Wednesday, 14 July 2010


I don't know what affects my listening moods or habits. Maybe it's lay lines or "biorhythms" or some other such new age, hippy clap trap. Whatever it is it's taken me down a pretty old fashioned road this week.
In reality I think I'm still pretty high after seeing Stan Tracey the other week. And something I read that Stan had said has obviously struck a chord.
I forget the exact quote (and I'm buggered if I can find it!), but he commented on the "growth" of modern piano led jazz trios. How technically proficient they all, undoubtedly, were - but they just didn't get his toe tappin'....
And I suppose that's true to an extent. All your ESTs, your Curios, your Neil Cowleys and Tord Gustavsens are fantastic - but their music is very complex, structured and layered. Sometimes all you need or want is a happy wee tune! That isn't a criticism of them, and I don't think Stan was criticising either, it was more a comment that there are very few piano led jazz bands now who just play traditional jazz tunes ... really well.
So. I've been listening to a couple of the old un's.. George Shearing, Stan Tracey (obviously), Errol Garner and Oscar Peterson. Not all trios - but all in small combo settings.
Yesterday to augment my meager collection of Peterson's work I got "We Get Requests" the last trio recording he did for the Verve label (well, last for the Verve label - full stop). An album of jazz versions of hits of the day (1964) and well know covers, it's a sort of "ubber-cocktail lounge" record. Really mellow and soothing but never overstepping the mark into cheesy.
There's a version of "The Girl From Ipanema" on it that I love... which is surprising because I usually hate that tune - it's become a byword for "muzak" over the years.

Another one I've listened to a few times is not a piano led combo as such - no this is an "organ" led combo. Bill Doggett "Dame Dreaming". Organ, sax, guitar and drums - a fairly unusual quartet combo.
And this is cheesy. It's cheesier than a ripe Camembert!
Each tune is a girls name. So we have tracks like "Sweet Lorraine", "Nancy" and "Laura" which is a well established jazz standard (my all time favourite being the Parker with strings version). Not a great record - but not a bad one as such. It's just that I can't really get into organ jazz (even Jimmy Smith). "Organ" jazz compared to real "piano" jazz is like "synth" pop compared to guitar pop - it just lacks feeling and intimacy. It comes across as "machine made".
Nice cheesy sleeve though..

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