Tag Archives: Jazz

Dianne Reeves – Afro Blue

Various Artists - Blue Note: 60 Years of Cool

Various Artists – Blue Note: 60 Years of Cool

Welcome, belatedly to 2013. My one fan and my one daughter (they may be one and the same person!) has been complaining about the lack of posts. So, I’m back with a new post and a new site design. I haven’t given the site a full once over to see if I have broken anything, but on first view it seems all okay. If anything is broken, I will endeavour to fix it. I will also, in due course, probably tweak the theme a little to inject some more colour. Other than that I’ll leave well alone. I like to more open appearance of this new theme – I hop you do too.

So, for my first post of 2013, I have Dianne Reeves singing Afro Blue. This comes from a free with the Observer in 1999 CD Blue Note: 60 Years of Cool. The CD is a short but excellent introduction to the Blue Note label featuring, as well as Dianne Reeves, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, Horace Parlan, Donald Byrd & Cassandra Wilson. Not bad, eh?

Dunque, on with the music:
Dianne Reeves – Afro Blue

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Multani

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Indo-Jazz Fusions

It has not been a good week. First we lose two musical greats, Dave Brubeck & Ravi Shankar. And then we have the killings at Newtown, Connecticut

The world is less of a place today for having lost two “greats” who fulfilled their potentials in long, ground-breaking careers. And it is also less of a place for the loss of twenty six innocents in Newtown, many of them just starting on life’s journey.

I don’t have any Brubeck or Shankar in my collection but the Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet, Indo-Jazz Fusions will serve as a more than adequate tribute.

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Multani

Danny Thompson & Whatever – Major Escapade

Danny Thompson & Whatever - Elemental

Danny Thompson & Whatever – Elemental

This week Lucky Thirteen takes us the double album Whatever Next & Elemental from Danny Thompson & Whatever. Choosing a track based on favourites would have been a hard task as all the tracks are great – in my opinion. Choosing one on the basis of the title was easy. After Frances’s adventures in Mali, it could only be Major Escapade!

Even before instigating the Lucky Thirteen series, I usually managed to include a Danny Thompson track around this time on the basis that he had been spotted in the Transatlantic Sessions tv series. This year, Danny was again featured and was, it goes without saying, fantastic. Great music and great fun – he looked as if he was loving every minute. And who wouldn’t, when invited to play with some of the greats of folk and country music.

Oh, and by happy co-incidence, it was Danny Thompson’s birthday last week – many happy returns, Danny.

Danny Thompson & Whatever – Major Escapade

Charles Mingus – Girl of my Dreams

Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um

Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um

Happy New Year. Despite being on holiday for 10 days I seem to have no time to post to Furious Music. So, apologies for a late post and very short text.

Thirteen steps from Thomas Mapfumo is Charles Mingus. I only own the one Mingus CD – note to self, should buy more Mingus – and so Mingus Ah Um it is. And from the album we’ve Girl of my Dreams – dedicated to my wife and daughter, the Girls of my Dreams!

No more words; on with the music.

Charles Mingus – Girl of my Dreams

Danny Thompson & Whatever – Beirut


Danny Thompson & Whatever - Elemental

Danny Thompson & Whatever – Elemental

So, on to the final track of my mini Danny Thompson season. This week it is Beirut from the 1990 Danny Thompson & Whatever CD Elemental. I heard a track being described on Jazz Library recently being described as “the kind of music that you can love if you are a jazz fan but you can also love if you are not”. To me this perfectly describes Danny Thompson’s music on each of the 3 jazz albums I own. I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to this mini season and currently badgering your MP / influential friends to secure a knighthood (at least) for the man.

On a Danny Thompson related topic I have just caught up (rather belatedly) with the series of radio shows / podcasts that Joe Boyd has been making on the community radio station Resonance FM. In the first programme, Joe plays Swedish Dance from the Danny Thompson CD Whatever. He explains in the show that the tune was written in memory of Jan Johansson. (Johanson was a Swedish jazz pianist whose Jazz på svenska (Jazz in Swedish) CD sold more than a quarter of a million copies and is the best selling jazz release ever in Sweden. He died in November 1968 in a car crash on his way to a concert.)

I can certainty recommend these Joe Boyd radio shows / podcasts. Boyd is unquestionably one of the most important record producers of the 20th century, his choice of music for these shows is impeccable and his insight into the music and his reminiscences are fascinating. (One caveat – in the first show the sound volumes of the music and the chat in between are, inexplicably, out of balance. This is an irritant but only a minor one and certainly not a reason to miss out on the programme.)

I also plan to root around Resonance FM a bit more. I’m sure that there are treasures to be found here. Next week something entirely different – I’m just not sure what yet!

Danny Thompson & Whatever – Beirut

Danny Thompson – Swedish Dance

Danny Thompson – Whatever

Danny Thompson – Whatever

Right, this week Danny Thompson plays jazz.

I have in my collection three Danny Thompson jazz CDs – Whatever, Whatever Next and Elemental. I love them all and would encourage you to go out and buy them except for the fact that they are quite difficult to get hold of now. There are copies around, some new and some second-hand but they do seem to command silly prices. Supply and demand I suppose! I never know why music like this is not readily available for download. To my mind that ought to be the main function of mp3 downloads – supplying the “long tail”.

