August 29, 2009

Playlist 8-29-09

* Biber: Unam Ceylum (Holloway/Assenbaum/Mortensen) (ECM CD)
* Biber/Muffat: Der Türken Anmarsch (Holloway/Assenbaum/Mortensen) (ECM CD)
* Handel: Organ Concertos, Op.7 (AAM/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2SACD)
* J.S. Bach: Six Suites for Violoncello (Japp ter Linden) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Christine Plubeau/Arnaud Pumir: Église Saint Nicolas, La Hulpe 3-20-09 (FM CDR)
* Charlie Parker: The Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings (d.1+2) (Atlantic 8CD)
* Keith Jarrett: The Impulse Years: 1973-1974 (Impulse! 5CD)
* Matthew Shipp & Mat Maneri: Gravitational Systems (HatOLOGY CD)
* Mary Halovorson & Jessica Pavone: Thin Air (Thirsty Ear CD)
* Herbie Hancock Sextet: Barbican Centre, London 11-19-08 (FM 2CDR)
* Bill Laswell: Dub Chamber 3 (ROIR CD)
* Bill Laswell: Sacred System: Book of Exit/Dub Chamber 4 (ROIR CD)
* Santana: Santana (III) (Columbia/Legacy CD)
* Grateful Dead: Road Trips, Vol.1, No.2: “October ‘77” (GD 3CD)
* Grateful Dead: Road Trips, Vol.1, No.4: “From Egypt with Love” (GD 3CD)
* Grateful Dead: Road Trips, Vol.2, No.4: “Cal Expo ‘93” (GD 3CD)
* Jerry Garcia: After Midnight: Kean College, 2-28-80 (Rhino 3CD)
* Tom Waits: Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (Anti- 3CD)
* Wilco: Wilco (the album) (Nonesuch CD)
* Boston Spaceships: Planets are Blasted (GBV, Inc. CD)


As the weeks go by, a pattern emerges: baroque music (in the mornings), usually some jazz, perhaps some “out” jazz, but almost always some Grateful Dead and/or Jerry Garcia, and, of course, Robert Pollard’s brand of rocking out…pretty boring, ultimately. I suppose I am getting old and ossified in my tastes. The topic of music came up at work yesterday (as it often does), and I was gently chided for my lack of knowledge about current pop music. It’s true, I never listen to the radio or watch TV and my record-collecting dollar is usually allocated towards things that I know I will like. And when I have taken a chance with recent pop music, I have been left feeling particularly underwhelmed (e.g. Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes) (sorry). In my estimation, the best band in the land is Wilco (so sue me). Frankly, I’m much more interested in young musicians such as Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone, who integrate a folk-rock sensibility with avant-jazz musicianship to create a genuinely new kind of music that, unfortunately, most folks will never hear. No doubt I am missing out on some great pop music, but I can live with that. Heck, I could never buy another record in my life and still have plenty of wonderful music to listen to.

Like for instance the Keith Jarrett box set – and I really did listen to all five discs this week! – comprising expanded reissues of the albums Fort Yawuh, Treasure Island, Death and the Flower, and Backhand. These records were out of step with the times and ultimately overshadowed by Jarrett’s prior tenure with the electric Miles Davis band and his later fame as the romantically rhapsodic, proto-New Age solo pianist. That’s too bad. The so-called “American Quartet” consisted of Jarrett, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, and Paul Motian, an all-star band that executed the post-Ornette free-bop and gospel-ish material with sensitive but high-spirited aplomb. Jarrett equitably shares the sometimes crowded musical space with these three strong personalities, but the friction is palpable and sometimes sparks flashes of uniquely brilliant music. (I plan to delve into Mysteries: The Impulse Years: 1975-1976 next week.) Or how about the complete Charlie Parker on Savoy & Dial? Eight CDs documenting the birth of Bebop, complete with every extant false start, incomplete and alternate take – and not just the Savoy and Dial material, but concomitant sideman dates with Tiny Grimes, Slim Gaillard, and Red Norvo on the Guild, Musicraft, Bel-Tone, and Comet labels. I could spend a lifetime studying this music and the accompanying literature and still not be able to digest it all. Who needs to keep up with the latest fads when there is this vast wealth of masterpieces worthy of my time and attention? Heh-heh. Spoken like a true fogey, an out-of-it fuddy-duddy. Oh well. Getting old sure beats the alternative. Thankfully, music makes life worth living.


Sam said...

I love this post because I really dig the photo of your CD shelves! Great to see those black and orange Impulses. I understand what you mean about the youngsters' music these days. I have a soft spot for Deerhoof myself, but I really don't know much about what's going on beyond what my brother and a couple of friends clue me in on. I manage to keep myself busy digging deep into Ra, Coltrane, Miles, Duke Ellington, the Dead, Beatles, Sam Rivers, Cecil, Braxton, Bird, Beach Boys, Billie Holiday, High Llamas, Threadgill, etc. like you say, a lifetime of listening just there. I always try to keep open ears, though--I know there must be tons of great stuff out there, like this duo I've been listening to recently, mostly piano-drum improvs but also really spacey turntable-inspired psychedelic noise-improv fests, done in Nashville at a place called Heeltop Home Studio....

Rodger Coleman said...

Ha! Ha! Ha!