Stats

Following: 57

Favorites: 1

Video: 4

Images: 2

Audio: 4

Bookmarks: 1

Blog: 3

Ralph Reed

born: 1984
born in: Binghamton, NY
lives in: Seattle
I am a Composer/Guitarist/Multi-instrumentalist currently living in the Northwest and I am primarily interested in Improvisation/Aleotoric music as it relates to both Jazz and Experimental music and also on the more experimental side of Hip Hop. With both this fields the... [more]

show all Collections

Viewpoints

Add Your Views
Please to comment.
 

show all Works (4)

Works

view by:
Collections
rss

Blog

posted on 06.09.09

Artists


Categories

Documentary Film
Film Criticism And Theory
Jazz

Themes


Tags

Music Documentary

Here in Seattle we are in the middle of the huge Seattle International Film Festival and I was delighted to see a line curving around both ends of the block to watch a movie about the state of jazz today. "Icons Among Us" is a look at what jazz is now and who are the jazz players of today. It really asks the questions: Who among current jazz musicians are our Coltrane and Miles? And is it fair that we are holding this shadow over modern musicians or is it turning jazz into a museum piece?


The main question this film struggles to deal with is what exactly is jazz. The main strength of this film is it has no intention of answering it. It brings out all the major players in today's contemporary scene and lays bare the contrast between traditionalist such as Marsalis, and the other "Young Lions," and players, such as Russell Gunn, who are actively trying to distance themselves from that image.


The discussion breaks down to two schools of thought. Either, Jazz is defined by the classic recordings made from the 1930s-60's and the technique and sound of those recordings should be the benchmark and starting point for which other recording are both judged and based to be worthy of being under the "Jazz" name. Or, Jazz is a more of an ethos and aesthetic that comes from a tradition but is not bound by that tradition and is in a continous state of growth and experimentation. These two opposing viewpoints are shown quite starkly in the movie as some say modern jazz musicicianship is not up to the caliber it was in the past, while others talk about the ill affects of "jazz nazis" on the perception of the music.


What's great about this movie is that it let's everyone have their say and does a remarkable job being objective. It also has some amazing concert footage. This film really has more iconic jazz musicians in it then any I've ever seen, and is chalk full of great concert footage. The thing that really excited me, however, is that it focuses on the up-and-coming generation of players rather then on the established greats. I hope this helps bring some of these great players out and into the public light.

Loading, please wait ...
Add Your Views
Please to comment.
 


posted on 06.09.09

Artists

Bobby Mc Ferrin

Categories

Jazz
Traditional Folk

Themes

Deconstructive
Improvised

Tags

Jazz
Bluegrass
Americana
Folk
Ecm

 



Jazz is unique in that it sort of has a deconstructionist criticism component built into it. By choosing which popular songs to reharmonize and reinterpret jazz musicians bring new interpretations or levels of depth to previously heard pieces of work. If you need an example of this just listen to My Favorite Things as performed by Julie Andrews then listen to it reinterpreted by John Coltrane. In pursuit of new source material Jazz musicians have mined everything from Nick Drake to Gershwin and back. A glaring gap that has somehow been overlooked, however, is the category often grouped together as American "roots" music. The cannon of music that includes bluegrass, early country, and popular folk songs has largely been ignored by mainstream jazz. Bill Frisell and Bela Fleck are two musicians who have proved an exception to this.


Bill Frisell came out of the ECM and New York Downtown Jazz Scenes and starting in the early 90's he started to introduce elements of that sound with traditional music. This led to colloborations with folk and bluegrass artists such as Emily Lou Harris, Jerry Douglas, and Suzanne Vega. Frisell has increasingly used countryesque motifs in both his solos and his compositions and they have become a hallmark of his style. There is a new  "The Best of Bill Frisell" album that is just his interpretations of folk songs. I suggest you take a listen if you are unfamiliar. Here is a great live version of Bill playing Wildwood Flower and for those who are unfamiliar with the tune here is the Carter Family doing the same tune.


