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Jazz Recommendations from this Century - Page 10

post #136 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah View Post
 

 

I guess I shouldn't really complain about Boston - like you say, it's got a better scene than most places. It's just that the jazz we have here isn't so much to my taste and the clubs aren't either. The bigger jazz venues here are catering towards baby boomers (and older folks) who want a nice date night with their spouse with fairly safe music - which means it costs a lot, people are not friendly, the crowd is older, and the music often bores me. It's like a very slightly hipper version of going to the symphony. (I have nothing against classical music but the BSO is insufferable...) The smaller venues are often run by people who don't really care about making money (independently wealthy or whatever) who run their venues like a club for them and their friends, and the owners' band and their friends' bands get regular weekly slots... and they don't bother to promote the occasional really good out of town band coming through.

 

I will say the Boston ICA has some good stuff and they've got a really nice venue for live music, but they only have jazz concerts a few times a year, and a handful of contemporary classical shows.

 

Whereas in New York I meet lots of people of all ages who are really excited about the music and excited to talk to other music fans, you can find lots of great shows for under $20 (Colin Stetson is playing tomorrow for $10 in Brooklyn, for heaven's sake! And with an opener I really like, no less...), and of course the variety, quality and quantity of music is head and shoulders above what we've got here... and it's like pulling teeth to get even musicians who live in NYC to come play up in Boston. A friend of mine keeps trying to get me to take up the mantle of booker/promoter here in Cambridge because he has such a hard time getting gigs up here for the musicians he reps in NYC...

 

Trying to compare ANY city in the US to NYC regarding jazz/improv/avant garde music (or any creative activity for that matter) is probably going to be seriously slanted.

Despite Boston's good points the more adventurous types have always struggled to survive.These people struggle in NY as well due to the tremendous expense of survival there.

NY just has a lot more people engaged in this sort of thing, I've always loved this about NY.

 

I will say that even today Boston is amazing compared to where I've been living the last 2 years or Seoul(where I spent a lot of time the previous 2 years) or even Prague (where i lived before that).The Czech people had a wonderful openness to creative work however. Even the general public, as opposed to a "specialist audience" could enjoy something totally experimental.I've had great times at the jazz fests in Prague but it has a very limited live music club scene.

 

EDIT:Anyway NY is unique...


Edited by perhapss - 2/8/14 at 2:57pm
post #137 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by perhapss View Post
 

Well now....

 

Coincidentally a friend of mine just yesterday asked me to go see an upcoming Metheny concert in Schenectady Ny.

 

Lots of opinions in the "jazz" world about him being jazz at all.

My feeling is he's an amazing MODERN jazz musician.

 

Just because he plays fusion (for lack of better word) people dismiss him.

Canadian folks tend to be a little more open-minded though in my experience :smile: .

 

I last saw Metheny with his trio some years ago now...

 

Saw him first in the Early 80's with the band.

 

Anyone that would label Metheny as "fusion" has no knowledge of his music.  The last fusion song he recorded would probably be the song "Roots of Coincidence" from Imaginary Day released in 1997.

 

Jazz purists "cough cough" hate Metheny because a guitar is not a jazz instrument in their narrow minds.   I think he is the greatest and most influential jazz musician of our times  (1980---current)...easily.

 

One could argue about his virtuosity as a "player" (I'd still consider him among top 5 players) but as a composer...when you look at his diversity and whole body of work as an artist from screenplays to all the different types of jazz music....never standing still....I think he's the greatest musical composer in the last 50 years.  His current band would run circles around any jazz band in the world. 

 

Maybe the jazz "cough, cough" purists would like him more if he played more 50's swing and bop?   LMAO!....


Edited by Spyro - 2/8/14 at 4:33pm
post #138 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
 

 

Anyone that would label Metheny as "fusion" has no knowledge of his music.  The last fusion song he recorded would probably be the song "Roots of Coincidence" from Imaginary Day released in 1997.

 

Jazz purists "cough cough" hate Metheny because a guitar is not a jazz instrument in their narrow minds.   I think he is the greatest and most influential jazz musician of our times  (1980---current)...easily.

 

One could argue about his virtuosity as a "player" (I'd still consider him among top 5 players) but as a composer...when you look at his diversity and whole body of work as an artist from screenplays to all the different types of music....never standing still....I think he's the greatest musical composer in the last 50 years.  His current band would run circles around any jazz band in the world. 

