Free Jazz

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by Velkov, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. Velkov


    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    How do you listen to Free Jazz? (The Ornette Coleman album) I've owned it for about 9 months and I haven't been able to get too much enjoyment out of it. The Shape Of Jazz To Come grew on me in about a month. This one is not going anywhere. What am I doing wrong? Do I need something specific? Spirits? Substances? :D
  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Naw, man, we're allowed to have individual likes and dislikes.
  3. Velkov


    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    Actually, using some heavy EQing to cut some of the edge off of Eric Dolphy's high notes does make a difference. Of course now Freddie Hubbard sounds weird but overall the album is more listenable...

    And interestingly enough I find that Ornette Coleman is the most melodic out of the whole bunch. :eek:
  4. I'll tell you one thing....It's a hell of alot more fun to play than it is to listen to.

    s this the double quartet with Scotty and Charlie?
    The basses part is the only part I can get anything out of. I enjoy looking at Jackson Pollack's cover art. I love the way Charlie sets up Scotties solo! I don't own the album anymore, but i'd like to find somebody who does and just lift off the Bass solos.
  5. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    I love Ornette, but don't particularly like this album either. Change of the Century is highly reccomended if you like the shape of Jazz to Come.
  6. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    good point Paul, I've always felt that Free Jazz was/is a medium that is best experienced live or even better by actually taking part.

    This style of music loses IME much of its vitality when captured on tape.

    And speaking of two bassist I have been listening to Archie Shepp live in SF and on one of his spoken word pieces he has two bassists playing.
  7. Velkov


    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    Ok, I can see how it would be a lot more fun to watch or play that kind of music. I'm glad everybody agrees with me. Now I don't feel like I'm deaf or something...
  8. I've got a vinyl somewhere of Ornette's with Red Mitchell on bass. In fact one of the cuts has Shelley Manne on drums!
    Ornette had a few, well respected, name musicians with plenty clout on both coasts behind him. In fact Red was instrumental in getting Ornette a contract with ....was it Atlantic Records? John Lewis was also a fan of Ornettes. I think Ornette is a great musician...obviously. It's a big musical world with something for eveyone!
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I remember one year at Jazz Summerschool they ran classes on "Free Jazz". So - there was a group of Japanese tourists who were around that week and they were brought along to the nightly Jazz Club that ran as part of this, because they said they liked Jazz.

    So - I saw them walking into the club and they picked the moment when the Free Jazz class had got on the stage!!

    So they looked around - heard the godawful noise coming from this group and walked straight out agin - never to return!!

    Which was a shame as over 95% of the music that week, was pretty melodic and tuneful and probably exactly what they would have liked!! ;)
  10. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Fire in a pet shop.

  11. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Just had to add my favorite quote about Free Jazz. My friend Oscar, who is known here as the black Archie Bunker, is a huge fan of tenor sax and especially B3 organ. Needless to say, he is not a fan of free jazz. We were at a listening session listening to some Archie Shepp when Oscar came up with this gem:

    Free Jazz?!?! It ought to be free......

    Second favorite quote from him came when listening to some Eric Dolphy:

    Ehh, he was out to lunch when he made that one...

    I happen to love Shepp and Dolphy, but I still laugh at these two.

  12. Here in Denver, there's a legendary jazz club called "El Chapultapec" It's owned by a guy who is known for not getting things quite right, in terms of peoples names and more often certain jazz "in" phrases. Years ago I had a band in there with the great NY trumpet player Greg Gisbert, great pianist, Art Lande and my sweet, close friend the late, great drummer Bruno Carr. We pretty much pushed the "edge" every night, playing a lot "out side". One night the boss yells out across the room: " Knock it off you guys! I'm sick and tired of that out doors ****!"
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    There was a great program on WNYC recently about "Why Classically Music Has Become More Abstract Through the 20th Century" and there were interviews with people like Milton Babbitt who had some pretty insightful things to say. Mostly like - popular music has become so much simpler and legit music has become so complex that it is harder for a listener who has had no exposure (much less training) to contemporary avant garde classical (CAGC for short from now on, OK?) to actually HEAR what's going on. If you have no construct for what you are listening to, then it becomes a product of how much you hear can be "forced" into the boxes of what you CAN hear.

    The stretch from Bird to SHAPE OF JAZZ is not that big, really. Especially when you look at some of what Dolphy was doing over standard harmonies and form. But FREE JAZZ isn't based on that model at all. So you got to dig into it (if you feel like it, like SAM'L says, no music police coming around to take your axe away) almost as if you were playing, how does the big aural picture look/sound, be a little academic til your ear starts to catch up.

    I'm wit Paul though, kind of an in/out guy. Anytime I play in a free situation, I've got the same set of ears on the side of my head (well, sides of my head) that I do when I'm playing standards. So what you play should in participation with the aural environment you are in.

    Personally, being an in/out kind of guy, I really enjoy the possibilities opened by cats with non standard approaches, cause as soon as I get'em in my ear, I can use'm playing whatever I want.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Hi Ed - great to see you back!!

    What I find funny is how inexperienced Jazz players focus on "strangling" their instruments, grimacing and making as much noise as they can, whenever "Free Jazz" is mentioned!! ;)

    Whereas, I have heard my Jazz teachers making some incredibly quiet, beautiful and (coincidentally?) accessible music, in the context of "free" duos/trios - played at the drop of a hat, with no preconceptions.

    Guys who have been playing 30 or 40 years have huge amounts of music to get into these kind of things - lots to "say" that they don't get out in more restrictive settings.....but it often doesn't translate well to recordings, I know....
  15. Ed who?

    I have this weird attitude about Free Jazz playing. It's not my age this time either. In order for me to enjoy playing "out" with someone, they have to prove to me that they can play "In". I guess it's a "Right of Passage" to me. You've got to present your "Standards Credentials" to me in the form of being able to find your way around the "Standard American Jazz Vocabulary" before I can really take you seriously as a Free Player! Pretty weird huh? Just one of my quirks I guess.
  16. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    And that, folks, from a guy who (among other things) toured with Pharoah Saunders!
  17. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Remember we explained you there was this cat that was changing everyone's name, and also who'd rise hell in strongly opinionated posts ? That's him... Ed Fuqua, aka Foghorn. He's back !

    Paul: this is Ed, Ed: this is Paul.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think it's an interesting subject for discussion and it has come up many times on the Jazz Summer School that I have attended for the last 5 or 6 years - from what I've seen and heard, I think it is a good "proviso" ! ;)

    I know that I have many years to go yet before I'm anywhere near exausting my studies of the "Standard Jazz Vocabulary" - but I can see how my teachers are building on that and using it in their free playing , so that listening to them playing "out" is a rich and fulfilling experience - which I have no doubt, applies to your own musical situations!! ;)

  19. MY GOD man ..I was kidding!!! :rolleyes:
  20. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Alright, we all have good fun then ! :D :meh: