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First live jazz you ever heard


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I'm jealous! Count Basie played a dance at my college during I think the '69-'70 school year. I didn't go, and of course now I regret it.

Did he record for Solid State then? I believe that I once saw a '69 recording of his on the Groove Merchant label.

Anyway, I have looked but am unaware of any albums currently available which were recorded by Basie at that time.

Any suggestions?

Basie wasn't doing much American recording then. I think his contract w/Dot had expired (see also the earlier "Straight Ahead", the introduction of the talented-but-ever-generic Sammy Nestico, as well an album of selections from "The Happiest Millionaire" w/guest soloist Illinois Jacquet(!) )). AFRIQUE was a one-off, and every bit as much of an Oliver Nelson album as a Basie one (and a damn nice one at that). BASIE ON THE BEATLES was done on the Happy Tiger label, which was hardly big time (two pretty poor albums by a Van Morrison-less Them was as "big time" as they got).

The band spent the latter half of the 60s in recording limbo, doing, other than short stints at Dot & Brunswick (where they supposedly backed Jackie Wilson on an album - I have it, and it could be damn near ANY band...) doing one-offs that were mostly "pop" in concept, if not in execution (the band's identity and sound was deeply entrenced by then, and any material would do, or so producers seemed to have thought...). AFRIQUE got a bit of attention upon release because it was a "serious" jazz outing.

It wasn't until Pablo got started that the Basie band again began regularly recording "non-gimmicky" albums. Interestingly, much the same can be said of Dizzy Gillespie - look at his American discography between the Phillips/Limelight years and the Pablo years. Same thing - lots of one-offs, short stays at small-ish labels (in his case, Perception), and not always "ideal" settings.

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Jim, we had seen on another thread that Art Blakey wasn't recording during this same time frame. I guess that many of the older guys had pretty much run out of steam and needed a respite by the late sixties.

I also think they weren't getting the positive feedback from the public in the 60s. These guys had spend decades doing their thing and being well-received for it, and with the sixties came not only a new generation that never had any interest in jazz, but also a middle-aged generation which quit buying what it had bought in the 50s. That's my take.

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Hi All,

Well, I can't really remember who my first was... it was either Wynton Marsalis (I just know Chris is laughing at me right now!) or Ahmad Jamal. Both would've been in 1988/89, somwhere around there.

The Marsalis quartet was OK, and he played to a huge crowd (a couple thousand, I would imagine) in one of Calgary's finer concert venues. He played a significant number of Monk tunes that night, I think, so that made the set pretty entertaining. Since then, I've never really dug his stuff all that much... I do remember that I was sitting BEHIND the stage for some reason, and was literally right on top of 'Tain as he bashed the hell out of the skins. It was an interesting perspective!

The Jamal was infinitely better! I saw him play solo at the Banff Center for the Fine Arts in the summer, when they have their annual jazz workshops (some GREAT players have rolled through those workshops over the years!). It was just me and maybe 10 other people in the "crowd" (all students in the workshop, I think)... but Jamal played his ass off!!! He played for over an hour, and by the end I was just completely stunned by what I'd heard... and have been a live jazz fan ever since!

Now that I'm in LA, I usually see live jazz at least a couple of times a month (or more, when I can afford it)... but that Jamal set still ranks up there as one of the greatest things I've ever seen!



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1st Jazz Concert: Joshua Redman supporting his first album backed by Christian McBride, Brian Blade and Brad Mehldau. Christian McBride was the best known member of the ensemble. Unlike my usual rock & classical concerts where each performance is a replica of all the rest of the shows on the tour this band actually bantered with each other between and during songs - I felt like I was watching a bunch of guys jamming and having fun rather than putting on a show. And I liked the difference.

2nd Jazz Concert: John Zorn's Masada - before anybody had heard of Masada - with Greg Cohen, Joey Baron, and a new kid named Dave Douglas. It was interesting to watch Zorn rifle through his index cards to pick the next piece, then spontaneously assign solo spots during the music (Greg Cohen usually declined, Joey Baron always wanted more) - and sometimes cutting off someone's solo if Zorn felt it wasn't going anywhere. This was very new to me - seeing music being created as opposed to being performed - and in a hole-in-the-wall dive with my seat about 3 feet from Zorn's music stand. With no advance word as to what this "Masada" thing was, no one in the audience knew what to expect. Zorn came out for a soundcheck and spotted a guy with a Naked City t-shirt and said, "Nice t-shirt - hope you won't be disappointed". Now that I think of it, that's the only time I've ever heard Zorn speak to the audience when he wasn't introducing the band.

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My first and only, so far, live jazz show was Roy Haynes with Dave Holland, Kenny Garrett, Nicholas Payton and Dave Kikoski on May 31, 2003. What a great show it was, it's amazing the energy that Roy has at 77 years!

I'm thinking about going to see Maynard Ferguson who's coming to town in March, we'll see.

Edited by jacknife
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Apart from English Trad bands, my first real live jazz experience (at age 14) was John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman and Elvin Jones. This was two weeks after they had recorded "Live at the Village Vanguard".

They were the support band !!!

The headliner was Dizzy Gillespie with Leo Wright, Lalo Schifrin, Mel Lewis and I can't remember who on bass, Bob Cunningham?

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