Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Well, I'm back in school... Luckily, that means I've started composing again. Needless to say, this has had an obvious effect on my listening habits. This time, though, I'm not listening to Maria Schnieder or Charles Mingus. This time I've fallen in love with Gil Evans and Thad Jones. They're just fucking amazing.
I revisited Sketches of Spain for the first time in practically a year and I have to admit I haven't had a listening experience such as this in quite a while. First of all, I think Miles plays wonderfully, but not in the way im used to. I've always respected Miles for his voice. Too few musicians have developed a voice in the same way he has. This record is different, though. I respect Miles on Sketches of Spain because he fits himself into the music in a completely unobtrusive way. More often than not I think, "I love what the Trumpet just played...oh yeah, that was Miles."
Gil Evans is a genius. I just can't say that any other composer is a better technician. Any time I listen to his music I get the impression that every idea was exactly what he wanted to say. Every time I work on one of my own compositions and find myself unable to voice the music thought that I'm having I understand the brilliance of Gil Evans.
We are playing Thad Jones' Three and One. Check it out. The melody is a juxtapostion of a beautiful bass, flugel, and trombone melody and biting harmonic line the rest of the band plays. It's about as hip as you can get. The next CD I buy will prolly be one Thad Jones'

Christina is freaking amazing. I don't deserve this. I'm an asshole (dont even think about commenting on that that).


I listened to the Miles Sextet at Newport 1958 the other night and could really only come up with one word to express my thoughts: questionable. It's an extremely transitional record for just about everyone on it and while this is interesting to hear, it remains it's sole offering. Coltrane is pretty heavy into his sheets of sound playing(which can be effective if you look at it more like a Pollock splatter painting instead trying to find traditional musical ideas), Cannonball is great but his real genius doesn't come through as often as it does on some other recordings(how's that for criticism?), Bill Evans is just waiting to record Kind of Blue, Paul Chambers sounds great all the way through, Miles plays relatively well but lacks his typical laser-like focus. Possibly the most interesting thing for me is the way Jimmy Cobb plays. In my mind he has always been the Kind of Blue drummer; the way to play cool jazz, but on this he's more like a grandfather to Tain Watts than a stylistic bar line. I have a new respect for his musical understanding and versatility.


On a different front....
I'm going back to school on thursday so i'm uploading all of my brother's good CDs. Needless to say, our tastes vary in just about all ways(except quality). Some of the highlights:
Spearhead Home. This is just a really great record. I don't even know what to call it. It has some hip-hop influence, but i'd probably be scalped for calling it that; it's got some R&B sounding stuff... very, very cool.
Jimi Hendrix Blues. Anadulterated, at times surprisingly hip, blues playing. This is the real deal.
Nirvana Nevermind. I used to listen to alot of Nirvana, then I became a snob and now i'm returning to being a real person. I love this shit.
Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek Reflection Eternal. I think I could safely call this hip-hop. Good hip-hop.
....and alot of other worthless stuff that doesn't have an upright bass or a single II/V7 to be found.
See, i'm kidding.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Perfection is the tip of a needle that happens to be a mile wide.

Am I wrong?

Saturday, August 28, 2004


I'm just finishing Tom Robbins' Villa Incognito. He's a trully fantastic author and he deals with some very heavy worldview/metaphysical kind of stuff in a trully artistic, rather covert way. His writing is completely original, but similar in ways to Kurt Vonnegut. Lined up to read a is a book called Off the Map, a journalistic kind of thing of two girls and their summer sqatting around Europe, and i just picked up Nieschte's Thus Spoke Zarathustra. I'm pretty excited about that. Finally I can add my on regurgitated opinions on Existentialism when it comes up over bad coffe and hand rolled cigarettes.

