Rolling 2011 thread where I buy and listen to jazz albums for the first time ever

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You should listen to "Rated X" by Miles Davis off Get Up With It (which I think was On the Corner outtakes). It's incredible. Unfortunately all the versions on Youtube are weird remix things.

matt2, Friday, 21 January 2011 16:42 (3 years ago) Permalink

^^^glad we're finally getting around to discussion of some specific albums

the jazz community really hated OTC in general, Stanley Crouch still hates it

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 16:43 (3 years ago) Permalink

On the Corner doesn't blow me away on first listen, but it sounds like a record that'll grow on me over time.

I don't wanna go into it to the degree I could (I wrote a whole book on '70s Miles and OTC had its own chapter), but yeah, this is definitely true. I've been listening to it for about 20 years at this point and I still feel like I hear something new every time. And yeah, it's unique in Davis's catalog - nothing else he ever did, in the '70s or at any other point, sounds anything like it. Most of his other funk stuff is more trancey and relaxed (in the studio, anyway; live, the band was basically instrumental Westbound-era Funkadelic gone even more metal, plus horns). None of it is as twitchy or as ridiculously studio-manipulated as On the Corner.

that's not funny. (unperson), Friday, 21 January 2011 16:44 (3 years ago) Permalink

nowadays OTC is the canonical favorite of Miles' electric/funk period - which also includes Get Up With It, Big Fun, Agharta, Pangea, Tribute to Jack Johnson, In a Silent Way, and Bitches Brew (I may have even forgot one or two there). THere are some amazing youtube clips of the OTC era band (Pete Cosey!) floating around

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 16:45 (3 years ago) Permalink

unperson's right that OTC stands out from the other albums of the period though - it's more chopped up, more aggressive, without any of the real spacey/trancey stuff that would come to the fore on the other records

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 16:46 (3 years ago) Permalink

as ridiculously studio-manipulated as On the Corner

it's more chopped up

Sounds like it's time I read up a bit on how this album was actually created, then.

Duly noted re: "Rated X" and various notes on electric Miles, btw, I'll keep an eye out for that stuff. Thanks!

ilxor, Friday, 21 January 2011 16:47 (3 years ago) Permalink

same basic era not an OTC track btw (this popped up on Agharta/Pangea/Dark Magus iirc?)

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 16:48 (3 years ago) Permalink

Sounds like it's time I read up a bit on how this album was actually created, then.

Teo Macero, master of editing

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 16:48 (3 years ago) Permalink

Can we have a quick discussion on fidelity/sound quality and jazz CD reissues?

So, full disclosure, I picked up the Columbia Jazz Masterpieces CD version of On the Corner (the one that says "Digitally Remastered From The Original Analog Masters" across the top, has a blue border around the edges) and while I enjoyed it, the trumpet was very low in the mix and the sound seemed a bit muddy or flat. Now, I'd seen the newer reissues floating around before, so swung by another record shop a couple days later and grabbed the Columbia/Legacy reissue -- suddenly the mix seemed to take on new dimensions, the horns were brought up in the mix and I could close my eyes and actually hear the band playing in front of me, so to speak. It was a very noticeable difference!

I've already been told to avoid RVG reissues (saw a couple of these this week, didn't buy...) but what other reissues and/or labels should I keep an eye out for, or avoid?

A couple examples -- I've seen Coltrane stuff on Atlantic (Giant Steps and My Favorite Things, maybe?) in an original CD issue as well as a Rhino reissue in a cardboard-looking sleeve. I've seen Pharaoh Sanders and Alice Coltrane discs on Impulse in jewel cases, and in digipaks (I take it the digipaks are remastered versions, not just repackaged). And of course there's the Miles CD reissues I mentioned a second ago.

What's the best rule of thumb to follow here?

ilxor, Friday, 21 January 2011 16:55 (3 years ago) Permalink

Also seen Mingus and Monk original CD issues vs. reissues with bonus tracks. Seems like Columbia/Legacy does a good # of these?

ilxor, Friday, 21 January 2011 16:57 (3 years ago) Permalink

And the Teo Macero insane chopping/editing thing is what makes "Rated X" so great. Definitely check it out.

matt2, Friday, 21 January 2011 16:59 (3 years ago) Permalink

omg there are so many reissues of Miles' material, sorting through them all is a total clusterfuck

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 16:59 (3 years ago) Permalink

best rule of thumb for me re: jazz recs is to buy high quality vinyl reissues

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 16:59 (3 years ago) Permalink

think it's relevant to emphasize that what makes Macero's editing so amazing a lot of the time is how seamless it is - the juxtaposition of different takes/different material being cut together in a way that is not immediately apparent/jarring to the listener. really pretty revolutionary

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 17:01 (3 years ago) Permalink

in general, the miles legacy CDs are better than the "jazz masterpieces" i think. not just soundwise, but packaging, liners, etc.

tylerw, Friday, 21 January 2011 17:01 (3 years ago) Permalink

The "RVG Editions" of Blue Note titles were all done a few years ago, and sound really good to me. In recent years, though, Rudy Van Gelder (the original producer/engineer back in the 50s, and the source of the "RVG" title) has begun to suffer hearing loss, so his more recent remasters for the Prestige/Fantasy label are not as good as his earlier work. Fortunately, there's not actually that much you can do to or with what were originally two- or four-track recordings, so it's mostly just a matter of them being pushed through the louderizing machine, not making instruments disappear or anything.

