Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The MB Reader > Members Journal
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-25-2014, 03:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
I'm back, baby!
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: In your face
Posts: 22,025
Default A Nightmare on Jazz Street : Trollheart's Voyage into the World of Jazz. And Blues.



Dear God, Trollheart! A sixth journal, I hear you exclaim! Yeah I know. I hadn't intended to do this either, but when I think about it I realise this is the best way for me to start my exploration of a genre I know little about and yet dislike most of what I have heard of.

Originally I was going to do this in my "Stranger in a strange land" feature in my main journal, but I came to the conclusion that jazz is way, way, way too big a subject for me to cover it in a few weeks, or even months of writing. So instead I'm starting a special jazz journal.

How it's gonna go I really don't know, but what I intend to do is maybe take recs and seek out some stuff on my own, post it and write about it, saying whether I think it's good or bad, or rather, whether I like it or not, as both good and bad are of course subjective terms. I may review full albums but I may very well not do: given the breadth of music I have to cover here there is likely to be no set format. If I come across something I like (or don't) I'll post and write about it, whether a full review or a few lines will depend on how much it affected me, either positively or negatively.

As the two genres are somewhat linked, I will also be looking at some blues music here, some of my favourites --- modern and old --- and some I may discover along the way. Again, full reviews may be the order of the day or they may not. It all depends. This journal, rather like it would seem jazz itself, is likely to be quite fluid and freeform, unlike my other, more structured ones.

Anyone wishing to discuss, give recs, argue with or educate me, particularly those more knowledgeable about jazz than I, who can point me in maybe the right direction, are of course welcome. Don't expect me to like everything I hear or listen to: I have a pretty biased view of the genre already formed, but I hope to try to change that over the coming weeks, months, years I guess.

So: the red pill sends me back to the comfort of prog rock and metal and standard rock and AOR, the blue pill sends me down the rabbit hole?

You know what? I'm feelin' "Kinda blue"...
See yaz down below!
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2014, 04:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
Just Keep Swimming...
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: See signature...
Posts: 5,554
Default

Not sure if you'd wanna go for the jugular right away, or build up to him, but you'll have to at some point do a review of at least one Mile Davis album.

Hopefully you'll get to Pat Metheny too. I'm not a huge jazz fan, but those are a couple of my favorites.
__________________
See location...
Plankton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2014, 04:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
I'm back, baby!
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: In your face
Posts: 22,025
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plankton View Post
Not sure if you'd wanna go for the jugular right away, or build up to him, but you'll have to at some point do a review of at least one Mile Davis album.
Did you not get the hint in the last few words?
Quote:
Hopefully you'll get to Pat Metheny too. I'm not a huge jazz fan, but those are a couple of my favorites.
Oh good call! Forgot about Pat! I'll get on that right away!
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2014, 07:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
Crazyyyyyy Train
 
Celladorina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5,831
Default

You stole my title! Nightmare on Elm Street thread lol. It's alright, I forgive you. I will be using this thread as a indicator of what Jazz I should listen to. I've listened to Miles Davis but not much else so far.
Celladorina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2014, 06:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
I'm back, baby!
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: In your face
Posts: 22,025
Default

People who know so much more than me about jazz have told me constantly that if I intend to get into it --- or continue to refuse to --- I have to listen to at least one album by Miles Davis. Those of you reading this are likely to know all about him so I won’t go into a long biography of the man, talk about how he has influenced generations of musicians in all genres, or how well-regarded he was in jazz and how much of a giant he was. There seems to be only one place to begin, and so that was where I tentatively and somewhat tremulously dipped my toes into the waters of jazz, and found that the sea wasn’t quite as uninviting or cold as I had believed it would be.

Kind of blue --- Miles Davis --- 1959 (Columbia)


First off, to get to this album on the Spotify playlist I had to scroll down past literally twenty-four thousand albums (not literally, but there are tons) recorded by this guy till I got to the one I wanted. That in itself says a little about how prolific a musician he must have been, and how hard a worker surely. Jazz enthusiasts will no doubt point out that on this album (as perhaps others, I don’t know as I say much about anything concerning this genre or its stars) you get not only the legendary Miles himself, but another giant in the form of John Coltrane: two titans for the price of one. They’d say. Me, I don’t know. All I know is that this record was my first real introduction to the genre, and it seems like I was pointed in the right direction, because I both loved it and was pleasantly surprised by it.

