Jan 17, 2014

Wayne Shorter's Miles Davis Masterpiece Nefertiti

Nefertiti, recorded in June and July of 1967, and released in 1968 was the last all acoustic album Miles Davis would offer to the masses.

 It is startling listening to Nefertiti, an album that is still very much rooted in hard bop, with the freer elements of the avant-garde stirred in.

To consider only 1 year later In a Silent Way, and 2 years later Bitches Brew was released, which both have  no discernible connection to bop other than possibly some phrasing during solos of the musicians.

I can certainly see how the neo-con jazz critic went berserk. Sometimes you get the feeling reading history, that the acoustic to electric change was more gradual than it really was.

Miles in the Sky was released, then Files De Kilimanjaro before In a Silent Way, but we are talking less than 2 years from the release of Nefertiti to Bitches Brew, and only 4 years until On The Corner.

I can understand why some people just couldn't get on board, at the time it must have been hard enough for the neo cons to accept the second great quintets music and free bop style apposed to the late 50's modal jazz albums, but the rock stuff to come is a whole new bag completely. Since I Have a broad taste in different and am looking at this music historically, and analyzing it that way.

Nefertiti on it's own from a jazz perspective is groundbreaking in its own right, on the title track a Wayne Shorter Composition, the rhythm section and front line of horns switch roles, as the the horns state the melody repeatedly, the rhythm sections improvises underneath, This Track really opened up a lot possibilities for musicians.

Nefertiti is also unusual in that Miles Davis Compose absolutely none of the material, 3 by Wayne Shorter("Nefertiti", "Fall" and "Pinocchio")two by Pianist Herbie Hancock ("Riot" and "Madness") and one by drummer Tony Williams ("Hand Jive")

The music is really right in line with the previous albums by this lineup, ESP Miles Smiles and Sorcerer. High Quality Melodic Free Bop. For what it's worth. other than ESP which is a little thin production wise, all the rest of the second great quintet albums all sonically incredible, the remasters are impeccable as well.

Jan 12, 2014

Impressions of New York: Rolf and Joachim Kuhn, Impulse Records 1967

The first thing I noticed about this album is the well done album cover, definitely makes you think some quality jazz might be hidden in those grooves.

The second thing I noticed was that Rolf Kuhn is a clarinetist, an instrument not widely used in modern jazz. Outside of Jimmy Hamilton, I can't think of too many times I have heard the instrument outside of a swing setting.

Impressions of New York being a thrift store find, I didn't have much invested and honestly since I had only barely heard of these Kuhn brothers, I didn't have high expectations.

In fact I have a jazz funk album from Joachim that is  pretty good, but nothing like this album, this is serious modern jazz.

I have had this record for a few years now, and as an avant garde jazz aficionado, "believe it or not", I never put up for sale, the record has really grown to be one of my favorite free jazz/chamber jazz records I own.

Free jazz is such an acquired taste I know, if you like Ornette Coleman or Cecil Taylor, I think you will have a fine time with this album.

Kuhn really plays well on this album, he does remind one of Cecil Taylor, with his bright percussive attack.

Rolf Kuhn's style won't remind you of Benny Goodman believe me, he does sound a lot like Ornette Coleman to my ears, just Bluesy and exclamatory, darting around structured, but with plenty of imagination.

Coltrane quartet bassist Jimmy Garrison offers some fine bouncy elastic bass playing, actually reminds me a bit of Ron Carter circa- the Miles quintet.

A vinyl copy like this vintage 60's Impulse original will run you around $50 right now. CD versions are commanding almost the same. I paid .99 cents for this copy. For a fan of inside/outside modern jazz you can't go wrong with this record.





All photos are my own of the copy I found at a Goodwill Thrift store.

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