Friday, 31 December 2010


Well. Just over half way through the Christmas holidays and I'm pretty much stuck in a groove. But a "groove" that I am all too happy to sit in.
Get up. Long slow breakfast while watching an old episode of Northern Exposure. Run. Coffee, cake and jazz. Watch crap on the telly. Read.....
And on and on it goes. Wonderful stuff.
Other than a wee trip the other day to stock up on fruit and veg we haven't been anywhere since Christmas day (other than out running).

The running is coming along.... slowly. Knee is still not 100% but it's much better than I had hoped it would be. Haven't gone over the ten mile mark in distance (yet) and I can't really push the pace much over about 7min/mile pace.
So. While I think I will go to the Portobello New Years Day race tomorrow it'll be more of a gesture than a serious effort.

Jazz wise, all is well right now. Managed to listen to each of my new albums a few times now. Couple of real finds in amongst Santa's bag this year...
"Old And New Dreams" - got two albums by this group. The two albums formed part of the five CD Charlie Haden box set. Made up of alumni of various Ornette Coleman groups this quartet, consisting of Haden, Don Cherry, Dewey Redman and Ed Blackwell bring a real sharp free-jazz edge to the tradition of acoustic quartets. Not easy listening - but rewarding. A sign that my tastes in jazz are widening. A few years ago I would have run a mile from any "free jazz" and, while I still find some of it daunting I do kinda "get it" now.
The other three CDs in the box show a much more laid back and melodic side to Haden; two in much more traditional acoustic trio settings (piano, bass and drums) and one where the trio is joined by Chet Baker in what was to prove to be his last ever recording session. The knowledge that this was Chet's last session adds poignancy for the listener (or at least - for this one). Baker's trumpet was always cool and mellow and here it's even more so. But it's the broken, off-key vocals to "My Funny Valentine" that make the listener aware of how badly his life style had affected him. That's the only vocal on the album (thankfully). The rest of the set is made up of a couple of originals and a couple of standards from the bop era that are rendered into late night ballads - the version of Round Midnight is one of the classiest I've heard in a long time.

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