 

Pat Metheny is indeed an exceptional guitarist and has been an inspiration to me.

 

"Fusion" is also not a dirty word in my book.I like to think of it as a concept rather than a style. I think PM  represents the best of fusion in the spirit of melding and combining music.That to me means being alive and creative without the dogma of "purists".I've had the privilege to meet him and hear him speak and he embraces the concept of open-mindedness and does not limiting himself to other's view as to what music should be.He continues to push boundaries and that to me is more meaningful than anyone's opinions.This despite the fact that I don't always enjoy the results.I've never been disappointed in his live performances however.Even when he's supporting an album that I didn't enjoy thoroughly.His performances usually illuminate the recording in ways I didn't hear initially. He also lacks the pretension of many inferior artists.

 

That being said, I've always been amazed at what a polarizing figure he can be.Many people write him off as "fusion", "smooth jazz"," sell- out" or even too "white" and "can't swing".

 

 

In addition, I've never met any guitarist in my life with the virtuosity he has playing over standard material or his own music.

I've known many opinionated "jazz" musicians that had no respect for him and then heard him play over standards.Often their opinion changes then they say things like "I like him when he plays jazz but..."

 

I myself am non-sectarian.Despite the proficiency of later material "First Circle" remains my favorite Group album.

post #139 of 235

So ya didn't like "The Way Up" ?  The way he takes the core 5 or 6 note "theme"  and twists and turns it inside out and everywhere in between and does so much with it is just astonishing.  Just an amazing"musical mind".

 

Yes, I wasn't overly enamored with the robotic "Orchestrion" but he still pulled it off.  The whole concept is amazing.  Talk about pushing the envelope?

 

I think it's fair to say he is the most respected jazz musician of today BY HIS JAZZ PEERS (not jazz fans).  That speaks volumes. 

 

Not sure I have a favorite because they are all so different.  As solo....probably "Secret Story"....as group..."The Way Up" or "Speaking of Now".  

post #140 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
 

So ya didn't like "The Way Up" ?  The way he takes the core 5 or 6 note "theme"  and twists and turns it inside out and everywhere in between and does so much with it is just astonishing.  Just an amazing"musical mind".

 

Yes, I wasn't overly enamored with the robotic "Orchestrion" but he still pulled it off.  The whole concept is amazing.  Talk about pushing the envelope?

 

I think it's fair to say he is the most respected jazz musician of today BY HIS JAZZ PEERS (not jazz fans).  That speaks volumes. 

 

Not sure I have a favorite because they are all so different.  As solo....probably "Secret Story"....as group..."The Way Up" or "Speaking of Now".  

 

Didn't sat "didn't like". I said "favorite".

 

I readily acknowledge my favorites are determined by time, place etc...

I also readily admit there are technical superiorities etc. in those other recordings.

 

You would never understand the circumstances of my life at the time I heard "First Circle".

 

The first Trio recording also stands out to me. Probably because it represents best of his off-record "jazz " guitar playing that happened when he was just being Pat.

I'm also a big fan of "Bright Size Life" which is the link between "jazz" and the Group IMO.It's his first album and is molecular in this way.It is also a great representation of Jaco's music to be and representative of his natural genius as it was.

post #141 of 235

What's the jazz world's opinion about George Benson?  Does he also fall into the Pat Metheny category?  A guy that dabbles in too many different things (e.g. R&B singing) to be locked down as a pure jazz guitarist/vocalist.  Maybe not quite analogous to Metheny because he didn't completely venture outside of jazz.  I grew up with "Give Me The Night" being played by my parents.  That's another album I need to revisit for a bit of nostalgia.  However, I may need to explore some of his earlier works to get a feel for how good of a jazz guitarist he was.  Apparently he is still touring.

post #142 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by WNBC View Post
 

What's the jazz world's opinion about George Benson?  Does he also fall into the Pat Metheny category?  A guy that dabbles in too many different things (e.g. R&B singing) to be locked down as a pure jazz guitarist/vocalist.  Maybe not quite analogous to Metheny because he didn't completely venture outside of jazz.  I grew up with "Give Me The Night" being played by my parents.  That's another album I need to revisit for a bit of nostalgia.  However, I may need to explore some of his earlier works to get a feel for how good of a jazz guitarist he was.  Apparently he is still touring.

