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Rabshakeh

Jazz Modernism outside the Americas - Recommendations and recollections

133 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

The idea for this thread comes from the discussions that we have been having recently in relation to British jazz, as a result of the Decca reissue series, the release of the new Modern Jazz: Britain comp, and the recent discussions surrounding Simon Spillett's excellent blog and the Jazz Britannia series. Plus the interesting recollections of some of the members based in Europe about the scenes there in past decades.

It seems to me that there is very little coverage of the modernist/progressive jazz scenes that blossomed outside of America in the years prior to 1969/70. 

(By "modernist" and "progressive" jazz, I mean jazz that sought to respond to the musics of Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis and mid-period John Coltrane, i.e., roughly bebop, cool, hard bop and post bop in US terms (I understand that in England at least the terms used were "modernist" or "progressive").)
 
The fact is that most of what we regard as the major "jazz hubs" outside of the States (i.e., France, the UK, Japan, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, to name a few (for the purposes of this thread let's ignore South America, South Africa, West African and the Caribbean, which had their own unique scenes too, but of a quite different type)) had domestic jazz scenes that were domestically popular, often in competition with some more traditionalist dancehall type jazz scene.
 
Looking back at the UK scene (and I wasn't there, so this is second hand) it seems striking the extent to which these scenes developed in isolation and in a world of (from today's perspective) extreme information scarcity. Despite this, they had their own hierarchies of local heroes (e.g. Tubby Hayes or pre-vanguard Albert Mangelsdorff) and their own "classic" albums.
 
Not all of this stuff was strictly competitive, and, for the most part, these scenes have not survived to make it into the history books.  Most histories of jazz, to the extent that they cover the European and East Asian scenes at all, start in the late 60s, at precisely the point that international touring opened up, and the more distinctive local Avant Garde and Fusion scenes began to grow. The result of this neglect is that someone from England (to take the example that I know best) is far more likely to hear about Derek Bailey, Soft Machine or Evan Parker than Stan Tracey, Ronnie Scott (other than as a club owner) or Don Rendell, who remain largely unaccessible and whose albums are unknown to anyone who wasn't there at the time.
 
The fact is, however, that these pre-avant garde/fusion "modernist" scenes  that existed in Europe and East Asia between 1945 and 1969 were fruitful and did produce interesting artists and good records.
 
Given the concentration of knowledge and expertise on this board, I would be interested to hear from forum members with their views on these local scenes; any memories that people have of them; and favourite artists.
 
Most importantly, what are your favourite or recommended records from Europe or East Asia between 1945 and 1969? Famous or unjustly buried by time. 
 
Edited by Rabshakeh

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Posted (edited)

Some favorites:

Krzysztof Komeda - Astigmatic

Andre Hodeir - Jazz et Jazz

The Double Six of Paris - Sing Quincy Jones

Joe Harriott & John Mayer - Indo-Jazz Suite and Indo-Jazz Fusions

Martial Solal - A Bout la Souffle (Breathless)

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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Great idea for a thread, Rab. :tup

Not sure that I have much to contribute -- but I will be watching to see what others say.

Like TtK, my mind immediately went to Martial Solal.  I don't know A Bout la Souffle, but Solal's contributions to Hodeir's Jazz et Jazz are wonderful indeed.  I also dig Solal's two Milestone LPs, Solal! and On Home Ground, which were originally released on French Columbia. ... All that said, I'm much more familiar with Solal's work in the Seventies and after.

 

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Posted (edited)

As someone from the United States, I have always associated jazz with Europe, perhaps because I always assumed Europe was more sophisticated than the US, and that Europeans had the good taste to appreciate jazz.  If I am wrong, and I probably am, I prefer to retain that idealized image.

The images of the cherub fountains in Brussels and Mini Coopers driving around Rome go nicely with the Swingle Singers or Jacques Loussier's Play Bach albums.

I saw this film in elementary school, and it undoubtedly cemented Europe and jazz together in my young psyche.  Little did I know that the group providing the music includes Thee Great Tom Dissevelt!

