Summary: Think you might like jazz, but don’t know where to start? This podcast will help you build a jazz library of only top class albums. From Charlie Parker to John Coltrane, Miles Davis to Freddie Hubbard, Thelonious Monk to Bud Powell, Duke Ellington to Charles Mingus Ace Jazz Library will guide you through the best of the classic jazz era. How else do you find the gems of jazz history? It is the music that counts and while passionate about jazz this podcast cuts straight to the chase, without the boring detail. Featuring guaranteed 5 star classic albums listen and enjoy for yourself.
Here at work is the master of improvisation on the piano - Keith Jarrett. The video below from Charles Limb looks at what is actually going on inside the brain during such a performance. The thesis is "can we really study this level of creativity scientifically". i.e. can we work out how it happens and code a machine to do it? I think not.... Enjoy Musician and researcher Charles Limb wondered how the brain works during musical improvisation -- so he put jazz musicians and rappers in an fMRI to find out. What he and his team found has deep implications for our understanding of creativity of all kinds.
The living saxophone legend Sonny Rollins interviewed at 79, gives a fascinating insight into almost 60 years of experience playing and performing. To Sonny, jazz is obviously a way of thinking and approaching things, rather than a dictated musical form. If you want to understand a bit more about jazz there is no better way than listening to one of the greats telling how it is. The ability to transform a collective experience by making music is obviously intrinsic to his philosophy. "One performance on stage is worth 6 months practising at home". Sonny also talks candidly about drug addiction, and reflects upon the artists' aspiration to leave the mundane nature of reality behind, by transcending to a beautiful place. Whether fuelled by alcohol, heroin, cocaine or cannabis Sonny discusses the trade off that drug use entails, where initial increases in creativity are ultimately transient, as the user spirals into a destructive pattern of addiction and diminishing returns. A noteworthy example being Charlie Parker turning up so late and gassed for a gig that Dizzy is heard on record asking "where the h**l have you been?" With almost 60 years experience on the scene, Sonny contemplates how "getting into the zone" is where it's at. Sonny studied yoga in India where he often worried about being able to meditate, but his guru explained that when he played his horn he was actually meditating. Ultimately Sonny's message seems to be that while true jazz may come from concentration on the transcendant nature of experience, it is connection via the true subconscious that requires the practise and skill to tune into the experience and allow deep levels of creativity and spirituality to emerge. Enjoy!
Jazz Guitar Greats Vol. 1Welcome to ACE Jazz Library - Podcast no.5 This podcast features a selection of jazz guitar greats extending from the 1930's to the 1970's, touching on gypsy jazz, swing, bossa nova, blues, soul, cool and bop styles. The sequence is roughly in chronological order, giving a flavour of how jazz guitar styles developed, but beginning at the beginning to introduce the foundation influences and give you the heads up on where it's coming from we start with Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian, who basically created the space for others to fill. As ever on ACE Jazz Library we feature examples from outstanding album performances, which are well worth the purchase. To listen click on the title above. If you like what you hear please subscribe with your reader or podcast/zencast organiser. Check out additional samples at the links in the text (US) or in the box below the post (UK). Django Reinhardt - Minor Swing, Nuage (The Best Of Django Reinhardt) Capitol / Blue Note Every good jazz collection should include Django Reinhardt, who has had a seminal influence on players ever since sweeping Europe in the 1930's and 40's with his "hot" gypsy jazz style, which is kept alive today by players such as Bireli Lagrene and Holland's Rosenberg Trio. Django first came to prominence with the all string Quintet of the Hot Club of France (1934), though his career could have been cut disastrously short when as a teenager his caravan caught fire and he suffered serious burns to his body, crippling the 4th and 5th finger of his left hand. Nonetheless he taught himself to play again with an adapted technique, which undoubtedly influenced his style thereafter. The quintet featuring Django's lead, 2 rhythm guitars, bass and Stephane Grappeli's immediately recognisable violin playing provided sufficient volume to overcome any lack of amplification and was a very succesful club act of the time. Critics and officianados will argue forever and a day as to which album best represents Reinhardt's always consummate output. Because of the era we must content ourselves with compilations, however for entry level and to understand just how Django fitted in and influenced the parallel development of swing I have chosen The (Capitol/Blue Note) Best of Django Reinhardt. This contains a good selection of the best early Quintet from 1936, before the wartime split, when Grappeli remained in London and some examples of the Big Band accompaniment on which Django became engaged in France. Extending up to 1948, also