Jazz Revisited

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I was having a trawl through the archives the other day, and spotted an early post in which I conveyed a relative indifference to Jazz music. In retrospect, I think I threw a few babies out with the bathwater. For this reason, and because the Music category is a bit thin on the ground, I thought I’d write a post about this choicest of genres.

There are probably two posts in here, the first of which will be devoted to a tour of my top five Jazz albums. Of the seven that I own. In reverse order:

5. Maynard Ferguson: This is Jazz

It’s not really an album, so it probably shouldn’t register at all. However, as a compilation it cuts a good path through some of the better tunes. The proper albums tend to have the odd stinker here and there, but this is more-or-less sound. He’s a trumpet player, and a real squealer at that, but can be diverting enough if you value athletics over aesthetics. This album is one of only two products about which I’ve felt moved to write a review on Amazon UK. It still stands to this day, and its gushing illiteracy remains a source of acute, toe-curling embarrassment.

4. Colin Steele: Twilight Dreams

In our pre-marital days, Mrs H and I went to listen to Mr Steele over a warm beer at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews. Highly recommended for his accessible, Scots-infused style. Apparently, he lives on Leith Walk. I’ve never seen him out and about down that way. Unlike Shirley Henderson (Trainspotting, Harry Potter, Bridget Jones) who always seems to be there.

3. Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder

I once played in a band at university. When I joined, the tenor saxophone player took me to one side and said ‘play like this’, thrusting a copy of The Sidewinder into my hand. I’ve only just procured my own copy, but it seems excellent.

2. John Coltrane: Blue Train

First lent to me by a neighbour, I sat through this unimpressed as a youngster. I now know that the necessary jazz frameworks were not yet in place in my underdeveloped brain. Now that the groundwork’s been done, this one sits very nicely indeed. If you can overlook all the ludicrous railroad metaphors in the liner notes. “Trane rides swiftly down a lonesome track with Lee and Curtis shoveling extra coal into the boiler near the end of his solo”. Come off it, chaps.

1. Herbie Hancock: Cantaloupe Island

During one lazy jaunt to Dundee during student days, I found myself leaving the Wellgate Virgin clutching Withnail and I, Apocalyspse Now, and Cantaloupe Island. The latter has been a slow burner for me: immediately unremarkable, but a grower. Probably responsible for the development of the jazz frameworks (above). Notable for the title tune, as well as the well-known Watermelon Man. Understated, laid back, and highly recommended.

Gosh, I’ve gone on a bit. Sorry about that.

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One Comment on “Jazz Revisited”

  1. Ross Says:

    Isn’t jazz just for people who play jazz? A chin-strokey beardos called Leopold.


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