HutchFan

Playing Favorites: Reflections on Jazz in the 1970s

974 posts in this topic

What it ultimately comes down to is a matter of personal taste. I have listened to most of the Joe Henderson recordings on Milestone, and even liked a few for a short while. The same thing is true for much of the so-called avante garde music recordings that followed the early things by Ornette.  But after dipping my toe or even entire foot in those waters, I recognized that what I found musically satisfying was the Joe Henderson as both leader and sideman on Blue Note, and the styles of jazz that might be thought of as pre-avante-garde.

This may be largely related to the years when I first became a jazz listener. The music of the 50's was filled with new recordings coming out regularly on labels like Blue Note and Prestige. It was all both new and exciting to hear the "latest" from the jazz world. I bonded with early Miles, Rollins, Horace Silver, Hank Mobley, Jackie Mclean, Stan Getz and many others. This continued into the 60's.

There then became a time thatI felt I had a "duty" to pay some attention to some of the new directions in jazz, and even invested my hard earned money in buying quite a few recordings of what was considered new.This continued for me into the 70's.

However, after a bit of time I recognized that when I played many of these "new" recordings", it seemed like  an obligation I had to meet, rather than actually getting meaningful pleasure from that music. 

In retrospect what I find interesting was while I initially found much of the pre-bop jazz to be old fashioned and uninteresting, I gradually changed my mind. So over time began to develop a significant amount of interest in the Swing era musicians and many of the "Traditional" period .

So my personal taste did become modified. But not by going forward to what were the newest jazz styles, but by broadening my interest to include the styles of jazz that predated my initial interest in Bop, Hard Bop and West Coast Jazz. 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Peter Friedman said:

What it ultimately comes down to is a matter of personal taste. I have listened to most of the Joe Henderson recordings on Milestone, and even liked a few for a short while. The same thing is true for much of the so-called avante garde music recordings that followed the early things by Ornette.  But after dipping my toe or even entire foot in those waters, I recognized that what I found musically satisfying was the Joe Henderson as both leader and sideman on Blue Note, and the styles of jazz that might be thought of as pre-avante-garde.

This may be largely related to the years when I first became a jazz listener. The music of the 50's was filled with new recordings coming out regularly on labels like Blue Note and Prestige. It was all both new and exciting to hear the "latest" from the jazz world. I bonded with early Miles, Rollins, Horace Silver, Hank Mobley, Jackie Mclean, Stan Getz and many others. This continued into the 60's.

There then became a time thatI felt I had a "duty" to pay some attention to some of the new directions in jazz, and even invested my hard earned money in buying quite a few recordings of what was considered new.This continued for me into the 70's.

However, after a bit of time I recognized that when I played many of these "new" recordings", it seemed like  an obligation I had to meet, rather than actually getting meaningful pleasure from that music. 

In retrospect what I find interesting was while I initially found much of the pre-bop jazz to be old fashioned and uninteresting, I gradually changed my mind. So over time began to develop a significant amount of interest in the Swing era musicians and many of the "Traditional" period .

So my personal taste did become modified. But not by going forward to what were the newest jazz styles, but by broadening my interest to include the styles of jazz that predated my initial interest in Bop, Hard Bop and West Coast Jazz. 

Peter, I agree with you.  At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong when it comes to music.  Subjective experience is right at the very heart of it.

I had a literature professor in college who greatly influenced my thinking on this sort of thing.  He said, "To be an educated person, you need to spend a lot of time in the library.  Not because you need to know everything.  Instead, the purpose is to discover the authors that speak to you, the ones that address your needs and your concerns.  But, if you don't put in the time, you may never discover them."

I feel the same way about music.  We owe it to ourselves to explore -- otherwise, we might be denying ourselves something meaningful and wonderful -- but, at the end of the day, our greatest obligation is to ourselves.

I suppose it's just like what Thelonious said (in so many words), "The artist who is most successful is the one who is most truly himself."

 

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9 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong when it comes to music.  

Well, see, that's nonsense. There is. Don't get suckered into thinking otherwise, that's not a way to open a mind, it's a way to obliterate it.

