Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Free For All (1964)

Incredibly high energy level. Free For All is composed by Wayne Shorter and appears on the album Free For All, recorded in Van Gelder Studio in February 1964. Yay!

Shorter’s title track is one of the finest moments in the Jazz Messengers’ history. [source]

Lineup: Art Blakey – drums / Cedar Walton – piano / Wayne Shorter – tenor saxophone / Freddie Hubbard – trumpet / Curtis Fuller – trombone / Reggie Workman – bass

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John Coltrane – Consequences (1965)

Consequenses comes after Love on Coltranes fabulous album Meditations, recorded in Van Gelder Studio the 23rd of November 1965.

The year 1965 was a turning point in the life of John Coltrane. It was at this point that he crossed the line into the free jazz arena that he had been approaching since the early ’60s. Besides his landmark Ascension, no album better illustrates this than the awe-inspiring Meditations. [source]

If one expects music to be “pretty,” go buy some Kenny G. But surely Coltrane knew that Meditations and the other recordings he made during this period were anything but pretty. He was trying to do something else with music: to reach and touch and communicate human emotions, human conditions, of more importance, depth, and lasting significance than prettiness. Especially in his “late period,” he thought that his music meant something: he thought it performed a function that mattered. Of course, this sort of thing was in the air. Archie Shepp was lecturing in Down Beat, everyone was recording music about freedom, and it was hard not to have contempt for music that didn’t try to matter. [source]

All songs written by John Coltrane.

  1. “The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost” – 12:51
  2. “Compassion” – 6:50
  3. “Love” – 8:09
  4. “Consequences” – 9:11
  5. “Serenity” – 3:28

John Coltrane – tenor saxophone / Pharoah Sanders – tenor saxophone / McCoy Tyner – piano / Jimmy Garrison – double bass / Elvin Jones – drums / Rashied Ali – drums

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Bud Powell – Un Poco Loco (1949)

Un Poco Loco [Alternate Take No. 2] (English translation: “A Little Crazy”) is recorded on May the 1st, 1951 and appears on the album The Amazing Bud Powell, Volume 1 from 1955.

While the song “Un Poco Loco” has been identified as musically outstanding, it has also been discussed as culturally significant. According to Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop, although Afro-Cuban jazz had been introduced in the 1940s by such artists as Dizzy Gillespie and Machito, “Un Poco Loco” is a significant marker in the establishment of this musical genre, as it revealed “the Afro-Cuban turn settling into bebop’s acceptable field of rhetorical conventions”.  More than Afro-Cuban, the authors of that book detect what they describe as a “Pan-African” musical influence in the composition’s repetition, harmony and cyclic solo that, while not as obviously Afro-international as Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia’, “certainly signaled a ‘blackness’ that became part of the language of subsequent expressions of modern jazz.” The book Jazz 101 indicates that Powell’s performances of this material in 1951 was “all the more astonishing” in its “level of creativity, and even authenticity” because little was known at the time of African music or how Latin music (aside from the Cuban influence) could be applied to jazz. According to Yanow, in Afro-Cuban Jazz: The Essential Listening Companion, this composition was Powell’s only involvement with Afro-Cuban Jazz. [source]

Personnel:  Bud Powell – Piano / Curley Russell – Double Bass / Max Roach – Drums

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Roland Kirk Quartet featuring Elvin Jones – Rip, Rig and Panic (1965)

Title track from the album Rip, Rig & Panic by The Roland Kirk Quartet, Featuring Elvin Jones.

The title of the album was explained by Kirk in the liner notes as follows: “Rip means Rip Van Winkle (or Rest in Peace?); it’s the way people, even musicians are. They’re asleep. Rig means like rigor mortis. That’s where a lot of peoples mind are. When they hear me doing things they didn’t think I could do they panic in their minds”. Kirk made a lot of references to pioneers of jazz. “No Tonic Pres” is a reference to Lester Young; “From Bechet, Byas, and Fats” is a homage to Sidney Bechet, Don Byas, and Fats Waller; and “Once in a While” was inspired by Clifford Brown. Kirk also mentioned the work of Edgar Varese, the compositions Poeme electronique and Ionisation, as inspiration for the album. [source]

Roland Kirk – Tenor Saxophone, Stritch, Manzello, Flute, Siren, Oboe, Castanets / Jaki Byard – Piano / Richard Davis – Bass / Elvin Jones – Drums

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Miles Davis – You’re My Everything (1954)

Second track on the album Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet, recorded in 1956 in Van Gelder Studio.

Tracks such as “You’re My Everything” and “Oleo” highlight the synchronic nature of Davis and Coltrane as they carry each other’s melodies while trading off solos. The steady syncopation of Philly Joe Jones keeps the rhythms tight and the delicate interplay all the more conspicuous. [source]

Miles Davis – Trumpet
John Coltrane – Tenor Sax
Red Garland – Piano
Paul Chambers – Bass
Philly Joe Jones – Drums

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[Dedicated Janne Skakon & Jens Kruse, with the best wishes for a long and happy marriage]