Selection 1: ‘Round About Midnight (Monk) – with Coltrane
A while back LJC featured a post of different versions of the jazz anthem ‘Round about Midnight, in response to which one poster recommended this version. And they are right. The Coltrane break is pretty much astonishing, coming as it does “out of the blue”. A rare pleasure.
Artists: Miles Davis (t) John Coltrane (ts) Red Garland (p) Paul Chambers (b) Philly Joe Jones (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, October 26, 1956
Selection 2: The Man I Love (Gershwin)
NEW! You’ve ComparedThePressing, now CompareTheTake!
The December 24, 1954 session at which this and Bags Groove was recorded is notorious for documenting the bristling egos of Miles and Monk. Take 1 of the Gershwin tune starts with an exchange of words over how it should be played, and the second take, which thanks to the miracle of LJC streaming you can virtually play side by side, if you can fiddle with the timing.
Artists: Miles Davis (t) Milt Jackson (vib) Thelonious Monk (p) Percy Heath (b) Kenny Clarke (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio on December 24, 1954 – Christmas Eve? Ho ho ho. Good will to all men!
The Man I Love; Take 1
The Man I Love; Take 2
Vinyl: Esquire 32-100 UK first release of PRLP 7150
It’s nearly as good as the “Save a vinyl record – eat an ipod!” T-shirt I noticed worn at the Nice Jazz Festival this week. (Verdict: Chick Corea: a bit boring; Omer Avital group feat Avishai Cohen (tpt), sensational, brought the house down! Bravo!! Had to buy the CD).
Cracked record: Esquire covers Esquire managed to ignore the beautiful original cover (right), choose a lesser photo, in which the microphone looks like a deflated balloon on a string and Miles isn’t pointing at it anyway, then coloured it unconvincing Deep Purple.
Most of the pics online of PR 7150 are pretty shabby so I lifted this one of an Analogue Productions 45rpm reissue. Whatever I think of the vinyl, the cover is a beautiful repro.
If my memory serves me right Esquire ran to a second pressing of most of its Miles Davis titles. As this has the title and catalogue number printed on the rear jacket fold-over and no mention of purchase tax, this may be the second press. Not that it matters that much with Esquire. They are already not-Original.
In addition to the RVG stamp, the run-out shows hand-lettered small AB (Abbey Manufacturing) on both sides, and a couple of very strange “runes” stamped into the deadwax, which are new to me. ( i-Runes?) Very strange.
Source: From the collection of the late Brian Clark.
I have seen this Esquire couple of times, so I think it had a bigger pressing run than other titles so is less rare.The Coltrane presence on Round About and the Monk/Davis tension earns an extra Cool Factor star.
Thoughts on the trumpet, and live jazz, and fading stars.
This is an LJC “indulge me” postscript.
So much of my listening to modern jazz has been on vinyl, a riveting set at the Nice Jazz Festival this week by Omer Avital, featuring Avishai Cohen on trumpet, brought me up sharply.
I had heard the trumpet by Miles and a few others on record, but I had never really heard a modern jazz quintet live in the flesh featuring a first class jazz trumpet, and I was unprepared for how potent an instrument it is, in the right hands. Piercing bright, silver and golden tones cut through the upper register, along with the other stuff “up there” like cymbals, the stuff that gets cut off on so many recordings. The power and intensity caught me unprepared.
Avishai Cohen (tpt) Joel Frahm (ts)
I was aware of Avishai only because he carries the same name as my favourite modern bass player. In the CD racks there was this other Avishai Cohen, the trumpeter, so I ignored him. How wrong. His contribution to this bass-led group was perfect.
Avishai Cohen (tpt)
Who the hell is Omer Avital? Why didn’t I know about him? I haven’t been paying attention.
Arguably the most talented bass player on the scene and at or near the top of modern day jazz composers . . . about as thrilling as it gets.
‘Song For Peace’ is illustrative of the exciting, empathetic interplay that these musicians developed . . . anthemic, chaotic, spare and peaceful. For the listener, this unpredictability, the shifting dynamics, and a sense of ‘What’s gonna happen next?’ add to the excitement of hearing this agile quintet gallop.”
– Editor’s Pick, DownBeat Magazine
This music bristles with electricity and improvisational fire. There is not a weak cut or even weak moment on ‘Suite of he East’
– Step Tempest
. . . a deep organic fusion of Middle Eastern and North African music with current cutting-edge jazz. . . . incantatory melodies and throbbing rhythmic patterns that are foreign until you feel their universal human celebration . . .
– JazzTimes Magazine
Well that’s what it says on his website, but for once, believe the hype. This was really exciting improvisation-driven jazz. The communion between the drummer and the pianist was scary as they fed off each other (Village Vanguard anyone?), whilst Avital’s melodically driven bass drove the tunes. Joel Frahm’s impassioned tenor and the anthemic melodic statements on tenor in duet with the trumpet were positively chilling. I haven’t been so excited by live modern jazz in a long time, I definitely should get out more.
Omer Avital (b)
I am probably in breach of whatever copyright is on these photos but they are freely on-line and I don’t have any commercial interest, so here they are. The Nice Jazz Festival organisers prohibit photography except to accredited professional photographers who hold a Festival permit, so it is their own fault, because I could easily have taken my own pictures. Needless to say the audience was full of sad people trying to capture the performance on their camera phones.
Omer Klein (p) Avishai Cohen (tpt)
The official star of this evening of the Festival was not Omer Avital (though actually he was) , it was the famous jazz pianist Chick Corea. Sadly it was an assembly-line performance by Chick, noodling endlessly on electric piano, songs endlessly replete with long bass solos from Christian McBride, long drum solos from Marcus Gilmore (grandson of Roy Haynes), and walk on parts – on cue – to British brass journeyman Tim Garland, and Californian guitarist Charles Altura. The only improvisation was in “the solos”: there was no communication and true improvisation between the musicians. Chick is boss, he pays the wages, he gets to play a lot.
Chick Corea and The Vigil
I noticed a lot of the audience voted with their feet after a few numbers. I endured four tunes, but “Galaxy 37, Planet 4” about did for me too. Chick hasn’t moved into any fertile new ground since the middle of the last decade. The Ultimate Adventure (2006) was the last album I liked, and still sometimes listen to on Evil Silver Disk.( Don’t let anyone know. Its our secret.)
That adds Chick Corea to the Herbie Hancock “past their best” list. Sorry Chick, Omer Avital played the set that should have been yours. You needed a trumpet. You need to become a music aggregator, not a grandstanding fading star. Jazz has moved elsewhere.
I am grateful however to listen to and enjoy the Miles Davis Quintet 1950-something, on vinyl, which is still as close as I can get to this fantastic sound. It’s never going to be available, live, any time soon.