Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Fate Of Jazz In Fopp...Piero Umiliani Puts Me In A Pleasant Mood

Surveying the racks of Jazz CDs in Fopp this morning I thought: ‘Well, it’s over’, because there they were, Blue Note albums, literally cheapened, yet seemingly unwanted – it felt that way. It’s my guess that everyone in London who wanted cut-price Cool has already bagged the best. £3 stickers on some classic recordings almost seems obscene, now that I’ve got mine. I’m grateful to Fopp, though, for giving me the chance to re-purchase albums that I was forced to sell long ago. It was that or no more truffles to mix with my eggs when I was on the dole. Funny, how that handsome artwork on the sleeves was shrunk to CD-size and finally nothing in file form. Funny, and tragic somehow.

   I could have spent longer in town but to paraphrase GSH (RIP), home is where the hard drive is, so I’m back inside, glued to the screen, listening to an album of Sun Ra tunes remixed by some DJ who’s name escapes me, wondering ‘What’s the point?’ I gave it a shot, optimistically hoping for a brave new take on Blount, but all I’m getting is stuff like ‘Fate In A Pleasant Mood’ renamed as ‘In A Pleasant Mood’, which amounts to Ra’s piano melody ‘updated’ with a basic beat – UGH!
   Now I’m not in a pleasant mood, so I switch to the ‘Italian Movies’ LP featuring Chet Baker playing tunes written and arranged by Piero Umiliani. I may as well confess, though, that Chet’s not one of my favourite players, despite his finely-chiselled physog and rightful ownership of the label ‘Coolest Cat In Town’. But here, backed by an octet, big band and strings, he sounds magnificent, or rather, the totality of the sound is magnificent, from the uber-cool of ‘Smog’ to the peppy (preppy?) ‘Motorizzazione’ – yes! (Trilby) hats off to Piero and the man with the horn for putting me in a pleasant mood.

Listen hear.

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