HutchFan

Playing Favorites: Reflections on Jazz in the 1970s

578 posts in this topic

Herbie was a young giant in the 60's, but he certainly became a much bigger and quite different sort of giant in the 70's.

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Joe Zawinul.

As for Wayne, if we're looking at "emerging" as a "giant" to have marketplace implications, I think you can argue the point that he didn't truly "emerge" until the 2000s, when he had a regular working/recording band.

And if we don't want to look at "emerging" in those terms, but instead look at it just in terms of unique talent emerging into the world of recordings and word-of-mouth, then suddenly the 70s become VERY fertile ground indeed.

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I can beat Larry for the year in which I started playing jazz records: 1952. 

My Dad let me play his 78s on a "windup" phonograph. He had a lot of Fats Waller, as well as Billie Holiday, Jack Teagarden, Bing Crosby and others. My favorite was Fats Waller. We even had a 12" 78 by him: "Mopping And Bopping". I also remember Nat Cole on the radio.

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Jack DeJohnette - started the decade as a cognoscenti-favored sideman, emerged as as a headliner of a leader and an almost universally acclaimed master drummer.

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It's almost a given that whatever the reality, the musicians who are coming up NOW, think that NOW is the time. The young mothers I play with in various bands, rarely say to me that the 70s, 80s or 90s must have been a great period in jazz. To them, everything is happening now, which is how it should be.

Nothing is so repulsive to me as some of these young guys wearing garb of the 30s, and playing music of that period, as if Bird never happened, let alone Trane.

Since I came up in the 70s, THAT was the time for me. It seemed like there was so much going on. Phil Woods just came back from Europe, and formed his own band with players like Bill Goodwin and Mike Melillo- guys who were hardly locked into the 50s. Tom Harrell was playing as a sideman all over the place, after just getting out of Pilgrim State.

Bill Evans was playing at the VV, and Thad and Mel were still playing there. NYC actually supported jazz with the Jazz Interactions program, where we got to have free group lessons with cats like Howard McGhee, Attilla Zoller, and others of that period, rather than the Wynton Marsalis Worship Hour we're currently having at JALC. 

Ed Bickert and Don Thompson came to prominence as world class players, after being unknowns to anyone outside of Canada. Same with Lenny Breau.

Jazz guitar started to have a rebirth, due to the rockers getting tired of pentatonic wanking, and songs with purely power chords and triads. Guitarists as diverse as Kenny Burrell, George Barnes, Bucky Pizzarelli, Sam Brown, Joe Puma, Chuck Wayne, Jim Hall, Jimmy Raney, and Tal Farlow were playing clubs and festivals, and recording as leaders.

The public were actually excited by jazz, after the energy from 60s rock  had begun to burn out. Sure, jazz was never going to be big as the pre-Beatles years, but the 70s can definitely seen as some type of jazz renaissance, at least in NY.

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The 70s are special to me since that was the time that I got interested in jazz.   I remember that it was a strange feeling.  Looking back at jazz history, the 20s-30s-40s-50s-60s felt like a strong progression headed somewhere. But where?  Some argued that it was fusion.  In reality, things were going in all sorts of different confusing directions: backwards, forwards, sideways, every which way.   But in retrospect, damn was there a lot of great music being made!

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Several things about jazz in the 70s stand out for me:

The Pablo and Concord labels being ubiquitous, readily available in the shops and raising the profile of classic jazz artists.

Most of the great big bands (Kenton, Basie, Herman) being very active and regularly touring the UK.

Not enough jazz on BBC Radio (‘twas ever thus) but what there was, on Radio 3 especially, was brilliant. 

Lots of UK ‘Progressive’ jazz musicians spending lots of time gigging in Continental Europe for lack of opportunities in the UK, especially in the mid-70s.

Some great LP reissue programmes from the Prestige/Milestone/Fantasy and Vogue catalogues. The return of Blue Note to UK shops (not including imports) under the UA imprint from 1977.

Some great and late-lamented jazz vinyl shops in the London area.

The Jazz Centre Society having serious plans for a London-based UK jazz HQ. Came to nought in the end, sadly - although JCS did promote some excellent projects.

Miles Davis doing his great disappearing act in 1975.

Edited by sidewinder

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Up for the New Year! :party:

I’ll be checking nearly daily. Really looking forward to discovering a lot of new music, new to me at least - and revisiting some old friends, so to speak.

