Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 51: Keith Jarrett "Staircase" & Dizzy Reece "Comin' On"

Passing the milestone yesterday seems like I should be doing something new. I have a notion that is so mindblowingly self indulgent that I dare not speak its name unless I follow through on it. As it is this project has a blog, a Facebook page, a Picasa gallery...the only thing it's missing is actual readership. But I still can't shake the urge to expand even further. Shameless.

Until that time, on with the regularly scheduled self-indulgence.

Keith Jarrett

Speaking of self indulgence...I have to admit that I accidently 'dropped' this CD a few times when reaching for the day's music. I have talked before about the indulgence of piano players and that inevitable piano player pumping the sustain pedal in the common room. Now, imagine if that piano player was particularly talented. He's probably Keith Jarrett.

That doesn't always make him easy to listen to, though. It also hasn't given me what I expected, some truly pretentious liner notes explaining the works on this album. Instead it's simple white with impressionistic painting (I may have that wrong, when it comes to art I'm pretty much nowhere) and simple typeset indicated the tracks. There are four pieces with two to three segments each, Staircase, Hourglass, Sundial, and Sand.

Reaction to this album, and Jarrett in general tends to be pretty emotional. You often hear things like 'open your heart' to the music, or their mind. Or ears. Or something.

Minimalism, which this album uses a lot of, is often a hard sell. It's hard to convince someone that very little music is in fact something to behold. Often the jazz notion of 'the notes they didn't play' is rightfully made fun of. (from the Simpsons, "Pfff, I can do that at home.") But as easy to make fun of as that is, it's kind of true. There is something to be said for stripping music down as far as you can, to see how much music implies and how that effects the listener.

Having said all of that, I have a hard time with Jarrett. I recognize the talent, I do. Jarrett is probably the absolute best at what he does. But I have a hard time getting into piano noodling (and I recognize that it's demeaning to call it piano noodling and it's more than that). If you like piano noodling, though, this is probably among the best piano noodling you'll find.

If you're in the right mood for this kind of thing, this really would be pretty amazing I'd have to grant.

Dizzy Reece
Comin' On
It's hard to be a trumpet player named Dizzy if your last name isn't also Gillespie. This Jamican born trumpet player, according to the rather straight forward biographical liner notes, became fascinated with brass at his father's movie theater.

This has a contender for track title, The Case of the Frightened Lover, which was actually just a normal up beat bop number.

There's a pretty impressive list of musicians on here. Art Blakey, Stanley Turrentine...apparently he was (well is, he's still around) a 'musician's musician,' well liked among other musicians but didn't quite seem to get the traction with the public. From what I'm finding this Blue Note recordings was the crest of his time with Blue Note and as a band leader. He's continued to play but hasn't really gotten the penetration that other players have.

The music is pretty good. He doubles on congo, which I had already forgot about until Achmet started with a congo solo that trades off with Art Blakey. Not really something you'd hear in bop until the other Dizzy became fascinated with Latin music and started incorporated it into his bop music.

Another feel bad moment, because this is a pretty decent album but I still don't really have much to say about it. My interest peaked at Achmet, that was pretty cool.

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