But note this distinction - there is indeed right or wrong in music - but there is no one right or wrong for all musics. Each language certainly does have its own set of rights and wrongs, all languages do. Some of the wrongs of the existing language prove to have enough validity and meaning to the existing language that they evolve into the existing, and become an addition to the existing right. Some are so incompatible with the existing right but have enough conviction and relevance to enough people that the become a new language, albeit on with strong roots in an old one.

And some shit is wrong, stupid wrong, Stuff that leaves suckers marveling at the infinity of creativity, which of course there is, but as they say, the bigger the front, the bigger the back, the greater the greatness, the dumber the dumbness. It does go both ways.

If there was no right or wrong in any music...there would be no traction, and there for damn sure would be no growth, no evolution. Even something like 4:33, the point of that is not that ANYTHING is music, but that EVERYTHING is music. That's a crucial distinction in that the imperative is that there be a framework for understanding intent, there must be an idea to express and there must be a frame for the idea. Even if the concept is for the frame to create itself rather than being created to impose, that's still an idea.

I mean, I think it's a great idea to perform your own self-created version of 4:33 by driving in a nasty traffic jam with the windows rolled down for exactly 4:33 and just LISTEN. But to just sit there for 4:33 on the phone and cursing at the other drivers and distractatory shit like that,, that's a WRONG way to perform 4:33. That's NOT 4:33! 4:33 involves, not the silence of the external, but the silencing of the internal. If you want to spend 4:33 creating your own noise, that's fine, do that, but that's NOT 4:33, and if you think that it is, you are WRONG.

Don't fall for there "there is no right or wrong in music" bullshit. That's a sucker move. What there is is a LOT of rights and a LOT of wrongs. Some of the wrongs might actually be kinda cool (omg, pop records, especially "local" pop records), but coolness does not equal "right". Those type of things just illustrate that wrong can still be cool, just as right can suck.

My Grampa Sangrey was a VERY flatulent man, especially after turning 80 or so, even in church. And one day, during Silent Prayer, he inflicted the most and longest UN-Silent Prayer on the congregation, probably on ANY congregation in the history of the world. I'm not talking periods of interrupted silence, I'm taking straight-through continuous unsilence, which to be fair, did have arcs of pitch and texture that could objectively been seen to have "musical quality".

If you could distance yourself from the event but retain the context, it would probably be one of the more amazing music events in the history of humankind. But still....wrong. Very wrong. Still it did have a FFFF coda, supplied by my mom as soon as we got out of the church, shook hands with the pastor and started heading for the car - DAMMIT GRAMPA, THAT WAS DISGUSTING!!!!

So don't tell me there are nor rights or wrongs in music, of course there are. But what do they mean or matter? Farting is wrong in Silent Prayer church music, very wrong, but right in Grampa Sangrey Internal Organism Music.

 

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Jim, you mistook my intent.  I didn't mean that there are no "rights" and "wrongs" in the absolute sense.  I am a relativist when it comes to this sort of thing, but not absolute relativist. 

I can simultaneously recognize some artists are more important than others -- in the historical, musicological, cultural sense -- while also recognizing that a whole different set of artists may be more important to me.  The figuring out who's important to me is what interests me.  There's no inherent contradiction there.  Plus, there's no "leveling of the playing field" or the "there are no rules"-type nonsense that you think I was espousing.  I'm not.

Another way of thinking about what I said above:  I'm approaching this from the perspective of a listener.  That is, there is no "You SHOULD like this better than that" or "You should NOT like this better than that." ... You know that it would be absurd for me to say, "You should like Tolstoy more than Dickens."  Or "Beethoven is better than Bach."  Or "Shakespeare is greater than Chaucer."  It's even silly for me to say, "You should like jazz more than classical."  Or "You should like jazz more than pop" -- even if I believe that jazz is more interesting than pop (and I do).

That's what I'm talking about here. Discovery in the real world, not in some abstract sense. ... And the freedom for an individual to follow his/her nose to the things that address their needs and desires.  

 

Edited by HutchFan

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When it comes to interesting...it's everywhere. Literally everywhere. Thinking otherwise is yet another form of confirmation bias, another way to get very fat in a very skinny space.

