Anything Alice Coltrane touches is usually pretty brilliant. That cosmic outlook on life and music soaks into every note!
Despite being supremely talented herself, a high quality collaboration never goes amiss. You could certainly say Joe Henderson is high quality, and his composition skills are ably augmented with Coltrane’s playing abilities.
And his own, of course. Henderson is one of the most important sax players of post-war Jazz, and his skill is obvious here as he deftly blazes over the Eastern inspired backdrop.
Unusually for a jazz song, but not unusually for a work of this experimental scope, the drums are genuinely groovy – it’s a sick swinging beat!
You can find the piece on 1974’s classic The Elements. The whole affair is a journey through time and space, my favourite kind of jazz!
Kicking off with a gospel inspired vocal harmony makes a statement. It happens in hip hop, particularly when artists like FlyLo are involved. Thundercat is a bassist, but broader part of that beat scene.
In this case, the gospel leads into a squelchy, dense soundscape, menacing yet majestic.
The song is about a descent into madness while everything else in the world collapses. Perhaps telling that it was written soon after Trump took the White House…
That also goes some ways to explain the paranoid texture of the track, and the craziness of the drums.
“Inferno” came out in 2017 on Drunk, Thundercat’s 3rd album.
I love a good organ trio. There’s an easy going jazz funk grooviness to the format which even ‘okay’ players can tap into. Delvon Lamarr’s group, sometimes styles DLO3, are much more than okay!
In the jazz world, these guys are stars, as their debut album Close But No Cigar reached number one on the Contemporary Jazz Album chart in the US. They still feel like a fresh offering though.
For some reason they keep switching up their drummer – below, it’s David McGraw, who left the band about a year after this. But Delvon and his guitarist Jimmy are a strong foundation for the group’s jamming.
The band’s sound straddles the soul, jazz, funk and blues vibes, leading to frequent comparisons with Booker T & and MGs. They can really nail a groove!
The song came out first in late 2017, having featured at the band’s KEXP session in the video below earlier in the year.
Is A Love Supreme the best Jazz album ever recorded?
It depends what your personal preferences are, of course, but I think there’s a lot in its favour.
The musicianship on display is simply out of this world. In particular, I love the drumming, which is slightly inhuman in its dexterity. This display along ought to rank Elvin Jones as one of the all time greats.
It’s hard to pick between the constituent songs which make up A Love Supreme, and perhaps it’s better to consider the album as one cohesive work. It’s a deeply spiritual undertaking, something that comes across best on the first and last songs. The first piece in particular has a messianic quality due to the repetitive vocal.
But I like this one because it showcases the brilliant piano, bass and sax, on top of those golden drums.
This one came out in 1965 – at this stage I probably don’t need to tell you which album it appears on…