Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Musical Interlude and Promo

There is no doubt that Btiches Brew is one of the most influential albums ever recorded. Love it or hate it, understand it, or shake your head unknowingly at it, it is difficult to deny there is power there. Three of the musicians on the album went on very different paths, although it is obvious they took lessons from Miles' insistent experimentation. John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and Joe Zawinul's Weather Report both followed the lead Miles set forth, yet one can hardly imagine more different results.

McLaughlin'a band sounds much more like prog rockers than jazz musicians, but all but the violinist were veterans of a variety of sound outfits, including Cannonbal Adderley, before creating some of the most amazing jazz/rock sounds ever. Their Birds of Fire should be listened to at high volume.

Weather Report, founded by Zawinul, and included another veteran of Miles Davis mid-60's quintet, Wayne Shorter on saxophone, produced slick, accessible, song-based jazz, highly rhythmic and infectious, with one song, "Birdland" off Heavy Weather becoming something of a radio hit. While never giving away credibility and musical integrity, Weather Report provided a good example of how electric jazz could be both melodic and soulful, producing songs that are easily on a par with anything more acoustic bands could offer.

After settling down with Davis' landmark album - I submit, in my own opinion it fails as often as it succeeds, but its failures are spectacular (a bass clarinetist and and electric guitarist!), and its successes are indeed sublime - give a listen to the two above mentioned albums. Better yet, buy them as gifts for a loved one who prizes good music. They'll be glad you did.

Virtual Tin Cup

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