Category Archives: Jazz

Today: The late Art Blakey was born in 1919 – 93 years ago

Music washes away the dust of every day life.
~Art Blakey

You can’t seperate modern jazz from rock or from rhythm and blues – you can’t seperate it. Because that’s where it all started, and that’s where it all come from – that’s where I learned to keep rhythm – in church.
~Art Blakey

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Arthur Blakey
Also known as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina
Born October 11, 1919
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States
Died October 16, 1990 (aged 71)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Hard bop, bebop
Occupations Drummer, bandleader
Instruments Drums, percussion
Years active 1942–1990
Labels Blue Note
Associated acts Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Art Blakey Quartet, Art Blakey Quintet, Art Blakey & the Afrocuban Boys
Website www.artblakey.com

Arthur “Art” Blakey (October 11, 1919 – October 16, 1990), known later as Abdullah Ibn Buhaina, was an American Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer and bandleader.

Along with Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, he was one of the inventors of the modern bebop style of drumming. He is known as a powerful musician and a vital groover; his brand of bluesy, funky hard bop was and continues to be profoundly influential on mainstream jazz. For more than 30 years his band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, included many young musicians who went on to become prominent names in jazz. The band’s legacy is thus not only known for the music it produced, but as a proving ground for several generations of jazz musicians;  Blakey’s groups are matched only by those of Miles Davis in this regard.

Blakey was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame (in 1982), the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 2001), and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

From allmusic.com – Chris Kelsey:

In the ’60s, when John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman were defining the concept of a jazz avant-garde, few knowledgeable observers would have guessed that in another 30 years the music’s mainstream would virtually bypass their innovations, in favor of the hard bop style that free jazz had apparently supplanted. As it turned out, many listeners who had come to love jazz as a sophisticated manifestation of popular music were unable to accept the extreme esotericism of the avant-garde; their tastes were rooted in the core elements of “swing” and “blues,” characteristics found in abundance in the music of the Jazz Messengers, the quintessential hard bop ensemble led by drummer Art Blakey. In the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, when artists on the cutting edge were attempting to transform the music, Blakey continued to play in more or less the same bag he had since the ’40s, when his cohorts included the likes of Charlie Parker,Miles Davis, and Fats Navarro. By the ’80s, the evolving mainstream consensus had reached a point of overwhelming approval in regard to hard bop: this is what jazz is, and Art Blakey — as its longest-lived and most eloquent exponent — was its master. … read more over @ allmusic.com

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers Moanin’ – Live In Belgium 1958:

Art blakey’s Jazz Messengers – Dat Dere (1961):

Album of the day – Moanin’ (1958):

From allmusic.com – Michael G. Nastos: 

Moanin’ includes some of the greatest music Blakey produced in the studio with arguably his very best band. There are three tracks that are immortal and will always stand the test of time. The title selection is a pure tuneful melody stewed in a bluesy shuffle penned by pianist Bobby Timmons, while tenor saxophonist Benny Golson‘s classy, slowed “Along Came Betty” and the static, militaristic “Blues March” will always have a home in the repertoire of every student or professional jazz band. “Are You Real?” has the most subtle of melody lines, and “Drum Thunder Suite” has Blakey‘s quick blasting tom-tom-based rudiments reigning on high as the horns sigh, leading to hard bop. “Come Rain or Come Shine” is the piece that commands the most attention, a highly modified, lilting arrangement where the accompanying staggered, staccato rhythms contrast the light-hearted refrains. Certainly a complete and wholly satisfying album, Moanin’ ranks with the very best of Blakey and what modern jazz offered in the late ’50s and beyond.

