1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (771-780)

Here is another 10 to add to the list.

Remember that there is no ranking system here, and if you don’t see your favorite jazz album yet, it doesn’t mean it won’t show up.

Hopefully these lists will inspire you to seek some of these albums out that perhaps you haven’t heard before, or revisit an old favorite. And as always, we want your thoughts on any or all of these albums. Either way, let’s get started with this week, and in no particular order, albums 771 through 780.

1. Kelly Blue – Wynton Kelly (Riverside Records, 1959) CLICK HERE TO BUY

2. Fly Away Little Bird – Jimmy Giuffre (Universal Distribution, 1992) CLICK HERE TO BUY

3. Piano Interpretations by Bud Powell – Bud Powell (Universal/Verve, 1955) CLICK HERE TO BUY

4. Rush Hour – Joe Lovano (Blue Note, 1994) CLICK HERE TO BUY

5. Biting the Apple – Dexter Gordon (SteepleChase, 1976) CLICK HERE TO BUY

6. The Sun of Latin Music – Eddie Palmieri (Varese, 1973) CLICK HERE TO BUY

7. With Respect to Nat – Oscar Peterson (Verve, 1965) CLICK HERE TO BUY

8. E.S.P. – Miles Davis (Columbia/Legacy, 1965) CLICK HERE TO BUY

9. Leucocyte – E.S.T. (Emarcy, 2008) CLICK HERE TO BUY

10. Dippin’ – Hank Mobley (Blue Note, 1965) CLICK HERE TO BUY

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (761-770)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die (751-760)

1,000 Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die – The First 750

Plenty of celebration on the 85th birthday of Miles Davis

Miles Davis would have been 85 years old today, and the birth of the legendary trumpeter is being celebrated in several ways and places around the country today.

LIFE.com just posted never-before-seen photos of Miles from 1958. According to LIFE.com:

When LIFE photographer Robert W. Kelley snapped a few rolls of film at an intimate jazz gig on May 14, 1958, neither he nor the magazine’s editors could have known the importance of what he had witnessed. Perhaps that’s why Kelley provided only scant notes — just the date and the city and the subject’s name, “Miles Davis” — scrawled on the small archival file of the images; perhaps that’s why the bulk of them, which capture trumpeter Davis, then just 31 years old, leading his band in an unnamed New York venue, never made it to print.

To see these great photos, head to LIFE.com.

East St. Louis, where Miles was raised from the age of one, is celebrating today. A free family event will include a “likeness”-adorned cake; jazz by Reginald Thomas and the 85th Birthday Jazz Ensemble; “Milestone: The Birth of an Ancestor,” a poetic elegy/multimodal exhibit by ESL poet laureate Eugene B. Redmond (and Soular Systems Ensemble); and reminiscences by Miles’ high school classmates and childhood friends, all at the East St. Louis Municipal Building.

And as you might expect, several tributes are happening at New York jazz venues between today and the end of the weekend. Smoke Jazz and Supper Club Lounge will be having a Miles Davis Birthday Celebration “feted by an all-star cast that includes two former sidemen and one of his most important proteges. This momentous lineup pairs trumpeter Eddie Henderson (whose music career Miles encouraged as early as his teens) with tenor saxophonist George Coleman (whose work with Miles resulted in the historic recordings “Seven Steps to Heaven”, “My Funny Valentine”, and “Four and More”) and pianist Harold Mabern (who in addition to working with nearly everyone else worked briefly with Miles in the early 1960’s.)”

Trumpeter Wallace Roney celebrates tonight with a tribute at Zinc Bar with three shows. Roney calls Miles his idol, greatest teacher, and biggest influence on his life.

Also, the Harlem Arts Salon is hosting an invitation-only event tonight called “Reflections on the Legacy of Miles Davis” with Kelvyn Bell, Quincy Troupe, SOUNDART, Christopher Janney, Anthony Barboza and more.

If you can’t find a local Miles celebration happening, go out and buy yourself a new Miles Davis compact disc that maybe you haven’t heard before, or dig up and old recording from your collection that you haven’t listened to in a while.

Below, enjoy live performances of So What and Tutu.


“We Want Miles”: Miles Davis vs. Jazz

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (or the Musee Des Beaux-Arts de Montreal) has a wonderful exhibit running through the end of August called“We Want Miles”: Miles Davis vs. Jazz.

The exhibit, which runs From April 30 to August 29, 2010, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is innovating once again with the presentation of the first major North American multimedia retrospective dedicated to jazz legend Miles Davis.