I wish I was in NY

check this out!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I'm back I think

One of the interesting things about road-tripping with Lauren is that i have a very limited allowance of time to put any kind of jazz in the cd player, and when i do i typically just worry that she doesn't like it and that maybe i should just say to hell with it and put in something with a beat and she probably didn't even dig the way he just played that alt chord and..... and so over about 5 days i end up listening to about 3 jazz discs very half-heartedly. And that's ok. No, really, it is. I get in touch with some of the other wonderful music that's happening these days such as: Dave Mathews. Especially Listener Supported. It's just plain killin' all the way through. Ben Harper. Earthy, soulful, spiritual, good music. Sarah McLachlin. She's just about it for me. Every time i hear her i get pretty buzzed. Even Fiona Apple is killin'. How's that for breaking the jazz snob mold, huh? Anyway, i'm back and good ol' Keith Jarrett gave me a nice little slap in the face last night.

I think i'm going to live in Portland, OR next summer with Lauren. I've actually heard really good things about the scene there, and i saw some encouraging signs the few days we were there, but we didn't check any of it out.
The tattoo's bombin'.

Monday, August 23, 2004

If only the world could be this soft.

To continue sharing. Everyone please go to http://www.asofterworld.com/. It's a very nice site.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Nguyen Le

Check out Nguyen-le.com. He has scores to some of his pieces. Very interesting stuff. Also a few audio clips you'd prolly enjoy.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Charles Bukowski

Be Kind
Charles Bukowski

we are always asked
to understand the other person's
no matter how
foolish or

one is asked
to view
their total error
their life-waste
especially if they are

but age is the total of
our doing.
they have aged
because they have
out of focus,
they have refused to

not their fault?

whose fault?

I am asked to hide
my viewpoint
from them
for fear of their

age is no crime

but the shame
of a deliberately

among so many


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Trippin' Dayses

I'll be pretty much away from any computers for about two weeks. I'm gonna go find America.... You'll have to deal with just danny's dumb opinions for a while. Be safe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Hip Metheny?

I heard Pat Metheny's 80/81 for the first time last night and was actually inspired by it. It's very 70's movement kind of thing(you should see the picture of 'em on the inside) with Jack Dejohnnete, Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman(!) and Mike Brecker. It's some pretty adventurous music, delving at times into free playing very effectively. Metheny's tone is soaked in reverb and chorus and so sounds very dated, and he still has some annoying characteristics(like sliding into every note he plays) but overall he sounds damn good. Dewey sounds fantastic, of course. I was in the car, so i have little opinion on how Charlie sounds. Brecker wasn't to bad, but he had his own special reverb that made everything he played sound like a solo on an 80's power ballad. Very distasteful. Jack D. sounded just like himself. I like Jack D. I was also informed of a cd of Metheny's called Rejoicing with Charlie and Billy Higgins featuring all Ornette tunes. Sounds cool. How do you like that? I just talked about Pat Metheny in a civil manner! I must be getting soft.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Top Five Bands

To suppliment my last post....
My Favorite seven-ish Bands (today).
in no particular order

1 Miles Quintet and Miles Sextet (you know which ones) - sorry, I couldn't pick just one.
2 Footprints Live band
3 Dave Douglas' Band
4 Dave Holland Quintet
5 Claudia Quintet
6 The Fringe

M M and Wood

I saw MMW live at Mishawaka the other night and I think I'll have to consider it my virgin MMW experience because I can't really believe the Aspen Jazz Festival counted (heavy petting in comparison). First, I must tell you that the Mish is probably on of the best places to see music in Colorado. Beautiful environment, few people, fair prices (except on food) - $25 ticket, and, most importantly, great sound. From this experience I have to believe that this band is easily one of the greatest bands ever. They breathe together better than any other band I've seen. Sadly, this obviously wasn't the best concert they've put on, but I really can't hold it against them. The play by play:
The first set started very strong. Wood was on acoustic and everything was good in the world. They were obviously jamming, but it sounded great nonetheless. Then, Wood dropped his acoustic for his electric and the whole vibe of the band changed. It was amazing to the watch them as they morphed from an intensly musical entity into a reasonably talented jam band. The rest of the set was lame.
The second set started with Wood still on electric. I was scared. Luckily he picked up his acoustic before very long. You wouldn't have believed the difference. Most noticeably, John Medeski phrases extremely differently behind an acoustic bass. Again, everything was good in the world. Wood eventually picked up his electric again, but it was to play Shackman so I forgave him. The rest of the concert was great.
Chris Wood is one of the most outstanding bassists alive. I needed to see him live to realized it, but, now that I have, there really isn't any question. I just wish he would spend more time on acoustic in this band. As a rhythm player he is understandibly one of the best. He plays in a glorified funk band for christ sake. He only surpasses his abilitly as a rhythm player through his soloing. One of the most creative bassists I've seen - technically and musically. All I can say is, "you must see him live."
This is definitely a band I would like to see again.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Beat Degeneration

