John Coltrane-Crescent. One of the Thrascher guys produced this voluminous Trane discography in master class at camp, and I realized that, while almost nobody will ever own his entire output, my collection was still sorely lacking. This one got high marks from the guys, so I decided I needed to own it. As I told Halfling on Friday night when we were listening to it in the car, it sure has a lot of notes for an allegedly ballad-laden album. The coolest thing about Trane, though, is his sound, and this is a great example thereof. The presence of McCoy and Elvin doesn't hurt things, either.
Dizzy Gillespie-Sonny Side Up. Named after the two Sonnys on the session (Rollins and Stitt), this is a classic that I should have owned years ago. We analyzed the tenor duel on "The Eternal Triangle" in Riggs' jazz style class in grad school, and now I can enjoy the entire tune. There's also one of many versions of "On the Sunny Side of the Street" which features vocals, this time by Diz; Halfling and I joked that if TD/D does this tune (which we plan to do), any vocalization would have to go to Dingus (i.e. Dingus Singus...though he seemed to veto that idea).
Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt-Boss Tenors. More Stitt in different but still-esteemed company. It's ironic that the opening track of an album with this title features Stitt on alto, but whatever, it's great stuff and just goes to shore up the Stitt/Bird comparison. He's one of those players whose overall concept doesn't change much no matter which horn he's on. Most of the tunes are blues, and great examples thereof. As an educator, I tend to shy away from the blues scale because of its overuse by high-schoolers, but this recording is a great example of the tasteful use of bluesy figures. (UPDATE: I just read the liner notes and was amused to find out that they released the album "backwards" on the CD; in other words, the "Side 2" tunes come before the "Side 1" ones for no apparent reason...so the tune with alto was not in fact the original opening track.)
Charles Mingus-Mingus Ah Um. I got to hear the Mingus Big Band live a few years ago at SMU (for free, too, which inspired jealousy among many friends), but, embarrassingly, I hadn't really listened to too much of the original stuff. Dingus has been a champion of this music for a long time (yes, Dingus loves Mingus; there's a CD title in there, I think), and now I see why--this is amazing stuff. Some of it is quirky, some of it is pretty loose, but it still sounds fresh some 45 years after it was recorded. Halfling and Dingus and I are all trying to formulate the concept for TD/D, and this sound will certainly be an influence.
Oh, and when those CD's ran out this afternoon, I popped in my favorite Kenny Garrett CD, Songbook. In my opinion, it's the best recording of "the only Kenny with the last initial of G who should be allowed to play saxophone;" someday I'm gonna transcribe the whole thing.
Weird fashion fad of the week: Hats of Meat. Notice the "pork pie" offering; it goes nicely with the Mingus CD mentioned above, which includes the original recording of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat."
(via Dave Barry's Blog; as Dave himself might point out, "Hats of Meat" would also be an excellent name for a rock band)