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Continue reading Today: The late Art Blakey was born in 1919 – 93 years ago

Today: Miles Davis passed away in 1991 – 21 years ago

“Don’t play what’s there; play what’s not there.”
― Miles Davis

“Good music is good no matter what kind of music it is.”
― Miles Davis

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Miles Dewey Davis III
Born May 26, 1926
Alton, Illinois, United States
Died September 28, 1991 (aged 65)
Santa Monica, California, United States
Genres Jazz, hard bop, bebop, cool jazz, modal, fusion, third stream, jazz-funk, jazz rap
Occupations Bandleader, composer, trumpeter, artist
Instruments Trumpet, flugelhorn, piano,organ
Years active 1944–1975, 1980–1991
Labels Capitol Jazz/EMI,Columbia/CBS, Warner Bros.Dial Records
Associated acts Billy EckstineCharlie Parker,Miles Davis QuintetGil Evans
Website www.milesdavis.com

Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion.

On October 7, 2008, his 1959 album Kind of Blue received its fourth platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of at least four million copies in the United States. Miles Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Davis was noted as “one of the key figures in the history of jazz”. On December 15, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a symbolic resolution recognizing and commemorating the album Kind of Blue on its 50th anniversary, “honoring the masterpiece and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure.”

 From allmusic.com – William Ruhlmann:

Throughout a professional career lasting 50 years, Miles Davis played the trumpet in a lyrical, introspective, and melodic style, often employing a stemless Harmon mute to make his sound more personal and intimate. But if his approach to his instrument was constant, his approach to jazz was dazzlingly protean. To examine his career is to examine the history of jazz from the mid-’40s to the early ’90s, since he was in the thick of almost every important innovation and stylistic development in the music during that period, and he often led the way in those changes, both with his own performances and recordings and by choosing sidemen and collaborators who forged new directions. It can even be argued that jazz stopped evolving when Davis wasn’t there to push it forward.
… read more over @ allmusic.com 

So What:

Legacy, influence & awards:

Miles Davis is regarded as one of the most innovative, influential and respected figures in the history of music. He has been described as “one of the great innovators in jazz”. The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll noted “Miles Davis played a crucial and inevitably controversial role in every major development in jazz since the mid-’40s, and no other jazz musician has had so profound an effect on rock. Miles Davis was the most widely recognized jazz musician of his era, an outspoken social critic and an arbiter of style—in attitude and fashion—as well as music”. His album Kind of Blue is the best-selling album in the history of jazz music. On November 5, 2009, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan sponsored a measure in the United States House of Representatives to recognize and commemorate the album on its 50th anniversary. The measure also affirms jazz as a national treasure and “encourages the United States government to preserve and advance the art form of jazz music.” It passed, unanimously, with a vote of 409–0 on December 15, 2009.

His approach, owing largely to the African American performance tradition that focused on individual expression, emphatic interaction, and creative response to shifting contents, had a profound impact on generations of jazz musicians.

In 1986, the New England Conservatory awarded Miles Davis an Honorary Doctorate for his extraordinary contributions to music. Since 1960 the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) has honored him with eight Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and three Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. In 2010, Moldejazz premiered a play called Driving Miles, which focused on a landmark concert Davis performed in Molde, Norway, in 1984.

All Blues – 1964:

  • Winner; Down Beat Reader’s Poll Best Trumpet Player 1955
  • Winner; Down Beat Reader’s Poll Best Trumpet Player 1957
  • Winner; Down Beat Reader’s Poll Best Trumpet Player 1961
  • Grammy Award for Best Jazz Composition Of More Than Five Minutes Duration for Sketches of Spain (1960)
  • Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance, Large Group Or Soloist With Large Group for Bitches Brew (1970)
  • Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist for We Want Miles (1982)
  • Sonning Award for Lifetime Achievement In Music (1984; Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Doctor of Music, honoris causa (1986; New England Conservatory)
  • Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist for Tutu (1986)
  • Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist for Aura (1989)
  • Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band for Aura (1989)
  • Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1990)
  • Australian Film Institute Award for Best Original Music Score for Dingo, shared with Michel Legrand (1991)
  • Knight of the Legion of Honor (July 16, 1991; Paris)
  • Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance for Doo-Bop (1992)
  • Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance for Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux (1993)
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame Star (February 19, 1998)
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction (March 13, 2006)
  • Hollywood’s Rockwalk Induction (September 28, 2006)
  • RIAA Quadruple Platinum for Kind of Blue
  • St. Louis Walk of Fame

I know what I’ve done for music, but don’t call me a legend. Just call me Miles Davis.