The most recent batch of Miles Davis remasters (the ones in the clear plastic jewel cases as opposed to the 80s ones with the blue border, or the 90s ones with the brown border) have been done (or supervised) by Bob Belden, and they sound fantastic across the board. The 60s/70s stuff has been the most improved, to my ear. A lot of stuff pops out that was once buried in mud.

that's not funny. (unperson), Friday, 21 January 2011 17:03 (3 years ago) Permalink

Hey unperson, what was that Miles book you wrote?

matt2, Friday, 21 January 2011 17:04 (3 years ago) Permalink

best rule of thumb for me re: jazz recs is to buy high quality vinyl reissues

I'm a CD guy for convenience reasons. I listen to music mainly in four settings -- in the car (CD only); at work (CD only); while I'm running for 1+ hours at a time, longer runs (iPod, imported to iTunes from CDs); and at home in the evenings (vinyl, CD, or from my laptop in iTunes). Only the last of these four settings allows me to play vinyl, so I've always figured I'm best off sticking to CDs given how music fits into my lifestyle.

Figure I'll stick with the Columbia/Legacy Miles reissues as they seem common to find as well as good quality, but I'd welcome any thoughts on other reissued labels or big artists' catalogs.

Thanks for yr thoughts, unperson, very helpful. I've seen the RVG issue and the Blue Note issue of, say, that Eric Dolphy disc that somebody mentioned upthread. Is there a rule of thumb as to which is best?

ilxor, Friday, 21 January 2011 17:05 (3 years ago) Permalink

The book's called Running The Voodoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis. Amazon link.

Re Dolphy, the 1999 remaster sounds great.

that's not funny. (unperson), Friday, 21 January 2011 17:07 (3 years ago) Permalink

holy shit had no idea that was you. great book!

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 17:17 (3 years ago) Permalink

was always kinda annoyed how Miles' bios/autobios tended to really gloss over the period

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 17:18 (3 years ago) Permalink

Cheers on that book mention, I'll keep an eye out for that one.

ilxor, Friday, 21 January 2011 17:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

Money Jungle was the record that made jazz make sense for me; but any number of Mingus/Miles/Monk/Sun Ra records can work for ears trained to art rock, and I cant imagine going wrong with any recommendations.

I'll stick in one more from the funk era, 'cause it serves as such a great bridge to earlier jazz: Ellington's Afro-Eurasain Eclipse. It's orchestral swing, but with some serious rhythmic craziness.

bendy, Friday, 21 January 2011 17:31 (3 years ago) Permalink

yeah unperson, that book is great

tylerw, Friday, 21 January 2011 17:31 (3 years ago) Permalink

oh, unperson is phil!

