Hip-Hop for the Jazz head

Guru

In my mind it all starts with Guru’s Jazzmatazz series.  A collection of 4 albums released over a 15 year span, Jazzmatazz is the definitive collection of Jazz Rap.  With a wide array of jazz musicians including saxophonist Branford Marsalis, trumpeter Donald Byrd, vibraphonist Roy Ayers, guitarist Ronny Jordan, and keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith, Jazzmatazz volume 1 set the stage for bands  like the Roots to fully explore traditional hip hop tracks with a full backing band.

here is the full Jazzmatazz volume 1 album…

Continue reading

Advertisements

Top 3 // Jazz bands for your friends that aren’t into jazz

We all have them. You know the friend who naturally affiliates the term jazz with WW2 swing, Kenny G, or New Orleans. “It’s just too antiquated’ they bemoan, neglecting the music as stuffy, and unrelatable.  To often Jazz is overlooked because it seems that since Trane there have only been a handful of musicians really pushing and expanding the genre in new and innovative ways. We all know what Davis and Hancock did for Jazz, but are you really gonna throw on ‘Bitches Brew’ for a person who won’t stop talking about how Arcade Fire redefined pop music? Nope. It’s just not going to happen. They’ll write it off as incoherent noise and as you argue about the merits of musical invention, you’ll realize that starting in the middle and working out to the fringes is a doomed approach. Some people just need to be brought in gently, like an old man being lowered into a hot bath.

So here it be … Our top 3 … for those who don’t like Jazz.

Bad Bad Not Good

DMZ

Toronto trio BBNG have a deftness for pushing music to a place where classification would be misleading and meandering. So we’ll make it simple. If you’re into; Bonobo, James Blake, Odd Future, Toro y Moi, Caribou, Four Tet, Neon Indian, Rjd2, DJ Shadow, Squarepusher, DJ Krush, or Similar Artists check um out.

CMYK // James Blake Cover

Bad Bad Not Good2 was released // April 3 2012
And they be // Matthew A. Tavares – Piano, Electric Piano, Prophet 08
Chester Hansen – Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass
Alexander Sowinski – Drums, Sampler

Continue reading

Rework the Standard // Afro Blue

Mongo Santamaria // Mongo // 1959

Mongo Santamaria first recorded his composition “Afro Blue” in 1959. Originally released on the album Mongo (Fantasy Records – 1959)

Afro Blue” was the first jazz standard built upon a typical African 3:2 cross-rhythm, or hemiola.[2] The song begins with the bass repeatedly playing 6 cross-beats per each measure of 12/8, or 6 cross-beats per 4 main beats—6:4 (two cells of 3:2). The following example shows the original ostinato “Afro Blue” bass line. The slashed noteheads indicate the main beats (not bass notes), where you would normally tap your foot to “keep time”.

via – Wikipedia

John Coltrane // Live at Birdland // 1963

In 1963 John Coltrane recorded “Afro Blue” with Elvin Jones on drums. Jones took the opposite approach of Santamaria, superimposing two cross-beats over every measure of a 3/4 jazz waltz (2:3). This particular swung 3/4 is perhaps the most common example of overt cross-rhythm in jazz.[5] [6] Coltrane and Jones reversed the metric hierarchy of Santamaria’s composition, by performing in 3/4 swing (2:3), instead of 6/8 or 12/8 (3:2). See: Demonstration of 2:3 cross-rhythm in 3/4 jazz waltz.

via – Wikipedia

players>
John Coltrane (soprano sax)
McCoy Tyner (piano)
Jimmy Garrison (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)
Continue reading

Dub For The Jazz Fan // Part 3: The Super Ape

There is nothing within the Dub world that Lee Perry hasn’t done. He is a true musical visionary. On top of that he is easily one of the most interesting and also bizarre people in musical history. If you don’t believe me watch these bizarre Guinness ads he did a few years ago.

For any Fall fans out there I’ve recently been toying with the idea that Lee Perry and Mark E. Smith are one and the same. Mad geniuses.