 

George Benson is an excellent jazz guitarist but you may not notice that from his recordings:blink:.

He recorded early on with Miles and went on to be a huge commercial success.

I've heard some early recordings of him which are ripping.

 

His  playing was hugely influenced by Wes Montgomery.

 

Many jazz guys dismiss him as a "sell-out" but he's definitely got skills.

 

He had a big hit with the Leon Russell tune "Masquerade".

 

It's interesting you mention him because he and Pat Metheny both were highly influential in the smooth jazz and Muzak world.

 

My opinion he is to New Jersey what Pat Metheny is to the MIdwest.

I'm not sure that makes sense but...

Nothing against New Jersey or the Midwest!!

 

EDIT: Be careful of the last sentence, I have personal connections to both and may be biased :o .


Edited by perhapss - 2/8/14 at 10:35pm
post #143 of 235

When growing up we always had smooth jazz playing on the Marantz rig.  At the time I didn't appreciate it but little did I know pops was planting the seeds for true jazz appreciation.  Mostly smooth jazz from Boney James, Kenny G, Najee, Benson, Keiko Matsui, Pat Metheny, etc.  The first Miles album I heard was Sketches of Spain so we got the occasional sprinkle of less smooth jazz.

 

I'm searching for some analogies for my home state of Rhode Island :D

 

I guess we're deviating from the title of this thread with these older albums.  However,  these artists are still around today, though I haven't explored their new stuff.  

 

We have decent jazz in Seattle.  We get the big name jazz bands but as for exploratory and upcoming artists I'm not sure of the small jazz clubs around here.  I suspect there are not too many.  It's more of a rock and folk type of city.  

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by perhapss View Post
 

George Benson is an excellent jazz guitarist but you may not notice that from his recordings:blink:.

He recorded early on with Miles and went on to be a huge commercial success.

I've heard some early recordings of him which are ripping.

 

His  playing was hugely influenced by Wes Montgomery.

 

Many jazz guys dismiss him as a "sell-out" but he's definitely got skills.

 

He had a big hit with the Leon Russell tune "Masquerade".

 

It's interesting you mention him because he and Pat Metheny both were highly influential in the smooth jazz and Muzak world.

 

My opinion he is to New Jersey what Pat Metheny is to the MIdwest.

I'm not sure that makes sense but...

Nothing against New Jersey or the Midwest!!

post #144 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by WNBC View Post
 

 

"Sketches of Spain" is a masterpiece in my(and many others) opinion.

 

The smooth jazz world was populated by many great musicians who were obligated to make a living.

In addition to Benson, Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour  also come to mind(in the guitar world at least). Carlton and Ritenour were important studio musicians

who's solos often made my trip to the grocery store more interesting back in the day.

 

I'm sure Rhode Island has some borne some important players but I just have more personal knowledge/experience with the Midwest and New Jersey(for better or worse). And Metheny and Benson.

 

For the record, I personally believe that Metheny never consciously "sold-out".I think his music is much more developed and complex with integrity.

Benson I'm not so sure....


Edited by perhapss - 2/8/14 at 10:48pm
post #145 of 235

As long as these guys are making music that they and their fans can respect we really are no position to judge them as sell outs.  Some reviewers and die-hards may do so but that's not my goal.  If an artist switches things up so much that I don't like it I will thank them for the good times, but find more enjoyable music.  These guys have to put food on the table too.  Being a famous musician doesn't mean the world is his or her oyster.  

 

Listening to a live Benson performance of "On Broadway" in a smokey NY jazz club must have been amazing.  Listening to this track now.  Nice bit of scatting in there.  

post #146 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by WNBC View Post
 

As long as these guys are making music that they and their fans can respect we really are no position to judge them as sell outs.  Some reviewers and die-hards may do so but that's not my goal.  If an artist switches things up so much that I don't like it I will thank them for the good times, but find more enjoyable music.  These guys have to put food on the table too.  Being a famous musician doesn't mean the world is his or her oyster.  

 

Listening to a live Benson performance of "On Broadway" in a smokey NY jazz club must have been amazing.  Listening to this track now.  Nice bit of scatting in there.  