 

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56 minutes ago, JSngry said:

When it comes to interesting...it's everywhere. Literally everywhere. Thinking otherwise is yet another form of confirmation bias, another way to get very fat in a very skinny space.

Well, this board only exists because we all enjoy making distinctions between more and less interesting forms of jazz, comparing notes.  That's what we're doing here, right?  Talking about things that interest us.

What else is there?

 

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More than jazz, more than music, there's people and the life that comes with them (or is it the other way around)?

Jazz is as good place as any to start, maybe a good place to finish (I mean, everybody's got to die someplace, right?), but in between it's really the least of it.

Besides, I keep looking where "jazz" ends yet "interest" continues, and there's no real check point there. no barbed wire fence with armed guards and dogs and shit. Some people in suitiforms keep asking to see my papers, but fuck them, they're frauds looking for a mark. I just keep going. They keep hollering but they don't stop me. I have found out that I can go further than they can yell.

Hey.

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Notions of “wrong”’and “right” can also be pretty damn fluid and always subject to change/evolution. Ornette Coleman is one example that comes to mind, as somebody who was accused of playing “wrong” when he started making waves in the late 1950s. But I always liked this response from Mingus (who as far as I can tell was ambivalent about Coleman at first) in a 1960 DownBeat article:  “It’s like organized disorganization, or playing wrong right. And it gets to you emotionally, like a drummer. That’s what Coleman means to me.”

On 12/16/2020 at 0:03 PM, EKE BBB said:

Other than the three Bill Evans sets (The Secret Sessions (Recorded At The Village Vanguard 1966-1975), The Last Waltz & Consecration), I don't know of any.

 

It’s too bad that Fantasy never put together a general-overview box-set for Milestone as they did for Contemporary, Prestige, Riverside, and Debut. Those were all exceptionally well-done IMO.

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1 hour ago, ghost of miles said:

Notions of “wrong”’and “right” can also be pretty damn fluid and always subject to change/evolution.

Fluid, yes. But like other fluids, it merely takes the shape of the container in which it is found. It never stops existing. Especially when the container is the consciousness of humans, individually and collectively.

It's not a question of if there's right/wrong, there always is. It's a question of where they are at any given time. I hear there's an app for that now. It reports and you decide. Comes in hand at bachelor parties, fiduciary meetings, loft sessions with Bob Brookmeyer, contract creations, and other porno shoots (sand that's why I have it on my phone but not my desktop).

On 12/16/2020 at 10:25 AM, Rooster_Ties said:

Question: Was the Joe Henderson the only Milestone box-set they ever did?

Just remembered...if they didn't do one for Lee Konitz, somebody did it for them.

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Weekly Recap - PLAYING FAVORITES: Reflections on Jazz in the 1970s 

Bud Shank, Bill Mays, Alan Broadbent – Crystal Comments (Concord, 1980)
Fred Anderson – The Missing Link (Nessa, 1984)
Dave Burrell – Windward Passages (hat Hut, 1980)
Max Roach Quartet – Pictures in a Frame (Soul Note, 1979)
Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell – Old and New Dreams (ECM, 1979)
Jack Walrath – Demons in Pursuit (Gatemouth, 1979)
Claude Williamson Trio – La Fiesta (Interplay/Discovery, 1979)

 

Another solid batch, I think. 

My Max Roach choice may surprise some of you -- since I chose Pictures in a Frame, the first album with Odean Pope, rather than one of the records featuring Billy Harper.  I love those records with Billy Harper.  I just like Pictures in a Frame more.  There's more variety composition-wise -- plus, there's a different balance in the quartet that appeals to me.  I think Chattahoochee Red (Columbia, 1980), Max's next quartet record after Pictures in a Frame, is brilliant too.  Neither of these records deserve their relative obscurity.  I think they're the two best MRQ albums with Pope.

