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Blindfold Test #14

Nate Dorward

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OK: even though some discs are still in the mail--in particular, the ones sent by relay will likely take a few extra days--I've had enough responses from recipients that I thought I'd start things going. I should say that people shouldn't feel obliged to rush in with responses right away, if they've just got the discs & feel they need to let them sink in. I've tried to make things tricky enough that the BFT won't be easily nailed within a day or two, so this may unfold a little more slowly.

A general comment (perhaps unnecessary--ignore it if you like). This BFT is a little different from the last few ones. There's one very famous player among these tracks; but as for the rest I don't expect a lot of i.d.s (though I suspect you guys will pleasantly surprise me with some bullseyes nonetheless....). As with JSngry's BFT (my favourite one so far!), the main point of the compilation is to elicit discussion of the music itself rather than to test knowledge of well-known musicians' stylistic signatures.

Have fun! --N

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Thanks, Gary, for sending mine on.

I've had one listen and all I know so far is two or three tunes. No idea who the famous one is yet.

no worries.

My guess at the famous one would be track 6. It sounded familiar.

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First of all, thanks to Nate for providing us with this nice and very well programmed and structured compilation. I´ve just heard it a couple of times and I´m afraid I´m totally clueless on who´s playing on each track, as you predicted most of us would be… even for that “well-known” musician. I won´t even try to guess names!

So, let´s face the music itself as we´ve been suggested. Though I was thinking about giving it a few more listenings to set things right and digest the music properly, I´ll throw myself onto the flames and post my answers now.

I apologize for any inconsistency I may say from a musical theory point of view… I´m as ignorant as I´ll show here... ;)

1.- Surprising start for this BFT. Funny instrumentation (strings, bass clarinet, percussion) and curious arrangement. The main theme (in all its variations) is a very slippery, but somehow repetitive one. ***1/2

2.- Brief piano solo track. Interesting right hand fast lines interrupted with sudden stops. Left hand alternates between shocking bass chords and brief responses to the right hand and intriguing scales (I think). I wouldn´t dare bring a name, but the fierceness of the playing in some passages reminded me of Cecil Taylor and the abstraction in other passages reminded me of Paul Bley. A big :tup for this one! ****1/2

3.- Beautiful opening statement (piano & reed). More strings (cello). More solo piano (much more conventional than in the previous track). More soprano sax and cello. A very “cool” track! ***

4.- Hey, the temperature is rising! How many reeds are there? Good solos and interaction between horns. I really dug the beat the drummer and the bassist are bringing! But finally, and though the track´s quite long, I wish it had “exploded” more, I mean had had a higher “climax”. It left me with a sense of unfinished work… ***1/2

5.- I´m afraid this is not my kind of stuff. How long will it take to start the party? Two minutes and nothing has happened. Moreover, I don´t like the rhythm section (neither that rocky bass support, nor that tedious percussion). The trumpet and the bass solos don´t tell me a lot and the reed´s sound is too “cool” for me. **1/2

6.- More West-Coast oriented jazz. Languid piano. A bit static and unswinging track, but this time I dug the sax player (Jimmy Giuffre??? Lee Konitz???). ***

7.- Geez, I think I can recognize a few notes of a Monk tune at the opening! I´ll check it later. Now there´s a very swingin´ rhythm section. Hey, that piano smokes! Love that interaction between the piano and the sax at around 5:30. Great music. ****

8.- Relaxed piano-bass duo to chill it. I´m afraid I should know the tune but nothing pops up! I´m not very inspired this morning, I´m afraid. The musicians sound familiar, should I know them? ***1/2

9.- No idea on who´s playing here… once again! Notwithstanding, something here sounds like some CD I have. ***1/2

10.- Shockin´ introduction, with that bass soloing, those powerful drums and that big toned sax. Melody is more than OK for me. Maybe my favourite track so far. My wild guess: RRK, because this one has the same groove and many non-jazz influences as there are in some RRK recordings and I find many resemblances of his tone. ****1/2

11.- Nice piano trio. Wait a minute: there are some passages where it looks like there are two pianists (0:35-1:10; 2:35-3:10). If there´s only one, his hands are more than independent! ****

12.- Looks like a pianist date featuring a saxophonist and a trumpet player. The general feeling is that the pianist is the leader: his sound dominates. Dig it! ***1/2

13.- More piano trio. Don´t like neither the sound of the bass nor the drummer´s while playing snare (no problem with cymbals). Just OK for me. ***

14.- Oh, I should know this beautiful tune! Beautiful guitar playing. Very nice. ****

The overall impression is that it´s a well balanced blindfold test.