Album of the day: ‘Round Midnight (1956):

 

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Today: Horace Silver is 84

Jazz is not background music. You must concentrate upon it in order to get the most of it. You must absorb most of it. The harmonies within the music can relax, soothe, relax, and uplift the mind when you concentrate upon and absorb it. Jazz music stimulates the minds and uplifts the souls of those who play it was well as of those who listen to immerse themselves in it. As the mind is stimulated and the soul uplifted, this is eventually reflected in the body.
~Horace Silver

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva
Born September 2, 1928 (age 84)
Origin Norwalk, Connecticut, U.S.
Genres Post bop
Modal jazz
Mainstream jazz
Soul jazz
Jazz fusion
Hard bop
Occupations Pianist
Composer
Bandleader
Instruments Piano
Associated acts Horace Silver Quintet
Horace Silver Trio
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

Horace Silver (born September 2, 1928), born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva in Norwalk, Connecticut, is an American jazz pianist and composer.

Silver is known for his distinctive humorous and funky playing style and for his pioneering compositional contributions to hard bop. He was influenced by a wide range of musical styles, notably gospel music, African music, and Latin American music and sometimes ventured into the soul jazz genre.

From allmusic (Chris Kelsey):

From the perspective of the early 2000s, it is clear that few jazz musicians have had a greater impact on the contemporary mainstream than Horace Silver. The hard bop style that Silver pioneered in the ’50s is now dominant, played not only by holdovers from an earlier generation, but also by fuzzy-cheeked musicians who had yet to be born when the music fell out of critical favor in the ’60s and ’70s. … read more -> allmusic.com

From allaboutjazz.com:

When Horace Silver once wrote out his rules for musical composition (in the liner notes to the 1968 record, Serenade to a Soul Sister), he expounded on the importance of “meaningful simplicity.” The pianist could have just as easily been describing his own life. For more than fifty years, Silver has simply written some of the most enduring tunes in jazz while performing them in a distinctively personal style. It’s all been straight forward enough, while decades of incredible experiences have provided the meaning. .. read more -> allaboutjazz.com

Legacy:

Silver’s music has been a major force in modern jazz. He was one of the first pioneers of the style known as hard bop, influencing such pianists as Bobby TimmonsLes McCann, and Ramsey Lewis. Second, the instrumentation of his quintet (trumpet, tenor sax, piano, double bass, and drums) served as a model for small jazz groups from the mid-1950s until the late 1960s. Further, Silver’s ensembles provided an important training ground for young players, many of whom (such as Donald ByrdArt FarmerBlue Mitchell,Woody ShawJunior Cook, and Joe Henderson) later led similar groups of their own.

Silver’s talent did not go unnoticed among rock musicians who bore jazz influences, either; Steely Dan sent Silver into the Top 40 in the early 1970s when they crafted their biggest hit single, “Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number,” off the bass riff that opens “Song for My Father.”

As social and cultural upheavals shook the nation during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Silver responded to these changes through music. He commented directly on the new scene through a trio of records called United States of Mind (1970–1972) that featured the spirited vocals of Andy Bey. The composer got deeper into cosmic philosophy as his group, Silver ‘N Strings, recorded Silver ‘N Strings Play The Music of the Spheres (1979).

 Song For My Father – Live – Denmark TV 1968:

 

Album of the day – Song For My Father (1964):

Read review @ allaboutjazz.com

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Today: The late Charlie Parker was born in 1920 – 92 years ago

 

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Charles Parker, Jr.
Also known as Bird, Yardbird,
Zoizeau (in France)
Born August 29, 1920
Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Died March 12, 1955 (aged 34)
New York City, New York, United States
Genres Jazz, bebop
Occupations Saxophonist, Composer
Instruments Alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
Years active 1937–1955
Labels Savoy, Dial, Verve
Associated acts Miles DavisMax Roach

Charles Parker, Jr. (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), also known as Yardbird and Bird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.