Acknowledged as not only one of the greatest jazz albums of all time --- if not the greatest --- “Kind of blue” also stands on just about any top list of albums you can think of, from blues to rock to pop to metal to any other genre, and it seems to be regarded as one of the most influential albums ever made. In 2002 it was chosen as one of only fifty albums to be picked that year to be added to the National Recordings Registry, which keeps copies of music and recordings deemed to be important to American and world history. “Kind of blue” now rubs shoulders with the likes of Count Baisie, Nat “King” Cole and, um, Nirvana? Elvis is in there too, of course, and Dave Brubeck, BB King and a whole host of artistes and performers whose work has been deemed important enough to enshrine in the collection.

But whatever the cultural, historical or even social implications of the album, it is first and foremost the actual music that defines it, and this is where I step, shivering and also sweating, into the dark and vaguely threatening world of jazz.

My first introduction is not, as I had expected, screaming brass or sussurating drums, or even double bass but a soft piano that takes the lead as “So what” opens the album. Then the brass comes in of course (where would jazz be without its brass, after all, and Miles was a genius on the trumpet they say) as Coltrane comes in with the tenor sax, closely followed by Miles himself on trumpet, and the two trade licks as Paul Chambers on the double bass of which I spoke keeps a smooth rhythm going with Jimmy Cobb on the sometimes-almost-imperceptible drums. Now here I sound a note of caution: as I continue to tell you, I know next to nothing of this genre, so if I say for instance it’s a tenor sax and you know it’s an alto, or even if I get trumpets and trombones or whatever mixed up, cut me some slack: I really have no idea who’s playing and if you do then please just chalk it up to my inexperience. The last thing I want to come across as here is someone who thinks he knows what he’s talking about. Progressive rock, metal, rock, AOR, no problem. I’ll talk the hind legs off a donkey. But on jazz I am as a newborn who has not yet learned to speak, so bear with me in my education, okay?

Bill Evans on the piano keeps the same basic melody going, so far as I can see, and it’s Davis and Coltrane who provide the variety with their trumpet and sax work. Jazz is apparently not exactly known for its short songs, so it’s no surprise really to find that “So what” runs for over nine minutes, and so does the next one, and the closer, with another coming in at over eleven. There is in fact only one song on this album that could be regarded as short, and at just over five and a half minutes “Blue in green” is it. “Freddie Freeloader” starts out immediately with the wail of Davis’s trumpet, a nice little soft piano running behind it and the rhythm section doing what they do. In ways it’s quite similar to the opener but then the piano takes over with a sort of high-pitched line that walks along really nicely as Davis steps back and lets Evans have his head.

When he comes back in though, Miles makes it clear he’s again in charge and blasts out some lovely soulful notes, the piano now dropping back a little into the distance, Evans a man who knew his time in the spotlight was limited and dependent on the band leader’s decision, and happy to retake his normal place and let the master shine. And he does. Shine, that is, with a virtuoso display on the trumpet, but Coltrane isn’t one to be left in anyone’s shadow and he cuts loose with a fine sax break, until Miles joins in and they take the tune together. The piano comes a bit more to the fore now but it’s still the Davis and Coltrane show as they trade riffs to the end.

A real laidback melancholy piece with my favourite type of sax --- slow, smoky and laconic --- backed by slow lazy piano in “Blue in green”, the shortest track on the album, which of course I’m going to say reminds me of Waits, even though I know it’s the other way around. Still, this style of music does at least seem familiar to me through my association with Tom’s earlier albums, and I could almost hear him growling about losers in dingy bars or something here. Easy to see where he got his inspiration then. A running piano then (ahem! Floyd “On the run” fifteen or so years later?) takes us into the longest track, “All blue”, which rides on a really nice trumpet and sax line, I’d say simple but what the hell do I know about brass, or jazz? But it’s quite cool I must say.

