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Customer Discussions > Jazz forum

Icons that leave you cold

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Showing 1-25 of 133 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 29, 2012 1:35:00 PM PDT
Simon says:
What are some of the jazz giants that, though you tried, you just can't seem to like ? You can see why they're great, but unfortunately - because they made exceptional music ! - they don't speak to your taste (and ears).

I'll start off with...Mingus. I think "Haitian Fight Song" is one of the grooviest jazz track, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" one of the most touching ballad, I like parts of "Tijuana...", "Blues & Roots", I admire (but don't love, see) "The Black Saint...", but, all in all, I don't "treasure" any Mingus records. Something about the often manic, polyphonic vibe of his compositions don't seem to fit with me.

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 4:23:49 PM PDT
Well, if they are "giants" to use your word, they usually earned that title on the back of talent combined with hard work and experience. So, they have to have a lot going for them. However, if I hear a musician and don't like what I hear on the first hearing, then I don't revisit his work so, perhaps cannot be as objective as I might be. Right now, there is one musician that I've seen live on two occasions and would rather not see again and that is Roscoe Mitchell of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Maybe, he doesn't qualify for the title "giant" but he is certainly a big enough name in avant garde circles. The fact that he on so many AEC recordings puts me off buying them although I am a fan of Famadou Don Moye and Lester Bowie. Can't think of any others at the moment.

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 5:04:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2012 5:08:36 PM PDT
Horace Silver has never, ever done anything for me. (Sacrilege, I know.) Of course, the mainstream, so to speak, of Blue Note has never done much for me, either. Always preferred the folks/stuff on its fringes like Herbie Nichols, Andrew Hill, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, the young Tony Williams and Bobby Hutcherson's and Jackie McLean's more outside excursions- you get the idea.

Posted on Mar 30, 2012 10:54:53 AM PDT
Archie Shepp - Talented, yes, but never moved me, really.

Posted on Mar 30, 2012 11:01:48 AM PDT
Miles Davis!

Posted on Mar 30, 2012 11:23:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 30, 2012 11:23:58 AM PDT
Simon says:
nup: I like Silver's compositions, but not his playing so much (that left hand...)

Shemp: Dan would certainly have a few recommandations to perhaps soften you on Shepp. Have you heard "Trouble in Mind", a duo album with Horace Parlan ? A selection of traditional blues, movingly played I must say ;)

Kenneth: it's a tough break, not liking Miles ! (given that he played with most of the best and that he dominates a few decades of jazz...;)

Posted on Mar 30, 2012 11:37:47 AM PDT
re: "Have you heard "Trouble in Mind", a duo album with Horace Parlan?"

I have indeed, it's VERY pretty!

Posted on Mar 31, 2012 12:43:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 31, 2012 12:47:46 PM PDT
While I would much prefer to discuss musicians I love, I would say that Dave Brubeck has always left me cold. Brubeck has received frequent mention on the thread about the The Album Most Responsible For Turning You On To Jazz. He was undeniably a force in bringing jazz to a certain generation, often through his appearances on college campuses. Of course, we can also certainly say that Benny Goodman was more important in introducing jazz to that segment of the population in an earlier era than was Duke Ellington, for instance.

According to Gary Giddens in his book "Jazz," "Burbeck built his solos in a pattern that began with single-note phrases and climaxed with repetitive blocks of chords, generating either excitement or tedium, depending on the listener's taste." Count me in the latter category. I never liked that kind of pounding, whether from Brubeck, Stan Kenton, or, occasionally McCoy Tyner.

I used to enjoy Paul Desmond's ethereal alto sax playing much more than I currently do, now prefering hotter players such as Art Pepper, Phil Woods and Charlie Mariano to the likes of Desmond or Lee Konitz.

Posted on Apr 1, 2012 6:23:23 AM PDT
Brian says:
Not sure if he deserves "icon" status but I have tried to listen to recordings of Keith Jarrett. He is very talented and always plays with top musicians. Impossible for me to enjoy his jazz recordings because of his "vocalizing". Perhaps in the future, technology and/or duct tape will eliminate the problem.

Posted on Apr 1, 2012 8:06:34 AM PDT
Sting, Chick Corea, John Hendricks (his lyrics are better than his voice), Kenny Garret, Bill Laswell, Eric Clapton, did I say Chick Corea?, and many of the big name, well recorded, albeit mainstream cats like Bad Plus and Medeski et al, I see booked repeatedly into every American jazz festival. Sorry for the slag-a-thon... and newbie Jason Moran whose Monk at Town Hall Concert missed the mark... or at least the D.C. concert did. Did I leave out Chick Corea?