The three CDs are quite different in character – the third album Elemental most especially. But what I like in these records (and in all my favourite albums) is that they hang together as an entity not merely a collection of songs. I heard someone expressing the same thing on the radio last week, I forget who it was. He was opining that the album today is a series of singles (at best) and a couple of singles with some fillers (at worst). I buy compilation albums from time to time (mainly as a gateway into a new artist / group) and am often dissatisfied because they don’t hang together as a whole. A modern young thing would get over this qualm by adding the album to a play-list and pressing the shuffle button but hey ho!

Enough curmudgeonly comment from the growlery, onto the music. I have chosen to post Swedish Dance from Whatever but in all honesty, I could have chosen any track from this CD. I am playing the album as I write and, as is often the case, I am dithering over my choice as each new track comes on.

Danny Thompson – Swedish Dance

Charles Mingus – Pedal Point Blues

Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um

Today I’m going to post another track from the Charles Mingus album Mingus Ah Hum in tribute to Neil Fujita who died on 23rd October aged 89. Fujita was a graphic designer and was responsible for the cover art on this album and many other iconic jazz albums released by Columbia in the ’50s.

For Mingus Ah Hum, Fujita used his own abstract paintings, as he did for Dave Brubeck’s Time Out. For other albums he used artwork by other artists and photographers but still managed to convey “jazz cool” and make you want to buy the album. “Buy me and you can be cool too”, the covers say.

Later in his career Fujita’s designs were used on book covers. The most iconic of these were for Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.

He went on to teach at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design in New York, and continued to exhibit his work locally after retirement. In 2005, he published his autobiography, Mouth of Reddish Water: A Japanese American Story.

Charles Mingus – Pedal Point Blues

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Partita

Joe Harriott - John Mayer Double Quintet – Indo-Jazz Fusions

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Indo-Jazz Fusions

Thanks to the suggestion of my great friend Dill, this weeks sitar-tastic track is from the Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet’s Indo-Jazz Fusions album.

In 1966, at the behest of record producer Denis Preston, Anglo-Indian John Mayer and Jamaican Joe Harriott put together a double quintet, half jazzmen and half traditional Indian musicians. The group, recording under the name of Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet, released three albums: Indo-Jazz Suite, Indo-Jazz Fusions and Indo-Jazz Fusions II.

I heard the music when it first came out. An imaginative teacher of mine (name forgotten) used to open his classroom up one lunchtime a week to play an LP to anyone who cared to attend. The idea was to open ears to sounds beyond the pop music of the day. The music, as I recall, was mainly Jazz and I can vividly remember just 2 albums, one of the Indo-Jazz records and Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation by Ornette Coleman. (The Ornette Coleman album embodied by a Jackson Pollock painting on the front cover).

The track I’ve chosen from the five on the Indo-Jazz Fusions album is Partita. It is the longest but, to my ears, the unhurried development of the tune suits both the Jazz and the Indian aspects of the music

Joe Harriott – John Mayer Double Quintet – Partita

Danny Thompson – Dargai

Danny Thompson – Whatever Next

Danny Thompson – Whatever Next

Friday night saw the start of the latest series of Transatlantic Sessions on BBC 4. This series follows the format of the previous series; musicians from Britain and North America are brought together in a country house in Scotland to play songs and tunes from their separate and shared cultures.

One of the highlights from the first programme for me was a set of tunes lead by master piper Allan MacDonald with Danny Thompson giving immaculate support.

Watching this set lead me to the three records Danny Thompson made with his group Whatever between 1987 and 1990. These are jazz albums but feature some folk tunes and some folk instruments including Northumbrian pipes.

The stand out track for me on the “Whatever Next” album is Dargai -I just love this tune. Digging around on the Internet I have learnt that it was written by James Scott Skinner and commemorates a victory by Gordon Highlanders during the Afghan Wars. On 20 November 1897, men from the Gordon Highlanders and the Gurkhas seized Dargai on the North-West frontier.

Danny Thompson and Whatever’s version of this tune is posted below, but make sure you listen to an extract of Skinner playing available here.

Danny Thompson – Dargai

Miles Davis – All Blues

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

“It’s not that easy being green, Having to spend each day the colour of the leaves”. I have been singing Being Green (the Van Morrison version, not Kermit’s!) since watching an article about the use of peat in gardens on Gardeners World on Friday. And thus a Furious Music mini series was born. Colours.

But straight away the usual problem, Hard Nose the Highway is no-longer in my collection (and seems to be out of print), Pink Moon by Nick Drake likewise. No matter; start with Miles Davis and then see where we can go.

Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue is possibly the biggest selling jazz album of all time. It was also chosen in the first selection of The National Recording Registry of sound recordings that “are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States”. To many people, Kind of Blue IS jazz and jazz IS Kind of Blue.

The track I’ve chosen is All Blues (I could also have chosen Blue in Green). I first came across this tune in a vocalese version, lyrics added by Oscar Brown Jnr, sung by the great Annie Ross on the LP Annie Ross and Pony Poindexter recorded live at the 10th German Jazz Festival. What a great record!

Enough reminiscing, listen to the original. And if you don’t have any jazz in your collection – start here!

Miles Davis – All Blues