$51.03 on iTunes

ARTISTS: NINETY MILES: DAVID SANCHEZ & JAMES FARM

There was a time not so long ago that I would be the first person at my local record shop to get the new Chris Potter or Dave Holland, or Mark Turner or Brad Mehldau or Josh Redman record.  Then something happened to me. I lost all interest in buying anything that was new.  This is not to disrespect the aforementioned people and their amazing talent.  I’m not sure when or how it happened but I wasn’t interested in listening to people trying to push the envelope, playing tunes in time signatures that I didn’t even know existed, thinking in shapes and colors rather than harmony and melody etc. I wanted Hank Mobley, Blue Mitchell, Lee Morgan, George Coleman, early Miles, early Trane, Jimmy Heath etc. Or the new cats playing straight ahead like Eric Alexander, David Hazeltine, John Webber, Jim Rotondi etc. etc.

This past weekend I bit on two releases only because have a subscription to DownBeat (although am questioning the reason why as I’m disappointed constantly) and they talked extensively about NINETY MILES featuring David Sanchez – tenor saxophone, Christian Scott – trumpet and Stefon Harris – vibraphone, pianist Rember Duharte and Harold López-Nussa and some other Cuban musicians and JAMES FARM featuring Josh Redman – tenor sax, Aaron Parks – piano, Eric Harland – drums and Matt Penman – bass.

I was pleasantly surprised by both releases. I wasn’t so much surprised by how good they were …I mean those musicians are all phenomenal but I was surprised with how much I liked each release.  I need to give both a closer listen but it’s been a long time since I have been excited about 2 new releases.

I do have to say though, I bought a vinyl copy of MODERN JAZZ by EDDIE LOCKJAW DAVIS and it reminded me why I like the old stuff!

iTunes Balance: $53.01

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4 thoughts on “$51.03 on iTunes

  1. I think the reason for digging the older stuff is the ease and the feel and the sound (especially true in Lockjaw’s case). These cats were not about intellect and chops but feel and emotions. They told stories when they played. Technique and speed were a means to an end. Some cats had more chops and technique than others but somehow there was a much more common language among Jazz players then. I deeply admire all the players in James Farm and the other band and as much as I dig their music and their ability to PLAY that music so well, there is something missing in the final product…….it’s hard to put my finger on what it is……maybe it’s the lack of blues tonality or maybe it’s what Lester Young might have said when he stated…….”there’s lots of notes man, flyshit…. wow… but I’m not hearing a story”. Cats like Jaws, Griff, Jug, Hank, Trane, Newk, Ervin, Stanley T, String (Stitt), Cobb and the older guys like Chu, Hawk, Ben, Jacquet and PREZ…….all spoke a special language, swung and told stories in their music and that’s why we go back time after time to re-listen to them.

    • Hey Gavin, thanks for your thoughtful reply and I think all of your comments are right on. Aside from my bias towards the music of the older cats, there is a certain quality, comfort, freshness and purity about the music that I don’t hear much these days.

      You read Downbeat right? I’m tired of constantly reading about the ‘forward pushers.’ This month Jason Moran, last month Scott/Harris/Sanchez, then there was Rudresh. Why is there such a huge media bias to these so called forward moving people? Am I missing something? Am I just being a curmudgeon?

      • I pick up both Jazz Times and Downbeat(Deadbeat) every month and like you I’m constantly disappointed by the interviews. Unlike to old days (here we go again) when interviews and articles seemed to have more depth and musicians wern’t afraid to express their opinions about the scene, business and other players. I guess, now that so many of the greats are gone the magazines have no choice but to write about the people they do. I’m old enough to remember when Hank Mobley was written about as an “up and coming voice on the tenor”. Critics also spoke their minds and damn the consequences. Some of their stuff was wrong-headed of course but provoked a reaction and a response from readers and players. Ira Gitler (my all-time fav critic) was a close buddy of many players including Trane, Cannon, Brubeck etc. but wasn’t afraid to give them a harsh review when he didn’t agree with the music. Eg: He gave Brubeck’s Time Out two stars, Trane’s Village Vanguard (the one with Chasin’ The Trane) two stars and said the only good track was Softly…..he said Trane’s solo on Chasin’ “sounded like one big air-leak”) Cannon’s best seller “In San Francisco” got the two star treatment and he called “Dis Here” “phony funk”….gotta love Ira. Wrong maybe but worth reading and entertaining. John S. Wilson’s reviews used to infuriate me as some of my favourite albums got the one and two star treatment (Drew’s Undercurrent, Jay Macs’s Capuchin Swing” etc etc.). In those days I looked forward to every issue. Nowadays many of the articles go unread although there are always a few interesting reviews or quotes. The magazines are more slick and upscale and expensive but like a lot of the music they lack some essential ingredient that is hard to define. I hate the concept of always pushing the idea that Jazz is moving forward and touting players as “envelope pushers”…..let the music evolve as it has always done. This newness for newness sake has been around for a long time and I find it tiresome. Do you remember one night after the club closed hanging with LaDonne, Eric A. Peter B.etc and listening to Chet and George C. over the PA and.checking and reacting to every phrase and hip idea……..I don’t ever see that reaction happening with many of today’s artists….that’s called the joy of music. I guess people can call me a curmudgeon because I’m an older guy but that’s just age bullshit……..and like you….I don’t think that I am. I mean how many people have played better than Bird? Charles McP said to me that although the world has changed profoundly and technology has advanced so much but humans still feel things and experience emotions in much the some way as they did for centuries. Music addresses our emotions and affects what and who we listen to. So digging Hank, Freddie, Philly Joe, or whoever doesn’t mean you are a curmudgeon and dammit……. neither am I!

  2. Just for fun I went and took a look at the Downbeat back issues. So if you take away the ‘living legends and the singers you get the following in the past 15 months or so:
    Christian Scott/David Sanchez/Stefon Harris
    Jason Moran
    Marc Ribot/Nels Cline
    Brad Mehldau
    Rudresh M./Bunky Green
    Esperanza Spauldng
    Michael Zenon
    Christian Scott (again). Two Downbeat covers in less than two hears.

    To me there is a absolutely gross lack of representation of the people like: Mike LeDonne, Peter Bernstein, Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, Vincent Herring, Steve Davis, Grant Stewart, John Webber, Jimmy Greene, Ian Hendrickson-Smith, Jim Snidero, Joe Magnarelli, Gary Smulyan, Peter Washington, Kenny Washington….should I go on? These are people that the mass jazz media has pegged ‘not forward moving,’ not ‘ground breaking.’ Because they play music that is considered ‘straight ahead’ they are not given the same respect, coverage or attention that the the others that grace the cover of Downbeat get. It’s a joke.

    Again said with every ounce of respect for the musicians who get the covers

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