Ok. Beat Degeneration is the shit. it is. I admit it. Kenny Werner sounds amazing. Ari Hoenig sounds amazing. The bassist(i know, i am remiss) is amazing. the composition and execution of the tunes in a piano trio format is nothing short of revolutionary. The other piano trios that come to mind with the same amount of originallity are the Mehldau Trio and the Esbjorn Svenson Trio. But neither of those are approached quite like Kenny's. His charts are basically little big band charts played on piano. One of the most refreshing aspects for me was the intensity of Kenny and Ari's phrasing. In some places, at the end of a line from Kenny, Ari actually completely stops playing, and then starts in again(often with a slightly different shade) with the next line. It really is one the more exciting things i've come across musically in at least 2 weeks. In some places you hear some Jarrett influence in Kenny's playing. One of the tunes is very Koln Concert-ish.


On a different note.....
I've had realization fairly recently that the biggest limitation on technique is uncertainty. This may sound obvious, but it's often not talked about in this way. Look at Sonny Rollins' recordings of those annoying tunes, Be Swift and Be Quick. He doesn't have especially jawdropping chops, but changes are so under his fingers that he makes it through. Another aspect of uncertainty is time. You can't play clean double-time if you're not exactly clear about where the 16ths are falling. By the time any attention goes to time, your technique is another notch down. Of course, the most important key to having perfect access to your unflawed technique(other than working it up in the first place) is complete relaxation, and complete relaxation is impossible when any uncertainties are present.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

A Blind Guy Who's Really Into Picasso

Check out this article
on Coltrane's later years and tell me what you think. I personally almost feel sorry for the guy that wrote it, having wasted so much of his time trying interpret things that he is wholly unprepared for. It reminds me of the kind of ideas i would cultivate when i was around 10 or so. I'm not saying that everything is completely off the mark; it's actually quite interesting on an informational level, but it's written by an atheist(no offense to any atheists out there, just don't start formulating any grandoise ideas about coltrane's spiritual path) who takes a very analytical, very literal view of things. One of the many flaws is that he approaches time in a linear sense(says he's pretty sure coltrane thought Om was the Big Bang) without even realizing that coltrane was dealing with eternity. but don't take my word for it.....

Thanks Tim


I think my favourite Josh Redman is Passage of Time, over Ya-Ya 3(honestly, i think he's square as hell on that record). Aaron Goldberg is a really good pianist that i don't really hear much from. the compositions on this record are really happening, too.

I listened to the Ornette Coleman Trio Live at the Golden Circle last night. It's definately some of my favourite Ornette i've heard. The trio is very different than his quartet; the drummer, David Izenzon, has quite a bit to say. I find the way ornette plays really up tempos that he can't possibly manage pretty fascinating. People should get their technique up to par and then go listen to this or some Wayne Shorter(Plugged Nickel) to learn how to really play these tempos musically. Funny that it takes someone without the chops to really show us what's up.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Super Stupor

I listened the Directions in Music cd with Hargrove, Herbie, Brecker, Brian Blade, and Patitucci last night. I would say it's Hargrove at his best. He plays some very interesting and creative things and he sounds very good with Herbie and Blade. There's a pretty amazingly different arrangement of Impressions that he just kills. He also plays really nice on Stella. After Stella, all is quiet except....is that?.... yes it is. It's Mr. Brecker Swaggering up to the microphone. This is how it went:

