I’m going through another heavy library-listening phase, checking out CDs by the armful! Here are some things I’ve been checking out:
Grant Green, Idle Moments – The more I listen to Grant Green, the more I like his playing, specifically the thematic way in which he improvises. Although it is sometimes repetitive, I think that repetition is really intentional and makes his solos more melodic, and his language is strong. This record also has Bobby Hutcherson and Joe Henderson on it too, so there is an interesting meeting of approaches.
Billy Childs, Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro – I had never listened to Nyro’s music before, so I don’t know how different Childs made these songs with the arrangements, but the arrangements are really moving and well done. This album has has Becca Stevens on a few tracks, which led me to her album Perfect Animal, another cool record with unique sounds and really great vocal work from her.
Miles Davis Quintet, Live in Europe 1969 – I have to be ready for some pretty intense free/noise improvisation to listen to this era of Miles, but, as I like to say sometimes, the music and the band is undeniable. Chick Corea, Jack Dejohnette, Miles, Wayne Shorter, and Dave Holland; this is the band before the Bitches Brew bands but after In a Silent Way, so you can kind of hear a transition happening. It also came with a concert DVD, so it was fun to get a chance to actually watch these guys play.
Roland Kirk, We Free Kings – I think Kirk is pretty underrated, or at least pigeon-holed for playing multiple woodwinds at once, which is really cool and sounds great, but he also was really inventive and unique on singular horns too, working in and building on the bebop language, and I think he was very creative in terms of fusing bebop, blues, and free jazz together.
Rudresh Mahanthappa, Bird Calls – Also very intense music, but for me this record was inspiring in how unique Mahanthappa’s approach is to alto saxophone; you can hear the influences and the individuality together, and it’s clear he’s worked on his approach in a clear way.
Sergio Mendes, Herp Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 – This was a pleasant surprise for me; I had just recently watched the documentary The Wrecking Crew, which talks a little bit about Alpert’s work in the ’60’s and 70’s, and when I saw this album I had to check it out, not just for Alpert’s name but also because I had Medes’ name as well but never listened. Super strong mood and vibe throughout, with funky beats and cool tunes!
Anyway, that’s just a taste, I’m still going through a lot of things that I just found by sifting through the jazz sections of the cds at Seattle Public Libraries, and I can’t recommend it enough. Even if jazz isn’t your thing, there are albums to be found in the other sections as well.