I tend to gravitate to the sort of jazz that is intense, loud, thrashy, and virtuosic. Style is less important than emotional intensity and mental / physical energy. I typically default to any sort of jazz made in the 1950s or later. I especially enjoy really heavy funk, avant-garde jazz, free jazz, edgy fusion, and hard bop (Blue Note, etc.). I am particularly fond of European jazz for some strange reason.
I think the most interesting music is being made right nowthis is especially true for jazz. To me, the early 21st Century is like some weird Golden Age of Jazz. Aside from jazz, what styles of music do you enjoy?
I enjoy some aspects of pretty much all styles of music. But I still have very definite likes and dislikes within each style. I don't care at all for opera, soft rock, most contemporary dance music (house and garage and that sort of thing) or new age.
Currently I am listening to various sorts of metal, post-rock, funk, African music, dub reggae, and hip hop in addition to jazz.What are you listening to right now?
The last thing I listened tojust moments agowas Colors
by a prog-death-metal band called Between The Buried And Me. Amazing stuff. They write these labyrinthine compositions that burn through all sorts of styles and influences in a really creative and almost whimsical way. Almost like John Zorn
's "Naked City" but the transitions are less jarring. But they're incredibly heavy with all the howling guttural vocals and what not. Great band. Incredible drummer, too.
Just before that I was listeningwith considerable amazement, as usualto various tracks from each of the 4 albums by the Japanese band Tipographica. They were together in the mid- to late-1990s, and I consider them to be absolutely one of the greatest bands that ever existed. They were compared to Frank Zappa quite a bit, particularly Zappa's avant-garde instrumental stuff. And while their music is Zappa-influenced, there's so much more going on. Great compositions, incredibly rich and detailed arrangements, and the musicianship is unparalleled. They have a very unusual way of dealing with rhythmstheir music is multi-polyrhythmic and continually modulates between 3/4, 6/4 and 4/4 (plus other time sigs) and in different but related tempos. Againamazing, jaw-dropping drumming on all of their stuff.
Before that, while I was running at lunch time, my iPod got into the music of Mihaly Dresch Dudas, a Hungarian tenor saxophonist who richly deserves to be heard by more people. He fuses modern jazz and Hungarian folk musics in a particularly profound and affecting manner. I cannot hear enough of his music.
I've also been listening to the LPs I purchased at the Albuquerque Record Convention, which happened just last week. I did pretty well this year. Favorite finds include an eponymous LP by an Afro-jazz-rock group called "West African Cosmos," Root Down
by Jimmy Smith
, the first Funkadelic LP, The Right Touch
by Duke Pearson
, and a couple of Billy Harper
LPs whose titles escape me. Billy Harper always slays me.Which five recent releases would you recommend to readers who share your musical taste? Gamak
(ACT) and Samdhi
(ACT) both by saxophonist and composer Rudresh Maranthappa
I just saw his quartet perform live and they completely bowled me over. Planet Micro-Jam
by the guitarist from Maranthappa's band, David Fiuczynski
, is also a mind- boggling listen. Fuze's music seems to blend the most outside, avant-garde influences and the most crowd-pleasing aspects of rock and pop (and folk music) in a really original and personal way. He is an absolute giantpossibly the most innovative guitarist around today.The Race Riot Suite
(Kinnara) by The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
JFJO is one of the most underrated jazz bands around today! This is their heaviest and most nakedly emotional album, ever. It's the core quartet plus a dynamite horn section that includes Jeff Coffin
, Steven Bernstein
, and Peter Apfelbaum
. Killer!As The Sea
(Hat Art) by the Samuel Blaser
Quartetan honest-to-god modern jazz supergroup that has made two absolutely sublime recordings. Music like this is so hard to review because it's difficult to get its essence boiled down into words and sentences. If I were to write what I think, undiluted, about this CD, it wouldn't make much sense.
Finally, there's a great label from Seattle called Table and Chairs Music, and their releases have been knocking me absolutely out. Operation ID's debut album, titled Legs
, is my personal favorite of these recordingsa kaleidoscope of post-everything musical insanity and risk-taking. These are kids in their twentiesI can only imagine how great they'll be in a few years! What inspired you to write about jazz?
The ladies. I do it all for the ladies!