Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You know you're a Grade A jazz geek when....

....you listen to a CD/record and think, "Hmm, this must've been recorded before 1957 because Coltrane hasn't really developed his sheets of sound style on this," and you're right.

I've spent the last five or six days in Mosaic-ville. I got the two sets that I mentioned in the last post. Things have changed in my life, let me tell you. Why, gawrsh, son there was a time when a Mosaic box came in the mail and time would stop. It took just about 2 days for me to get through the Cecil Taylor set when that came. And the Larry Young set? Eight discs in about three days.

And now.....

The box arrived on Thursday and I don't think I tapped into the Art Farmer-Benny Golson set until Saturday. True, I did listen to two of the three Chambers discs in one night, I think. And, man, is that good stuff. There are a lot of bass solos but they're all pretty amazing. I was listening to the Bass on Top album (the last one on the set) on earbuds today and Chambers didn't waste a note.

By the way, that Coltrane reference at top was going through my head during the first couple songs on the Chambers set. He's good, but the tone is a little softer and the five-notes-on-one-beat approach wasn't happening yet.

The interesting thing about the Chambers set as well is that most of the material is original or was written by one of his peers, in many cases, Benny Golson. These guys weren't stuck playing standards or rehashing Charlie Parker (although the set opens with a Bird tune and it is unique since the bass plays the melody with Trane). They were building on the triumphs of the early bop guys and taking it to the next level. You have to wonder why Whims of Chambers doesn't get the same kudos that Blue Trane does.

The Farmer-Golson set is also pretty hot, although the solo sets that end the box lack the power of the Jazztet recording on the first four discs. Golson was such a prolific, well-regarded composer that by the time the Jazztet made those albums, a lot of his tunes had been recorded by other musicians. Lee Morgan did a bunch of them on his early Blue Note albums. Benny was also in the Jazz Messengers, who recorded a number of them, including "Blues March." Farmer was a good foil for him, and they have trombone players on the frontline with them - Curtis Fuller, Tom McIntosh and Grachan Moncur III.

I need to dig back into it because I only finished my way through it yesterday and some of those spins were done while I was a little distracted.

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