Like most of the tunes here it builds up into something a bit more complicated and intricate as the instruments all begin working and meshing together, and you can certainly see how tight this band is. I’m not so sure you’d have this level of cohesion from too many of today’s bands, in any genre you care to name. It’s something of a compliment to the song that it’s almost halfway through and I didn’t realise it. Considering this is all instrumental that’s no mean feat; some of the best progressive rock songs without vocals can get boring by the time they’ve run their course, but I get the feeling this will stay pretty tight and interesting right up to the last notes. Of course it would help if I knew something more about sax, trumpet, jazz or even Davis and/or Coltrane, but I don’t so I’m just enjoying listening to this album and throwing in whatever comments I can as it goes along. Nice contribution now from Evans on the piano, kind of lifts the piece to a new level, if that’s possible.

I sort of feel a little disappointed at the way that just faded out at the end, but then after over eleven minutes I guess they’d done all they could with the melody. Now I as you know am not one for special editions, bonus tracks, remixes or rearrangements, and it worries me that the two last tracks, both over nine minutes, are the same one essentially. “Flamenco sketches” has a nice rising melody on the trumpet and some gentle piano and I really like it, but the closer is called “Flamenco sketches --- alternate take”, and how alternate it is I don’t know, but I’d really rather listen to a new track than a rejigging of the previous one. This is nice though, very laidback as most of the album really has been. Conjures up images of lazy nights under the stars with the sound of the summer wind in the trees. Not that I’ve ever had any of those --- I do live in Ireland, after all! But it’s really nice to listen to.

Piano comes in strongly now and the horns drop away as Bill Evans again shows us what he can do, while I’m amazed to look and see the meter running past the seven minute mark. That certainly flew in! Continues nice and gentle and smooth to the end, then the other version is, well nice, a little slower I think but basically the same. Though to be honest there’s been a gap between the two of about an hour while I went to give my sister her dinner so I could be missing something. Nevertheless, I don’t see it as that much of an alternative version, but it’s still really nice.

TRACKLISTING

1. So what
2. Freddie Freeloader
3. Blue in green
4. All blue
5. Flamenco sketches
6. Flamenco sketches (alternate version)

For an album to ease someone into jazz gently as their first introduction this is probably the best I could have chosen. I know there are many, many jazz recordings with harsh, squealing horns and long uptempo trumpet solos, mad, improvised piano runs and also the dreaded scat singing, but I don’t feel like any of that is something that would be of interest to me. This I like. And see, I don’t hate horns. Everyone thinks I do, but what I hate is screeching histrionic horns that seem to carry no real tune and are just there for shock effect or the oft-used “excuse” in jazz, improvisation or experimentation, or even worse, free form. I feel none of that sort of jazz is going to appeal to my soul, but this does.

So maybe I’ll be a jazz wuss, only listening to the softer side, the more laidback and smoother side of the genre. Maybe. I’ll see how it goes. But as an introduction this was pretty terrific, and if nothing else it proves for me that not all jazz is the same, and some of it I can look forward to enjoying. It’s going to be a long journey but hopefully along the way, together with no doubt many missteps and pitfalls, I may find that there’s a place for me in jazz after all.

Note: I realise this album is almost sacrosanct and so well known that even those outside of jazz know of and revere it. I also realise that there is no way in hell I could possibly ever hope to do it justice in a review. So please if you’re a fan do me a favour and just accept that this was my first foray into jazz. I may have made a mess of the review but it’s the best I can do at this time. No slight, insult or slur was intended, so if you know it back to front and think I butchered it accept my apologies but remember, this is, literally, my first time with jazz. I may get better. I may not. But I’ll always try to put my thoughts about the music I’m listening to into my writing. I may not always succeed, but I’ll never give it less than the best I can give, and that’s as much as I can offer in the way of an apology to all true jazz fans now rolling their eyes and muttering “He just doesn’t get it, does he?”

I probably don’t. But perhaps, in time, with the help of some of my friends here, I will.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 02:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
stay the |fvck| inside
 
Frownland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: East of the Southern North American West
Posts: 33,432
Default

^Good review Trollheart. Might I suggest Buddy Rich's album with Gene Krupa "Krupa and Rich"? Quite a creative title, I know. It's got loads of fantastic drumming from Krupa and Rich, there's a possibility that you might like it, even if it does border on the swingier side of things.
__________________
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed.

