Skip to main content

Posts

Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi Band: Funky Jazz Rock Fusion at Its Best

Perhaps Hancock's most groundbreaking music? Herbie Hancock is a legend, no real scoop in that statement, huh? The Pianist has been a part of all the ground breaking developments in Jazz for better than 50 years.

First on his own for Blue Note, then as part of the second great quintet of Miles Davis.

 While a part of that legendary group, he released some of the all time classics of jazz for that very same Blue Note label, Maiden Voyage and Empyrean Isles to name a few.

Then When Miles had his restless spirit get the better of him, Herbie participated in the landmark jazz rock albums, In a Silent way and Bitches Brew.

By the end of 1969 Herbie needed to get his own experimental band together, that band, Mwandishi Created some of the most fully realized experimental jazz rock of the last 40 years. You can learn a whole lot more via the Bob Gluck Mwandishi band book that's pictured to the left.

Three experimental albums under the Mwandishi name: Only 3 albums spread across two …
Recent posts

It's About That Time: Wayne Shorter's Last Gig With Miles, March 7, 1970

Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time is an album that was finally released in 2001.

This particular concert was also the final concert that Wayne Shorter performed with Miles Davis. Soon after, Wayne would join Joe Zawinul to form Weather Report.

This concert is very raw and on edge, Chick Corea has a sound on electric piano that is unlike anything I can ever remember.

 Hearing heavy distortion either mars or enhances the music, depending on your tolerance for rough around the edges recordings.

One thing about this recording that surprises me, it sounds like Corea and Holland may have finally gotten to Miles, I don't think I can recall any of his music ever quite getting this avant-garde?

I am telling you this, you have some real over the top cacophony in spots. Some will snicker at this of course, man I wish more of these concerts would be released.

 Just to hear something like "It's About That Time" that challenges your sensibilities…

The Best Classic Modern Jazz Compositions For the New Listener

Modern jazz is a music that can have so many diverse meanings, amazingly the music almost mirrors the musical personality of Miles Davis himself.

It is incredible when you think about it, if you only listened to the music of Miles Davis alone, and no other artist within jazz, you would just about be exposed to every form of the music since World War II.

Bop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, large band orchestrated jazz, post bop, free bop, jazz rock, jazz funk, and even a few musics that barely even resemble jazz that have gone on to influence so many diverse musicians of different styles, you can't hope to name them all.

I make no apologies for including 4 Davis tunes within this list of my favorite 10, the surprise might be the fact tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter has two of his own compositions on my list, one with Davis, and one as a leader.

This list is really just a personal list, not meant to slight any artist or genre. I have been seriously into jazz for about 20 years no…

Miles Davis Big Fun: Double Slabs of Droning Jazz Rock

 Big Fun indeed: Miles was so ahead of the curve, these outtakes were from sessions released from 1969 and 1972, and not released until 1974.

Big Fun was barely noticed at the time, 26 years later the digital remaster was released on CD. Finally I think enough time has passed to give this music the needed space to catch up with the rest of the world's recorded music.

So many things of note within the Electric music of Miles Davis: Producer Teo Macero's Production techniques were way ahead of their time.

 The overall combination of Indian instruments with rock and funk, must have seemed bizarre even for jazz rock? There is no point denying how imperfect Big Fun is, at times it does feel thrown together like some cosmic stew of international sounds.

Big Fun has an interesting production technique from producer Teo Macero, who seems completely thrilled with just trying out every new gizmo and gadget Columbia Records could dream up in the studio.

Oh how fun this time period must …

Miles Davis "Call it Anything" From the Isle of Wight 1970

Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea playing piano in the same band?

 Then you throw in Dave Holland on bass, and Jack De Johnette on drums, pretty hot band huh?

For me, this music documented on vinyl"pictured" as well as the DVD video performance available now as:

"Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue"

It's one of the best live documents out there of electric Miles.

The Aug. 29th 1970 show at the Isle of Wight Festival is a cookin' show, everything seems to run on all cylinders. Jarrett and Corea are both inventive, and somehow are making real music come out of these newly discovered toys.

As a long time Miles Electric music fan, I do endorse this Isle of Wight show on DVD. I like having it in audio form too, but the atmosphere is so good and the extra interviews are very nice, as well as the thick liner notes inside the DVD case.

Miles Davis and Gil Evans Sketches of Spain on Vinyl

Released in July of 1960, Sketches of Spain was a wildly successful album, that garnered Evans and Davis Grammy Awards for their efforts.

My thoughts about the album are a bit mixed, Sketches is easily the least jazzy of the collaborations; also I feel that Miles' own playing is not quite "just a bit" up to the standard of the previously recorded Evans collaboration Porgy & Bess. Miles really put himself out on a limb on Sketches, his vulnerable stark sound was made for this music.

It is well known Miles had trouble on this session, the strange new material, and the tough Evan's arrangements physically exhausted Miles, he did not record again for over a year after the session. 

Sketches of Spain is an album that will grow on you after repeated listens, the brooding mood of the piece is hard to ignore. Personally my favorite track is "Solea," I love the bass groove on this track, really puts you in the ring with the bull fighter.


Sketches of Spa…

Where to Start Your Don Ellis LP/CD Collection

Don Ellis could have been a household name Don Ellis (1934-1978) is easily one of the most underrated musicians in jazz history. A gifted trumpeter and big band leader, as well as an in demand film score composer.

Don scored the music for the William Friedkin masterpiece The French Connection.

I discovered Don through a series of albums I happened on in a bargain bin at a local used book store.

As it turned out, Electric Bath and Tears of Joy still are the quintessential albums to start with in my mind.

Of course you'll want more Ellis music with out a doubt, most of the Pacific Jazz live albums are fantastic, and the albums from the 70's like Shock treatment, The Connection, and At the Fillmore are equally as good.

Connection is more of a cover album, meaning Don is basically forced to play Columbia back catalog stuff, so he can include his own material on the albums. Everything is expertly played though, might be good place for the rock fan to get their foot into progressiv…