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Face of the Bass

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  1. Probably about 2,000 CDs and about 10 LPs.
  2. In something like chronological order, in terms of when I encountered them in my life: 1. Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland. I think I first heard this when I was 16 years old. I remember I went on a trip with my sister to Ocean City, Maryland, and something about the sunshine and the breezes off the ocean triggered a desire to hear Hendrix. To be honest, I don't think I ever really understood the power music had to be transformative until I heard the opening few minutes of 1983: A Merman I should Turn To Be... 2. Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde. Listening to Hendrix sort of naturally led me to Dylan, first through his greatest hits packages and then the individual albums. This is the first one that really blew me away, and I think the full effect of it came when I was around 17 or 18 years old. For me, there are few lyrical performances as wonderful as Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again. This music not only changed the way I thought of music, it changed the way I thought of language. After hearing this I became more interested in poetry and in becoming a writer. 3. Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain. Today this is nowhere near my favorite Miles album, but at the time I heard this I was absolutely blown away by the orchestration and the lyric expressiveness of Miles' trumpet playing. I didn't really encounter this music until I was about 25 years old. It snapped me out of a musical boredom that had been created by listening to too much Dylan, too many songs based on guitars and simple chord structures. This is the album that turned me on to jazz. 4. Cecil Taylor - Jazz Advance. My journey through jazz history was an accelerated one, and I think I decided to listen to Cecil after he was crudely dismissed by Ken Burns in his infamous documentary. The brilliance of this recording, which I first remember experiencing sometime around 2003-2004, shocked me. His truly percussive approach to the piano made me feel like I was hearing for the first time the way the instrument was, in some respect, meant to be played. This recording really made me realize what avant-garde jazz, at its very best, was all about. 5. Lee Morgan - Leeway. This is an odd choice, I admit. I could have gone another direction and picked Keith Rowe and John Tilbury's Duos for Doris, which had its own impact on me. But I'm going with the Morgan because it was listening to this for the first time, around 2006 or 2007, that made me realize what an absolutely brilliant bass player Paul Chambers is. After listening to one of his solos on this record, while I was driving on I-97 between Baltimore and Annapolis late at night, I decided I was going to seek out every recording with Chambers on it that I could get my hands on. That solo was what made me truly appreciate the bass, and led me to seek out other great bassists like Oscar Pettiford, Jimmy Blanton, etc. It reshaped the way I think about (and especially the way I listen to) jazz music. When I was spending a year away from home doing research in Africa in 2009, I made his solo on this album my ring tone. My Namibian assistant grew very fond of hearing it every time I had a new message and so I got to tell her about who Chambers was. And finally, listening to this led me to the perhaps foolish decision to buy my own bass in January 2010, which I did, and start practicing on it in my own humble way, which I have.
  3. My parents got me the Lionel Hampton Mosaic set, my brother-in-law got me the John Carter/Bobby Bradford Select and the Art Blakey Hard Bop Mosaic single, my sister got me the Dylan Witmark Demos, and I am spending some Christmas money on the Charlie Parker Savoy & Dial Studio Sessions box.
  4. The thing about the Benedetti (which I don't have yet) that I find appealing is precisely that the sound quality is inferior and the larger context for the music is missing in many cases. It gives the whole project this unpolished romanticism that you can't get from a more traditional set. The only reason that I don't own this set already is simply because I know it isn't a limited edition. It would be interesting to see how many sets they could sell if they suddenly put the Benedetti recordings on "Last Chance."
  5. So I'd like to spend a little bit of Christmas money that I ran into on a jazz box, and I was thinking of upgrading my Charlie Parker collection. I currently have just the three-disc Savoy & Dial Master Takes box, which I really like, but after reading a bit online I'm wondering if it might not be worth it to upgrade to the full eight-disc Complete Studio Sessions Set. I was wondering if people who have the larger box can comment on whether all the extra outtakes are worth it, or if I should just stick with the three-disc set. Is the extra material worth it?
  6. I don't know if this new format will be for everyone, but I can definitely say that it's much more thought out than some of the early posters in this thread seemed to assume. I've been reading through it a bit tonight, and I'm only up to the 1920s, but what strikes me again is the wonderful quality of the writing. Morton (and Cook when he was alive) are both very good writers, and I feel that this really got lost to some extent in the more recent versions of the Penguin Guide.