Much piano, reeds, some strings… Umm, in fact there´s just a little brass featured.

Some cool jazz, some more swingin´ jazz...

And it´s not as “outside” as I was expecting from Nate, an avant-garde expert, AFAIK. I would say most of the tracks are “inside” jazz, though many of them near the limits! ;)

Thanks again for a great BFT!!!


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tooter: Hey, guess away! It's fine by me, but I just thought I'd make it clear people shouldn't feel confounded if they draw blanks. -- Neither of your links works but since it's indeed the 5th track of the album I assume you nailed it. It takes a little deviousness sometimes to produce a working link to AMG.... [Edit: I see you've fixed the link.]


I've just had a first listen , more thoughts later but track 14 ?? Is the original song what I think it is ?
Heh-heh-heh...... :g Actually, seven of the fourteen tracks are covers rather than originals, if you feel like trying to spot them all. (There are also a few others based on the chords of identifiable standards.)

Thanks, EKE BBB, for the responses! They're interesting reading indeed, with some comments closer to the mark than you might suppose.... No, I avoided the really avant stuff in the collection simply because I thought it'd make the compilation incoherent. Also because I tend to think that music in the zone I've sketched out here doesn't get its fair share of attention: it's not "avant-garde", not "mainstream", & so it tends not to attract a lot of critical ink.

Edited by Nate Dorward
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Got my disk today, courtesy of John, and I'm intrigued. Some of the more modern stuff is not my cup of tea, but there's a lot of piano stuff on here that I really dig.

And track 14 really cracked me up. Reminds me of a disk I have ... will have to check that out.

For now, thanks for providing the soundtrack for a sh*tload of work I have to do. I'll try to get back to this thread on the weekend.


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It takes a little deviousness sometimes to produce a working link to AMG.... [Edit: I see you've fixed the link.]

Nate - thanks for the link by PM, but yes, I got it at the third try, avoiding AMG. I don't seem to be having much joy there recently. Problems with a pop-up that prevents me doing anything else, despite Google pop-up blocking and full cookie elimination on my browser. They really are a pain, and I'm not very devious.

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Is it okay to say that 2. is Donna Lee? - oops, I've said it. It's a really nice track but I haven't yet guessed who. I thought the instrumentation on 1. was Sop Sax, Bass Clt, Violin, Bass and Drums. Way outside my usual bag so no idea who. I liked the enrgy of it though, and thought it sounded a bit like square dancing sometimes :D

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Sure, name the tracks!

I should say, don't take my intro note seriously--it was just my way of trying to make people who felt they couldn't i.d. the musicians feel more comfortable (because in fact very few of the musicians are big names). Maybe I should edit tha paragraph out of the post.

OK, I'll keep my trap shut for now till other BFT recipients have had a chance to digest the disc. (Or receive them, in several cases: I've discovered to my chagrin that the discs sent overseas seem to have arrived faster than those to the US...)

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Nate IS from Canada so there may be some cats on this incredibly tough/challenging BFT who are outside of the US jazz radar. One such pianist many may not know about is Francois Bourassa, and Jon Ballantyne. Perhaps these two are both on there but I have NO clue.

1. I was originally thinking the first track was something Dave Douglas did, but I soon realized it had no trumpet. Since b.cl. is there it seems that it might be Adam Kolker or Don Byron. It's very quirky and almost unclassifiable by genre. Kinda feels bluegrassy at times and other times it free jazz. Very interesting choice. I really think its a fair guess to say that you are the only one on this BBoard who is hip to this artist, but people always surprise me. By the way, I really dig the fiddle solo. 4 1/2 stars for interestingness and beautiful feel as a group.

