Friday, October 28, 2005

Inflicting funky pain on another generation

Brian Colmery at Sycamore is really brave. He has asked me to introduce him to the hip world of jazz, funk, and fusion.

In a related story, recent college graduates are looking to Bill Gates for style tips.

Brian doesn't quite understand listening to such high-minded music will neither help him make friends nor influence people. Prolonged exposure to such a culture will alter one's perception of music so drastically, you will find it difficult to respect anyone who owns any music purposefully recorded for a radio audience.

Since he asked, I'm going to go one step further into music geekiness. I'm going to avoid classic references to Miles Davis' recordings or any mini-Moog-related works. I'm going to go totally eclectic and pick stuff I think he'll relate to:

  • John Scofield, Uberjam and Up All Night. Sco has never released a bad recording. Shoot, he's never played a bad note. He's a genius guitarist, a jazz pioneer on par with Miles Davis, and he has an intuitive ability to find new, underappreciated talent to support him. These two discs are part of Sco's new breed funk that so influenced Medeski, Martin and Wood and the whole new Village scene. Innovative yet still imminently listenable from start to finish.

  • Incongito, Positivity. Tower of Power on a more personal blue note. Less jagged funk, more insatiable groove. Heavy, heavy bass lines. A little cheezy at times, but it still hits you in the gut. Further proof that funk bands should really pay someone else to write their lyrics.

  • Mike Stern, Play. Not as charismatic as Sco, but still equally talented. In fact, this guitarist's debut release features guest performances from Sco and Bill Frissel. Sco veteran drummer Dennis Chambers plays a few tracks. Fun to listen to, but equally valuable as background noise.

  • Sting, All This Time .... Sting probably would've been an accomplished upright bassist if nobody had ever invented yoga or the spikey haircut. This is one of the better live albums I've ever heard. Intimate setting allows for Sting's jazz arrangement skills to bleed through. Not funky per se, but it's one of those discs I can really enjoy in the car.

  • Chick Corea, Live at the Blue Note. If this would be your first introduction into traditional small group jazz, it would be like being introduced to pyrotechnics by witnessing a nuclear explosion at close distance. Chick, virtuoso John Patitucci on upright, and Vinnie Colaiuta simmering on the drums. Patty and Vinnie being born-again, they trump Chick's Scientology, although all three play at science fiction levels.

    That's it for now. I don't want to frighten the young man.
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