THI @ Nextbop, Edition 9

New essay up at Nextbop. My original title was ”The End Of…?” but I guess there was an HTML problem or something. It’s all familiar ground, I know, but I’m not sure people are saying it quite this way – yet.

No essay here this week – a death in the family and the resulting plan-changes and moderate chaos got in the way. Next Monday, there will be a new essay. Tune in!

THI @ Nextbop, Edition /Hiatus

Read my newest piece at Nextbop, about Ahmad Jamal and the routes to musical maturity, right here. And, if it’s still up, you can read the completely nonsensical comment left by a man named Sam Goldring. I’ve gotten some crazy-ass comments in my day, but that one comes close to taking the cake (a cash prize will be awarded for every sentence that you can prove relates directly to my article). Enjoy!

In other news, The Head In will be on hiatus until March 18th. I’ll be driving out to Albuquerque, New Mexico with a buddy, and honestly won’t have the time for blogging. See you on the flip side!

THI @ Nextbop, Edition 7

This week’s Nextbop essay is a day late – sorry about that. I’ve been listening to Pharoah Sanders’ Impulse records lately. Read my thoughts here!

My slightly incensed post ”Jazz Is Like The Color Yellow” is no longer a regular THI post, but can be found under the ”About” page link to the right. Check it out – but be warned, it’s not strictly speaking THI.

Duke Ellington next Monday. Stay tuned!

THI @ Nextbop, Edition 6

The newest Nextbop essay is out today. I continued with the general Wayne Shorter theme and talked about one of my favorite Art Blakey records, Free For All. I feel that this record is the best place to hear Shorter ”without a net,” no matter what his most recent album title says. Check it out here!

THI @ Nextbop, Edition 5

The newest Nextbop essay is out. You can read it here – this week, I discuss the ongoing and incredibly useless conversation about ”the death of jazz,” which seems to crop up every month or so.

In other news, Anthony Dean-Harris, my endlessly patient editor at Nextbop, has started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Nextbop SXSW party this year. It all goes down in Austin on my birthday, March 13, and if you’re saying ”why should I fund something I won’t or can’t be attending,” then take a look at the awesome rewards you’ll get for your contribution (a recording of all the sets? What???).

Here’s the Kickstarter link. There’s only 19 days left, and less than $600 out of $12,000 raised, so get out your wallets, kids.

THI @ Nextbop, Edition 4

I think this is the best essay I’ve done so far for Nextbop. The idea that the masters of jazz should be allowed to take their place as legends, instead of being treated like contemporary players – even if, like Sonny Rollins, they still make music – is one that’s been with me for a while. The masters are of the past. Their music may be good, even excellent, but it is in very few cases groundbreaking or even all that exciting (an exception is Wayne Shorter, whose newest album is out in February and is currently streaming at Nextbop).

I don’t want to see Sonny Rollins at the top of a DownBeat poll – or Herbie Hancock, or Ahmad Jamal, or anybody. The music is undoubtedly good, but it’s creating impossible competition for the jazz creators of today. Read my whole take here.

THI @ Nextbop, Edition 3

Week three of my association with This week, it’s Wynton Marsalis and his masterful Monk tribute record, Marsalis Plays Monk. Tribute records are slippery, especially Thelonious Monk tributes, because they seek to honor an individual style with another, which puts both in danger. I think Wynton got it right, though. You can read the piece here.

THI @ Nextbop, Edition 2

When was the last time you heard a good record that could barely hold it together? We don’t usually think of sloppy execution and insightful musical achievement as going together, but for some musicians, the form never followed function. A prime example is Charles Mingus, whose very loose record Charles Mingus And Friends In Concert, released in 1972, I discuss at Nextbop this week.

Again, my sincere thanks go out to Sebastien Helary and Anthony Dean-Harris of Nextbop, who invited me to write for Nextbop, which is an amazing project.

The link again – read my essay, ”Don’t Be Afraid, The Clown’s Afraid Too” here.

Count Off

”Hello, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, this is Uncle Don.”

See the ”About” page for more information on The Head In. The basic premise is one essay every Monday, each one dealing with an album from the list (below) of, as the header says, ”the albums that got me started.” That’s right – not a best-of list, not a comprehensive list by any means! There are certainly albums I wouldn’t have chosen today (such as the Oscar Peterson Frank Sinatra record), and I’d definitely have more scope in the whole thing (very few records here are from after 1965, and only two before 1950). But there they are, warts and all, and I’m going to try to make something out of them. Enjoy!

Here’s the list of albums (links will be added as the essays are published):

1. Affinity, Oscar Peterson (1962)

2. At Carnegie Hall, Thelonious Monk/John Coltrane (1957)

3. Black, Brown & Beige, Duke Ellington (compilation)

4. Blossom Dearie, Blossom Dearie (1956)

5. A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Vince Guaraldi (1964)

6. Chet Baker Sings, Chet Baker (1956)

7. The Birth Of The Cool, Miles Davis (1950)

8. Complete Decca Recordings, Count Basie (compilation)

9. Cookin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet, Miles Davis (1956)

10. Feelin’ The Spirit, Grant Green (1962)

11. Figurations, Richard Nelson (2001)

12. Giant Steps, John Coltrane (1959)

13. Go!, Dexter Gordon

14. The Great Concerts, Dave Brubeck (compilation)

15. I Dig The Duke, I Dig The Count, Mel Tormé (1961)

16. I Just Dropped By To Say Hello, Johnny Hartman (1963)

17. The Incredible Jazz Guitar, Wes Montgomery (1960)

18. A Jazz Portrait Of Frank Sinatra, Oscar Peterson (1959)

19. Jazz Soul Of Oscar Peterson, Oscar Peterson (1959)

20. John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (1963)

21. Like Someone In Love, Art Blakey (1960)

22. Live At The Village Vanguard, Wynton Marsalis (1999)

23. Love Letters, Roy Haynes (1998)

24. Lush Life, John Coltrane (1957)

25. Miles Smiles, Miles Davis (1966)

26. Milestones, Miles Davis (1958)

27. Mingus Ah Um, Charles Mingus (1959)

28. A Night In Tunisia, Art Blakey (1960)

29. Out Of The Afternoon, Roy Haynes (1962)

30. Out To Lunch, Eric Dolphy (1964)

31. Poll Winners ThreeBarney Kessel, Ray Brown & Shelly Manne (1959)

32. Portrait In Jazz, Bill Evans (1959)

33. Quartet, Billy Hart (2006)

34. Relaxin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet, Miles Davis (1956)

,35. The Ronnell Bright Trio, Ronnell Bright (1958)

36. Saxophone Colossus, Sonny Rollins (1956)

37. Smokin’ At The Half Note, Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly (1965)

38. Someday My Prince Will Come, Hank Jones, Richard Davis & Elvin Jones (2003)

39. Soul Station, Hank Mobley (1960)

40. Speak No Evil, Wayne Shorter (1964)

41. Standards, Volume 1, Keith Jarrett (1983)

42. Sunday At The Village Vanguard, Bill Evans (1961)

43. A Swingin’ Affair!, Frank Sinatra (1956)

44. Thelonious Monk And Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins (1954)

45. Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk (1955)

46. This Is Jazz 13: Erroll Garner, Erroll Garner (compilation)

47. Time Out, Dave Brubeck (1959)

48. Waltz For Debby, Bill Evans (1961)

49. The Wes Montgomery Trio, Wes Montgomery (1959)

50. Wizard Of The Vibes, Milt Jackson (1948-1952)

51. Zoot Sims And The Gershwin Brothers, Zoot Sims (1975)

Epilogue: Kind Of Blue, Miles Davis (1959)