A note to Simon Says: On Mingus, obtain the Candid album Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus and stop listening to the "whiter" sound of the Columbia albums. The Impulse and Atlantic records have their moments. But Eric Dolphy, Ted Curson, Danny Richmond and Chazz in October 1960 with Nat Hentoff in the room were playing music for the spheres beyond. His bass is as awesome as the Dolphy's unique and transcendent musical voice.

Shepp may have once been an acquired taste. He has mellowed just like Pharoah though. Both still have amazing chops and ideas. "Steam" is still a special song to me. Like Shepp's "Favorite Things".
RIP Joe Lee Wilson.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2012 8:46:30 AM PDT
I agree completely with you on Brubeck. When I tell people I am a jazz fan, they usually say, oh yeah, so you like Brubeck. I usually don't bother giving them my opinion about Brubeck, because they might take it negatively.
Another pianist I dislike is Keith Jarrett. I've seen him live, and his physical gyrations and his moaning don't add anything to his piano style, which I find hard to like. Sure gives the folks the impression of sincerity, though.
My biggest jazz "guilt" for the last 50 years has been that Billie Holiday leaves me cold. Her singing seems tired, listless and lacking in emotion to me. She seems to have a few vocal inflections she overuses. Even though the greats of jazz idolize her, I can't do so.
There, I got it off my chest!

Posted on Apr 1, 2012 9:41:12 AM PDT
Simon says:
Thanks for the recommandation, Frank, I'll give it a shot. I really liked what I've heard of the rare Ted Curson, so that's a plus.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2012 12:14:43 PM PDT

I can't agree with you about the Mingus Columbia albums somehow being "whiter." I'm sure Charles would not have shared that view. I think that music is more complex than the Candid recordings, and if that makes it somehow "whiter" in your assessment, well, OK. How would you then assess say "Tijuana Moods" or "East Coasting?" I sure don't think the Impulse stuff is "white," whatever you really mean by that.

While I agree that not everyone is probably a Mingus fan, I do think his music speaks to us very strongly. I, for one, have always been a huge fan.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2012 12:38:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2012 12:39:40 PM PDT
Jason Moran via Charles Lloyd Rabo de Nube, Mirror, Athens Concert; Paul Motian Lost in a Dream; and Rudresh Mahanthappa Apex (Dig) is more than worth checking out, IMHO. To my ears, at least, he is far more impressive as a sideman than he is as a leader. Some players just happen to be like that. And I second Susan D. Ward. As someone who owns nearly the entirety of Charles Mingus' discography, I'm somewhat mystified at your comment that the Columbia albums have a "'whiter'" sound. That, and I'd say that the Impulse! and Atlantic records have more than just a fair share of moments. Blues & Roots and The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady are undeniably among his greatest works, and the latter-career Atlantic offerings of Changes One, Changes Two and Cumbia & Jazz Fusion aren't that far off the mark, either. Of course, to each their own, right? If we all appreciated the very same stuff, it would be a pretty darn boring world.
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2012 12:46:15 PM PDT
Mr. P says:

"Benny Goodman was more important in introducing jazz to that segment of the population in an earlier era than was Duke Ellington, for instance"

Benny Goodman was only important to those squares who didnt know what real authentic Jazz was.....he was just a pop star nerd with a clarinet bitin off the real Jazz musicians. [ditto Dave Brubeck....geek tryin 2 be cool with such a safe anaethestized sound!...elavator music!]

Important? Only in commercial terms....his publcist may have [laughably] titled him 'The King Of Swing' but most peeps exposed to real Jazz knew different. Man was the Vanilla Ice of Swing!

Should read, Goodman was able to tour extensively in all parts of US, Europe and the world spreading a music that was neither culturally his nor on the whole his arrangements because he wasnt held down by segregation, Jim Crow and havin to play the chitlin circuit. And while he did some to include a few Black musicians rarely, its well documented he didnt do as much as he could and spent many hours bitin Black Jazz musicians arrangements....all becuase he wasnt about to sacrifice the benjamins he was makin.

So Goodman commercial ...yes....popular?....yes, to a certain segment/demographic of society maybe.....but important....please! Any comparison like the sublime to the rediculous. The Duke is important.

