start enjoying? Were you able to identify some hurdle in yourself along the way that prevented you from enjoying it from the get go? If so, how did you finally overcome it? I'm pretty curious to hear your stories on this one.

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I am a huge Ornette Coleman fan, but his music did not click with me for a while. Given the enthusiasm of others, I still kept force feeding myself Ornette once in a while, and it paid off. One night after listening to Ornette, I couldn't get the sound out of my head, I was hearing Ornette all night in my sleep. I woke up the next morning and already couldn't understand what the problem had been.

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Miles Davis 'On The Corner'. It took me about 10 years and then the pennies clicked !

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Evan Parker

Having gotten interested in jazz in around 1991 or 1992 (when I was 31 & 32), I started with Miles, Monk, Mingus, Bill Evans, etc. as I had no idea where else to start as I figured all the great music was made many years ago by dead people.

Over the next few years my tastes expanded and contracted as I got the fever for improvised music - I started listening to Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and then guys like Marty Ehrlich, Don Pullen, Sam Rivers, Ellery Eskelin, Steve Lacy and the AACM musicians, etc. developing an affinity for more outside tastes.

In the interim, I heard snippets of the Evan Parker 50th birthday broadcast on WKCR in 1994. I think some of it was solo soprano saxophone and some duets with maybe Derek Bailey, maybe some SME and possibly some stuff with Schlippenbach and (aghast!!) some crazy drummer man dude who was playing in a manner foreign (excuse the pun) to even guys like Sunny Murray.....I thought it was hideous, extreme and non-sensical...

so I contunued with what I knew branching out until around 1998 or 1999, I noticed that this same guy named Evan Parker was playing downstairs at the Knitting Factory for 2 or 3 days - so I picked out the day that worked for me which was a trio with Mark Dresser and Bobby Previte (missing the trio with Dresser and Hemingway as I must not have been able to make it in the NYC that night). By this time, I was crazy for things like Hemingway's great quintet and Eskelin's great trio with Parkins and Black and other more groove based freeish composed/improvised music.

So I get the last seat as the place was packed and it seemed a bit meandering at first UNTIL I started to HEAR what I now consider the most invigorating tenor saxophonist to my ears.

the rest is history for me. It opened everything up for me leading me to be able to HEAR things like AMM, SME and so-called eai improvisations.

and in 2009, I did see Parker with Dresser and Hemingway and it was what is was supposed to be...

and in SEPT at the Stone this year we have:

THE STONE RESIDENCIES

EVAN PARKER

SEPT 17—22

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Evan Parker was awhile coming for me too. Partly, it was because his catalog was so enormous by that time, the late 90's/early oughts, that I didn't know where to begin. And some descriptions of his playing made his music seem somewhat forbidding. Oh, and I've only recently started to listen to much of Bill Evans or Chet Baker.

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Eric Alexander. He sounded so young and fresh and different and I couldn't find my way in.

Then I figured out he was ripping off George Coleman and it all clicked.

:g

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"Out to Lunch". There was something edgy/grating/irritating about Dolphy's playing. And the vibes seemed somehow disconnected from the rest of the group. At least that's how I remembering my first listen.

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Dave Sanborn in general. I went for years thinking that he sounded like the alto saxophone equivalent of a neurotic chicken's OCD non-stop pecking and clucking, Then, I forget what record it was, exactly, Hideaway maybe, came on the radio and it clicked that, ok, I'd been hearing what he was NOT doing as what he actually WAS doing, and that that was a flaw in MY logic, and I began to develop an appreciation for what he was doing, why he was doing it, and how he was getting it all done. Click.

Still don't "love" the guy or anything, but he gets respect from me, and, in the right setting I can find him pretty damn enjoyable for a little bit.

Edited by JSngry

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Some of the heavily orchestrated Creed Taylor stuff with Don Sebesky arranging. In my youth, it sounded "commercial". Still just OK with the Bob James arrangements, and still don't like the David Matthews arrangements.

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In my first year of jazz listening (1957) I was confined to traditional/New Orleans jazz and blues piano. I remember hearing a recording of the contemporary Lionel Hampton orchestra and thinking "I don't understand this"! :lol: I soon came up to speed, though, but then came newcomers on the scene whom I didn't get at all at first: Coltrane, Ornette, Bill Evans. It goes without saying that those three now account for dozens of discs in my collection.

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Not an album per se, but way back when (at about age 13 and for reasons I no longer recall), I couldn't understand why anyone would ever want to hear a guitar solo. Then I ran across a nice/groovy Barney Kessel album "To Swing or Not to Swing" and that prejudice evaporated.

Likewise, at the same time in the classical realm, I couldn't stand anything with strings (which was kind of limiting), associating strings with Mantovani and the like. Then I ran across a Vox Box set of the Mozart String Quintets, and that prejudice was gone.

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14 years ago, was when I "got" Pat Metheny's music and now I'm the biggest fan. Teachers in High school had been trying to open me up tohim, Brecker, I was such a hard bop nut then. Trane's late period took me years to get into, as did Electric Miles, I'm still kind of not past 1970, I got into the 80's bands but I still need to get into all the stuff through Agharta. I prefer the live like the Live in Europe '69 box BB stuff over the album. Took me years to really get into Chick's solo stuff but I love it now.

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Bitches Brew too.

Bought a copy in 1976 and didn't get it - the lack of a varied chordal base locked me out. I put it down to jazz rock and steered clear of electric Miles.

It was only buying a copy of In A Silent Way in the early 90s that I finally got it.

Can't understand why I didn't like it now -thrilling experience.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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Birth of the Cool. Then I heard the RVG version and it started to come alive for me. Though I'm still not totally there yet.