2. Donna Lee. It's gotta be a pianist who is hip to free music. I don't think it could be JAMO. It MIGHT be someone with the initals KW who is often known to play with a belgian harmonica player. Could this be him? Like I said, it's somebody with straightahead chops but is hip to free playing. 4 stars for beautiful harmonic concept and completeness.

3. Soprano sax (beautiful sound by the way) and piano. It's got a bit of the quirkiness of the first track but much sparser so it's gotta be some cats who value use of space in their playing and simpler instrumentations. This could be a duet of Francois Bourrassa with his sax-mate Andre Leroux. but no clue who the violin is. 4 stars.

4. I originally thought WSQ. But that is too obvious. And the tenor player is quite obviously not David Murray. Plus they wouldn't really be doing something with a rhythm section. This might be the Toronto Jazz Chamber Septet. 2 1/2 stars for swingin it, but not really my cup o tea.

5. Haunting soprano/piano duet at the beginning. The technique is reminiscent of Mark Turner or Chris Cheek one of those New York guys with that classical sounding approach that still swings. This seems like its from that downtown clique of guys including the abovementioned and cats like Kurt Rosenwinkel and David Berkman and Mehldau. but I am probably way off base. Interesting trumpet solo. It sounds like the trumpet player is the same as the one on Don Byron's Music for Six Musicians. Can't think of his name. 3 stars.

6. Pretty. Definately New York cats. The tenor player digs Lovano and Tristano. His altissimo sounds like Josh Redman, but it's not him. The pianist totally escapes me but if I were to guess.

7. David Murray or James Carter on tenor? Crazy intervallic leaps. Definately have to pick this blues up. Great band. Nobody overplays. Great communication. 4 1/2 stars.

8. Alone Together is the tune. It's an old school cat. And the bassist is that famous musician Nate is talking about. It's either Ray Brown or George Mraz or Percy Heath but probably Ray. The pianist is someone from the hard-bop era. I love these changes. Makes me wanna pick up my horn. 4 stars.

9. The saxophonist definately has his own sound. Now whose sound that is, is beyond me. The drummer sounds like Paul Motian. Definately a lot of interplay. Could also be Billy Hart or Al Foster. The bassist is unique too. 3 stars - nice playing at times seems like it's going nowhere.

10. I f^%&in' love this shit. Pharoah? Gato Barbieri? Such hip piano. Could it be Jason Moran? He certainly meets his match here. When they finally get to something that sounds like a melody. It sounds like Blue Bossa with a bridge. Great drumming too. 5 stars.

11. The name of this tune is on the tip of my tongue. The changes at times sound like Body & Soul. But I know its not Alfie. Such hip piano here. 4 stars.

12. Yeah baby, swing that dissonance! I have to pick this up once I find out who it is. 4 1/2 stars.

13. Solar. That's all I know. 3 1/2 stars.

14. (sniffle) I almost cried it was so beautiful. Got to be one of the masters, but I've already named the one famous cat (I think). Howard Alden? There are too many good guitar players out there that I've never heard. This has to be from the 90s even though it's got that old vintage sound. 5 stars.

sorry if I burst the guessing bubble. but I had to get some of this off my chest and get the discussion going.

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14 Name is The Winner Takes It All. This strumming guitar reminds me of Stanley Jordan (never liked him).

The original is from ABBA "Super Trouper" album.

Will post more after second (third, fourth?) spin. The CD is worth it!


Edited by dutchmanx
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MJ--been having trouble with some of the US discs taking a hell of a long time to get there..... most of the foreign discs seem to have arrived some time ago but for some reason the mail to the States has been sloooow. -- Could folks who have their discs report back to me (either pm or a post in the sign-up thread)? I know that more have definitely arrived than have been reported to me.

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There's one very famous player among these tracks; but as for the rest I don't expect a lot of i.d.s (though I suspect you guys will pleasantly surprise me with some bullseyes nonetheless....). As with JSngry's BFT (my favourite one so far!), the main point of the compilation is to elicit discussion of the music itself rather than to test knowledge of well-known musicians' stylistic signatures.

Have fun! --N

I do have fun, but ....