featured is a recording of Montmartre with the postwar visiting US jazzers Rex Stewart and his Feetwarmers. Charlie Christian - Seven Come Eleven (The Genius Of The Electric Guitar) It is often said that every jazz guitarist up until 1965 sounded like Charlie Christian. What this means is another question. Undoubtedly inflections of Django Reinhardt can be heard in some of Christian's work, so the statement cannot be taken too literally. Cross pollination within the swing genre was however inevitable, leading innovative players to emulate and expand on anothers style. Perhaps what is more important is that Chistian pioneered the use of electric guitar. He was also undoubtedly a genius of a player and though Django must be credited with establishing the guitar as a lead instrument, it was Christian who established the electric guitar as a lead within the big band genre at a time when small bands were beginning to take over. During a brief period from 1937 to his untimely death of tuberculosis at age 25 in 1942, Christian broke the mould of simple guitar as rhythm accompaniment and brought it up front with an infectiously perky plucking style that simply had to be heard. Followers on from Christian can simply be heard playing amplified guitar, typically plucked. It is arguable that it would be as difficult to sound unlike Christian as it would be for any saxophonist to sound totally unlike they were playing a saxophone. Subtle d
The Bebop Years Welcome to ACE Jazz Library - Podcast no.4 Here we tell the story of bebop and feature the playing of the virtuosos, who set the pace and transformed jazz from music hall entertainment to a cutting edge artform of dynamic invention and transcedant experience. Click on the title above to listen. [Click on the text links to hear more samples (US); or the selection box below the post (UK)] The Bebop era of the 1940's was when jazz rapidly transformed from a fairly rigid method and style of playing, usually as accompaniment to dancing or dining, into a relatively freeform artistic expression. Soloists had hitherto played second fiddle to the band leader who acted as compere for the evenings entertainment. Whether it was wartime frugality, the growing popularity of home radio or a natural development of the expanding New York jazz scene, giving more opportunity to independant and smaller ensembles, new small groups playing bebop rapidly set the tone for the sound of jazz to come and spelled the death of the big band era. Many of the iconic names of jazz gravitated to New York to learn the trade. In th early 1940's upcoming artists began to focus on and copy the virtuosic innovations of pianist Art Tatum, guitarist Charlie Christian and saxophonist Lester Young. These artists played long drawn out improvisations on a theme, where the original tune was heavily improvised around. With bebop the improvisation took an extra step so the originaal tune often remained only in essence as a key in which to play and some chords around which to improvise. Lester Young plays D B Blues Clubs like Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, also encouraged a more experimental scene and this became a melting pot, where established stars like Roy Eldrige rubbed shoulders with upcoming stars like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. The bebop style came about as a result of a number of modifications to the prevailing jazz style. While improvisations are much freer, it is also often played much faster. Not least among the innovations was the shift of emphasis on drums from the simple repetitive bass and brushes accompaniment of swing to keeping the beat on ride cymbal (listen for the characteristic ding ding da ding throughout the podcast). This frees up the hands and feet, allowing much greater flexibility for embellishments on the snare and bass. Kenny Clarke, was house drummer at Minton's and a key innovator of this new drum style. Clarke essentially set the pace for every jazz drummer since, though at the time he was as much lauded as ridiculed (mostly by old timers) for punctuating the rhythm so much. The new soloists however loved this percussion style, because it provided not only rhythm but dynamic punctuation for their continuous improvisations. Much has already been said and written about Charlie Parker’s influence on jazz, so I will not waste time repeating, but try to get straight to the essence of it. Parker was a spontaneous artistic genius and the greatest, most inimitable soloist in jazz history. His private life was a mess, with chronic drug and alcohol addictions that eventually saw him off this mortal coil, but boy could he play. He was a good old boy who liked to party, but was smart too, having a firm grasp on both the intellectual and artistic side of musical expression. If he lived his life to excess, it is also true of his playing, which was instrumental in freeing jazz of its rules and transforming it to a medium of free form artistic expression. This is beautifully exemplified in this rare video footage, where Parker can hardly wait for old time swinger Coleman Hawkins to finish his typically excellent but sedately paced offering, before he careens in wildy with a characteristically exuberant solo. While Dizzy Gillespie took a much more technical approach to playing , thankfully writing down his contributions to bebop and jazz in general, Parker was first and foremost a player, who lived the "scene!" He mi