Bravo on the first two entires, which were more extensive than I could read on my 15-minute subway ride into work.

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Have you considered posting a link here noting what new recording was added? I have bookmarked your blog but bookmarks don't always stay front and center in my mind.  You may drive more traffic if you post here, day by day.

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6 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

Have you considered posting a link here noting what new recording was added? I have bookmarked your blog but bookmarks don't always stay front and center in my mind.  You may drive more traffic if you post here, day by day.

Agreed.  Out of sight, out of mind.

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22 minutes ago, mjzee said:

Agreed.  Out of sight, out of mind.

At least a weekly bump, with that week's titles listed would certainly be warented, and more than welcome!!

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More food for thought...

Jazz Wars in the ’70s

“Maybe the best that can be said of jazz in the ’70s is that it didn’t just survive. It established its own precedents and raised important questions about an art that was finally pushed beyond its golden age.”

by GARY GIDDINS

DECEMBER 11, 2019

https://www.villagevoice.com/2019/12/11/jazz-wars-in-the-70s/

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Posted (edited)

On 1/4/2020 at 1:51 PM, Rooster_Ties said:

At least a weekly bump, with that week's titles listed would certainly be warented, and more than welcome!!

I like the idea of a weekly recap.  I will have finished the first week on Tuesday.  I'll post weekly recaps then. :tup 

Also, I usually include mentions of my daily posts in the "What Are You Listening to?" thread.

Edited by HutchFan

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One clarification about Red Clay - "Cold Turkey" was not on the original LP and didn't surface until a few decades later. It still sounds funny to me hearing it when I play the CD, like oh wow, where did this come from?!?!?!?!

Kinda "destroys" the otherwise icon-icity of the record, especially the LP which was a model of programming and symmetry across two sides.

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Posted (edited)

50 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

More food for thought...

Jazz Wars in the ’70s

“Maybe the best that can be said of jazz in the ’70s is that it didn’t just survive. It established its own precedents and raised important questions about an art that was finally pushed beyond its golden age.”

by GARY GIDDINS

DECEMBER 11, 2019

https://www.villagevoice.com/2019/12/11/jazz-wars-in-the-70s/

I suppose it's the job of a critic to make generalizations and speak about things that they don't like in the interest of offering a broad, well-informed perspective.

I'm not interested in doing that. I'd rather talk about things that I enjoy and be specific about it.

 

13 minutes ago, JSngry said:

One clarification about Red Clay - "Cold Turkey" was not on the original LP and didn't surface until a few decades later. It still sounds funny to me hearing it when I play the CD, like oh wow, where did this come from?!?!?!?!

Kinda "destroys" the otherwise icon-icity of the record, especially the LP which was a model of programming and symmetry across two sides.

How 'bout that. I didn't know.  I may make a note of it on today's post.  Thanks.

My CD has another cut, an 18-minute live version of "Red Clay," that I usually cut off.  At least CD programming makes the process easier.

 

Edited by HutchFan

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The original LP had just four cuts, two per side, and programmed/played perfectly as either two single sides or as an entire album.

R-13499937-1555359600-9577.jpeg.jpg

 

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15 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

I suppose it's the job of a critic to make generalizations and speak about things that they don't like in the interest of offering a broad, well-informed perspective.

I'm not interested in doing that. I'd rather talk about things that I enjoy and be specific about it.

Entirely agree!  It was just the "70's" angle of the article that I thought was too relevant to the general discussion here, not to include a link to it here... ...if for no other reason, than to highlight the contrast with the "positive" approach you're taking.  (Also, to be honest, I haven't had the chance to read the article beyond skimming the first 2-3 paragraphs is all.)

I'm sure when the year is up, fully half of your choices (covered in your blog) will either be albums entirely unfamiliar to me (completely!) -- or at least albums by artists I know at least somewhat, but specific LP's I've never actually heard myself.

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1 minute ago, JSngry said:

The original LP had just four cuts, two per side, and programmed/played perfectly as either two single sides or as an entire album.

R-13499937-1555359600-9577.jpeg.jpg

 

Cool.  I actually just made a note of this on today's blog entry. 

I dig the idea of album cohesion and symmetry, and I can certainly see how "Cold Turkey" would throw that off.  But now that I've absorbed the record -- listened to it hundreds of times on compact disc -- it's likely impossible for me to "un-hear" it as part of the record.

