Monday, February 9, 2015

Songs of the Day

Got the final 2 tracks up for review today: "Funky Tonk," and "Inamorata and Narration by Conrad Roberts."  Both of these jams clock in at over 23 minutes, so I obviously won't be getting into serious detail, or else that would take me hours (and I still haven't had dinner).  Anyway...
Man, everyone is going in on "Funky Tonk," almost distractingly so.  There isn't much of a cohesive groove to the track (as has been the case with some of the previous tunes), so everyone is pretty much doing their own solo stuff for the majority of the track.  This can sound very cluttered when done with musicians who don't know what they're doing, but that is obviously not the case here.  The wah-wah on Miles' trumpet adds a cool effect to his solo, which is bananas.  I think Gary Bartz on soprano sax takes the best solo in this number, some of the scales that he has going on around the 7 minute mark are nothing short of insane.  Same with Jack DeJohnette on drums, but again, no surprise there.  Around 17 minutes, the groove slows down and makes way for Keith Jarret on keys, and it's pretty beautiful.  As soon as I listened to this section of the tune, I knew this was Keith and not Chick or Herbie on keys - he has such a distinctive style, particularly in the scales and chords he uses.  He gets a solid 4 minutes on his own to shine before the rest of the band really comes in, and I must say the last 2 minutes are probably my favorite of the song.  There's actually a groove to settle yourself with at the end, and it's nice to finally have something to anchor yourself to (even if it is still all over the place).  This is another one for the serious jazz heads.
"Funky Tonk" goes right into "Inamorata," which is cool.  I'm not sure if it's just spotify having a lack of transitions, but there was a pause between the two tracks even though it was clear that they went straight into one another.  The tracks probably connected seamlessly on vinyl, but that space in between was slightly off-putting.  This is another jam track with everyone going crazy doing their own thing.  So, the end of the record is essentially an hour-long jam.  There's a little more of a cohesive groove to this one, which is welcomed after the kind of hodge podge that was going on in the previous track.  Miles' solo at the beginning of this is phenomenal to say the least.  The things that man could do with a trumpet, goddamn.  Michael Henderson on bass finally has his time to really shine starting around 11 minutes, and the man surely knew how to solo.  I dig that the groove starts to slow down around the 17 minute mark, getting ready for Conrad Roberts' spoken word around 23 minutes.  I a) wish I could hear him better, and b) wish that the groove had stayed subtle behind him - the groove got crazy again and was kind of distracting, and I was looking forward to a bit of a breather.  The end of this track is pretty fucking rock n roll, and that's awesome coming from some jazz heads.  Those unfamiliar with jazz jams will most likely get lost in these two tracks, but the brave ones can surely take them on.

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