20 December 2010

The Jams

I've really been digging lately on "East Broadway Rundown", by Sonny Rollins. I meant to do an installment of "The Jams" just on this, but instead this post will be a treatise on jazz in general, and why it ain't got nothing to do with edumacation and sophistimacations.
So, this record kills, by which I mean after you here it, you die. All angular and pointy, but groovy nonetheless. The fact that Impulse released it on thick vinyl in a gate fold cover  bearing an oil painting rendered in heavy impasto is an aesthetic plus. It's not for the faint of heart, and shouldn't be listened to in the daylight, unless you really mean it.

There seems to be this unfortunate misconception that jazz is some complicated thing that belongs exclusively to the educated (and rich, often white) folks. But it ain't not at all. It can be soft to the touch, delicate, moody, or in this case, all balls,piss and vinegar, full o' guts....you know, kinda the same as when punk rock is just right.

Because this guy takes a break in 1959 to spend 2 years playing on the Williamsburg bridge, you know, just so he can "feel it" some more:
(Sonny Rollins,in a trilby, turtleneck and tweed jacket with side vents),

and then gets together with this guy, who does his best to push his drum kit as far into the floor as possible:

(Elvin Jones, in a one button sack suit with no breast pocket).

and this dude, so cool we shouldn't even look at him, because we can't see him anyway:

(Jimmy Garrison, seriously)

I love this kind of music. It's all about fire and guts, loose creation happening in the moment, really something quite incredible. It's got nothing to do with erudite tastes and educated white men, because it exists purely in the mind and soul of the understanding human.


Sonny Rollins:

Jimmy Garrison:

Elvin Jones:

Jazz is a fire in your belly. If you get that, great. Don't let people tell you that it's confusing and aloof. Those people are missing the point. Those people will never get it.

Jazz is the Jams.

p.s.this dude shows up on there too.
(Lee Morgan, in a killing oversized houndstooth check)


Anonymous said...

I have come to Jazz late, but the music is so rich, and varied, that I have barely scratched the surface. I have resigned myself (joyfully) to spending the rest of my life exploring this genre and never completely hearing, or understanding it all.

Manicjazzer said...

As a Jazz musician and researcher, I thank you!

Coastman said...

The music is here, there, and everywhere. If you have no vinyl to listen to, get thee on the internet and listen to the stream from WWOZ out of New Orleans, or KRTU out of San Antonio. 'Nuff said. Out.

Scale Worm said...

Well done G! Jazz is all visceral, breathing and alive, and best experienced at night, by firelight, while reclined in the sweet spot, with a dram or two of fine libation. Mr. Rollins rules! Thank you.