 

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52 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Weekly Recap - PLAYING FAVORITES: Reflections on Jazz in the 1970s 

Bud Shank, Bill Mays, Alan Broadbent – Crystal Comments (Concord, 1980)
Fred Anderson – The Missing Link (Nessa, 1984)
Dave Burrell – Windward Passages (hat Hut, 1980)
Max Roach Quartet – Pictures in a Frame (Soul Note, 1979)
Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell – Old and New Dreams (ECM, 1979)
Jack Walrath – Demons in Pursuit (Gatemouth, 1979)
Claude Williamson Trio – La Fiesta (Interplay/Discovery, 1979)

 

Another solid batch, I think. 

 

 

An Oh-Fer here.

:shrug[1]::cool:

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My avatar doesn't like your Max choice!'

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12 minutes ago, felser said:

My avatar doesn't like your Max choice!

And my all-time favorite Art Blakey leader-dates are the two released instances of the Billy Harper / Bill Hardman version of the Jazz Measengers (from 1967)...

...so what does that tell you about my opinion? ;)

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20 hours ago, HutchFan said:

Weekly Recap - PLAYING FAVORITES: Reflections on Jazz in the 1970s 

Bud Shank, Bill Mays, Alan Broadbent – Crystal Comments (Concord, 1980)
Fred Anderson – The Missing Link (Nessa, 1984)
Dave Burrell – Windward Passages (hat Hut, 1980)
Max Roach Quartet – Pictures in a Frame (Soul Note, 1979)
Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell – Old and New Dreams (ECM, 1979)
Jack Walrath – Demons in Pursuit (Gatemouth, 1979)
Claude Williamson Trio – La Fiesta (Interplay/Discovery, 1979)

 

Another solid batch, I think. 

My Max Roach choice may surprise some of you -- since I chose Pictures in a Frame, the first album with Odean Pope, rather than one of the records featuring Billy Harper.  I love those records with Billy Harper.  I just like Pictures in a Frame more.  There's more variety composition-wise -- plus, there's a different balance in the quartet that appeals to me.  I think Chattahoochee Red (Columbia, 1980), Max's next quartet record after Pictures in a Frame, is brilliant too.  Neither of these records deserve their relative obscurity.  I think they're the two best MRQ albums with Pope.

 

Really enjoying Jack Walrath's playing on that new Mingus Bremen release from Sunnyside.

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26 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

Really enjoying Jack Walrath's playing on that new Mingus Bremen release from Sunnyside.

Me too.  He was such a great completion to that lineup.

50 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

And my all-time favorite Art Blakey leader-dates are the two released instances of the Billy Harper / Bill Hardman version of the Jazz Measengers (from 1967)...

Those are great albums, grey market though they be.

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1 hour ago, felser said:

My avatar doesn't like your Max choice!'

Your avatar realizes that I selected Capra Black earlier in my survey, right?!? 

:D :D :D

 

Honestly, I don't think you can wrong with ANY of Max's records from the 70s -- the quartets, the duets with Braxton & Shepp, Lift Every Voice ... ALL of it. Even the Sonet LP with Diz is good fun.

And it's a cryin' shame that most of it was released on relatively obscure European or Japanese labels. Max deserved much, much, MUCH more exposure. 

 

Edited by HutchFan

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37 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

 

Honestly, I don't think you can wrong with ANY of Max's records from the 70s -- the quartets, the duets with Braxton & Shepp, Lift Every Voice ... ALL of it. Even the Sonet LP with Diz is good fun.

And it's a cryin' shame that most of it was released on relatively obscure European or Japanese labels. Max deserved much, much, MUCH more exposure. 

 

A Mosaic of the quartets with Harper would have been great.  But they only do sure sellers now.

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13 minutes ago, felser said:

A Mosaic of the quartets with Harper would have been great. 

Yes! 👍

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Real-time reminiscence here....there are no bad Max records. And I did like Pictures in a Frame. I had seen Max w/Odean in Newport/New York (at Carnegie) that summer and was not in the least bit let down that Billy was not in the band (and besides, I heard Billy with his own band that weekend doing an afternoon street concert).

