The new album from Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Blue, has been getting lots of press (and this fantastic review). In case you’ve missed this album, it’s a note-for-note remake of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue with a relationship to jazz that is akin to Keith Jarrett playing Bach. Think what you will of the album, but perhaps Ethan Iverson summed it up best - "The importance of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the rest of the cast of Kind of Blue is hardly confined to jazz. To declare that they not be allowed to be part of a deconstructed or conceptual undertaking might inadvertently suggest they are not "worthy" of arty mischief. Of course they are worthy! They are Gods, nothing is going to harm them". Whatever your opinion of the MOPDtK album, there should be no question that Blue is successful in pointing out just how incredible the original album is. As such I would argue that Blue functions more as conceptual art and as a tribute to Miles, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb than as an album in itself.
It should be pointed out, though, that Kind of Blue has never been a sacred cow...
I've recently had the opportunity to watch pianist and multi-instrumentalist Jon Batiste perform live with his Stay Human band and it was a transformative experience, respectful of all the tropes of jazz's history but cognizant of its rethinking of performance. Batiste is an innovator in the genre and can easily avail himself to many different musical directions. The latest intriguing direction he's taken is alongside the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chad Smith, and legendary bassist/producer/and record label owner Bill Laswell. Together, they've made The Process on Laswell's M.O.D. Technologies label, and frankly, it's a breath of fresh air.
You need a little more skronk in your life. The mind-boggling free jazz trio The Thing (Mats Gustafsson on saxophones, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums) have just released a new EP, Viking, that provides just that. The two-song EP is mastered by Bob Weston who remixed "Viking" for this EP. These compositions are just compact enough for the vibe everything to weave together in just enough time before petering out on Weston's "Viking" remix, while "Bruremarsj" is a surprisingly chill song for this group. Check out the EP from The Thing's Bandcamp after the jump.
Young bassist Ayal Tsubery has released a strong straight-ahead jazz album with his debut, Decisions. The album of original compositions are carefully put together and swell as early compositions from young music grads do, giving his band mates -- the core group being Tsubery on bass, Daniel Meron on piano & Rhodes, Eyal Hai on alto saxophone, and Dani Den or on drums -- to play soulfully while staying in service to the pieces. It's a respectable debut album with songs like "Sixth Floor" and "Parts Come Together" being particularly gripping. Jon Nellen's tablas on "Hasin'" are a nice touch, integrating some South Asian influence into Decisions' sound that doesn't exactly flow all throughout the album, but is perfectly in place whenever such touches appear. Ultimately, you should check this album out from the young Berklee grad. It's the kind of DIY album and young musician would make as a debut but with a polish that makes it worth your time. Check out Ayal Tsubery's Decisions from his Bandcamp or check it out after the jump.
This week felt like just another Friday after a few weeks of pretty constant activity. It felt nice to slow down and just make some radio without a major agenda for a change, and then I put together what I felt to be a pretty solid hour.
The Line-Up for 17 October 2014