“We Want Miles”: Miles Davis vs. Jazz will combine image and sound
to offer visitors a sensory experience inspired by Miles Davis himself:
“A painting is music you can see, and music is a painting you can hear.”
This exhibition was designed and organized by the Cité de la Musique,
Paris, with the support of Miles Davis Properties, LLC, in collaboration
with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

While I won’t be making the trek from Seattle to Montreal to see the exhibit, the photos alone look beautiful, showing a variety of sides to Miles. One can only assume that combining that with his music and other multimedia should offer a fantastic experience.

For more information, click here.

A Fly on the Studio Wall

One of the great things about being in my job is having the opportunity to interview world-class musicians, or introduce them on stage at concerts. Of course the chance to hear them play live right in front of me, or learn interesting things about them during an interview is amazing, but for me the most entertaining part is the discussions that happen before the tape is rolling or before the show begins.

This is the time where, even if it is only a sentence or two, I feel you can really get the coolest story of the event.

I have yet to run into sax man Joshua Redman in a bad mood backstage. He remembers names, asks about other people at the radio station by name and tells me to say hello to them for him.

While walking on stage to introduce Wynton Marsalis, one of his band members told me to wait a second because he wanted to know where the best place to eat after the show was.

The late Michael Brecker made it clear to me multiple times in one interview, after complimenting his recordings, that if I really wanted to enjoy his music, “you need to hear that **** live.”

And the great Clark Terry, after a wonderful interview and performance, was kind enough to join some of the staff and listeners for a sandwich. God bless him, as he fell asleep while I was in the middle of a sentence. In his defense, most people start falling asleep when I talk too much.

Thinking about this made me start wondering about all of the great conversations and interactions that took place “off-mic” in recording sessions that we never got to hear.

For example, to be a fly on the wall, Christmas Eve, 1954. Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk are in a recording session that reportedly almost came to blows because Miles didn’t want Monk playing during his solos. Give their recording of The Man I Love a listen, and you can almost hear the animosity. I would have loved to hear that conversation take place.

Or perhaps some studio sessions with slightly less violent interactions. How about Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington (or any recording session with either of those two guys)? I can only imagine the conversations that took place when the tape wasn’t rolling.

Certainly there are many sessions that would have been great to be a fly on the wall for, and no doubt that with all of the ones that are racing through my mind right now, I am probably forgetting some that would have been the best.

I invite you to share who you would have liked to overhear in the studio when the microphones were off.

1959 – 50 Years Ago and Still the Best Year in Jazz

50 years ago certainly told some sad stories in jazz, including the death of Billie Holiday and Lester Young. But 1959 still appears to be the year that produced some of the most influential albums in jazz history. Here is a list of the best from 1959 (and thanks to Robin Lloyd for the list, and pointing out their similar anniversary).

1. Kind of Blue – Miles Davis

kind of blueThe most legendary album in jazz history easily takes the top spot on this list. The original album still sells 5,000 copies a week. A two-CD “Legacy Edition” version of this album was released celebrating the 50th anniversary, including alternate takes, false starts, and a 17-minute live version of So What.

2. Time Out – Dave Brubeck

time outThe album that left the 4/4 time signature behind, was the first jazz album to have a single (Take Five) that sold one million copies. Sony will release its own 50th Anniversary edition of Time Out this Tuesday, featuring three discs. Disc one will feature a newly remastered edition of the original. Disc two is a 30-minute DVD interview with Dave Brubeck talking about the making of Time Out, with never before seen footage, and Disc three is a compilation of recently discovered tapes at the Newport Jazz Festival from 1961, 1963, and 1964.

3. Giant Steps – John Coltrane

giant stepsAnother great album where every song became a jazz standard. The album features two different trios, with bassist Paul Chambers being the only member to participate in both. Constant chord changes and wonderful improvisation made this a classic.

4. Mingus Ah Um – Charles Mingus

mingusAs mentioned earlier, the great Lester Young died in 1959, and Mingus Ah Um is highlighted with a wonderful tribute to Young called Good Bye Pork Pie Hat. Columbia has also released a two disc “Legacy Edition” of this album this year, featuring unedited versions of tunes that were shortened for the original version, as well as some great outtakes.

5. The Shape of Jazz to Come – Ornette Coleman

shape of jazzReleased exactly 50 years ago last Friday, The Shape of Jazz to Come basically said “forget about the rules, just let me play”. That might sound sloppy (the description, not the music), but Coleman might have just looked at things differently than those before him. He always heard a melody, and managed to create great jazz with freedom that didn’t sound chaotic.