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Jazz Articles


John Coltrane: Coltrane And Crescent—Shadows And Light

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Visual art is a play of shadow and light, and contrast makes the forms visible. In the best jazz music, there is a kind of inner light that emanates from the musicians, the light of creative impulse, the light of spontaneous artistic expression. Some jazz musicians--too many--cast their own shadows of addiction and self-destructiveness. But often--too often--new directions and developments in jazz are shadowed not by the musicians themselves, but by their detractors. A series of Impulse albums ...


John Coltrane: My Favorite Things (Not Including “My Favorite Things”)

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John Coltrane died on July 17, 1967 at the age of forty. Had he lived, he would have turned 90 on September 23rd of this year. When one considers the profound effect he had--not just on jazz, but on music as a whole--in the brief two decades of his career, it's not only daunting, but depressing, to try and imagine what he might have done with four or five more. Initially a gifted Hard Bop player, his own musical and ...


John Coltrane: The Atlantic Years in Mono

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Much has been made lately in audiophile circles about whether mono or stereo versions of vintage back catalog items best represent the truest form of the music. Of course, back before stereo was widely accepted and available to most consumers, monophonic was the only way to go. Stereo allowed for more choices in placement of the individual instruments, although some engineers were more skilled at such mixing than others. Still, mono often seems to present the music with a wider ...


John Coltrane: Meditations

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One man's meditation can be a migraine to another. By the early '60's, John Coltrane found himself moving ever further away from traditional forms of musical expression, and into what could be described as uncharted territory, even for jazz. So much so that the saxophonist's influence and ability to break down barriers not only within his own relatively elite circle extended itself into the ever growing rock fraternity, to the extent that bands such as The Byrds and Santana cited ...


John Coltrane: Interstellar Space

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As the '60s dawned it would seem that John Coltrane was determined to permanently turn his back on being an accessible artist. Often considered as one of his most influential works, Interstellar Space is certainly not for everyone. Fans of My Favorite Things and Blue Train may struggle with its seemingly random and “multidirectional" explorations. Also, those who might be expecting this half solar system suite to be based on Gustav Holst's The Planets will be sorely disappointed. Because Coltrane's ...


Blue Note On Blu-Ray

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Jazz music is best appreciated with “big ears" and an open mind. Just as exposure to new music casts older, familiar works in a different light, newer formats can expand a listener's perspective on the strengths and limitations of the original recordings. SACDs, Blu-Ray discs and hi-res downloads accurately represent the affective details of jazz performance: the swish of brushes on a snare; the subtle inflections of a trumpet player's phrasing; the timbre that distinguishes one bassist's instrument--and ...


The Virtues of Jazz

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Any jazz aficionado knows the musical virtues of jazz, whether they are a musician, a jazz writer, or simply a committed jazz listener. In classical Western thought (that is, in the musings of cats like as Aristotle and Plato), a virtue is a kind of excellence in performance that flows from a settled habit. One who plays the flute as it ought to be played--the proper tone, pitch, and timing--displays a virtue or sharp skill in that musical instrument. One ...


Free Jazz / Black Power

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Free Jazz / Black Power Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli 256 Pages ISBN: ISBN 978-1-62846-039-1 University Press of Mississippi 2015 Forty four years after its publication in French, Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli's thought-provoking, fiercely intellectual book Free Jazz/Black Power finally finds its way into English, thanks to Grégory Pierrot's translation and the good folk at University Press of Mississippi. The four words of the title reference four histories that ...

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