HutchFan

Playing Favorites: Reflections on Jazz in the 1970s

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My very first jazz album, at the tender age of 18 was released in 1970 - Bitches Brew. So my jazz collection started with fusion - more Miles, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin and Weather Report. Over the years I’ve filled out my collection of 70’s jazz. But Scott is unearthing some real gems I’ve never even heard of. Reading this blog has become a daily ritual. And it's really good, to boot, with some wonderful observations and insights about artists and the music of the time. Check it out, for sure. Cheers, R.

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On 1/9/2020 at 10:49 AM, NIS said:

Scott,

I tried to leave comments on your blog but for some reason it didn't work.   

Just wanted to thank you for your efforts.

I started listening to "jazz" in the 70s (my 20s) and this is a lot of fun.  Sadly I don't know anything you've posted so far, so I must not have been paying attention back then.  I am looking forward to following along and maybe I will even recognize something along the way. :O)

Nick S.

 

Nick, all are fine music.  Start with Hubbard's "Red Clay", which should be a staple of any jazz collection.  The Alice Coltrane is another particular favorite of mine, but much more demanding listening (though Pharoah Sanders and Joe Henderson certainly reward close listening, as does Coltrane herself).

Edited by felser

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On 1/9/2020 at 10:49 AM, NIS said:

Scott,

I tried to leave comments on your blog but for some reason it didn't work.   

Just wanted to thank you for your efforts.

I started listening to "jazz" in the 70s (my 20s) and this is a lot of fun.  Sadly I don't know anything you've posted so far, so I must not have been paying attention back then.  I am looking forward to following along and maybe I will even recognize something along the way. :O)

Nick S.

Nick -- Sorry to hear that the comments function didn't work for you, but I'm GLAD that you're enjoying reading the posts.  (Also, feel free to share your comments here.)

If you were listening to jazz in the Seventies, I'm sure you'll recognize something soon.  Besides, I'm happy that maybe I'll be introducing you to some "new" stuff. ;) 

 

51 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Can't go wrong with Rabbit.  Fascinating to hear him with ON.

 

1 hour ago, Robert Middleton said:

My very first jazz album, at the tender age of 18 was released in 1970 - Bitches Brew. So my jazz collection started with fusion - more Miles, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin and Weather Report. Over the years I’ve filled out my collection of 70’s jazz. But Scott is unearthing some real gems I’ve never even heard of. Reading this blog has become a daily ritual. And it's really good, to boot, with some wonderful observations and insights about artists and the music of the time. Check it out, for sure. Cheers, R.

Thanks Robert!  Cheers to you!  :tup 

And that's one helluva way to start your jazz record collection.  Bitches Brew!!!  You hit the jackpot.

 

Edited by HutchFan

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10 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Can't go wrong with Rabbit.  Fascinating to hear him with ON.

If you've not yet heard it, check this one out. It's a different concept ("easy listening jazz"), but Nelson always had a tweak or two up his sleeve (and in his pen).

 

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20 minutes ago, JSngry said:

If you've not yet heard it, check this one out. It's a different concept ("easy listening jazz"), but Nelson always had a tweak or two up his sleeve (and in his pen).

Yessir. Good stuff, for sure. :tup 

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Some of us swim in different seas.

My favorite '70s issues -

Von Freeman - Have No Fear and Serenade & Blues

Warne Marsh - All Music

Roscoe Mitchell - Nonaah

Ira Sullivan - Circumstantial

Air - Air Time

Roscoe Mitchell - L-R-G / The Maze / S II Examples

Charles Tyler - Saga of the Outlaws

Bobby Bradford w/ John Stevens Spontaneous Ensemble

Wadada Leo Smith - Spirit Catcher

YMMV

Oh, I forgot the Art Ensemble of Chicago's issues of People in Sorrow and Les Stances a Sophie.

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All solid gold, including, IMO, two of the major turning points in the music -- Nonaah and  L-R-G / The Maze / S II Examples. And great credit to the man above, without whom, in most every case, they wouldn't exist. 

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1 hour ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Some of us swim in different seas.

My favorite '70s issues -

Von Freeman - Have No Fear and Serenade & Blues

Warne Marsh - All Music

Roscoe Mitchell - Nonaah

Ira Sullivan - Circumstantial

Air - Air Time

Roscoe Mitchell - L-R-G / The Maze / S II Examples

Charles Tyler - Saga of the Outlaws

Bobby Bradford w/ John Stevens Spontaneous Ensemble

Wadada Leo Smith - Spirit Catcher

YMMV

Oh, I forgot the Art Ensemble of Chicago's issues of People in Sorrow and Les Stances a Sophie.

Chuck, I can assure you that you will see many of these in my survey as the year progresses. :tup 

Not that our tastes are totally in synch (nor should they be). ... But I'm just sayin'. 

 

 

1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

All solid gold, including, IMO, two of the major turning points in the music -- Nonaah and  L-R-G / The Maze / S II Examples. And great credit to the man above, without whom, in most every case, they wouldn't exist. 

