posted by Carl at 5:51 PM
Prefer Kind of Blue....after Kind of Blue, Davis becomes sort of diffused , overly abstract...I think Bill Evans added something the later groups lacked....Shorter could play tho.... Speak no Evil...Footprints..he's sort of Trane Jr.....in some sense the early bop of Parker and Gillepsie was weirder, spookier...chromaticism and technique often preferable to modes and blues ala Miles.modality gets old....it had to come into existence, but by 70s everything is modal, even rock like Steely Dan ....modality can only be done very subtlely methinks; the bad composer-musician (say Copland and most of the minimalists) overuses it ...or uses it in a cheap fashion like hippie rockers..(wow man, lydian)...Debussy knew how to use modes but also overindulges sometimes...Milhaud.....Stravinsky, too, especially later like Dumbarton Oaks, rather classical and then a few tasty bursts of modality...Trane of of course a master of modality; occasionally overindulgent, but at his best that IS the marvelous... sort an Einstein of music as de koonig once said...
I get really confused when I try to think about which music is more abstract than which; there are probably many different ways of being abstract. Nefertiti is one of the most abstract songs you'll ever hear, and an early suggestion of how abstract jazz would become in the 1970s, composition-driven ECM stuff. Kind of Blue is my favorite Bill Evans, probably the only stuff I really like--he usually sounds kind of tense to me, like Brad Mehldau. Wayne Shorter is the best; his high-school saxophone case said "Mr. Weird"; his style, unlike Coltrane's, is unlearnable. Mini-mode: a lot of 70s stuff is pentatonic-based, and not just major and minor. Weather Report does it all, but Zawinul's improvisations sound, to my ear, based on (often shifting) pentatonics. I guess I also thought of Debussy as a pretty pentatonical dude, though I suppose also a master of the Ionian mode (it is *totally* a mode and not the same thing as the major scale when in Debussy's writing!). Cool that you know lydian-oriented hippie rockers. I tend to roll with the lydian b7 crew. It is bold to attempt to refer to the sixites without using a b7.Steely Dan is my favorite rock music, but I've often felt that their chord changes reflect 40s/50s jazz way more than the stuff that other, more legitimately jazz-descended, fusion artists were doing. Thanks for your suggestions!
i enjoy some of Mr. Shorter's playing. Very crisp, controlled. Speak no Evil is not bad: (Toots Thielemans versions of Shorter are enjopyable too--in some sense decent jazz on chromatic harm. quite pleasantly surreal. But then I also listen to like Djanjo and Stephan Grappeli with appreciation--tho its dark and sort of odd) But as I said, in some sense I prefer the pre-modal bop of Parker to both Shorter and Trane. Sonny Rollins too like Bird has that sort of melodic, ironic sense that the more modal players sometimes seem to lack. Parker always has a melody, a motif and is not merely shredding scales--and a sense of chromaticism which I think is indispensable to jass...Duke Ellington and his bands of course had that chromatic sense too: there's some schmaltz and jazz-pop, but later modal jazz lacks some of that melodic sense, and the complexity...really Ive hear some of Paul WHiteman stuff in the 50s where his band just k's butt...Stan Kenton noir even here and there is satisfying--Steely Dan/Fagen was probably more into Duke and early bop than the later Trane or modal-free players....nice chromatic complex changes....and the gee-tar work of Diaz was cool....in early records at least..tho by aja I dont care for it too much---too LA-y, studio-driven fusion..and probably coke-fueled...even if well-crafted Hancock;s music is alright; tho' I don't think Hancock was that gifted melodicallyThe ECM school of jazz you might find appealing if you like modality, pedal tones, drones etc. I can only handle like Metheny or Abercrombies band in small doses but someone like Keith Jarrett could play... Oregon was big like in the 80s tho that's a bit too weird for most but some of their more atonal stuff is interesting....Debussy used lots more than Ionian and pentatonic---listen to some of his preludes: all of the modes, really, plus whole, quite a bit of chromaticism as well...like his eccentric pal Satie, D. occasionally used oriental scales as well---like harmonic minor with flatted 5th..(there are a few CHopin pieces with a sort of slavic scale too---Chopin tho often schlocky was way dread. like his Bb minor sonata---) .tres savvage...also enjoy Bartok's more oriental sort of writing...too...a like Bartok influenced rock-jass bad ..yess
the question then may be when is harmony or tonality---even modality or polymodality, exotic scales-- sort of "used up." I personally cannot listen to pop music: Beatles tunes sound like demons, as does most pop music and rock and blues as well.the harmonies of like Kind of Blue, however beautiful, may have been an end of something....similiarly I find like modal minimalism--Steve Reich --interesting for a few minutes...even profound in a sense...but it's like the harmony becomes sort of spent after a while..its ein bisschen zuckerische..but Reich is a genius to some extent, if he may be brought a bit more jazz and dissonance in...or someting like Debussy meets Reich ...pure atonality like Schoenberg doesn't really do it for me, tho again I do like some of Bartok=--sort of a Kafka of classical music..rather terrifying and sublime..but i prefer reeds, horns and pianos to strings
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