Herbie Hancock’s fusion stuff is the natural step from Bitches Brew. Get up with it is a little bit in a league if it’s own.
Agree with mfadio, Herbie Hancock is the natural progression. Also try:
Woody Shaw “Blackstone Legacy”
Freddie Hubbard “Red Clay”
Honestly, haven’t listened to this in 20 years. (Still good)
New book club is gonna have me posting in here a lot!
I’m going to apologize up front because as I begin my journey through jazz, I’m probably going to do the equivalent of posting in a Rock Music thread that I just discovered this band called Led Zeppelin. But hey, everyone has to discover Led Zeppelin (or in my case Miles Davis) at some point.
I decided to randomly select some early Miles Davis this morning, to see if I only like his electric stuff. I chose Bags’ Groove, kicked it off as background listening so I could start the book club book, and then couldn’t focus on the book. I’m in the middle of “Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet” right now, with a similar reaction.
At this point, I think I may as well go chronologically and see how he evolves over time. And I should find the Miles Davis chapters in the book to learn a bit more.
This is so much fun.
No doubt Miles Davis is the jazz equivalent of Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd, but it’s still beautiful to see someone new discovering this thing we all love.
With Miles, the Cookin/Steamin/Workin/Relaxin with Miles Davis Qintet is a good place to start, though the recordings are mono so they don’t quite have that modern audiophile appeal. From there, Birth of the Cool is a standard, followed by the magnus opus “Kind of Blue”. Sorcerer, Milestones, In A Silent Way, Someday My Prince Will Come, & Miles Smiles are all must listens in his earlier modal post-bop style. Once you get to the fusion stuff like Bitches Brew and Miles In the Sky, things get very hit or miss throughout the 70s and then pretty much go downhill from there.
What he said, but add in this live set.
It was released as two separate albums, “Four and More” & “My Funny Valentine” and is way better as a show.
Perhaps of interest here:
A bit further off the beaten track, Weather Report’s Sweetnighter, Mysterious Traveler, Black Market, Heavy Weather all are solidly in that fusion sound. Their earlier albums are more eclectic, and I don’t know what to make of their later ones - personnel changes make it seem like a different band.
I wrote this before working my way to the end of the thread. I see Hancock’s been pointed out several times. So you REALLY should look into Weather Report.
Another group to look at might be Flim and the BB’s. All very well recorded on DMP. Triangle made a big hit, New Pants is also cool. Perhaps a bit less electric than Herbie and mid-career Weather Report, but it boogies along very well, often with some surprising improvisations and always expert musicianship.
Thanks for the recommendations. I decided to listen to Herbie Hancock in chronological order, and haven’t reached his fusion albums yet. Really enjoying Takin Off and Inventions & Dimensions so far.
Tried a few tracks from a few Weather Report albums this morning, and haven’t listened enough to know what I like or dislike. It’s interesting how their sound changed over time. I started with a few tracks from their first album, which was eclectic, as you say, but seemed close in spirit to Miles Davis’ similarly eclectic “Get Up With It”. Switching to “Heavy Weather” was a little bit of a shock, because this album seemed like smooth jazz in comparison to their first, and not my cup of tea, but on the other hand, I probably shouldn’t have gone from their first album directly to their seventh. Going back to “Sweetnighter” was a little more enjoyable.
Similar to my tactic with Hancock, I’ll start again with Weather Report’s first, and go chronologically, so that I can follow their evolution, and maybe I’ll enjoy “Heavy Weather” (which I think is a landmark jazz fusion album?) a little more when I get to it again.
Also, throw in the Cannonball Adderley album called Somethin Else which has Miles as a sideman in his prime. Has Art Blakey on drums also which is another person that has a great chunk of great albums mixed with wonderful musicians. Somethin Else is Easily a top ten jazz album in my eyes and goes hand in hand with Kind of Blue as it was done the year before.
Good to hear that you’re exploring Weather Report. Sweetnighter is one of my favorites - listened to it today as it was top of mind after posting here. I Sing the Body Electric was their first, and was Downbeat’s jazz album of the year when it came out.
One of my favorite jazz albums is Maiden Voyage!
I’ll heartily second these recommendations. Somethin Else is probably a top-five jazz favorite for me right now (I use Autumn Leaves as one of my test tracks).
Some Blakey recommendations beyond Moanin’ include Mosaic and the two volumes of At The Jazz Corner Of The World.
One great way to explore and discover jazz albums and musicians is to keep an eye out for the performers on the albums you like, especially at such incredibly rich moments in jazz like the late 50s and early 60s when there were so many talented musicians all performing together and in various shifting bands. There were any number of all-star groups at that moment. This article is worth checking out:
As that article recommends, it’s fun tracing the connections. Miles Davis and his Quintet can lead you to John Coltrane ('Round About Midnight, Milestones) as well as to Cannonball Adderley (Kind of Blue, Milestones) and to Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter (Miles Smiles, Nefertiti).
Coltrane can lead you to Lee Morgan (Blue Train).
Adderley can lead you to Art Blakey who can lead you to Lee Morgan and Wayne Shorter and Hank Mobley (At the Jazz Corner of the World).
Hancock can lead you to Freddie Hubbard (Maiden Voyage) who can lead you to Wayne Shorter (Ready for Freddie, Speak No Evil) who, in turn, leads you back to Hancock (Speak No Evil).
Hank Mobley leads back to Blakey and Hubbard (Soul Station, Roll Call).
I tend to get confused about who’s on which album!
But you missed Tony Williams.
Yes, and I also left out Paul Chambers, for shame. He shouldn’t be neglected. But I didn’t want to prattle on too much in that last post. Chambers was almost ubiquitous in those years, seemingly playing on every major, groundbreaking release.
What you call “prattling on” is a treasure trove of information and is much appreciated.
Are you reading the book club book? We encourage as much prattling on as possible.
I was really just poking fun. Your post was superb.
I’d love to but am reluctant to commit for the simple reason that I let everyone down with my silence in The Rest is Noise book club (especially after I signed up so enthusiastically). For that, I’m very sorry.
I’d fully intended to be active in that thread. But the timing wasn’t right. The majority of my work in real life has to do with the world of non-fiction books, and I was wrapping up a long-term project in the summer. I was burnt out and not in the right frame of mind for yet more non-fiction reading in my time off from work. That said, I’m looking forward to reading The Rest is Noise and following your posts, and I may give the new book a whirl, it also looks great!
This took me directly to The Blues and the Abstract Truth.
the jazz book we are reading might be more approachable for you. It is standalone essays (columns?). the rest is noise is harder to jump in and out of, but the Giddins is almost perfect toilet tank reading.