Frownland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 03:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
Mate, Spawn & Die
 
Janszoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Posts: 24,041
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland View Post
^Good review Trollheart. Might I suggest Buddy Rich's album with Gene Krupa "Krupa and Rich"? Quite a creative title, I know. It's got loads of fantastic drumming from Krupa and Rich, there's a possibility that you might like it, even if it does border on the swingier side of things.
I love that album.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by P A N View Post
i'm not gonna spend my life on music banter trying to convince people the earth is flat.
A Night in the Life of the Invisible Man

Time & Place

25 Albums You Should Hear Before the Moon Crashes into the Earth and We All Die


last.fm
Janszoon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2014, 10:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
Master, We Perish
 
Surell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Havin a good time, rollin to the bottom.
Posts: 3,704
Default

Dave Brubeck is actually pretty fun to listen too, very low key but with interesting time signatures and good tunes. The improvisation is never too wild, and often times very melodic; at least that's how my listening has been. You might like one he did called Bravo! Brubeck that covers Mexican standards, it's got a lively nature because of its source material. It may go well since you liked Miles though, it's not as blues inflected as that Miles record (which is great), but still very laid back, as you mentioned digging.

Speaking of which, Miles also did a rendition of Gershwin's classic Jazzy opera Porgy and Bess, one of the most sourced productions in Jazz from what I've seen (almost every great has touched the album), and it uses some more swing/big band horns and symphonic strings while still playing on jazz's improvisational nature- I do remember you saying you're not much for big band, but it's a pretty great effort if you don't mind going down that path.

Btw Ornette Coleman Sun Ra. Do it or you ain't for rella.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhateverDude View Post
Laser beams, psychedelic hats, and for some reason kittens. Surrel reminds me of kittens.
^if you wanna know perfection that's it, you dumb shits
Spoiler for guess what:
|i am a heron i ahev a long neck and i pick fish out of the water w/ my beak if you dont repost this comment on 10 other pages i will fly into your kitchen tonight and make a mess of your pots and pans
Surell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2014, 11:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
I'm back, baby!
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: In your face
Posts: 22,025
Default


As I mentioned at the end of my Miles Davis review, I hope to discover some jazz I can enjoy with the help of people here. To that end, in this section I’ll be taking suggestions from people, most of which have appeared in my “Breaking news!” thread already, as well as any others you might wish to suggest here, like Surell and Frownland have done. Essentially I’ll listen to the YouTube or take a track from the album if no YT was posted, and let you know what my feelings, good or bad, are on it. This probably won't be a place for reviewing albums, just single tracks, though if it impresses me enough I may later get the album and give it the full Trollheart treatment.

The first to offer anything other than more Miles, which I will get to in due course, was Driveyourcardowntothesea, who recommended this little gem:

Take five --- Dave Brubeck
He says anyone who doesn’t like it is, quote, borderline insane. So let’s see if I qualify for early release. I know of Dave Brubeck, and indeed “Take five”, purely from the old advertisements that would appear on the inside covers of LPs back when I was young, one of which was for this very album. At the time I thought the guy looked boring, square, unfashionable, call it what you will: it looked to me like he played music for parents and schoolteachers. Now what do I know of him? Well, little else to be honest. I’m tempted to go a-Wiki’ing, but I’m gonna resist that urge for now as I want to approach this completely fresh and without any preconceptions.

Starts with a nice soft percussion then some smooth bass before we get sax taking the tune. Nice indeed, bit like what I heard on Miles’s record. Smooth and cool without being boring and certainly no mad improvisation, so far at least. Really nice piano part coming in now as the horn fades out and the drums get a little more intense and loud, then back out to allow the bass to partner with the drums for a bit before they take over with some hard rolls and crashes.

I’m not crazy about drums solos at the best of times, but this is not ostentatious or overdone, and certainly no showmanship in the style of, say, Carl Palmer. Won’t find this guy lighting his drumsticks on fire, I would think! Horn is back now to presumably take the tune to its conclusion.

So what did I think? Good overall. Probably not the sort of wow-factor that would have me searching for his albums, but I’m not sorry I listened to it and were I to hear more of his stuff I don’t think I’d hate it. Let me now check up on this Brubeck fellow:

Dave Brubeck (1920- 2012)

Okay, well there he is with the sax player who dominated that piece, Paul Desmond. Surprised to see that Brubeck only passed away two years ago. His instrument of choice was the piano, so interestingly on this, one of his most classic and loved pieces, he’s a little to the background as I heard piano certainly but it was more really a rhythm instrument than a lead. Even the drums, when the sax was not going, seemed more to the front, but I guess that’s the way he did things.

