Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Blog Supreme

While listening to NPR today, I discovered a jazz blog called A Blog Supreme, which looks quite interesting.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jimi Hendrix and Jazz

Some may not realize that the last number Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock (before the encore of "Hey Joe"), was a short improvised instrumental that was very jazzy. It included some beautiful octaves and had a haunting melody.

Hendrix was moving more toward jazz toward the end (he died young in 1970), and even set up a jam session with Tony Williams, Miles Davis, and David Holland. Sadly, it never materialized. However, Jimi did play with jazz organist, Larry Young on "Electric Lady land." Some called Young, "the John Coltrane of the organ."

Further, there was always a jazz sense when Jimi played with Mitch Mitchell, who managed to swing while playing rock. Jimi once referred to Mitch as "my Elvin Jones."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Ideas for Jazz Appreciation Month

1. Listen to a classic jazz recording and do nothing else but listen. Here are some possibilities:

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
Duke Ellington, Ellington Indigos

2. Listen to some jazz on vinyl, if you can find the equipment. Notice the difference in sound from CDs or MP3 files.

3. Learn some jazz language: chops, gigs, time in the woodshed, etc.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Jazz Appreciation Month

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. I have been hearing jazz musicians speak of this on KUVO in Denver, the best jazz station I have heard. These announcements have suggested several ways to enjoy this month. Here are a few with a few of my own:

1. Explore a new area of jazz if you are already a fan.
2. Go to a jazz club, taking a friend who does not know much about jazz.
3. Purchase a jazz recording and give it to a friend.
4. Watch a jazz film with some friends.
5. Read a thoughtful book about jazz, such as Kevin Whitehead's new introduction, Why Jazz?
6. Read some of the essays on this blog and tell a friend about it.
7. Ritually destroy any Kenny G CDs you might have.

Jazz: made in America, enjoyed worldwide.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rock Drummers and Jazz

Mitch Mitchell, the drummer for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was, to my mind, the best of all rock drummers. This is because of his sophistication. sense of swing (even in rock--listen especially to the last several minutes of "Third Stone from the Stone," especially), innovation, subtlety, and fire.
I've been listening to him since I was a teenager, and still cannot get over it.

My general thesis is that the closer a rock drummer is to jazz, the better he is. This why I place Ginger Baker in the number two spot of rock drummers: he was very influenced by jazz. Further, the the live improvisations of Cream were very jazz like. This thesis also puts some famous rock drummers low on the list, particularly John Bonham, who had no finesse at all.