Sunday, October 28, 2007

A New Feature: Music Can Be Much More Interesting Than Politics

There is something to be said at times for, you know, art for art's sake. And music is the most Dionysian of arts, and so it is perfect for the wee hours of the weekend. At least that's what time it is here, where I'm posting a video of the great Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, with the equally great Wayne Shorter and Lee Morgan. Paris, 1959. Dig it:

It was called Blues March. They don't do the jams like that now. Maybe someday, again ... -- MJ


Marc McDonald said...

Is jazz dead today? Maybe so if one thinks that everything after the Bop era wasn't really jazz. (Just as a number of hard-core rock 'n' roll purists maintain that rock music died in the late 1950s).
However, as much as I love the jazz classics, I try to always keep my ears open to new sounds. Here are a few:
1. Evan Parker: a British sax player who's been stretching the boundaries of jazz since the 60s.
2. Art Ensemble of Chicago. Formed in the late 60s and still blowing minds today with some far-out sounds.
3. Ganelin Trio. Does "jazz" and "the Soviet Union" belong in the same sentence? By all means: the Ganelin Trio, in their prime, produced some of the best jazz/improvised music ever made.
4. Global Unity Orchestra. This German jazz outfit produced amazingly adventurous 30-minute jams that picked up where Coltrane's "Ascension" left off.
5. Cecil Taylor. 78 years old and still a powerful piano player and poet who has always followed his own non-commercial path (even though this has meant virtual obscurity---at least in his own country). Listen to the inspired "Live in Bologna" for a dose of what we've been missing.
6. Alice Coltrane. Widow of John Coltrane and a brilliant harpist who produced fantastic Indian-inspired music right up until her death earlier this year.

dr sardonicus said...

I don't think they were done yet...

Although I don't keep up with jazz so much, I tend to agree with Marc: progressive jazz doesn't have much access to the mainstream any more, but there's good stuff out there for those willing to seek it out. Tom Hull's blog is a good source for current jazz reviews and progressive politics as well.

Music blogging works for me when I'm in need of inspiration. Thanks for the link.

Manifesto Joe said...

I'll do what I can to check all this out. I know it's not all gone. Once in a while I hear something impressive. But I've generally been disappointed with what I've heard, post-1980. I honestly think we're in a very bad and prolonged era, for almost any music. And not only music, but also other creative arts. It may be that the music, and the rest, is actually out there; but perhaps it's not being recorded, or, more importantly, promoted.