18 oct. 2005

Here are a few of my favorite small jazz groups, in no particular order. My choices aren't particularly original, I'm afraid. I'm thinking of groups that were real groups, not just people who got together just to record. These are not just collections of musicians, but organic units.

Miles Davis Quintet of the 1950s with Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe.

Miles Davis Quintet of the 1960s with Shorter, Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams.

Other permutations of Miles Davis groups with Cannonball Adderly, Bill Evans, Jimmy Cobb.

John Coltrane Quartet with Tyner and Elvin Jones. Various bass players but mostly Jimmy Garrison. Add Eric Dolphy to the group too.

Ornette Coleman Quartets with Cherry, Billy HIggins, Haden. (and other permuations with LaFaro and Blackwell).

Clifford Brown/Max Roach groups with Harold Land on tenor, Richie Cole on piano.

Early Art Blakey groups with Clifford Brown.

Parker, Dizzy, with Max Roach and various piano and bass.

Mingus groups with Danny Richmond on drums, Jackie Byard, and Dolphy. Various other players like Booker Little on trumpet.

Monk with Sonny Rollins, Max Roach.

Early Monk with Art Blakey.

4 comentarios:

David Leftwich dijo...

I can't argue with a single group you selected. I'd add Bill Evans, with Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums. More recently, I think Greg Osby's late 90's early 00's groups with Jason Moran are darn good. As are Matthew Shipp's groups with William Parker on Shipp's excellent Blue Series albums.

I noticed several mentions of Dolphy -- God, was he good -- almost any recording with him is worth listening too.

The problem with jazz groups is there was a period of time, I?d say from between ?45 and ?70, when the musicians and the music were so good that they could play on several different dates creating an amazing organic ?whole.? Specifically, I?m thinking of Blue Note, but it expanded beyond that label, where say Joe Henderson and Ron Carter, along with Elvin Jones, play on Tyner?s classic ?The Real McCoy.? And Tyner plays on Henderson?s ?Page One?. And Tyner and Henderson both appear on Bobby Hutcherson?s ?Stick-Up.? And Hutcherson, Freddie Hubbard, and Tony Williams play on Dolphy?s amazing ?Out to Lunch?. And Herbie Hancock plays on Hubbard?s ?Hub-Tones.? Or both Art Blakey and Max Roach appear on Herbie Nichols? great trio recordings for Blue Note. During that time period jazz was such a fluid art, that groups, as perceived as they are in rock, where almost a hindrance to the creative process. They were an important place for musicians to learn and coalesce ? and I can?t imagine jazz without Coltrane?s classic quintet or Miles? mid-60s quintet ? and it is probably no coincidence that several of the musicians above played in one or other of those groups. But jazz is much richer because it didn?t adhere to the rigid concepts of the big band or the group.

Jess dijo...

Fine selections. I'd also suggest Blakey's line up of: Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons, and Jymie Merritt from the early 60's.

Jonathan dijo...

I was thinking of that Bill Evans trio too. Maybe I'll have to do a separate listing of piano trios. And the Blue Note stable of that period is non-pareil. I can listen to anything from Blue Note.

Larry Koenigsberg dijo...

Jabbo Smith's 1920's recordings with pretty consistent personnel feature not only his Dizzy-like perorations but some pretty spikey banjo playing. Higher energy than anything else from the period with which I'm familiar.

I'm still enamored of those Quintet of the Hot Club of France sides from the 1930's. Their recordings often breathe a vitality and optimism and Reinhardt is pretty advanced for his era.

Bud Powell's 1953 trios bootlegged off Birdland radio broadcasts sound great although the repertoire can be repetitive.

Buddy DeFranco's groups with Sonny Clark in the 1950's have many beautiful moments as well as the extent of and tremendous clarity throughtout his range. OK, bebop can sound lick-ridden (why it has to be played fast, I guess, or because it's played fast, or both), and he they don't always transcend that but it's an unusual I suppose thereby a fresh sound. Bebop expertly played on the clarinet. Clark generally manages to infuse seemingly pedestrian lines with a great rhythmic feel.

I especially like Paul Bley's '60's trios with Steve Swallow and various drummers -- Pete LaRoca, Barry Altschul, Paul Motian. These are not quite the long-lived bands elsewhere described. Rather these associations were perhaps confined to specific tours or record dates but they reappear permuted, e.g. Jimmy Guiffre's trio w/Bley and Swallow. Bley recorded with many great players including Parker, Rollins, Mingus, Ornette and Cherry and has some significance in freebop lore especially in the '60's.

Some of Cecil Taylor's bands do fit more comfortably within the terms discussed. Bands with Jimmy Lyons and/or Andrew Cyrille still sound fresh to me, all those long suites depicting heroes of some elaborate non-European ritual.

Steve Coleman & The Five Elements are another performing band with a unique sound not allied with any of those mentioned. For an exercise, try to determine the meter on their recording BLACK SCIENCE although unlike Brubeck that's not at all the point. TAO OF MAD PHAT shows the same band playing straighter metrically in front of a studio audience. They also sound fresh to me.

Just wanting to mention a few things off the classics route while fully endorsing the previous favorites.