It would seem silly of me to write a piece about jazz, those that are interested in jazz know about it and those who aren’t choose not too, regardless here are a few of my all time favorites.
Cannonball Adderley’s Somethin’ Else featured one of the most prolific lineups to ever be featured on a jazz record. Miles Davis, Hank Jones, Sam Jones, Art Blakey and of course Cannonball Adderley who in my honest opinion has a tone equal too, if not greater than Coltrane, course I say this because Coltrane got the reputation he deserved and is well known outside jazz circles while Cannonball Adderley is not. A lot of people point to Autumn Leaves as being the best track from this album but I feel it wanders too far. Love for Sale begins with a beautiful piano intro that seems to be giving the track its first breath before it opens up into a perfectly executed ensemble piece. Miles Davis proves his excellence at carrying a melody on this track and the changes in percussion are dynamic if not sublime along with the piano that still sways in the background.
This song, off of Blue Train by John Coltrane was recorded as the title suggests, on a moments notice. As much of a skill as it is in jazz to interpret standards and make them live anew, there is also a place for those who can improvise and make something completely original and beautiful spur of the moment. The melody and horn arrangments on here are fantastic, the band has a tight dynamic groove that shows just how skilled the musicians are and how well they can play together. Off the cuff as this song was, it doesn’t feel that way listening to it.
Charles Mingus was a hell of a jazz bassist, but perhaps his greatest strength lay in arranging music. Mood Indigo was a standard from days gone by, a favorite of Duke Ellington when he was at his performing peak. Everything about Mingus’s take on Mood Indigo is breathless in its beauty, from the sweeping piano at the beginning to the perfect harmony of the horns through out, and even the spacious bass solo in between, it is understatement at its most elegent. If there is a better song that expresses the feeling during a slow rainy day, or the end of a very late night, I haven’t heard it.
John Coltrane could definitely impress with a rapid pace solo. But it was in his slower songs that he was his most beautiful. Soft and elegant, it is easy to picture a beautiful fall day in Central Park, with the leaves falling, guided only by the wind and Coltrane’s drifting saxaphone, the piano is also beautifully done. A real slow burner, but a real beauty.
Soulive is a modern day jazz organ trio and this is probably their finest song featuring great guitar and organ interplay and a great melody. This recording is taken from a live setting.