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In the late 70s I had two Shostakovich albums - Symp 5 and 10 and despite playing many times found them grey and uninvolving.

In the early CD years (c.1985) when there were few CDs available (hard to imagine in these days of megalopoboxsets), desperate to spend my pennies on something, I bought a Shosty 11. Again, nothing much happened for a while. Then one dark winter afternoon it turned technicolor on me.

Went back to 5 and 10 and they too came to life.

I've subsequently found that a way into unfamiliar music. If the first disc doesn't work, try one or two more. Often the wider perspective can bring the original recording into focus.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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Brad Mehldau's "Highway Rider" is another album that is difficult to get into. I listen to one disc at a time, it's very heavy music, b/c Brad tends to use a lot of rather dark writing for the string and orchestral sections.

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I was traumatized by 'Live at the Village Vanguard Again' after I took it out of my local public library when I was in high school. This was back in '68 or '69. I liked Bitches Brew right away, but I couldn't get any of my friends to listen to it. The early 70's were spent trying to appreciate CT and Albert Ayler. One night at the Five Spot getting 'unitized' solved all my problems. Everything seems so simple now.

Edited by ATR

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Ha! "Live at the Village Vanguard" is on my list, too!

Took me a long time since I just forgot about it for years ...

Also "Ascension" too me a while to warm to. Nowadays, I just love it!

From Miles, I guess "On the Corner", too - and that's one BAD m-f, but it took me quite a while to figure that out.

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I'm still not sold on On the Corner, and I'm a huge Miles Davis fan. But I have not heard it in ages, and for me it never made it to CD or digital files.

Eric Dolphy is an interesting case in point, and I'm especially with those who had trouble with Out to Lunch. I always loved his flute work (unparalleled), but otherwise he was tough to get into--though I had my share of hearing him with Mingus, Trane, Oliver Nelson, etc. I've since become a true fan of Dophy in general--and Out to Lunch must be considered a classic (aided by the phenomenal young talent on it).

Where would Dolphy have gone in his playing/composing? Consider that he had a peak period that lasted only about four years.

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I'm still not sold on On the Corner, and I'm a huge Miles Davis fan. But I have not heard it in ages, and for me it never made it to CD or digital files.

Eric Dolphy is an interesting case in point, and I'm especially with those who had trouble with Out to Lunch. I always loved his flute work (unparalleled), but otherwise he was tough to get into--though I had my share of hearing him with Mingus, Trane, Oliver Nelson, etc. I've since become a true fan of Dophy in general--and Out to Lunch must be considered a classic (aided by the phenomenal young talent on it).

Where would Dolphy have gone in his playing/composing? Consider that he had a peak period that lasted only about four years.

If you can ,get ahold of the 'On the Corner' box, it's real revelation!

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"Out to Lunch". There was something edgy/grating/irritating about Dolphy's playing. And the vibes seemed somehow disconnected from the rest of the group. At least that's how I remembering my first listen.

me too. Still haven't "gotten" it. I will give it another spin this weekend.

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Wow, I really appreciate the candid responses, and it's interesting to find that I'm not alone in my struggles. I too had trouble with Dolphy in the beginning but now can't love the guy enough, especially in his live stuff with Mingus (what a distinctive sound!); really struggled with Coltrane's Ascension (and have been afraid to revisit it ever since... which, I suppose, is something I should rethink); and lastly finally warmed up to Ornette through a zen-like approach of listening by not listening (not sure if that counts, but I can say that I dig him now).

I'm sure there are a few more on my list... but I'll need some time to think it over. In the meantime, thanks for the responses!

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I've owned a copy of Bitches Brew for 20 years, but I still don't love it. In A Silent Way is the electric album I play the most. But honestly, I'm more interested in the 60s quintet stuff. That's the best Miles for my ears.Mingus Presents Mingus is another one I've owned for years, but still haven't warmed to. It's universally praised by the critics, but I've always preferred Mingus At Antibes.I'm not a big fan of Black Saint and the Sinner Lady either. I've tried for years, but could never get into it.

Now as far as an album that I finally got into after a while, it would be Frank Zappa's Shut Up 'N' Play Yer Guitar. I almost sold my vinyl copies in the 80s, but then decided to keep listening. It has now become one of the most listened to albums in my entire collection.

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and lastly finally warmed up to Ornette through a zen-like approach of listening by not listening (not sure if that counts, but I can say that I dig him now).

I think that's actually a very effective way to process music sometimes. We're told that we need to sit still and pay close attention to music; but I've found the peripheral approach has drawn me to really enjoy all sorts of music. Doesn't prevent you later giving it an undivided listen; and of course, if you are studying music or want to really understand it, then that full attention is vital. But for the average listener looking for something enjoyable and engaging, I'd say it can be very effective.

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I'm still not sold on On the Corner, and I'm a huge Miles Davis fan. But I have not heard it in ages, and for me it never made it to CD or digital files.

Eric Dolphy is an interesting case in point, and I'm especially with those who had trouble with Out to Lunch. I always loved his flute work (unparalleled), but otherwise he was tough to get into--though I had my share of hearing him with Mingus, Trane, Oliver Nelson, etc. I've since become a true fan of Dophy in general--and Out to Lunch must be considered a classic (aided by the phenomenal young talent on it).

Where would Dolphy have gone in his playing/composing? Consider that he had a peak period that lasted only about four years.

If you can ,get ahold of the 'On the Corner' box, it's real revelation!

Agree. 'On the Corner' made no sense to me at all (not helped by pretty muddy sound); but I downloaded the box a few years back and find it really exciting.

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