Mike: Hey, man check this shit out, it's real sensitive................
Yours Truly: Hey, nice. Naima right? That's cool you're doing an intro.
Mike: Yea, it is cool. Real cool. Just listen to the way I play these changes, man, it's hip as hell.
YT: Oh, sorry, man I thought we were still kinda on the melody. Well, i guess it's not that nice of a melody, anyway.
Mike: Dude, i referenced it really strongly.
YT: Oh, yea. Cool.
Mike: Yea, it is cool. But check it out man, you probably don't even know where i am in the form, do you.
YT: Well, I can basically-
Mike: Yea, well, i do, man. I know exactly where i am and playing the shit out it. Seriously.
YT: Wow, man, you sure outline those chords really, really well.
Mike: Yea, well, you know, without a rythm section you're a little more free to really let go and blow just about all the notes that fit within a chord. But check out what i'm about to do, man. You'll freak out.
YT: I bet it's nice not to have those pesky guys trying to comp for you. Like, both times you left a couple beats of space on that last tune, they practically jumped at the oppurtunity to play some shit they probably haven't even practiced. What a pain in the ass.
Mike: Hey, man, listen to me.................................................................................................
YT: Mike..........Hey Mike...........................MIKE!!
Mike: Oh, hey, man.
YT: What the hell are you talking about, man?
Mike: Oh, well check it out. For each chord I play all the way through the Coltrane subs for the relative two-five, right, which is cool, but pretty tame so after that I take that around once, well, then i start taking that whole progression and i start moving it around the diminished cyc-
YT: Mike! I don't give a shit, man. I just don't care. At all. Really. None.
Mike: Oh, well, check this out then man. It's a little different.
YT: This isn't an intro, is it, Mike?
YT: Oh thank god! He's parroting Coltrane's ending. He's got to be done now. Yep, here it is. This is it. One more note and we're.......................... Oh, Jesus Christ. Get OFF her, Mike, she's done. Naima just wants to go to sleep. Roll the hell over and turn off the light, for godsake!
YT: You're sick, man, sick.

I think this would be a trully great record if the Breck from Heck wasn't on it. That's my story and i'm stickin' to it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Someday My Toad Will Appear

I've never actually listened all the way through Miles' Someday My Prince Will Come. Frankly, if I want to listen to old school miles, I usually pick one with Coltrane on it instead of the ever-weary sounding Hank Mobley. But last night I listened all the way through and found an alternate take of Someday at the end. It offers an extremely interesting look into Miles' creative process and how he develops those quirky ideas. The alternate solo contains in it almost all of the ideas he plays in the published take, but they are overall much less successful. The alternate take also doesn't have the outro solo by Coltrane. What good could it possibly be?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Quote of the Week

MTV did for music what KFC did for chicken.
Lewis Black

Jacques Loussier

My uncle gave me this cd called Jacques Loussier Trio Plays Debussy yesterday. It's a piano trio putting debussy compositions in a jazz setting. I was very doubtful, hearing in my head all the ways it could sound just terrible; thinking it was some hokey little thing he played on cruise ships or something. Luckily, it is actually done quite tastefully, leaning heavily on the sound ECM has produced for the past thirty years. Sometimes the drummer bothers me a bit. He plays two much with just his brushes, even on the ride, making it sound uncomfortably like a wedding reception. He does do some interesting and tasty things, though. I also feel like Loussier could express the changes more vividly than he does when he's blowing. I don't think Debussy would appreciate the almost condescending diatonicism the pianist steadily employs. Very interesting recording, really, and the melodies are gorgeous and played well. I think if the rythm section from Tomasz Stanko's quartet did this, it would be mind blowing.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Ballad Sessions

Have you heard Mark Turner's Ballad Sessions? I listened to it last night for the first time in a while. If there was any question as to how much Mark and Kurt have added to the general vocabulary of contemporary music, this is the confirmation. Most of the ballads are pretty standard standards with pretty trad changes, and the harmonic concepts employed by Mark(more dominantly) and Kurt create a stark contrast between the old and the new. It is a wonderful listening situation because the things they are doing comes out so clearly at these tempos and with the 'solid color' background of the original tunes. Kurt plays beautifully and extremely articulately on Nefertiti(one of the few more modern forms), making it very clear that he has replaced Metheny in the Holy Trinity of jazz guitar(scofield, frisell). I look forward to absorbing the Gospel according Mark'nKurt.