bows don't kill people, arrows do (Jordan), Friday, 21 January 2011 17:33 (3 years ago) Permalink

~~~GRAND REVEAL~~~

ilxor, Friday, 21 January 2011 17:34 (3 years ago) Permalink

one of the interesting things about Miles' electric period is how well it exemplifies that weird split in jazz over whether not swing was essential to the genre. Miles (along with a lot of other people already mentioned in this thread) identified improvisation - and specifically collective improvisation - as the essential foundation of his music, swing was just a sort of formalized style that eventually lost its attraction. but for other hardcore "purists" (like Crouch) pretty much anything that didn't swing could not be acceptably classified as "jazz".

wars over genre conventions are fascinating sometimes

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:00 (3 years ago) Permalink

The most recent batch of Miles Davis remasters (the ones in the clear plastic jewel cases as opposed to the 80s ones with the blue border, or the 90s ones with the brown border) have been done (or supervised) by Bob Belden, and they sound fantastic across the board.

agree completely. i recently replaced all the 70s miles with these (to the extent that i could find them), and they sound fantastic. speaking of "rated x", get up with it is one of my favorite records period, and i'm glad someone thought to mention it. if i understand correctly, it's basically a clean-up collection of unused tracks, but that gives it an amazing looseness and wtf experimental variety. think that on "rated x" miles just plays sun ra organ chords. anyway, here's a tube:

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:02 (3 years ago) Permalink

and now wanna read yr book, unperson. have heard good things about it.

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:03 (3 years ago) Permalink

Scribbled down the names of a few interesting-looking albums I saw yesterday. Any thoughts on these?

John Coltrane - Ascension
John Coltrane - Meditations
Miles Davis - Milestones
Miles Davis - Miles Smiles
Herbie Hancock - Man-Child
Thelonious Monk - Thelonious Monk w/ John Coltrane
Sun Ra - The Singles (double-CD set...)

ilxor, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:10 (3 years ago) Permalink

all great

Algerian Goalkeeper, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:11 (3 years ago) Permalink

Ascension is my fave coltrane but it's not something you would jump straight into unless you really like free jazz.
Man-Child is Herbie's funkiest album and is absolutely wonderful in every way.

Algerian Goalkeeper, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

would get the carnegie hall monk/coltrane disc rather than Thelonious Monk w/ John Coltrane first

tylerw, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

Ascension - not a good thing to listen to until you're deep into Coltrane. Meditations, on the other hand, is glorious. I've never been a big Sun Ra fan; the only stuff I like by him is from the early 70s, when he was big into synths. The 2CD set The Solar-Myth Approach is good, and there are some live bootlegs like Outer Space Employment Agency that are good, too.

that's not funny. (unperson), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:13 (3 years ago) Permalink

Meditations is sometimes the greatest album ever by anyone, but it may take years for this to hit you.....it did me.

Milestones has the great modal title track, Miles Smiles is maybe his great cubist record (but possibly not a 'starter' record)

I don't own the Sun Ra but have heard most of it and it's great.

sonofstan, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:14 (3 years ago) Permalink

I don't have much to add re: those specific titles

I am a huge Sun Ra fan but I'm not sure what's on that Singles box. The very concept of a Sun Ra single is kinda hilarious as he's got to be one of the most non-single-oriented artists ever. but that doesn't mean there isn't good stuff on there.

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:16 (3 years ago) Permalink

Man-Child is more like an electro-funk record, great stuff

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:17 (3 years ago) Permalink

agree that Ascension is insane. a very bracing listen.

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:17 (3 years ago) Permalink

in fact I think I will listen to it now

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:18 (3 years ago) Permalink

Miles Davis - Miles Smiles

very posssibly my favorite miles album, and definitely my fave 2nd quintet one

bows don't kill people, arrows do (Jordan), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:18 (3 years ago) Permalink

I am a huge Sun Ra fan but I'm not sure what's on that Singles box.

Pretty sure this is the Sun Ra track listing:

http://www.amazon.com/Singles-Sun-Ra/dp/tracks/B0000014N7/ref=dp_tracks_all_1#disc_1

ilxor, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

i agree w unperson, the RVG blue note editions sound perfectly fine for home listening.

i dunno what its like in the usa, but in europe so much classic jazz is now out of copyright - up to 1961 - you can pick up hundreds of stone classic albs for little more pennies. i esp like the sets issued by this bunch:

http://www.avidgroup.co.uk/acatalog/jazz.htm

Ward Fowler, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

Is there an essential series of Herbie Hancock CD reissues, or are these '90s issues with borders on the CD covers fine?

ilxor, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:22 (3 years ago) Permalink

again, the legacy reissues are probably the way to go

tylerw, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:24 (3 years ago) Permalink

Ah okay, I hadn't seen Hancock reissues on Legacy yet. Thanks!

ilxor, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

btw i haven't seen it mentioned in this thread, so i will mention it (because it completely blew my mind in high school):

john coltrane - live at birdland

bows don't kill people, arrows do (Jordan), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

also, doesn't seem to have been mentioned too much in this thread, but duke ellington duke ellington duke ellington

tylerw, Friday, 21 January 2011 18:28 (3 years ago) Permalink

my favorite Duke is live at newport, but I admit I have only a cursory knowledge of his vast catalog. man, there was this one CD my coffee shop boss had in college that was some Duke Ellington live thing that was really heavily vibes-dominated (from the mid-60s iirc) but I can't recall the title and have never been able to find it... :(

ex-heroin addict tricycle (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:30 (3 years ago) Permalink

also i still think that mingus mingus mingus mingus mingus is a great intro to mingus and jazz. a bunch of his more famous tunes, really well recorded and performed. radiohead sampled it, if that helps.

bows don't kill people, arrows do (Jordan), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:33 (3 years ago) Permalink

wouldn't recommend any of those as THE record to start with for miles, coltrane or herbie hancock, but second meditations, miles smiles and manchild anyway. all great & easily approachable. ascension is classic "difficult music.

I've never been a big Sun Ra fan; the only stuff I like by him is from the early 70s, when he was big into synths. The 2CD set The Solar-Myth Approach is good, and there are some live bootlegs like Outer Space Employment Agency that are good, too.

― that's not funny. (unperson), Friday, January 21, 2011 10:13 AM (8 minutes ago) Bookmark

ha. feel completely the opposite. i've been curious about the sun ra set ilxor mentions. he's not thought of as a singles artist, his early work having been massively overshadowed by the massive electric arkestra stuff from the late 60s through early 80s, but i honestly prefer mr. ra's (mystery's) early small group recordings, stuff from the 50s and early/mid 60s. during the 50s, he ran a chicago-based record company that mostly issues singles, producing and backing on cuts for local musicians, so he really was a singles artist, at least for a while. want to explore his work as producer and session musician a little more. over the past few years a bunch of this stuff has been gathered up and released, but i'm dragging my heels/wallet.

normal_fantasy-unicorns (contenderizer), Friday, 21 January 2011 18:38 (3 years ago) Permalink


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