Bela Fleck first came to the public's attention as the banjo player in New Grass Revival, a group that would also launch the careers of Sam Bush and Pat Flynn. On his own he quickly strayed even further away from the NGR's progressive bluegrass with his group Bela Fleck and Flecktones by incoroporating elements of funk, jazz, classical, and rock. He lists Chick Corea as being one of his main influences and has performed with him on several occasions. The video below is from a live performance with Chick Corea and Bobby McFerrin at the Blue Note in New York. Here is a clip of the original Return to Forever group playing it in 1975. Finally, here is a video of Bela playing some traditional bluegrass with none other then Steve Martin.


As far as I know Bill Frisell and Bela Fleck have only had one recording together. It was on the 1996 album "Falling Off The Roof" by the Ginger Baker Trio. Bill Frisell was the guitarist on all the tracks and Bela Fleck guested on three. I have not heard the album but it was very well received and has been recently reissued.


 


 

Loading, please wait ...
Add Your Views
Please to comment.
 


Artists


Categories

Folk
Experimental Music
Hip Hop/Rap
Pop Music
Rock Music
Indie Rock

Themes

Rebel
Fantastic
Pioneering
Experimental

Tags

Hip Hop
Rock Music
D Jing
Shoegaze
Folk
Pop Music

I don't know when it happened, and I'm not going to blame Topher Grace, but at somepoint everyone decided we really wanted to live in the late 70's to early 80's. Possibly some sort of Post 9/11 retreat back into safer times or a side effect of a lost generation of hipsters so busy being ironic that they've lost the ability to be authentic? I have no answers. What I do know is that we have a bunch of bands who are trying to re-create the sounds of their parent's favorite bands instead of trying to create their own. Without focusing on how wierd it is having young kids wanting to sound like bands their parents like, we are, neverthless, left with a very similair musical landscape to that bell-bottmed era. Overproduced and shiny? How about some ABBA or Lady Gaga? Folksy and harmonious? How about some CSN&Y or Fleet Foxes? I think it's important to note that I'm talking about new artists not the Dylan's and Radioheads which have been around for awhile.


So in that spirit here is a list of artists who you're parents won't understand, a list of artists pushing popular music forward (in no particular order):


1.Feral Children: Anytime you have two drummers in a band it is either a recipe for disaster or a recipe for awesome. Feral Children bring the awesome. The two drummer combo brings a polyrhythmic tribal aspect to their unique brand of indie rock that mixes atmospheric noises and Roky Eriksonesque vocals. www.myspace.com/feralchildrenseattle


2.Monotonix: These guys bring the performance part to music performance. At one of their shows in Seattle they had the audience carry them (and their gear) a block and a half down the street (during which time they never stopped playing) in order to play in a gas station parking lot as the lead singer climbed a street sign. They take music away from being a viewed performance and back to being a communal event. This is the most you're face will ever be rocked off. www.monotonix.com


3.Pwrfl Power:Pwrfl Power (real name Kazutaka Nomura) sings incredibly transcendent folk/pop songs and has one of the most unorthodox/virtuostic guitar fingerpicking styles I've ever seen. If you ever get a chance to see him live he is an incredible performer. www.myspace.com/pwrfulpower


4.Champagne Champagne: Bruce Lee said once that he had the style of no style, Champagne Champagne took that too heart. Dj Gajamagic has some of the strangest, most diverse, and most danceable beats anywhere. This couples up with Perl Dragon and Thomas Gray's lyrics that run the gamut from silly to sexual to political to a personal depth that few rappers are brave enough to tread. http://www.champagnechampagne.net/


5.Boy Eats Drum Machine: This band is just Jon Ragel's strong Peter Gabriel-like voice, turntables, a sampler, some drums, and a saxaphone. The athletic running between flipping switches on the sampler, playing and recording loops, singing, and dancing make his shows very lively. http://boyeatsdrummachine.com/


 


 

Loading, please wait ...
Add Your Views
Please to comment.
 


Favorites

view by:

Products