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Thread: "easy" free jazz

  1. #1
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    Default "easy" free jazz

    as opposed to "difficult". too much free jazz I have is the Brotzmann/Ayler type of power blowing / super cacophany madness - which is amazing and I love it to death, but I play those records rarely.**(maybe I'm getting old but really, how often does one need to have those intensely cathartic experiences?)

    right now thoroughly luxuriating in the sounds produced by Paul Bley, Evan Parker, and Barre Phillips on a trio outing called "Sankt Gerold Variations 1-12". gorgeous and soulful, endlessly inventive and uncompromising at the same time.

    what other "beautiful", "listenable", "meditative" free jazz records might you recommend?

    some of my other favorites in this vein include everything Paul Bley ever recorded (amazing pianist. any other artists comparable to his sensibilities?), a lot of later period Steve Lacy, a lot of Mal Waldron solo or duo records, a couple of rare Braxtons where he is calmer than usual...

    I need more.

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    probably not what you are looking for, but...

    Ornette Coleman is someone I would call "beautiful" and "listenable" but not "meditative", more like Playful and Colorful.

    The Shape Of Jazz To Come is especially easy to listen to. Has some nice ballads too. And for being a 'free' record, the rhythm section swings like mad and even (i think) follows some blues-like chord changes (kind of)...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy
    The Shape Of Jazz To Come
    oh yes that is a collosal record. that first tune... goosebumps every time.

    I would not classify it as "free" though... it is distinctively an "on the cusp" record... not only the date of 1960 which sets it in-between periods, but the music can be described as free-improvisation within a tightly structured framework.

    and no, it is not the type of thing I'm looking for... think almost Satie-esque... for lack of better descriptor

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    You obviously know your jazz. What is your response then the the name... Keith Jarrett???

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    I love Keith Jarret, solo material better than in groups. I avoided the name for a long time because I had a false impression of him being one of those bland, pastoral, "new-age-y" ECM artists from the 80s... glad I corrected that mistake

    but it is not "free" enough for what i'm after here... I guess I'm looking for recommendations of particular records by free-jazz luminaries whose other work might be incredibly harsh or difficult.

    for instance, one record by Derek Bailey (ok ok he's not jazz, whatEVER) - "Ballads", is just gorgeous. sounds like a free improvisation take on Bossa or Samba. and while his other works are enjoyable as well this one stands out as a particularly lovely work.

    also, Spring of 2 Blue-Jays is the only Cecil Taylor record I can listen to. maybe my understanding is just "not there yet", but his other music just give me a headache.

    like, are there any Ayler where he is calm and collected? or Brotzmann? or Ken Vandermark? seems like there should be. this is exactly what I want to hear, is scary players being nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by confucius
    also, Spring of 2 Blue-Jays is the only Cecil Taylor record I can listen to. maybe my understanding is just "not there yet", but his other music just give me a headache.
    Have you heard Silent Tongues, the Cecil Taylor live recording from Montreux 1974? Very mellow, beautiful even. Sounds a bit like an early Boulez piano sonata, actually! Not the banging mayhem one expects, though still pretty lively. I would recommend it, for what it's worth, as one way of seeing what Taylor was up to.

  7. #7
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    I was just listening to some Art Ensemble of Chicago, have you heard Certain Blacks?

    Rides an interesting line between free improvisation and groove.

  8. #8
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    alice coltrane's 'universal consciousness' and 'world galaxy.' semi-free jazz w/ three drummers, grooves, and oceanic strings.

  9. #9

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    Sonny Sharrock - Black Woman. Chaotic, but structured jazz with the most wailing, ecstatic vocal. It's always on the brink of losing control but never does.

  10. #10
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    As far as Ayler I love *New Grass*. I think it's his attempt at breaking and getting popular, mostly funk/soul sounding stuff, but none of it is quite right; he tries pretty hard but somehow he just doesn't get it and it all sounds WEIRD. Not meditative in any way, but pretty fucking fun IMO. It always makes me really happy.

    Meditative stuff: how about Don Cherry's hippied out records (esp that one duet with Ed Blackwell on ECM, cant remember the title now but the jacket is brown cardboard-like), or a lot of Sun Ra stuff e.g. Other Planes of There?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by confucius
    what other "beautiful", "listenable", "meditative" free jazz records might you recommend?
    Check out Grachan Moncur III's "New Africa". Very good stuff.

    Haven't been listening to too much free jazz recently (except for Paul Flaherty / Chris Corsano, which is definitely NOT what you're looking for) but Cecil Taylor's "Nefertiti, The Beautiful One Has Come", whil different from the Moncur set, is gorgeous and very easy to get lost in, and is the disc that completely sold me on Taylor. Even if the piano is out of tune

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    I still think Pharoah Sanders TAUHID is the only free-jazz rekkid you really need..Oh and maybe one of Coltrane's pre-death freakouts like OM or INTESTELLAR SPACE..
    All I do now is dick around Sparks, 2006

    Stuff to read on the toilet :linky

  13. #13
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    try these:

    art ensemble of chicago - people in sorrow
    art ensemble of chicago - les stances a sophie
    archie shepp - blase
    archie shepp - the way ahead
    sun ra - atlantis
    sun ra - nuits a la foundation maeght vol.2 (dunno about vol.1, i haven't heard it)
    luther thomas human arts ensemble - funky donkey (i think that's the name of the record, i don't own it)
    and it might be worth checking out the mount everest trio and joe mcphee, although i don't own anything by them and can't remember if they sound like what you're loking for... a;though i have a recollection that they do
    Last edited by big satan; 18-06-2006 at 11:20 PM.

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