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CD recommendations - instrumentals - Jazz/Rock/Fusion/Funk


Gruuve

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Someone said Kai Eckhardt. Anyone mentioned John McLaughlin Trio, Live At The Royal Festival Hall?

 

And for bass-that's-not-a-bass: Lonnie Smith Trio, Afro Blue.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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There was a half-live/half-studio album by Jeff Berlin, Steve Smith, Scott Henderson, & T Lavitz called Players that I absolutely cherished back in the day, but I have not been able to find it for years and years. I would highly recommend this if you can find it.

 

And if you do, please let me know where. It had live versions of "Freight Train Shuffle" and "20,000 Prayers" that melted my synapses.

 

You are correct, sir! Steve Smith kicks major drum butt!

 

Players at Amazon.com though not in stock grrrrr...

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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Jeremy, great list. Blue Matter is one of my favourites. I was studying with Rufus Philpott in the summer and he played us Mike Stern's record with Jeff Andrews. We spent some time analysing Jeff's soloing style. He is a great player and should be more widely known. Rufus also played us a track from a CD with Robben Ford, Gary Willis and a name drummer which was great.

Fame beckons for Oz Noy, I'm sure!

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You know I love this kind of thread - so thanks Dave. I get a lot from the gear and technique threads as there are so many knowledgeable folk about; but it's the music threads that really interest me most of all. That's why I trawl the keyboard and guitar forums to to discover great music I might not have heard. Thanks Dave.

Dave, try to hear some clips from the Yo Miles stuff with Steve Smith and Manring (though some of it's fairly left-field).

I was just reading about Catalyst on the liner notes of an Alphonso Johnson compilation. I will ahve to check that CD out. Al was loving playing with that band before he got the call to play with Woody Herman. Odean Pope later went on to make some fine solo CDs and play with Max Roach, if I recall. I've heard Eddie Green elsewhere (Rachele Ferrell?)

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Tribal Tech - Thick, is rather cool - made me feel there's still mileage left in fusion without it sounding like smooth jazz cheese. Gary Willis is a bass monster!

 

And on a slight tangent (hey it's kind of jazz, kind of funk, mostly punk) how about The Minutemen - Double Nickels On The Dime? Mike Watt hurting a P like only he knows how!

 

Alex

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Originally posted by Dave Sisk:

Ya know, this exercise is demonstrating to me my own ignorance of the whole multi-faceted Jazz genre. It just occurred to me that I couldn't (for instance) tell you the difference between "smooth jazz" and "bebop". I've definitely got some listening to do...

Dave, JAZZ a film by Ken Burns that was on PBS is not a bad place to start. He gives you a taste of each period and puts it in context. If the DVD set is a little pricey, see if your library has a copy. The companion book is reasonable; I have a copy at home.

 

Another collection I'd like to get my hands on is the one the Smithsonian put out a while back. I found The Smithsonian Collection Of Classic Jazz , but this isn't the one I remember seeing before. (Although this one is quite good, too.) I've seen the Smithsonian blues collection at the record store, but not the jazz collection. (It looks like it is out of print. :( )

 

Without the narrative of the Ken Burns film, though, you kind of need a book to guide you through the recordings. Everything is inter-related, and just about everyone after Armstrong will point to Louis as an influence. I can't remember the title/author of the discography/narrative I have at home. This is a little overkill, perhaps, but the Tom Lord JAZZ Discography might give you an idea of how enormous the field is. I'd recommend starting with a more abbreviated source first. Maybe browse through your local library or bookstore to get started.

 

 

FWIW, "smooth jazz" isn't even considered jazz by jazzers; it is a sore point that "jazz" is in the genre/radio format name. This came to a head when Kenny G was the poster boy for smooth jazz, and most vocally opposed by Pat Metheny (caution: language) .

 

Smooth jazz came around in the '80s and has its roots in '70s jazz-rock fusion, but is more commercial (pop) to fit the "soft rock" format/market. The controversy isn't so much that this is "lite fusion" as much as it abandons the mainstays of jazz, notably improvisation, for commercial success.

 

So some of my jazz-rock fusion collection might be considered smooth jazz. Is that so bad, really? Would it be a crime to find a Carpenters album mixed in with a classic rock collection? No, that's just a matter of personal taste. But to hold up Karen Carpenter as an example of classic rock might be questionable. That's the only reason I brought up smooth jazz in this thread about jazz-rock fusion.