Your above statement applies to yours truly: I am totally stumped by this one on first and second listen. The only artist I think I recognize is Bennie Wallace playing tenor sax on track # 7 - that's it.

Many interesting choices - I hope I can find the time to comment on the musical side of the tracks some time this weekend. Thanks a lot. I hope it's not all Canadians .....

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Just received my copy an hour ago and have absolutely no idea of what we have here. Outstanding as I would expect!

Monkisms here and there, a run at Ran ... but nah..

Cut #10 is sevenandahalf minutes of tour de force crazy-jazz education, especially at two minutes when it unchains itself into some mandingo meshugamontuno then thrill rides the rhythm section (Parker bows?) back before a Gayle force melody that's driving me crazy "for a long long time" , after which I just don't know Ware i'm going. :tup

Needs to give this more spins - 3, 8, 11 absolute beauty and 12 thoroughly knocking me out! There is a cohension here that get's completely tossed with the last cut making me think this thread tying it together is a conduction of sorts?

Can't wait to read those knowledgable posts now and come back with some thoughts later. Thanks Nate! :tup

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I was expecting a good survey from the current scene when I signed in. I must say I am very happy with Nate's choices and sequencing. I just finished giving the disc a first hearing. There's a lot of interesting music. But I'm very frustrated because I have not been able to guess for sure any of the entries. I know that this is part of the game.

I recognised a number of the tunes, from Donna Lee to Under the Paris Sky thru Solar, Alone Together, Body And Soul and a Carla Bley tune. But none of the musicians although I'm sure some are very familiar (isn't that Konitz on track 6?).

Track 1 is a total mystery but a very interesting entrance. I'll be waiting to for the answer to pursue that album further. Same goes for track 14 (sounds familiar but my brain has no answer yet).

I'll try just one guess: track 8. I have never heard the album. Nate Darword being Canadian and that legendary pianist is based in that country. I have another of his recent albums so a wild guess is the opening track from that CD:


I'll give the BFT 14 further hearings (be glad to) and discuss further.

In any case, right or wrong, many thanks to Nate Dorward for assembling this.

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Nah, in general I'm not a big fan of the Canadian jazz scene, though Gene DiNovi's great & there are other good players here in Toronto & elsewhere. Though the Toronto jazz scene is a bit frustrating as a whole. -- That track's not DiNovi, though!

Aha, glad to see the Bley tune & "Under Paris Skies" got spotted ("U.P.S." does sorta resemble "Blue Bossa" in this version!). That leaves only one non-original unidentified on the BFT.

& as I said don't worry much about i.d.s: there are about five or six tracks I suspect will be nailed after everyone's given it a spin (there's already been one confirmed sighting!), but the others are pretty out-of-the-way. (I'm surprised no-one's spotted #11 yet, though... :) ) In any case I'm more interested in direct responses to the music.

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So far, I've gotten to track #9, and this is by far the most challenging BFT for me. I must confess that I haven't actually made it all the way through any track yet, and that may have less to do with the music than anything else. In any event, this disc has been one long HAFC™, with a few tracks also falling in the DKDC™ category as well. But maybe there's some hidden gems that I haven't come across yet!

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"DKDC" stands for "Don't Know, Don't Care." I think it was coined by Dan Gould. He also coined another acronym, "NMCOT," which stands for "Not My Cup o' Tea."

"HAFC" was coined by yours truly. It stands for "Haven't a Clue." ;):g

I think the joke's worn thin by now, so I don't think I'll use 'em anymore. :)^_^

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Could somebody translate HAFC and DKDC so I can figure out what's going on?


checking in here to state that I have had little chance to listen to this thus far, maybe this afternoon will bring some time. There are some very pretty things on the disk, some pretty nice things, and some things I could do without. Nate was not joking when he mentioned that there would be little on it that would ring many bells, some bells were struck though and I will try to draw some parallels and write up some impressions later. For now, let me translate Dan's trademarked abbreviations for brownie: HAFC means Haven't An FFing Clue, DKDC® means Don't Know, Don't Care. To be used only when the music doesn't move any one muscle in your brain at all, which is utterly rare in my case. ^_^

Edited by couw
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