Results for free jazz

specials

Rock Fan's Guide to Jazz

Charles Mingus If you've had trouble getting into jazz, you are not alone – even Jim and Greg took a while to figure it out. Jazz is an iconic product of the African-American experience, but there are a variety of barriers of entry that rock listeners often have to overcome. To begin with, jazz has existed for twice as long as rock, meaning that there's an intimidating ocean of music to navigate. That's why we've enlisted the help of jazz writer and curator John Corbett to create the Rock Fan's Guide to Jazz. John refutes the notion that jazz is“fuddy-duddy”music from a bygone era. Instead, it's an exhilarating, joyful genre that continues to develop today.

There are many potential entry points to jazz that share certain sensibilities with rock music. The hard bop stylings of Sonny Rollins, for example, have a sense of forward propulsion familiar to rock fans. Even though some listeners think of swing as polite, genteel music, John can cite examples of Duke Ellington recordings that have the verve of any good rock guitar solo. Rock and jazz intersect in a very real sense in the jazz-fusion records of Miles Davis in the late 1960s. And bands from The Velvet Underground to Sonic Youth have drawn inspiration from the boundary-pushing free jazz of Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler. But jazz is really best appreciated live, so fortunately there are many exciting young jazz artists performing today who exhibit a punk rock sensibility.

Go to episode 491

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead celebrated its 50th anniversary in July with a series of farewell shows at Soldier Field in Chicago. We're using that as an opportunity to reexamine the legacy of the controversial band. The Dead formed in the Bay Area in the 1960s and featured a core membership of guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, keyboardist Ron“Pigpen”McKernan, bassist Phil Lesh, drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, with important contributions from lyricist Robert Hunter. Though it was the prototypical "jam band," The Dead's sound was much more eclectic and harder to pin down than that sometimes derisive term indicates, incorporating free jazz, psychedelia, bluegrass, blues, early rock ‘n’ roll, and more.

The Dead built a community of devoted fans who would travel with the band from town to town, some of whom would tape the performances and share the recordings, which the band encouraged. Though Deadheads contend the true essence of the band was experienced in its experimental live shows, Jim has little patience for the erratic performances and instead prefers the band's early studio recordings. Greg argues that The Dead was a consistently great live band during its peak in the '70s, before drugs took their toll and the surprise 1987 chart hit "Touch of Grey" altered the fanbase. Garcia, who died in 1995, was an irreplaceable musical genius, and the band leaves behind a legacy of experimentation, eclecticism, and an unparalleled musical community.

Go to episode 505
reviews
Sweet Heart Sweet LightSweet Heart Sweet Light available on iTunes

Spiritualized Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Jason Pierce, the force behind Spiritualized, isn't shy about returning to his inspirations, album after album. There's the noise/melody combo of the Velvet Underground, German art rock, gospel music and free jazz. But melding those elements together well is no small feat. He does it again on Sweet Heart Sweet Light, which Greg says is good, but only 2nd tier. He‘d refer listeners back to 1997’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. The new one is just a Burn It. Jim is forced to bite his tongue when he hears this, as he sees Sweet Heart Sweet Light as Spiritualized's most optimistic album to date. Pierce has battled a lot of pain and fought liver disease, and the musical result is a masterpiece. Jim says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 334
dijs

Jim

“Starship”MC5,Sun Ra

There's no better desert island track for the Rock Fan's Guide to Jazz than "Starship" by MC5.“Starship”comes from the band's debut album Kick Out the Jams and showcases its musical influences. The perfect merger between the two genres, the godfathers of punk took a poem by jazz icon Sun Ra and turned it into a song. This eight minute long track exemplifies a wild free jazz experience where the band is leaving the earth and the stage. For Jim and many others, MC5 was a gateway for rock fans to jazz. Do you have a question, comment or suggestion? Contact us here.

Go to episode 491

Jim

“East-West”The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

We really do read your letters! After we first aired our interview with Jac Holzman, a listener wrote in saying he'd like to hear more about Paul Butterfield. So in response, Jim drops a track by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band into the Desert Island Jukebox. In 1966, on an album of the same name, the group recorded the song "East-West" written by guitarist/composer Mike Bloomfield. Bloomfield was influenced by blues, psychedelia, free jazz and Indian raga music. This track in turninfluenced everyone from the Grateful Dead to Joe Boyd. It's a landmark in rock, and it's goin' with Jim to the island. Gotta question, comment or suggestion? Contact us here.

Go to episode 486

Jim

“East-West”The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

We really do read your letters! Last week a listener commented on our interview with Jac Holzman, saying he'd like to hear more about Paul Butterfield. So this week Jim drops a track by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band into the Desert Island Jukebox. In 1966, on an album of the same name, the group recorded the song "East-West" written by guitarist/composer Mike Bloomfield. Bloomfield was influenced by blues, psychedelia, free jazz and Indian raga music. This track in turn influenced everyone from the Grateful Dead to Joe Boyd. It's a landmark in rock, and it's goin' with Jim to the island.

Go to episode 276
news

Music News

Jim and Greg kick off the show by celebrating the life of another great artist: saxophonist and free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman, dead at the age of 85. While critics sometimes loosely toss around phrases about musicians changing music, in this case, it is an undisputed truth. Coleman forever set jazz on an entirely new path, with an influence spreading into the world of rock, as well. Artists like Patti Smith, The Velvet Underground, and Sonic Youth all stood in the shadow of Coleman's innovations. He developed a musical philosophy he called "harmolodics," which set aside the traditional approach of adhering to chord changes and instead created intricately layered melodies that favored each instrument equally. Though sometimes dismissed as dissonant noise, Greg contends that Coleman had one of the greatest ears for melody in music. As an example of Ornette's unique approach to ensemble playing, Greg plays "Jump Street" from Ornette Coleman's 1979 album Of Human Feelings.

Go to episode 499