Categories
Monday Notes

Flamenco Sketches, modal jazz and open form

[Monday’s Notes no. 148] Flamenco Sketches is a track from Miles Davis’ album Kind of Blue, a masterpiece entirely dedicated to modal music. Among the various modal scales, the Phrygian mode and the flamenco scale are of particular importance, hence the title of this composition, of clear Hispanic inspiration. I transcribed and analysed the solos…

Categories
Monday Notes

Dawn, the Mahavisnhu Orchestra between jazz rock and Indian music

[Monday Notes No. 146] The Mahavishnu Orchestra of Billy Cobham and John MacLaughlin is one of the greatest jazz rock bands in history. The group draws inspiration from various musical genres, but the most original component is traditional Indian music, of which the guitarist was passionate. Let us listen to and analyse Dawn.

Categories
Monday Notes

Jim Morrison, The End. The revolution is knocking at the door

[Monday’s Notes No. 143] The Doors were one of the legendary bands of the psychedelic and rock movement. A charismatic leader and soul of the band, Jim Morrison consumed his existence in a few years, both glorious and dramatic at the same time. We analyse one of the Doors’ best-known songs entitled

Categories
Monday Notes

Les Baxter, Busy Port. Exotica, a precursor of New Age

[Monday Note No. 136] Les Baxter is one of the most important exponents of Exotica, a genre of music that was popular in the 1950s. Exotic music was vaguely inspired by the sounds of distant and fascinating places, such as the Pacific Islands, the Orient, and South America. Let’s listen to Busy Port, taken from…

Categories
Monday Notes

Booker Little, Man Of Words. Improvisation in Aeolian mode

[Monday Notes no. 96] Booker Little in an interview declared: ‘the most important aspect of music is the emotional aspect’. You only need to listen to Man Of Words to realise that this was not a generic statement, but that Booker Little lived music in a truly intense and profound way.

Categories
Monday Notes

Art Pepper, Lost Life. A jazz piece with a Hispanic tinge

[Monday Notes no.95] An experienced musician once advised me: “if while improvising you come up with a phrase you have already used, don’t play it. Rather take a rest, and think of something different.” This is a very radical position for a jazz musician, yet there is one saxophonist who sometimes seems to think in…

Categories
Monday Notes

John Coltrane, Acknowledgement. A Love Supreme, Jazz and spirituality

[Monday Note No. 90] Acknowledgement is the first track on the album A Love Supreme, a suite in four movements in which John Coltrane describes his religious conversion. A spiritual path that is also an original and innovative musical journey.

Categories
Monday Notes

Jaco Pastorius, Kuru / Speak Like a Child. The electric bass is the star attraction

[Monday Notes no. 63] Jaco Pastorius revolutionized the electric bass, popularizing the the fretless bass (i.e., no frets on the neck). In addition to playing fantastic bass lines, Jaco was also capable of playing chords and harmonic sounds, turning the bass into a solo instrument. Herbie Hancock also participated in his first album, let’s analyze…

Categories
Monday Notes

Vidala Triste, Gato Barbieri’s journey between the Andes and jazz

[Monday Notes No. 57] Vidala triste is the final track on Gato Barbieri’s album Bolivia. It is the only sung piece of the whole album, a melancholic nursery rhyme rather than a real song. Gato Barbieri combines popular music of the Andes and jazz music, creating very evocative and interesting music.

Categories
Monday Notes

My Favorite Things, John Coltrane and the good old jazz standards

[Monday Notes no. 47] Eighteen months after taking part in the recording of the famous album Kind Of Blue, John Coltrane recorded My Favorite Things and continued in the direction of that first journey led by Miles Davis: modal jazz. Unlike Davis, John Coltrane does not compose original pieces but interprets and transforms the beloved…

>