For me, the whole mainstream sack of pop wannabees ish [from Goodman to Stan Getz and from Crosy to Buble] who jacked Jazz from its community and turned it into either cheezy cabaret easy listening or a soulless psuedo-classical elitist mess all belong on here.... Cold but never cool.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2012 2:58:20 PM PDT
Mr. P.,

Maybe you misunderstood my meaning in my earlier post. What I meant was that Goodman and Brubeck both introduced jazz to a certain segment of the population. Some of these people went on to appreciate jazz music. Their "importance" was only in that they got some people interested in jazz, not in their contribution to the music. At least, that's how I see it.

Posted on Apr 2, 2012 1:41:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 2, 2012 1:46:20 AM PDT
Sonny Rollins. Oscar Peterson. Not everything by any means, but there is a good wide dollop of their stuff that leaves me, not cold ,but leaves my brain in neutral. I'm just not there where they are playing a lot of times. I'm still not old enough to say that this opine is not subject to change, however. SONNY PLEASE Sonny Please is a fave and the same can be said for LESTER YOUNG AND OSCAR PETERSON TRIO Lester Young with Oscar Peterson Trio.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 7:01:54 AM PDT
Zolar Waka says:
SONNY??? That makes me sad. I wouldn't have thought Sonny Rollins would leave JG cold. I will say that I spent many years in Trane and Kirk, Shorter and Gordon, Webster and Hawkins, followed by a bunch of the AG guys, before really settling in and recognizing the magic of Sonny Rollins. It's like it had to grow on me. He has that perfect sound, rough and tender, angular and round, yin and yang, at the same time. Kind of like the vocal style of Gregory Isaacs: he speaks to all people. His improvising can't be beat. Have you listened to the Village Vanguard stuff from 1957 available on Blue Note? It's Sonny with bass and drums, no piano. If you've heard it and not been moved, then I'm not sure you will be. If you haven't listened to it, you should. If you have, and still haven't been moved, return to it every couple of years. It will speak to you eventually.

Posted on Apr 2, 2012 7:52:42 AM PDT
Simon says:
Fascinating how differently we - the jazz listeners - respond to the same stimulus: like Jeffery, Sonny Rollins leaves me "neutral", and it mostly has to do with his sound. Your lively description makes me want to love it, Zolar ! but I seem to just hear the rough part of it, the heaviness of his tone (it's low gravity ?) But in general I prefer lighter, more flexible tone (and so prefer Harold Land in the Brown-Roach adventures).
That being said, I'm listening right now to A Night at The Village Vanguard...

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 9:53:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 2, 2012 9:55:19 AM PDT
Zolar Waka says:
Yes, we each have a different response! For me, Sonny's sound is so rough and tough and he has to fight through that to reach and communicate the beauty. It's kind of like (for me anyway) Frankenstein's monster's response to the little girl throwing flowers in the water. His response to the beauty of that moment is to pick up the child and throw her in the water like a flower. To me, that's Sonny's sound and Gregory's sound...the great struggle to express something beautiful. At times, the struggle itself is the beauty. There's a lack of perfection that somehow transcends.

Posted on Apr 2, 2012 11:12:58 AM PDT
I have to agree with Jeffery and Simon. Rollins has done little for me. I keep listening to him, hoping that I'll understand his genius. I do like The Bridge with Jim Hall and have listened to a lot of what are supposed to be his best recordings, both early and recent. However, he is not, and probably never will be, among my favorites.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 12:05:55 PM PDT
Mr. P says:

Yup, I hear u Susan. Got your meaning....just calibrating the term "importance". [Likewise your use of "importance" in speech marks]. But yup, I get your point.

Posted on Apr 2, 2012 12:52:20 PM PDT
Simon says:
Very nicely put, Zolar. That "struggling beauty" is certainly what makes jazz so compelling to me. A "mistake" in jazz, in that effort to reach a unique expression, can indeed be beautiful and thrilling (whereas it would ruin a classical piece, in the classical frame of reference).

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 1:30:28 PM PDT
Yes Susan, THE BRIDGE is another one. Love that.


Got my attention with that description of Sonny.

PS:He DOESN"t leave me cold just un-engaged a lot of times. Probably just waiting for that right trigger that makes things begin to click upstairs in the Jazz Lover corner of my brain. I may have a similar evolution in my future with Mr. Rollins music like the one you describe. We all go about it differently. Not familiar with the 1957 Village Vanguard. I'll check it out.

Posted on Apr 2, 2012 1:51:02 PM PDT

If you liked Saxophone Colossus by Rollins, you'll probably like the Vanguard set. If not, you might spend your time and money elsewhere. A lot of that recording seems to me to be about SOUND. He seems to be "testing" the room at times.
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Discussion in:  Jazz forum
Participants:  35
Total posts:  133
Initial post:  Mar 29, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 22, 2013

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