Parker acquired the nickname “Yardbird” early in his career and the shortened form, “Bird”, which continued to be used for the rest of his life, inspired the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as “Yardbird Suite“, “Ornithology“, “Bird Gets the Worm“, and “Bird of Paradise.”

Parker was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebop,  a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique, and improvisation. Parker introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas, including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. His tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet and somber. Many Parker recordings demonstrate virtuosic technique and complex melodic lines, sometimes combining jazz with other musical genres, including blues, Latin, and classical.

Parker was an icon for the hipster subculture and later the Beat Generation, personifying the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual, rather than an entertainer.

 From allmusic.com – Scott Yanow:

One of a handful of musicians who can be said to have permanently changed jazz, Charlie Parker was arguably the greatest saxophonist of all time. He could play remarkably fast lines that, if slowed down to half speed, would reveal that every note made sense. “Bird,” along with his contemporaries Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell, is considered a founder of bebop; in reality he was an intuitive player who simply was expressing himself. Rather than basing his improvisations closely on the melody as was done in swing, he was a master of chordal improvising, creating new melodies that were based on the structure of a song. In fact, Bird wrote several future standards (such as “Anthropology,” “Ornithology,” “Scrapple from the Apple,” and “Ko Ko,” along with such blues numbers as “Now’s the Time” and “Parker’s Mood”) that “borrowed” and modernized the chord structures of older tunes. Parker‘s remarkable technique, fairly original sound, and ability to come up with harmonically advanced phrases that could be both logical and whimsical were highly influential. By 1950, it was impossible to play “modern jazz” with credibility without closely studying Charlie Parker.   Read more -> allmusic.com

All the things you are:

 I’ve Got Rhythm:

Album of the day – Jazz at Massey Hall (1953):

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Today: Miles Davis released “Kind Of Blue” in 1959 – 53 years ago

“It must have been made in heaven.”
– Jimmy Cobb

From Wikipedia:

Released August 17, 1959
Recorded March 2 and April 22, 1959, at 30th Street Studio, New York City,New York, United States
Genre Modal jazz
Length 45:44
Label Columbia
Producer Teo MaceroIrving Townsend

Kind of Blue is a studio album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released August 17, 1959, on Columbia Records in the United States. Recording sessions for the album took place at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City on March 2 and April 22, 1959. The sessions featured Davis’s ensemble sextet, which consisted of pianist Bill Evans (Wynton Kelly on one track), drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley.

Though precise figures have been disputed, Kind of Blue has been described by many music writers not only as Davis’s best-selling album, but as the best-selling jazz record of all time. On October 7, 2008, it was certified quadruple platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It has been regarded by many critics as the greatest jazz album of all time and Davis’s masterpiece.

The album’s influence on music, including jazz, rock, and classical music, has led music writers to acknowledge it as one of the most influential albums ever made. In 2002, it was one of fifty recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. In 2003, the album was ranked number 12 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Kind of Blue was recorded in two sessions at Columbia Records’ 30th Street Studio in New York City. On March 2, the tracks “So What“, “Freddie Freeloader“, and “Blue in Green” were recorded for side one of the original LP, and on April 22 the tracks “All Blues“, and “Flamenco Sketches” were recorded, making up side two. Production was handled by Teo Macero, who had produced Davis’s previous two LPs, and Irving Townsend.

Kind of Blue isn’t merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it’s an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius… It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality… It may be a stretch to say that if you don’t like Kind of Blue, you don’t like jazz — but it’s hard to imagine it as anything other than a cornerstone of any jazz collection.
—Stephen T. Erlewine

Track listing:
All songs written and composed by Miles Davis except where noted 

1. “So What”
2. “Freddie Freeloader”
3. “Blue in Green” (Miles Davis and Bill Evans)
4. “All Blues”
5. “Flamenco Sketches” (Miles Davis and Bill Evans)

Musicians


Miles Davis – Kind of Blue 50th Anniversary:

Full album:

Album of the day:

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Continue reading Today: Miles Davis released “Kind Of Blue” in 1959 – 53 years ago