... More evidence that listening context (in this case the format) means a whole helluva lot!

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Posted (edited)

33 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Entirely agree!  It was just the "70's" angle of the article that I thought was too relevant to the general discussion here, not to include a link to it here... ...if for no other reason, than to highlight the contrast with the "positive" approach you're taking.  (Also, to be honest, I haven't had the chance to read the article beyond skimming the first 2-3 paragraphs is all.)

Yes indeed!  Please keep sharing this sort of thing.  Anything that promotes the discussion is "right on!" IMO.

I actually enjoy Giddins' writing. I've read nearly all of his books, and he's hipped me to innumerable musicians. ... But I think jazz has moved past the whole tired "culture war" interpretation of what happened in the 1970s.  Interpreting the times through that prism sets up some all sorts of either/or dichotomies that I don't necessarily think are relevant anymore. Tropes like "commercial vs. 'real'"; "acoustic vs. electric"; "American/authentic" vs. "European/less-than-authentic." I'm trying to avoid that sort of thing in what I'm doing. Perhaps these dichotomies were useful or helpful back then. I don't know; I wasn't there. But I certainly don't think they're useful for us now.  

I'm just trying to listen with open ears and hear what I hear and then share it. 

 

33 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

I'm sure when the year is up, fully half of your choices (covered in your blog) will either be albums entirely unfamiliar to me (completely!) -- or at least albums by artists I know at least somewhat, but specific LP's I've never actually heard myself.

Maybe so. I hope I hip a lot of people to some wonderful artists. :) 

 

Edited by HutchFan

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2 hours ago, HutchFan said:

Yes indeed!  Please keep sharing this sort of thing.  Anything that promotes the discussion is "right on!" IMO.

I actually enjoy Giddins' writing. I've read nearly all of his books, and he's hipped me to innumerable musicians. ... But I think jazz has moved past the whole tired "culture war" interpretation of what happened in the 1970s.  Interpreting the times through that prism sets up some all sorts of either/or dichotomies that I don't necessarily think are relevant anymore. Tropes like "commercial vs. 'real'"; "acoustic vs. electric"; "American/authentic" vs. "European/less-than-authentic." I'm trying to avoid that sort of thing in what I'm doing. Perhaps these dichotomies were useful or helpful back then. I don't know; I wasn't there. But I certainly don't think they're useful for us now.  

 

Agreed.  Time and distance has enabled me to reevaluate and appreciate labels and artists like CTI, Brubeck, and Kenton who I scorned or ignored back in the day due to their perceived lack of whatever...

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There is a great live version of Red Clay on the VSOP "Tempest in the Colloseum" . This was an album that was discussed in my classes at high school. And THIS was also PART of the 70´s : If some one among the bunch of guys we was got some pocket money, he would spend it at the vinyl shops and the next day he would bring it and we would listen and discuss. It was like "Organissimo Forum Live".

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3 minutes ago, Gheorghe said:

There is a great live version of Red Clay on the VSOP "Tempest in the Colloseum" . This was an album that was discussed in my classes at high school. And THIS was also PART of the 70´s : If some one among the bunch of guys we was got some pocket money, he would spend it at the vinyl shops and the next day he would bring it and we would listen and discuss. It was like "Organissimo Forum Live".

:D ....

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Posted (edited)

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

01/07/20 - The Ahmad Jamal Trio – The Awakening (Impulse, 1970)

01/06/20 - Gene Ammons ‎– Night Lights (Prestige, 1985)

01/05/20 - Freddie Hubbard – Red Clay (CTI, 1970)

01/04/20 - Harold Mabern – Greasy Kid Stuff! (Prestige, 1970)

01/03/20 - Alice Coltrane – Ptah, the El Daoud (Impulse, 1970)

01/02/20 - Thad Jones • Mel Lewis – Consummation (Blue Note, 1970)

01/01/20 - The Michael Garrick Sextet with Norma Winstone – The Heart is a Lotus (Argo/Vocalion, 1970)

 

All recorded between January 20 and February 3, 1970. :) 

 

Edited by HutchFan

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Adding electrified sounds to jazz is no different than a sculptor choosing to shape an object in resin or foam instead of stone or wood.  Different materials imply different sets of assumptions, dimensions, traditions, tonalities, and colors (either literal or metaphorical).  Ultimately, there's nothing inherently right or wrong with any choice.  They're all just means for expressive ends.

Now you're talkin'!

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