Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Full Album) – YouTube

This is some deep blues couched in some very sophisticated forms and counterpoint lines. The bari sax, in particular, cries while the low brass moans through their mutes and the rhythm section churns underneath. I would love to see the scores for this album, especially the first tune. I’d like to see how the bitonal moments are scored out. The counterpoint is at times so dense it feels improvised, but several horns playing the same polyphonic lines? Genius, really – Mingus is able to compose improvisation. This is why I am so reticent to point out how much of a Euro-style composer he was; bringing that discourse into a discussion of his music invariably turns into a Gunther Schuller-like backhanded compliment. Mingus was a great composer no matter where he got his technique or earned his craft. No matter where ge got it all together, the blues always come through and overwhelm. read more

John Coltrane – Invitation – YouTube

This is such a beautiful ballad, and Coltrane wrings all of the pretty emotional content out of it. Even a couple of choruses into his solo you can still hear the melody within his trademark “sheets of sound” aesthetic. I’ve recently been learning a chord-solo version of this tune that hits on a lot of Coltrane’s melodic sense of the tune. What I would like to do at some points is to cop some ideas from Coltrane, especially the melodic minor and whole tone sounds he uses to such beautiful effect. Such a great recording read more

Joe Pass & Ella Fitzgerald – Duets in Hannover 1975 – YouTube

The duet starts at c.27:19 in this video, but the previous part is all solo guitar. Joe Pass was an undisputed master of fingerstyle solo guitar, and his accompaniment with Fitzgerald is extremely tasty. And of course, Fitzgerald’s voice is clearly the voice of love. This is a spectacular duo.

JOHN COLTRANE Alabama – YouTube

This is a heartbreaking blues written for the girls who were killed in the Birmingham, AL church bombing in 1964. I really hate the word plaintive, but I think that best describes Coltrane’s playing and tone on this composition. McCoy Tyner’s playing is also near perfect, hitting the II-V cadences just so, floating just behind the beat. This is definitely high on my list of all time favorites.

Sun Ra All Stars and the Sun Ra Arkestra with Archie Shepp Berlin 10/291983 – YouTube

This is a fascinating performance. Sun Ra with Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Archie Shepp, Don Cherry, Philly Jo Jones, and most of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. This is textural free jazz. When Sun Ra’s piano comes in it’s thrilling. What a fantastic free piano player. I love this.