Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Golden Anniversary of a Golden Year

Aside from fusion, I'm not much of a jazz guy, to tell the truth, but even I have to acknowledge that 1959 was a pretty damn good year. Consider:

That year, everything seemed to work — for Brubeck's quartet, and for four of his peers, who among them recorded six of the most popular and/or groundbreaking albums in jazz history. The 50th anniversary of that revered output — Brubeck's Time Out,Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain, Charles Mingus' Mingus Ah Um, John Coltrane's Giant Steps and Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come— is being celebrated today with special-edition album reissues, tribute concerts, books, blog postings and scholarly lectures.
Of those, I'm only really familiar with Time Out and Kind of Blue. I've never warmed to the Miles disc, but the Brubeck is more up my alley. Maybe this is why:
'It's wonderful because we were making an experimental album,' Brubeck says of his quartet, which included saxophonist Paul Desmond, bassist Eugene Wright and drummer Joe Morello. 'I didn't talk to anybody at Columbia because I knew they'd be against it. And they were.'

Brubeck says he was breaking three unwritten laws on Columbia recordings: Time Out was to consist of all original material, with no standards; none of the pieces were danceable; and there would be a painting on the cover.
No covers, no dancing, and cool artwork. Sounds good to me!

Maia sez: It all sounds like cats screeching to me. And I don't like cats!

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