 

Wouldn't mind hearing Phil W's (and others) thoughts on the line between jazz-rock fusion and smooth jazz. It's pretty clear that someone like Return to Forever leans more towards jazz than, say, Yellowjackets, but does that make Yellowjackets fall into the smooth jazz category by default? Or is it because they started releasing in the '80s? A quick google shows many place Yellowjackets in the "jazz" genre, with a "style" of "contemporary jazz, crossover jazz, jazz-pop, smooth jazz" (allofmp3.com).

 

I don't feel this is necessarily off topic to this discussion, but I'll move this to a new thread here .

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Alain Caron just had a live DVD out (also available on CD). If you are interested in funk fusion music, you absolutely have to check him out. (Why he has not been mentioned before is beyond my understanding... am I the only one here to think this guy is one of the greatest living bass player?)

If they had'nt been mentioned before, I would have recommended Matt Garrison (In addition to his solo albums, check out the live McLaughlin CD)and Gary Willis (with Tribal Tech - I don't like his solo albums as much).

In another vein of fusion, I am currently listening to Avishai Cohen. He is a bass player you need to check out if you want to open your horizons (his latest CD sounds somehow like Hiromi, except with better compositions and better bass playing).

In the rock vein, you should check out Bryan Beller, either with Keneally ("Dog" has many great bass lines on it, or the "Guitar Therapy Tour") or his solo CD.

P.S. Ray Riendeau's "Arrythmia" is also a great funk fiusion record with stellar bass playing.

I would also recommend Chris Potter's latest CD, except there is actually no bass player on it, but this is defitnely the best jazz fusion album I acquired this year.

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Phil...you're most welcome!

 

Man, I'm stuck on the first song on the Billy Cobham CD "PowerPlay"..."Times of my life". The rhythm section just has an absolutely killer sound. Baron Browne on bass plays that song in a style that I see as my own ideal target. There's not a lot of chops going on...just some really good groove that sounds most excellent. I haven't listened to most of the CD yet...still stuck on this one song!

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I posted this (below) on the 'smooth' thread too but it's too good for people to miss who like this kind of thing . . .

 

 

I posted a link a while back to an online radio station that plays decididly un-smooth fusion such as Tribal Tech et al. This took a little finding as most stations playing fusion play the wave stuff.

 

http://www.fusiongroovin.com/

 

From the site:

 

"Are you sick of radio that insults your intelligence? That crams audience-engineered 3-minute songs and sounds into your ears because eventually, you will like it?

Are you tired of "smooth jazz" that has less to do with jazz and more with putting you to sleep?

 

Did you love the part of the concert where the singer stepped back and the band just grooved?

 

If you can relate to any of this, you have a lot of company"

 

I also have a few fusion stations on pandora.con which work well; offhand I can think of my stations built around Birds of Fire, Weather Report and Sly (the Headhunters version).

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On this subject, does anyone else have Alphonso Johnson's Moonshadows album. On the track 'Up From the Cellar' there is a vocal chorus on the largely instrumental track. All I can make out Flora Purim and others singing is 'And a Waste of Space' over and over: an exact description of the function the vocals actually perform on this track (and a waste of talent). But I still love the track and all Alphonso's crazy stuff.

 

Anyone have a clue what they're actually singing? I'm thinking this is one of those 'Excuse me while I kiss this guy' moments.

 

Apologies for going so far OT (although Al Johnson made some wonderful instrumental music) but this wasn't worth it's own thread, obviously.

 

Check out the George Duke/Billy Cobham/Al Johnson/John Scofield video on Youtube. Not the greatest peicture but a cracking band. This is the band that Al left Weather Report for, after all!

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I guess not!

 

I'm listening to Fusiongroovin radio on www.live365.com and they're playing an excellent track by Hiram Bullock and Kankawa

 

link to details of the CD

 

Kenji Hino is on bass and plays some groovy and dynamic stuff.

The track I'm listening to is called Organic Swamp but they apparently do funk/fusion covers of "Whiter Shade of Pale," "Smoke on the Water" and "California Dreamin' " by the Mamas and Papas! Would you believe it?

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