But...(you knew there was a but, coming, right?)

compared to Loadstar and maybe In Tokyo (the only two I had heard by that band at that time, but whoa, WHOA). Pictures In A Frame seemed a bit of an "airplay" record, relatively speaking. Shorter cuts, a tighter presentation, etc. Nothing wrong with that, but at that time (and based on what I had heard from the band live), it just seemed a bit of a calculated presentation as opposed to a fully all-in one. And of course, it got no airplay, at least not here anyway.

So, "real time" experiences are not just with the records, they're also having to do with live gigs, radio dials, all sorts of things. And of course, they're not replicable. Like the man (almost) said, when they're gone, they're gone.

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2 hours ago, JSngry said:

Real-time reminiscence here....there are no bad Max records. And I did like Pictures in a Frame. I had seen Max w/Odean in Newport/New York (at Carnegie) that summer and was not in the least bit let down that Billy was not in the band (and besides, I heard Billy with his own band that weekend doing an afternoon street concert).

But...(you knew there was a but, coming, right?)

compared to Loadstar and maybe In Tokyo (the only two I had heard by that band at that time, but whoa, WHOA). Pictures In A Frame seemed a bit of an "airplay" record, relatively speaking. Shorter cuts, a tighter presentation, etc. Nothing wrong with that, but at that time (and based on what I had heard from the band live), it just seemed a bit of a calculated presentation as opposed to a fully all-in one. And of course, it got no airplay, at least not here anyway.

So, "real time" experiences are not just with the records, they're also having to do with live gigs, radio dials, all sorts of things. And of course, they're not replicable. Like the man (almost) said, when they're gone, they're gone.

Has Black Saint/Soul Note ever had a successful airplay record?  I saw Roach with Harper/Bridgewater/Workman (Keystone Korner ca. 1976), and saw him with Pope/Bridgewater/Brown (Penn's Landing outdoor concert, ca. 1989), and both were great experiences.    BTW, strange that "Chattahoochie Red" never made it to CD.  Love "The Dream"/"It's Time"  on that one.

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 Please note - "airplay":g

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Very interesting thoughts about the Max Roach Quartets of the late 70´s. I also have Pictures of a Frame, but have not listened to it lately..., I must admit I also preferred the quartet with Billy Harper in it, something with the sound of Odean Pope, it´s hard to describe, is it possible it sounds a bit as a bassoon ? 

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15 hours ago, felser said:

BTW, strange that "Chattahoochie Red" never made it to CD. 

I guess it bears reiteration that Chatahoochie Red was leased to Columbia by Max, as part of an agreement with the label he made with Bruce Lundvall. It was not and is not owned by Columbia, so any reissue would have to be initiated by the owner, which I would assume to be the estate.

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On 12/21/2020 at 0:24 PM, HutchFan said:

Weekly Recap - PLAYING FAVORITES: Reflections on Jazz in the 1970s 

Bud Shank, Bill Mays, Alan Broadbent – Crystal Comments (Concord, 1980)
Fred Anderson – The Missing Link (Nessa, 1984)
Dave Burrell – Windward Passages (hat Hut, 1980)
Max Roach Quartet – Pictures in a Frame (Soul Note, 1979)
Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell – Old and New Dreams (ECM, 1979)
Jack Walrath – Demons in Pursuit (Gatemouth, 1979)
Claude Williamson Trio – La Fiesta (Interplay/Discovery, 1979)

 

Another solid batch, I think. 

My Max Roach choice may surprise some of you -- since I chose Pictures in a Frame, the first album with Odean Pope, rather than one of the records featuring Billy Harper.  I love those records with Billy Harper.  I just like Pictures in a Frame more.  There's more variety composition-wise -- plus, there's a different balance in the quartet that appeals to me.  I think Chattahoochee Red (Columbia, 1980), Max's next quartet record after Pictures in a Frame, is brilliant too.  Neither of these records deserve their relative obscurity.  I think they're the two best MRQ albums with Pope.

 

I have been a fan of Claude Williamson's piano playing since I first heard him as stalwart on the West Coast scene recordings in the 1950's.

So on this week's list the only one I like is the "Claude Williamson Trio - La Fiesta". Claude is joined here by an outstanding rhythm section of Sam Jones and Roy Haynes. My CD copy is on the Venus label.

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