 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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Posted (edited)

Check out the main title to Marco Vicario's Seven Golden Men, with music by Armando Trovajoli.  It perfectly captures the 1960s Euro Jazz aesthetic.  Imagine being a little kid in the US and stumbling across this on TV!

 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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1 hour ago, Teasing the Korean said:

As someone from the United States, I have always associated jazz with Europe, perhaps because I always assumed Europe was more sophisticated than the US, and that Europeans had the good taste to appreciate jazz.  If I am wrong, and I probably am, I prefer to retain that idealized image.

The images of the cherub fountains in Brussels and Mini Coopers driving around Rome go nicely with the Swingle Singers or Jacques Loussier's Play Bach albums.

Ha ha! As a European (London varietal) I had in mind a quite different set of images of European jazz in the 50s: drizzle, chips, and fantasies of "America" and everything it was supposed to represent, which I'm pretty sure was a feature across the European scenes (maybe less drizzle in Italy).

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6 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

Ha ha! As a European (London varietal) I had in mind a quite different set of images of European jazz in the 50s: drizzle, chips, and fantasies of "America" and everything it was supposed to represent, which I'm pretty sure was a feature across the European scenes (maybe less drizzle in Italy).

It's all about perspective.  In another thread, several Europeans on the board were putting down "jazz versions of classical" hybrids by the likes of the Swingles, Jacques Loussier, George Gruntz, et. al.  They are to me the height of suave, elegance, and sophistication.  

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33 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

Ha ha! As a European (London varietal) I had in mind a quite different set of images of European jazz in the 50s: drizzle, chips, and fantasies of "America" and everything it was supposed to represent, which I'm pretty sure was a feature across the European scenes (maybe less drizzle in Italy).

Yes, mine too.  Except, thinking about TKK's mention of 'Astigmatic' a different idea of freedom, possibly as well as the lifestyle freedom, for the European musicians in the Eastern Bloc perhaps, still with the drizzle though.

Thinking more about those US fantasies I wonder whether there's something to be said that some of the UK jazzers turned away from that, possibly as unattainable, and took some influences to forge their own sound.  I'm thinking about Tubby Hayes, Rendell/Carr, Garrick and even Stan Tracey.  all obviously very conversant with US music and influenced by it but did they really try to emulate it or produce something a bit more of their own. That 'pastoral' sound and hard bop that wasn't really.  As I type this I'm listening to Surman's 'How Many Clouds Can You See?', just outside your date range, and it definitely has that European ,maybe UK, rather than US sound.

I fear I may be missing the whole point of tis thread...

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7 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

I fear I may be missing the whole point of tis thread...

I don't think you're missing the point at all! ... There are many different perspectives.  Each of us bring our own, and none are "right."

It's so interesting to me that we all love JAZZ -- but we all love it differently, from our own personal angles.

 

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18 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

Yes, mine too.  Except, thinking about TKK's mention of 'Astigmatic' a different idea of freedom, possibly as well as the lifestyle freedom, for the European musicians in the Eastern Bloc perhaps, still with the drizzle though.

Thinking more about those US fantasies I wonder whether there's something to be said that some of the UK jazzers turned away from that, possibly as unattainable, and took some influences to forge their own sound.  I'm thinking about Tubby Hayes, Rendell/Carr, Garrick and even Stan Tracey.  all obviously very conversant with US music and influenced by it but did they really try to emulate it or produce something a bit more of their own. That 'pastoral' sound and hard bop that wasn't really.  As I type this I'm listening to Surman's 'How Many Clouds Can You See?', just outside your date range, and it definitely has that European ,maybe UK, rather than US sound.

I fear I may be missing the whole point of tis thread...

No no. This is the point. And I think there probably was a reaction. 

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I was visiting a US city with a friend, and we found this small basement jazz club.  He said, "This reminds me of a little place you would find in New York."  I replied, "This reminds me of a little place you would find in Paris!"

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8 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

I don't think you're missing the point at all! ... There are many different perspectives.  Each of us bring our own, and none are "right."

It's so interesting to me that we all love JAZZ -- but we all love it differently, from our own personal angles.

 

Absolutely Hutchfan!