Okay then, what about a rating? Yes I’m doing ratings. One saxophone for something that I hated or just did not get into, up to five for something that I feel is top class and was something I really enjoyed and would listen to more of. Obviously, as with all ratings systems these are subjective and based on my own personal tastes, so please, nobody get your knickers in a twist if I rate something lower than you think I should. It’s all down to how the experience affected me, so I’m not saying others would not enjoy it if I didn’t.

I’ll be reserving five-sax ratings for the likes of Miles albums, something that really grabs me so don’t expect to see all that many of them. A three is a good solid listen and anything below is kind of meh, whereas a four indicates something that surprised me or exceeded my expectations, if I had any. This gets a solid


(And yes, I know you recommended more than one track for me, Drive, but I'm going to be doing them one per post so I'll get to Coltrane next).
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2014, 12:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
I'm back, baby!
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: In your face
Posts: 22,025
Default

I’m not going to put this in the previous section, as I have heard this album before but I do want to give credit to Plankton for reminding me about the artiste. Back when the single “This is not America” was released I of course bought it. It’s not that I was a big Bowie fan, though I really like his music --- I only have a few albums and it would not be fair to claim I was a fan in that regard I believe, but I certainly enjoy his songs and recognise the massive contribution he has made to music in general --- but I just liked the song. Intrigued to find out who this guy he was performing with (as Bowie was well known for being very picky about who he shared the limelight with, his only other two major collaborations that I can recall being with Mick Jagger and of course Queen) I ventured down to my local library and picked up, if I remember correctly, a cassette copy of this album. I remember being quite disappointed, because being relatively young (1982 so I would have been nineteen) and pretty damn rigid in my musical outlook, and of course knowing nothing about jazz, I had expected it to be more of the sort of thing I had heard on the single. I pretty much remember hating it.

So it is going to be interesting now to retrace my steps with the experience I have now and my (very) slowly growing acceptance of and appreciation for jazz music, to see if my opinion of both the album and the artiste has changed over the course of more than three decades.



Offramp --- The Pat Metheny Group --- 1982 (ECM)

One of a veritable plethora of album released by Metheny under both his own name, that of his group and other projects, and also including film soundtracks, “Offramp” is the third released with the Pat Metheny Group, comprising Lyle Mays on piano, organ, synclavier and just about anything with keys, Steve Rodby on bass, Dan Gottlieb on drums and Nana Vasconcelos on percussion and voice, as well as of course Metheny himself on guitars. It’s a relatively short album, with only seven tracks, the longest of which is just under nine minutes. On a jazz album, I believe, that’s considered quite short. This is also my first real jazz fusion album, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect, and no, I don’t remember a thing about my original listen to it all those years ago, so it’s almost, though not quite, a blank slate for me.

Well my first problem is that Spotify does not have it. That ain’t good, though if necessary I will stump up the cash for it, as this is reliving an experience I honestly don’t remember well at all, and I’m anxious to address that. Grooveshark is then my next port of call, and this is the problem with such a huge discography: often your basic online streaming services have only a few albums, unlike Miles whose entire catalogue they appeared to have. But Spotify only has a handful of Metheny material, so I’m forced to look elsewhere. Ah! Good to see, Grooveshark has it. Let’s rack it up then.

“Barcarole” starts with crying horns, which I assume are made on synth as no horn player is mentioned, and a sort of rolling, tripping drumbeat, sort of midpaced, with some nice wailing guitar coming in from the man and soft synth swirling behind him. It ends a little too soon though and doesn’t for me come to anything, then “Are you going with me” is much longer --- the longest track, in fact --- with a real funky beat and more keening guitar. I do remember this one now. Amazing how it comes back to you even after all this time. I remember really liking this, the way the melody is built and the slowburning way the tune develops. I concur with my younger, more naive self: this is really great and should maybe have set me on the road to exploring further Metheny, if not actual jazz fusion music had I not been so pig-headed and ready to return to Motorhead, Maiden and Genesis. I think that’s the synclavier there; sort of sounds like a woodwind and a harmonica mixed, but it’s on keys. Really adds something to the melody. Very very relaxing altogether. I’m glad this is a long piece though, as it definitely needs the time to build, the melody has to be constructed slowly. There would be no point in rushing this. Nice sort of fanfare coming in now on the synth, or maybe a guitar synth I’m not sure.