If after getting to know Lee Perry a little more you still think of Flavor Flav as a true eccentric and not just some dude who caught on to the brilliance that is Lee “Scratch” Perry than I think you will have a lot of things to worry about in your future because you are a moron. Sorry.

Onto the music. No one is as shocking as Lee Perry. I know in Part 2 I had mentioned that King Tubby never fails to surprise me, this still remains true, but even more so in terms of head spinning confusion and complete bewilderment Lee Perry reigns supreme. He’s done the chilled out Dub for a late summer’s night. He’s also done the most mental, effected dub I’ve heard. For example his track “Dub Plate Pressure” is like Miles Davis circa Dark Magus. That is to say, fantastically bonkers!

Continue reading

Miles Okazaki // Figurations

All art created by Miles Okazaki

I’ve been a fan of Miles Okazaki since the first note of his album Mirror gracefully filled my ear-lobes lifting me to another musical atmosphere. I find that Miles Okazaki’s music – more so than any other contemporary jazz musician – is accepted by almost anyone who hears it no matter their affiliation or taste.  I attribute this to the purity of the concepts and focus on aural pleasure. In this piece, Okazaki and his ensemble embrace the inherent joy of listening to music by taking a melodic structure and spinning a remarkably complex and unpredictable web.  Here is a teaser for his new album Figurations. This album was released May 8, 2012 and is a live recording featuring an ensemble of improvisational masters including saxophonist Miguel Zenon, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Dan Weiss.

In music built heavily on structure — mixed meter, long lines, counterpoint — the trick is to make it flow and sound natural, connected to the body. That’s what this quartet does, and each part of “Figurations” is elegant, precise, dramatic and well played. . . It’s a cerebral but warm record, and each part sounds wholly different from the last. Mr. Okazaki plays here with the saxophonist Miguel Zenón, the bassist Thomas Morgan and the drummer Dan Weiss. They’re equals in the project, inhabiting the music. Watch this band.

Ben Ratliff via – Nytimes

Buy it here

Podcast // The Jazz Session

ImageThanks to the NPR blog a blog supreme I came across this podcast the Jazz Session.

A little bit of background on the blog and its creator Jason Crane.

Since its inception in 2007, there have been more than 1.7 million downloads of The Jazz Session episodes. The Jazz Session focuses on in-depth interviews with jazz musicians, along with occasional interviews with producers, authors and others in the jazz world. The show’s mission is to chronicle the lives and opinions of musicians who make creative improvised music, without regard to artificial genres or labels. Every episode of the show is available here at thejazzsession.com for free. You can also subscribe for free via iTunes or an RSS reader.

Jason Crane was born in 1973 in Lenox, Massachusetts, home of Tanglewood and former home of the famed Music Inn and the Lenox School of Jazz. He began his career as a soprano sax player in jazz, latin jazz and funk bands in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and on Hilton Head Island. Jason also worked as an on-air host for KUAT and KUAZ in Tucson, AZ; as a news announcer for Bloomberg Radio in Tokyo, Japan; as Tokyo business correspondent for NPR’sMorning Edition; and at WXXI in Rochester, NY. From 2001-2004, Jason was station manager and jazz host atJazz90.1 in Rochester, NY. In 2005, Jason hosted The Jason Crane Show, a progressive political talk show on Rochester’s Air America affiliate.

via – The Jazz Session 

Dub for the Jazz Fan // Part 2: Classic Examples

The King at work

Jackie Mittoo //  Showcase  // 1980 

Ok, If you are familiar with Reggae and Dub than you know this is a classic but it doesn’t matter. It’s a classic for a reason and always worthy of mention. Jackie Mittoo is to Reggae and Dub what Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Larry Young, Chick Corea, and the like, are to Jazz. He was THE Keyboardist. This album shows why. The way he paces his playing, knowing precisely when to come to the forefront or disappear into the back. Keep in mind how when he disappears into the back he is actually still right in the front. He has this insane ability to make you think he’s not playing anymore.

This track showcases his moody and distant washes as well as his knack for some good old finger dancing magic.

Continue reading