Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 68: Louisiana Gumbo & Sonny Rollins "Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert"

This doesn't have anything to do with the Albatross or music or anything, but I really really hate the Rock Hard Weekend ad. Had to get that off my chest.

Various Artists
Putumayo is back with another anthology of a style of music, this time Louisiana. It's in promotional packaging so I don't get any liner notes on the selections or performers. I do, however, get filing suggestions. I should either put it in 'blues' or 'Putumayo.'

Actually that's not as ridiculous as it sounds. We did have a floor display spinning rack for Real World CDs that is now one of my CD racks that hold the Albatross.

The CD so far is not strictly blues in the sense of previous compilations. Well, except for It Ain't the Same Thing (this happens a lot, as soon as I feel I can make some sort of declaration about the nature of the CD some track will start that contradicts that...I could edit it so I don't look silly but that seems like cheating. I could wait until the CD is over to comment on it, but it seems cooler this way. Besides, I'd forget.) It's as advertised, really a "sizzling collection of blues, soul, and R&B from New Orleans and the bayous of Louisiana."

And of course, there is accordion.

This is actually about what you'd expect to hear if someone was trying to portray a Louisiana cookout or something. And it has a contender for awesome track title, Festis Believe in Justice.

Sonny Rollins
Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert

Sonny Rollins is one of the best shows I've been to. He played in Berkeley with Branford Marsalis, it was a pretty incredible evening. It wasn't about 9/11, and it wasn't this concert, but it was pretty cool.

Sonny Rollins is one of the prototype saxophonists for me. I'm not really sure what hooked me or who, but he was the first saxophonist I went after when I started to want to get albums by other saxophonists. That album, that first album that I got is still around kind of in the form of the tape I made of it so I could listen to it in my old car. On one side was Sonny Rollin's trio recordings and on the other was Where Flamingos Fly by Gil Evans. Until I started to get other jazz albums those were it for me.

I later went on to try and imitate Stan Getz sound, Rollins' was too 'big' a sound for me at the time. But I love his kind of raw, almost breaking sound and the way he drifts from melodic to chaotic and back again.

It doesn't take an expert to figure out about when this album came out. So it had to be one of the last promos I recieved. It was actually taking a ride in another case on top of another CD, so I have no idea where its sleeve is. I'm pretty sure I didn't get a regular jewel case for this.

I have no idea what the line up is on this album, but there's a trombone player on it.

Now I have two tracks called Global Warming but I don't know if they're actually the same song. Nope, it appears they are not. That's a slowly growing segment, songs with the same name but are not in fact the same song...

Of course I don't need liner notes because there is a one minute long track of introductions. Also, the only brief address of the theme of the concert so far.

This is almost as long as a CD can actually be, shy only thirty-seven seconds. I think I would have felt compelled when mastering to fill those last thirty-seven seconds. "This is as much Sonny as we could fit on one disc!" It's a pretty neat trick when you consider it's a live album, too. That length comes from only five music tracks.

That took some getting used to going to jazz shows. One set would contain maybe four, five songs but last almost an hour and a half.

Oh Suzanna must have been stuck in his head because he's quoted it a bunch during this CD. And maybe Absolute Beginners? Seemed like I heard a little Quiet Life in some of the solos...

That might be part of what I loved early on about Rollins, that low "blat!" he does from time to time. I like the low end of the sax and he has always been more than willing to use it.

Various Artists
Basquiat Salutes Jazz
So, total fake out here. What I thought I was about to listen to was a recording of bass and piano duets led by Denny Zeitlin. After all, that's what this was a case for. Sure, it also contained the Sonny Rollins disc, but surely the one underneath is the proper one right?

I was so convinced of this that I didn't even look when I told iTunes to transfer, so when Miles Davis started playing when I hit play, well...that was unexpected.

So what I have instead is a themed compilation of, as far as I can tell from my rudimentary search, music someone thought famous graffiti artist Basquiat liked. He apparently included a lot of jazz artists in his work or referenced them (I'm not going to pretend to know anything about the artist himself) and these are the recordings someone thought best represented that.

I was fairly certain that this was to capitalize on the film about him, but the copywright on the CD is 2005, so now I'm wondering how the hell I have this CD. It's clearly marked as a promo, but by 2005 I don't think I knew anyone left in the music retail business. I was graduated and working in film by then...seriously, why do I have this? And I listened to it, and then put it in the wrong CD case. None of this makes any sense.

But on the plus side, bonus Sonny Rollins track. And 'Round Midnight takes the lead as most represented song.

This CD also right at the edge of how much you can put on a CD, this time though with a 51 second cushion.

This is a pretty decent sampling of the kind of performers and standards I like. Kind of a greatest hits approach to compilation instead of a compilation of discovery, like the Putumayo CD would be. I never really thought of that kind of divide in compilations but it's pretty obvious.

Ah, and I get to (re)learn the name of a be bop tune I hum all the time but long forgot where I would listen to it. Conveniently enough, it's called Be Bop, I should have been able to remember that. The version I would listen to, I believe, was a pretty poor quality live recording, not like this one. Both, however, performed by Dizzy himself.

Bonus points for finding a live version of one of my favorite Mingus songs Haitian Fight Song that approaches it in a slower shuffle rather than the frantic album version we're all used to.

And Anthropology! How could I forget that, I spent so much time trying to do that in the Charlie Parker Omnibook.

Alright, some of my initial spite is over for this compilation. My tastes and the tastes imagined to be Basquait's line up rather nicely.  They paired up the "-ologys," this is Fats Navarro's version of Anthropology and it's followed by Bird himself doing Ornithology. Ornithology is another one of those bop tunes I hum unconsciously.

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