Here, here!  [he said, banging his ale tankard on the tabletop]

 

Edited by HutchFan

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On 1/9/2020 at 8:08 AM, JSngry said:

My personal/sentimental "70s Ammons" record (as opposed to an Ammons record recorded in the 70s is My Way. That thing is epic.

And it got played on the all-night Fort Worth jazz radio show in some form or fashion every night!

 

Thanks for sharing this, Jim. I've never heard this LP.  Adding it to the list.

Honestly, I'm not a fan of the song "My Way."  Sinatra's, Elvis', or anybody's.  But, listening to Jug's version now, it's OK -- probably because it doesn't have those bathetic lyrics. ;) 

 

On 1/9/2020 at 10:32 AM, ghost of miles said:

Caution: reading this blog and thread may be hazardous to your fiscal health. :ph34r: :g

Ha!  I hope so.  That means I'm doing something right!  :P 

 

Edited by HutchFan

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

01/14/20 - Roy Brooks – The Free Slave (Muse/32 Jazz, 1972)

01/13/20 - Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Johnny Griffin – Tough Tenors Again 'n' Again (MPS, 1970)

01/12/20 - Albert Mangelsdorff Quartet – Never Let It End (MPS, 1970)

01/11/20 - Phil Woods and his European Rhythm Machine – At the Frankfurt Jazz Festival (Embryo/Atlantic, 1971)

01/10/20 - Johnny Hodges with Leon Thomas & Oliver Nelson – 3 Shades of Blue (Flying Dutchman, 1970)

01/09/20 - Miles Davis – Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time (Sony, 2001)

01/08/20 - Jeremy Steig – Wayfaring Stranger (Blue Note, 1971)

 

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19 hours ago, HutchFan said:

01/09/20 - Miles Davis – Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time (Sony, 2001)

I've been listening to the June Fillmore East box recently, and am enjoying it, but these March gigs with Wayne are SO MUCH BETTER

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Just now, Guy Berger said:

I've been listening to the June Fillmore East box recently, and am enjoying it, but these March gigs with Wayne are SO MUCH BETTER

I agree.  The balance of the group changed after Wayne left.

Honestly, if Miles had decided to make studio records with the Wayne/Chick/Holland/DeJohnette band, I bet they'd be known as the "Third Great Quintet" instead of the "Lost Quintet."  I think they were THAT good.

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20 hours ago, HutchFan said:

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

01/14/20 - Roy Brooks – The Free Slave (Muse/32 Jazz, 1972)

01/11/20 - Phil Woods and his European Rhythm Machine – At the Frankfurt Jazz Festival (Embryo/Atlantic, 1971)

Love those two.  My very favorite Woods album (and era) out of his long career.  And the Brooks is one of the very best albums Muse ever released.

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Love, love, love that Albert Mangelsdorff Quartet date (Never Let It End).

The title-track is probably the best of anything from the 70's that I've heard by him (comparable to several equally amazing 60's leader-dates of his, which are all spectacular, top to bottom).

Had to pay a pretty penny for this 5-disc set, just to get this album on CD - but it was worth it (3 of the other 4 albums were all really great too, if all quite stylistically different from each other)...

https://www.discogs.com/Albert-Mangelsdorff-Originals-Vol1/release/4267753

 

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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28 minutes ago, felser said:

Love those two.  My very favorite Woods album (and era) out of his long career.  And the Brooks is one of the very best albums Muse ever released.

Yeah! 

It was tough for me to choose which Woods to include.  I think he made several excellent (and quite different) records during the decade.  I kept going back-and-forth between Frankfurt, Musique du bois, and Live at the Showboat.

Not sure I'd go as far as you in calling The Free Slave the "very best" Muse album -- but it's certainly ONE OF the label's best. ;) 

 

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My favorite Woods album from this ear is not necessarily his best - it's the Testament record with Pete Robinson, made when he first returned to the US and naively assumed that he could continue to play a progressive music like he had been doing with the ERM (which is probably my favorite Woods, period). The poor guy went all in with electronics and such (Pete Robinson registers today as a key player from that time/place that has all but been forgotten today) only to realize in a big hurry that, no, this was America, you are Phil Woods, you will play bebop now. His dry (very dry) liner notes tell the story.

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19 minutes ago, JSngry said:

My favorite Woods album from this ear is not necessarily his best - it's the Testament record with Pete Robinson, made when he first returned to the US and naively assumed that he could continue to play a progressive music like he had been doing with the ERM (which is probably my favorite Woods, period). The poor guy went all in with electronics and such (Pete Robinson registers today as a key player from that time/place that has all but been forgotten today) only to realize in a big hurry that, no, this was America, you are Phil Woods, you will play bebop now. His dry (very dry) liner notes tell the story.

Interesting.  I've heard that music but I've never seen those liner notes. 

It's odd to think that Woods had to "regain his footing" when he returned to the U.S.  I recall reading something similar years ago, when Woods would share content on the web that he was planning to use for his autobiography.

