The Richard Davis Trio – Song for Wounded Knee (1973) [vinyl] – YouTube

The first tune is essentially “Blue Monk,” though it feels more like “A Blues for Monk.” This is a great album, featuring Davis with Jack DeJohnette and Joe Beck. Davis’s tone and intonation are spotless, and DeJohnette is at his spare-space best – never overwhelming. Beck is like a blues guitarist on a half-tab of acid, fluidly moving from the B.B. King mode to a shape-shifty jazz-ish thing. I love this album, even when it is straight up free improv. I’ll be listening to this one for a while. read more

Grant Green Idle Moments – YouTube

This is how laid back the guitar should feel. Grant Green is an under-sung performer, and this is his most classic album. Everything, no matter the form, comes across as the blues. Beautiful behind-the-beat accompaniment throughout, and really lush and touching compositions.

Musicians: Grant Green (Guitar, Main Performer), Al Harewood (Drums), Bob Cranshaw (Bass), Bobby Hutcherson (Vibraphone), Duke Pearson (Liner Notes, Piano), Joe Henderson (Sax Tenor).

Tracklist: 1. Idle Moments 00:00, 2. Jean De Fleur 15:00, 3. Jean De Fleur (Alternate Version) 21:50, 4. Django 30:01, 5. Django (Alternate Version) 38:47, 6. Nomad 52:01. read more

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 lines that sound like improvisation. 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.