Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 45: Putumayo Presents Africa and The Colors of Latin Jazz

I encountered my first duplicate and it was rather quick for how separate the CDs were. Yesterday I did Jacky Terrasson's A Paris and today I fished out some drifter CDs that had wound up in other boxes (the truth is that just about everything has at least a few CDs in it) and I found another wrapped copy of A Paris. I'm not sure what to do with it, I don't know anyone who likes that kind of jazz off the top of my head and it's not really worth anything if I sell it to a used record store. Ah well, on with Day 45...the Colt Day? Yeah, that's not sustainable...

It's like a Starbucks in the Albatross today...

Various Artists
This is the kind of CD you might buy at a coffee shop. In fact, I'm almost certain that Putumayo specifically sells in coffee shops. Putumayo CDs are easy to pick out because the covers are all done by the same artist, Nicola Heindl. It's a world music label that puts together themed compilations that are more or less easy to listen to and therefore handy CDs to buy for someone who wants to dip their toe in a country's music. I'd be snide about it but really, people have to find out about other kinds of music somehow and things like this are pretty efficient ways to go about it.

And like any good patchouli-label, they donate proceeds of their sales to the area represented by the CD.

The descriptions are typical short-bio style usual in these compilations, and a little loose with the descriptions. Signe, for instance, was described as an acoustic guitar recording...which is true, but leaves out the heavy electronic beat and bass added to the Togolese love song.

The Albatross has provided some awesome. I started an ill-fated internet forum discussion a few days ago asking people to trace the lines in their musical tastes and one of the the people that actually tried mentioned a form of music I had never heard of before, Mbaqanga. Aparently I should have, it's the African music that Paul Simon used. Now with this recording by the Soul Brothers I have an actual sample to go by. Actually pretty cool. Thanks Albatross, you usually don't deliver this quickly.

All of this is pretty accessible with plenty of western pop elements fused into the African harmonies and poly rhythms. It makes sense that these come together so easily, African music influenced the development of modern music, it's only fitting that the influence comes full circle. But this could pass as a folk/jazz cd with lyrics you likely won't understand.

Various Artists
The Colors of Latin Jazz: Cubop!

This compilation is a little more focused than the last, though truth be told there was a lot of similarity in the previous selections.

I've never heard latin jazz referred to as 'cubop' before, though there is an un-cited stub article on wiki about it. The idea is the combination of Cuban or Afro-Cuban rhythms with bop pace and harmony. So far songs don't really seem to reflect the blistering pace or flighty solos that I've come to know of be-bop, rather it sounds pretty much like latin jazz. I guess that is a wide enough term to need a distinction as this is certainly a little 'hotter' than other forms of Latin jazz.

Well, that'll show me for not looking ahead. Not only does this track have the blistering pace and flighty solo, it's an actual bop song--Charlie Parker's Donna Lee. Donna Lee is kind of the Matterhorn of jazz, completely doable for everyone of a certain skill set but still something musicians occasionally tackle to make sure everyone knows they're of that skill set. Alright, according to Wiki, that's actually a Miles Davis song wrongly attributed to Charlie Parker. Regardless, the tune is known through Bird and the challenge is sort of a goof. It's almost melody-less, as Bird seems to launch into his solo with only the fiegntest hint of any recognizable 'head.' Various performers have approached Donna Lee different ways, from Jaco Pastorius playing a transcription of Bird's solo to this version where people burn over the changes (taken from the song Back Home in Indiana) while making their slight bow to the head as well.

Work Song, one of the coolest hard bop songs every, also gets the Latin jazz treatments.

Apparently I should look at least at the track list before I make declerations about the theme of a CD, there's a lot of bop standards on here--the aforementioned Donna Lee and Work Song as well as Night in Tunisia and Yesterdays.

One thing Latin jazz gives you is a lot more percussion solos.

Kind of short entries today, though I guess that isn't all bad.

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