 

Edited by HutchFan

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52 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Love, love, love that Albert Mangelsdorff Quartet date (Never Let It End).

The title-track is probably the best of anything from the 70's that I've heard by him (comparable to several equally amazing 60's leader-dates of his, which are all spectacular, top to bottom).

Had to pay a pretty penny for this 5-disc set, just to get this album on CD - but it was worth it (3 of the other 4 albums were all really great too, if all quite stylistically different from each other)...

https://www.discogs.com/Albert-Mangelsdorff-Originals-Vol1/release/4267753

Rooster, I remember when you posted your reactions to the music when you got that set.  You thought Never Let It End was amazing, the best of the five in the set. 

At that point, I'd already decided to include Never Let It End in my survey -- but it was nice to hear from someone else who had the same "Wow!" reaction that I did. ;) 

It's one of many MPS recordings that deserve to be regarded as "classics," IMO.  And, sadly, most of them are completely ignored -- at least here in the U.S.

 

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43 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Interesting.  I've heard that music but I've never seen those liner notes. 

Here ya' go:

R-3447439-1399733253-5399.jpeg.jpg

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Thanks for sharing that, Jim. :tup

Phil was a good writer. He puts across his personality well.  Does anyone have any news about the autobiography that he was writing?  Did it ever get published? 

 

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54 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Interesting.  I've heard that music but I've never seen those liner notes. 

It's odd to think that Woods had to "regain his footing" when he returned to the U.S.  I recall reading something similar years ago, when Woods would share content on the web that he was planning to use for his autobiography.

 

His playing seemed much more traditional to me after the return than it did on those glorious European Rhythm Machine albums.

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47 minutes ago, felser said:

His playing seemed much more traditional to me after the return than it did on those glorious European Rhythm Machine albums.

Oh, his playing was more traditional.  But I think it was still good.

Live at the Showboat is a SOLID record -- and very influential.  And, since it came out on RCA, I bet it sold ten times the amount the ERM records did. ... Not that sales are everything.  ... But sales are something. No?

EDIT:

Still mulling this. It's interesting -- and maybe a bit sad (?) -- to think about the fact that the "brand" of music that Phil was making in Europe didn't / couldn't make the transition back to the U.S.  I suppose those studio cats out there in Cali who came to see him with his new band expected him to sound just like he did before left for Europe. ... I wonder if it would have been different if Woods had tried to start again in NYC.  Or would people expected him to stick to the bop bag there too?

An irony. Most people associate idea of "compromise" or (worse yet) "selling out" with electric instruments and moving in non-traditional jazz directions.  Especially when it comes to jazz in the 1970s.  Maybe this is an example of it happening in the opposite direction.  Was Phil compromising when he returned to bop? ... I don't mean this in a judgmental way, btw.  It's just interesting and ironic that Phil had to STAY AWAY from electric instruments to make money, while others had to PICK THEM UP to make money.

As usual, things are more complicated than they're made out to be.

 

Edited by HutchFan

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On 12.1.2020 at 1:37 AM, Chuck Nessa said:

Some of us swim in different seas.

My favorite '70s issues -

Von Freeman - Have No Fear and Serenade & Blues

Warne Marsh - All Music

Roscoe Mitchell - Nonaah

Ira Sullivan - Circumstantial

Air - Air Time

Roscoe Mitchell - L-R-G / The Maze / S II Examples

Charles Tyler - Saga of the Outlaws

Bobby Bradford w/ John Stevens Spontaneous Ensemble

Wadada Leo Smith - Spirit Catcher

YMMV

Oh, I forgot the Art Ensemble of Chicago's issues of People in Sorrow and Les Stances a Sophie.

Good point ....

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Phil Woods never had much luck on the West Coast. He refused to play flute, so he couldn't get studio work. His attempt to go electronic earlier on Chromatic Banana was an abortion, IMHO, so I never checked out the Pete Robinson album. 

He had just come back from Europe, which went pretty well for him, and he thought the rep he had from The European Rhythm Machine would propel a solo carrer for him, but it didn't work out like that for him. His big break came when he was staying with Jerry Dodgion in NYC, and Michel Legrand called Dodgion for a gig, and Dodgion was on the road, so Phil took the call and talked his way into the gig. Legrand was knocked out by Phil's playing (he was a better improviser than Dodgion), and the albums and concerts he did with Legrand put his name in front of the public, and he was finally able to launch a solo career in the US.

His Musique du bois album in Phil's words, 'never got off the page', so he formed his own band with Goodwin, Gilmore and Melillo, and toured relentlessly,.Melillo could take things pretty out, so I don't think the characterization of the music his quartet played in the 70s as only 'bebop' is correct at all. When we saw them at the short revival of The Half Note in NY, Melillo took things so out, tempo and tonality disappeared so completely at one point, that there was a long moment of silence, before they started playing the tune again!

 

Edited by sgcim

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