Monday, January 02, 2006

Onwards... Louis Armstrong... Jimmy Guiffre... John Coltrane...

Haven't got round yet to the 2005 best of stuff – one has to observe the traditions, I suppose, but I've been concerned with other things - recovering from my night at the 'Pink Flamingo' on New Years Eve – and I also realised when I checked 'The Wire' best of year lists that I hadn't actually bought much this last twelve months that was directly new. The bebop posts are going on hold for a week or so as I'm trying to work on a longish Derek Bailey post - so here's some mp3s from the twenties to the sixties in no particular theming... a holding measure but also - just good music. The Louis Armstrong tracks sound as fresh now as they did when they exploded on the scene. I'm working backwards from the thirties – 'Swing that Music' to the Hot Five and Hot Seven stuff – just because I love the sheer happiness evoked in that first track (with a big band) – a great way to start the sequence. The other two tracks from the twenties – well, just listen and wonder...

The Guiffre Three – 'Train and the River' is the famous piece that was featured in 'Jazz on a Summer's Day' – so I added 'Crawdad Suite' as it's lesser known and just as good, I think, in a more languid, spacy manner. (And I've discovered some air shots of Guiffre with Paul Bley and Gary Peacock that I'll try to get round to converting from tape asap). Guiffre is one of those mavericks who still need an accurate reappraisal – from the Four Brothers Herman Herd to being ostracised in the sixties for playing free jazz – someone else I intend to write about soon... from Texas as Ornette was... something about that State and its players and the way that the blues is always lurking in their playing... which leads on to...

Coltrane playing the blues – self-explanatory: 'Blues to Bechet. Homage... to the other great soloist from New Orleans, the mercurial Sidney Bechet...

Maybe the link is the classic feel to all of these tracks - in the way that they look forward and backward at the same time. Sprung off the backbone of the blues and pivoting on Louis who more or less invented the role of bravura solo improvisor in the twenties – while retaining some gutbucket feel of New Orleans. We can see now that 'Jazz' is a continuum which confounds facile categorising...



Swing that music


Potato Head Blues

West End Blues


Jimmy Guiffre

Crawdad Suite

The train and the river


or buy

Blues for Bechet


1 comment:

Richard said...

Good music!

I am looking forward to your Bailey post. Saw him play a few times at Bracknell Jazz Festival in the seventies(?). Still have a photograph a friend took of him in the Recital Room at that time.