The basic motif continues to run through the tune, giving it a very catchy feel, and were it shorter --- and did or do jazz fusion groups release singles, which I admit I don’t know but don’t think so --- this would make a great one and probably be a hit. The synth, or guitar synth, whatever it is is taking over now, going higher in register as it paints the melody across the music, with some nice piano there in the background and some soft organ courtesy of Lyle Mays. I’m rather surprised --- and disappointed --- to find it’s almost over already. Hey: close to nine minutes of jazz fusion and I’m wishing there was more? Is there hope for me after all?

“Au lait” is nearly as long, about ten seconds shorter, and has a really lovely acoustic guitar and bass opening, very low-key and gentle then a sort of almost cuckoo sound (yeah, the bird) which I again assume is keyboard but could be Metheny on the guitar I guess. It has a somewhat classical feel to it and also reminds me of Neil Hannon for some reason. Sort of a progressive rock touch to it as well and someone seems to be speaking in a kind of echo, very much in the background. Odd. Spanish guitar now, and a kind of humming again in the background which adds a nice soft layer to the music. Some lovely piano too, not too obtrusive. Mays goes much more uptempo and bassy with it as “Eighteen” opens, with a rocking drumbeat and some whistly keyboard portraying the exuberance of youth.

Some fine electric guitar joins in as the whole thing rides along on a beat that puts me in mind of early Dire Straits, very rock and roll. The title track is something of what I guess they call freestyle, with a lot of those mad horns I dislike so much, thrumming bass and crashing drums, probably the point I began rethinking this album originally I would say. This is an example of the sort of thing that turns me off jazz: to me there’s no real melody here, just guys all playing what they want, and while I know that in reality that’s not the case it’s how it comes across to me. To have to sit through six minutes of this is close to torture for me, but as I am doing a proper review I won’t hit the “next track” button. There is, to be fair, some superb basswork from Rodby in about the fourth minute, but it gets a little subsumed in the general melange of melodyless music that follows it.

Things return to what I consider normal then for a nice guitar funk run in “James”, midpaced and relaxed with some very cool piano from Mays, and if any track displays the virtuosity of Metheny on the frets then it’s this one. Now I come to a problem I encounter often with Grooveshark: of the seven tracks here they only give me six. I don’t think the last one is a bonus or anything so why it’s not there is a mystery, but this happens more often than not with this service. Sometimes only a few tracks off the album are available. So I now have to go searching to see if I can find the final one.

Okay I got it on YouTube. “The Bat, part II” opens on heavy church organ and synth, slow and stately with a nice line in sweet soft guitar joining it, a kind of a semi-choral-vocal thing going on too. Lots of shimmering, whispering percussion like the sound of waves crashing against the shore and something like birdsong. Fades out as it began on that thick organ and keyboard. Really nice closer, glad I was able to track it down.

TRACKLISTING

1. Barcarole
2. Are you going with me
3. Au lait
4. Eighteen
5. Offramp
6. James
7. The Bat part II

If this is actually a jazz fusion album (someone more knowledgeable ie anyone tell me if it is) then I’m unclear as to why I’ve avoided that subgenre for so long, because this is mighty fine. With the exception of the title track, which I really hated, everything else on this album is great. It’s quite relaxing, funky at times, slightly rocky at others, and without question shows that Metheny and his band can certainly count themselves as expert exponents of their art. This was of course an album chosen by me out of the blue; chances were it was the only Pat Metheny album the library had, and so bears no real resemblance to “This is not America”, but by now I’ve learned to differentiate between hit singles and album tracks, and that one may not necessarily reflect or imitate the other.

As an album I would have to say I enjoyed this. Looking back, I can see why I didn’t as a younger man, but my perception was very skewed and coloured by expectation back then. Now, I have a slightly broader outlook and can accept different styles of music to a degree, and not expect everything to be the same. As for Pat Metheny? I think he’ll be on the list for checking out further into his catalogue.

Around the time of the release of the collaboration with Bowie on “This is not America”, one of our DJs remarked in his laconic way, “Recently, David Bowie had the opportunity to work with Pat Metheny. I hope the thin white duke was suitably grateful.” I’m sure he was.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



© 2003-2020 Advameg, Inc.