I'm looking forward to hearing any Scandinavian recommendations.  I know some names from this thread's era but not in any depth.  Italian too actually, beyond Gaslini

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For my part that’s also what I’m also looking forward to most, plus the Germans. I know nothing about that scene except for that Mangelsdorff was a leading player,  before his vanguard heel turn.

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1 minute ago, mjazzg said:

Italian too actually, beyond Gaslini

Go for the film composers - Piero Umiliani and Piero Piccioni, for starters. 

 

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Posted (edited)

In Italy Jazz composers  and players were high in demand for soundtracks in the late fifties and sixties The most famous were Piero Umiliani e Piero Piccioni.

Edited by porcy62

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Sorry TTK I was typing on the phone but you beat me.

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Posted (edited)

23 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

For my part that’s also what I’m also looking forward to most, plus the Germans. I know nothing about that scene except for that Mangelsdorff was a leading player,  before his vanguard heel turn.

Regarding pre-1970s Mangelsdorff, I know that this one -- recorded in 1964 -- is considered seminal:

R-1324505-1451572482-8469.jpeg.jpg

The rhythm section is one of the many things that make this album special.  The bassist Günter Lenz and drummer Rolf Hübner are REALLY good.

When you think about pre-1970 expat Americans talking about the (real or imagined) shortcomings of European jazz musicians, they're using talking about problems with the rhythm section.  That is definitely NOT the case here.

 

Edited by HutchFan

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Jerry Van Rooyan's "How Short is the Time for Love" should have become a standard.  Here it is, unfortunately mis-titled in the video.

 

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8 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Regarding pre-1970s Mangelsdorff, I know that this one -- recorded in 1964 -- is considered seminal:

R-1324505-1451572482-8469.jpeg.jpg

The rhythm section is one of the many things that make this album special.  The bassist Günter Lenz and drummer Rolf Hübner are REALLY good.

 

I was going to suggest that one. In fact anything by that band is great

15 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Go for the film composers - Piero Umiliani and Piero Piccioni, for starters. 

 

 

14 minutes ago, porcy62 said:

In Italy Jazz composers  and players were high in demand for soundtracks in the late fifties and sixties The most famous were Piero Umiliani e Piero Piccioni.

Thanks, or grazie Gents. 

Just come across this, compilation looks interesting.  I knew, and had forgotten about the Polish cinema releases by the same label

https://thebluemoment.com/2017/02/19/a-soundtrack-of-the-60s-italian-style/

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, mjazzg said:

Just come across this, compilation looks interesting.  I knew, and had forgotten about the Polish cinema releases by the same label

https://thebluemoment.com/2017/02/19/a-soundtrack-of-the-60s-italian-style/

I don't have the album in the link you posted, but it looks very good. 

This album cover sums up my image of European jazz:

R-1858911-1283095094.jpeg.jpg

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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3 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I don't have this, but it looks very good. 

This album cover sums up my image of European jazz:

R-1858911-1283095094.jpeg.jpg

Not nearly enough drizzle...

OK, so that's £36 this thread has cost me already!  Just purchased the Italian and Polish Jazz in film sets

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Posted (edited)

17 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I don't have this, but it looks very good. 

This album cover sums up my image of European jazz:

R-1858911-1283095094.jpeg.jpg

Love that record!

Perhaps more than anyone else at the time, John Lewis was an American -- and specifically African-American -- who was wide open to European influences in his jazz.  I guess that's why some folks loved him, and others were turned off by him.  Lewis was a forerunner of a artists like Anthony Braxton (and many others), who were playing "against type" of what an African-American jazz musician was "supposed" to be. He was creating new hybrids, new playing fields -- setting the table for the explosion of style-mixing fusions that would come in the 1970s on both sides of the pond.

 

14 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

Not nearly enough drizzle...

Americans romanticizing Europe, and Europeans romanticizing America.

One funny "jazz paradox" among many others. :P

 

Edited by HutchFan

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57 minutes ago, porcy62 said:

In Italy Jazz composers  and players were high in demand for soundtracks in the late fifties and sixties The most famous were Piero Umiliani e Piero Piccioni.

Are there particular soundtracks for which they are known?

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