The State of Sound


Jazz Collection


“I am Jazz…it’s my life”: a sentiment beautifully expressed by Archie Shepp (this quote of his is also the name of a lovely film made by Franck Cassenti about the saxophonist). This week I have compiled a list of ten albums that I want to recommend to you. These works offer up an enticing sample of authentic jazz. I would never claim that this list spans the immense diversity of the musical genre. Quite the contrary; it demonstrates a bias towards an acoustic style of jazz. However, all the artists that I have included show enthusiastic creativity and, from my perspective, have proven themselves capable of creating an intimate relationship with their listeners; the quality of the recordings is also remarkable. From this mix of musicians—small acoustic jazz groups and creators of intimate jazz—from whom music unfurls in all its splendor, I have collected a solo artist, a duo, a trio, without forgetting to handpick some vocals. I have also added a spoonful of live recordings, slowly simmered, and a pinch of some indispensable exotic spices, such as “Social Studies,” a seminal work by Carla Bley (see the photo below). With that introduction, here is a play list of ten albums that are not to be missed. Enjoy!

Eric Watson  solo  
“Sketches of Solitude”(Night Bird Music – 2002)
An intense inner monologue of great beauty

Lee Konitz & Michel Petrucciani ‘Toot sweet” (OWL – 2001)
A sublime duo who are completely in tune with one another; the way in which the two
instruments complement each other is simply amazing

Mal Waldron & Jeanne Lee “
After Hours” (OWL – 2001)
The extremely deep voice of Jeanne Lee is emotive and stripped of all artifice;
it is perfectly suited to tackle demanding melodies.

Henri Texier  trio ” The scene is clean” (Label Bleu – 1991)
Unquestionably a ruler of European jazz, the “Master Texier” is majestic as he saunters through a musical
repertoire that displays openness, generosity, and pure authenticity!

Wes Montgomery with Wynton Kelly Trio Smokin at the Half Note 1965 V1
Winton Kelly Trio + Wes Montgomery 
“Smoking at the Half Note” (Verve -1965)
A classic album from 1957…did I mention that it is an analog recording?
Imported from Japan, a work that is a feast for the ears!

Carla Bley
“Social Studies”(WATT/ECM -1981)
The bold brass will take you back to the jazz of the early 80s; Carla Bley’s orchestral lyricism
paints a creative and melodic universe that draws you in to set you free!

Dizzy Gillespie
“at Montreux 1980” (Pablo Live – 1981)
The energy radiated by the masterful Guillespie on stage at Montreux, this jazz concert is one of the classics;
the recording allows you to become part of the crowd

Ray Brown Trio “Live from New York to Tokyo”
(Concord Music – 2003)
In particular, listen to the second of the two CDs in this set, the one recorded in Tokyo (also released under the title Bam Bam Bam);
the acoustics of the concert hall come across in a strikingly realistic way

Chet Baker
sings It Could Happen to You (Riverside 1958)
How can anyone resist the breath of fresh air that is the voice of young Chet Baker?

Madeleine Peyroux ” Careless Love” (Universal 2004)
Her voice is stirring, and it cannot help but remind you of Billie Holliday;
its emotional depth, reminiscent of years past, will not fail to move you instantly

# # #

You can listen to this playlist on Qobuz, Spotify  or Deezer

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