Sunday, March 1, 2009

Music Day

Around the first of each month I plan to say a few words about some of my favorite music and musicians. I have been a jazz fan for many years, going back more years than I care to or can remember. But there will always be the first listen that sticks in my mind.

Back in the day everybody, and I do mean everybody, read Rolling Stone. So, when I read a review about an album, actually a double album, called Emergency by the Tony Williams Lifetime, I bought it. Played it. Hated it, thinking WHAT IS THIS?

Well, some time in '70 or so I picked up a copy of Rolling Stone and read about a new Miles Davis LP called Bitches Brew. So, being curious about this highly praised work, but being totally clueless about jazz in general other than the Tony Williams Lifetime Emergency LP, I bought it. Played it. Hated it, thinking WHAT IS THIS?

To make a long story short, 40 years later I still listen to these two groundbreaking works. First impressions aside, Bitches Brew is and probably always will be my favorite jazz album. It has perhaps gained in stature for me over the years. Jazz fusion's major artists were all part of this classic music: John McLaughlin/Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report with Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea/Return to Forever, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Bennie Maupin. Years later my interest was renewed when I heard Bobby Previte and his band "The Horse" playing Bitches Brew, similar to the original but with a modern edge to it. It had been a few years since I listened through to all these great compositions, but to me they sound as fresh as when I first hated then loved them.

Now there is a Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute band with Vernon Reid, Cindy Blacman, John Medeski and Jack Bruce. Bruce was a member of the original band, and appears on the second Lifetime LP, Turn It Over.

It's good to know this music is still around and appreciated by fans like myself. Too bad that Miles and Tony aren't around any more.

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