  7. I just picked up a Kindle copy of this for my IPhone, and have been reading through it today here and there. I have to say, I think making these changes was a really smart move. The more recent editions of this book had been plagued, IMO, by hopeless attempts to cover everything superficially. Inevitably they couldn't cover everything (or even close to everything) and what they did cover was usually very truncated and somehow lacking. Now they've reorganized the book so it reads more like a history of jazz on record, with recordings organized chronologically instead of alphabetically. The writing for each entry is much more thorough, and even more awesome, they've added these pretty interesting quotations from the musicians themselves, or sometimes from other musicians about each musician. These quotes are also unique sources: they all come from Brian Morton's personal collection of interviews, so it's not just a reprinting of something that was published somewhere else. The result, for my money (and the e-version of this was less than $18), is much more of a "book", much less a "reference guide." Given how many recordings there are out there now, I think this is a shift in the right direction. Only 1001 recordings are covered in this version, but reading through this I will have much better information, and much better writing, about those recordings than I had for the 14,000 recordings that were touched on in the ninth edition. Also, I'm glad they got rid of the star rating system, which really obscured more than it enlightened. I have to say, I'm liking having a version of this book on my cell phone. No, I can't just randomly start flipping the pages as easily as I could a physical book, but I can carry it with me when I go to record stores or I can pick it up and read it easily for a few minutes when I have the time. Plus, I save a lot of shelving space. One continuing source of annoyance, though, is their categorical refusal to include anything by Mosaic. Their reasons (that the sets are targeted to a niche audience, that they go out of print after a few years) just don't wash. The same could be said for a lot of recordings that they do cover.
  8. Oh, believe me, I'd buy a seven or eight disc set, too! I just have amassed lots of Rivers' music over the years... but I quite agree about the Braxton and Threadgill being an exciting new turn (still have to get the Threadgill one though). I'd be all for more similar releases! I don't have nearly enough Rivers, but generally love the stuff I've heard. To me the shifting of focus to the avant-garde of the 1970s and 1980s is a natural direction for Mosaic. They've just about gone through everything there is to go through on Blue Note from the 1950s and 1960s, and the reissues from the earlier eras are nice, but are also (generally) retrospectives of music that mainly is available from other places.
  9. Well as a jazz fan who wasn't alive when most of this stuff was happening in the 1970s, this is the kind of Mosaic set that gets me most excited, and I would hate to see the material sloughed off as a three-disc select. The Braxton and Threadgill sets were some of the best Mosaic has ever done, IMO, and a Rivbea set would fit well in that lineage, I think.
  10. Yeah, I understand the whole business side of things, but I'm not sure I could care less about another Mosaic set of Ellington material, whereas the Studio Rivbea stuff could potentially be genuinely "new" stuff, or at least stuff that hasn't been released on "official" compact discs before.
  11. Thread bump...does anybody know if Mosaic is still planning on releasing this set?
  12. I'm thinking of picking this one up and was wondering what people's impressions of this set are now that it's been awhile since it was released. The samples on the site sound appealing but I'm wondering if this will be too much of the same kind of music, over seven discs...Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
  13. Postpaid in North America. Inquire about shipping overseas. John Patton Mosaic Select: $55 Oliver Nelson Mosaic: $75 PM if interested. Thanks!
  14. Hope you love it as much as I have. I don't heap that much praise on a set very often!
  15. But not for reasonable prices. The "buy it now" Selects are pretty expensive and the ones that are auctioned off usually go for $80 and up. I'm offering a Patton Select for $60 postpaid over at Offering and Looking For if anyone is interested... Still waiting on the Beiderbecke. Hopefully soon.
  16. I'm selling my John Patton Mosaic Select, #4556. The discs and liner notes are in like new condition. The outer box has some light wear on the corners. $60 postpaid to the U.S. Shipping to Europe is $65 postpaid. Inquire if looking to ship elsewhere. Thanks!
  17. I guess my complaint about the Mosaic stems from the fact that they don't change their design at all from set to set. Elvin Jones is Bobby Hackett is Bix Beiderbecke is Anthony Braxton is Louis Armstrong is Sam Rivers is the Four Freshmen...you get the idea. The design is perfectly fine taken in isolation, but used a hundred times over? I think a little adventure wouldn't hurt. Maybe something to keep the same overall design and size but a tweak for each box? I don't know. I don't think the b&w look fits all boxes as well.
  18. Is this a response to my crack about the Evans box? If so, I think you're putting me on, but I'll bite. The large size of the Mosaic boxes permits larger photographs in the booklets, and the black and white is beautiful. The best photos ever taken of jazz musicians are in black and white, especially of most of those to whom the big boxes are devoted. As for the Evans box, nasty to open, hard to get the discs out, liners impossible to read. I long ago repackaged the cds in "boring jewel cases" and threw the box in a box...to rust away. I think most would agree that it represents the nadir of "high concept" packaging for reissues. gregmo I was actually being serious. I love Mosaic but wish they would be more adventurous with their packaging, to be honest, although I agree that the best jazz photographs are in black and white. My favorite packaging for box sets are the Miles metal spine boxes put out by Columbia.
  19. I kind of like the design. Actually, if you think about it, compare it to the Mosaic boxes. Unnecessarily large, unimaginative in that they all look almost exactly the same and use boring jewel cases, lacking color, etc. etc.
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