 

George Benson is has been very popular for some time and that says a lot more than my opinion for sure.

 

I really have nothing against him.I'm just saying what other folks have said about him in the jazz community.

I personally believe that he likes what he does and isn't compromising his personal tastes.

 

He does however do something that I always find annoying.This is just my opinion however:

 

I have seen him at major jazz festivals several times over the last couple of decades.He has often been often billed on the same stage as huge heavy weights.For example: Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner etc... Because these are huge gigs and pay well I feel like Benson could hire real horn players instead of sampled horns.I personally know several great ones that would do those gigs for very little pay even.I'm all for creative use of sampling and electronics but a canned horn section in such high profile festivals seems silly to me. Again only my opinion:o

post #147 of 235

Very valid points.  If he wants repeat attendees the experience should include more live musicians.  Otherwise we might as well just buy the albums.  

 

Ok, enough Benson talk :D.  He was or is still good.  But not a lot of motivation to hear his new stuff.

 

MrPink44 suggested Rudresh Muhanthappa.  Good suggestion.  Listening to the free sample on his website.  Might have to get the album.

http://rudreshm.com/

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by perhapss View Post

 

I have seen him at major jazz festivals several times over the last couple of decades.He has often been often billed on the same stage as huge heavy weights.For example: Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner etc... Because these are huge gigs and pay well I feel like Benson could hire real horn players instead of sampled horns.I personally know several great ones that would do those gigs for very little pay even.I'm all for creative use of sampling and electronics but a canned horn section in such high profile festivals seems silly to me. Again only my opinion:o

post #148 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by WNBC View Post
"But not a lot of motivation to hear his new stuff."

Thank God :evil:

post #149 of 235
IMO comparing Benson to Metheny is ludicrous. PM is an artist in the truest sense of the word whereas GB is the definition of the term sell-out. I was a big fan of guitar-playing George back in the day, than he struck gold with 'This Masquerade' (a very beautiful tune btw) and never looked back. Sad because although he had a good voice, he was a great gtr player. And has become completely irrelevant. His career's often compared to Nat King Cole who was an extraordinary pianist that released a bunch of instrumental-only trio records prior to hitting the big time as a vocalist. I remember reading an interview with Benson where he was asked about doing a guitar Jazz record and he said something to the effect of "when a gtr record can make me as much money as a vocal pop record, I'll do it!". That was the epitome of the concept of sell-out for me! Anyhow, he's a has-been, voice ain't what it used to be, his gtr chops certainly have faded, don't use 'em you lose 'em! George was one of the 1st artists I admired when I started appreciating Jazz back in the 70's and I'm glad he was able to make some $ but.....

Wanna hear a great guitar record? Kurt Rosenwinkel - Star Of Jupiter - Absolutely kills!!
post #150 of 235

It's a shame because Benson could have put out both a guitar album and a more pop type album.  Appears he listened more to his financial manager.

 

Thanks for the suggestion.  I'm always looking for good guitar albums.  I don't have many modern contemporary jazz favorite guitar albums.  I enjoy the guitar works of Pierre Bensusan and Jerry Garcia/David Grisman collaborations often are pretty great for guitar/mandolin, but these aren't jazz.   

  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hijodelbrx View Post

IMO comparing Benson to Metheny is ludicrous. PM is an artist in the truest sense of the word whereas GB is the definition of the term sell-out. I was a big fan of guitar-playing George back in the day, than he struck gold with 'This Masquerade' (a very beautiful tune btw) and never looked back. Sad because although he had a good voice, he was a great gtr player. And has become completely irrelevant. His career's often compared to Nat King Cole who was an extraordinary pianist that released a bunch of instrumental-only trio records prior to hitting the big time as a vocalist. I remember reading an interview with Benson where he was asked about doing a guitar Jazz record and he said something to the effect of "when a gtr record can make me as much money as a vocal pop record, I'll do it!". That was the epitome of the concept of sell-out for me! Anyhow, he's a has-been, voice ain't what it used to be, his gtr chops certainly have faded, don't use 'em you lose 'em! George was one of the 1st artists I admired when I started appreciating Jazz back in the 70's and I'm glad he was able to make some $ but.....

Wanna hear a great guitar record? Kurt Rosenwinkel - Star Of Jupiter - Absolutely kills!!
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