|Long Playing, R. Tomens, 2014|
...Miles Davis reaches Number One - yes, in a poll from listeners of BBC Radio and Jazz FM (the latter having stopped being a proper Jazz station since, um, Day One, I think) - so a respected bunch of voters, eh? Maybe. Where was I when the BBC were asking? Anyway, His dominance got me thinking 'Why?', which lead me to muse that it wasn't his electro-psychedelic-free-funk that won him so much love, more likely Kind Of Blue, which everyone loves, yes, everyone, which is good but...
...I wish his electronic era would get the respect it deserves as an ear-shattering, mind-blowing, peerless example of live-evil-magical-music extrordinaire - yes! It is. You know it, but do they? Sorry, promise not to go on about my favourite passage of music by anyone. There's Bitches Brew, of course, but the 'live' material before and after up to '75 is something that I keep returning to and, vainly, trying to 'understand', as if within lies the Meaning of Life, the universe and everything...
...I think he got where he did in the poll through Kind Of Blue, the Cool, Bop and to some extent, his modal E.S.P band. But that's just me, musing on the motives of voters. Which is stupid. Louis Armstrong at 2 (pop-pickers) is no surprise, other than the fact that he's not Number One. Ellington is rightly up there. Coltrane above Charlie Parker? Ella above Charlie Parker? That's the Jazz FM vote right there, ditto Billie Holiday's ranking. The inclusion of two great vocalists reflects a mass fan base for The Song, rather than, say, the compositional/playing craft of Charlie Mingus or the pioneering individual genius of Ornette Coleman. Here's the Ten anyway...
...are they burying Jazz? Stop! It's not dead, it just smells funny (Frank Zappa). It's the cover to All that is solid melts into air by Kurws - who? Yes, quite, they were unknown to me until a couple of hours ago when I was sent the album, which came out to deafening silence, probably, but that's the world's loss because it's a cracking record, a cracked record, even; a blast of Punk Jazz, Jazz-Not-Jazz, or whatever The Lounge Lizards got called. They're debut from from '81 seems like a spark for Kurws, that and James Chance...the spirit of all that No Wave NY Jazz blasts out of this, with Oskar Carls' tenor and Hubert Kostkiewicz' guitar leading the line - charge! Bury the mouldy old figs! This is fun, frisky, spiky, spunky, mad and inventive. I particularly like the conversation between sax and synth on There was no wheel in the Inca empire. Colossus with feet of clay is choice too with it's free-range piano.