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James Carter Organ Trio featuring Gregory Porter @ North Sea Jazz 2012

11 Jul

Last friday I visited the Dutch jazz festival North Sea Jazz in Ahoy, Rotterdam. And pff, I definitely saw some of the best musicians walking on earth at this moment. Starting the day with the complex and improvised music of the Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio, contuining with jazz legend McCoy Tyner together with ‘son-of’ Ravi Coltrane and then via Van Morrison to Michael Kiwanuka. Kiwanuka (remember?) played all his jazzy soul songs with a five-piece band and he really blew me away. Check these videos as proof: Bones and I’ll Get Along.

After watching two songs by a disappointing John Scofield, I saw one of the most amazing concerts I have ever seen. Jazz saxophonist James Carter played with his organ trio: exactly what I like, the rawness of just drums, organ and saxophone is just what I love. I had never heard of James Carter before I saw the program of the festival. Some youtube videos convinced me to see him and he didn’t let me down. Carter is probably the most skilled and energetic jazz musician I have ever seen. That guy can get any sound of his saxophone. To top it off, jazz vocalist Gregory Porter was invited as a special guest. The fact that they never performed or even rehearsed together made the concert such a spontaneous and special event. To catch part of the vibe, check these videos: 1960 What? and an interview with Gregory Porter.

BADBADNOTGOOD – The World Is Yours / Brooklyn Zoo

10 Apr

BADBADNOTGOOD is one of those acts that you do not really know where to place at the first time. I didn’t really know if I liked what they are doing. Is it too much of a hype to be really good music or is it some serious shit? Well, their name says it all. These guys don’t take themselves too serious and still, they play very well. They gained my attention by collaborating with Odd Future mc Tyler, the Creator. But I was really blown away by their cover of Nas’ The World Is Yours, ending with ODB’s Brooklyn Zoo. It resulted in this hip-hop/jazz jam, which is taking the idea of a hip-hop beat to a whole other level.

A week ago they released their second album, free download on their site.

Bill Cosby & Quincy Jones – Hikky Burr

26 Mar

This song was recorded by Bill Cosby and Quincy Jones in 1969 as the theme song for The Bill Cosby Show. This song is so funky, thanks to the loose kind of playing. It sounds like everybody is just jamming and having a good time. Note the amazing saxophone lines and the awesome bass playing by Carol Kaye (amazing female bass player, played on classics like ‘Good Vibrations’ by the Beach Boys, ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ by Ike & Tina and a lot of Simon & Garfunkel songs).

The Section – Doing The Meatball

26 Mar

The Section is a band from Los Angeles formed in the early seventies. They mostly performed as a backing band for great artists like Crosby & Nash, James Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne and ehm… James Blunt. Because of all the artists they played with, you can hear that these guys can play every style of music. In their free time they recorded in total three albums, with mostly instrumental songs. This song was recorded in the time The Section recorded James Taylor’s album One Man Dog in 1972. The theme of this song is so catchy. First it starts with a very smooth guitar lick. When you think that’s it, the rest of band comes in with an even catchier saxophone melody. That groove goes on with a great sax solo. I really like the moment when the band stops and only that first guitar line comes back in. And now I’m listening to the song for the tenth time in a row, listen to that amazing bass guitar. Great song!

Roy Ayers – Stoned Soul Picnic

23 Mar

A couple of weeks ago I bought this record on vinyl, especially because of the great cover. I only knew the name Roy Ayers vaguely, but he could also be an American president or whatever. But listening to the record was a pleasant surprise, because the music has the exact same, relaxed vibe as the picture on the cover. I think the title track says enough.

New Vinyls

19 Feb

Last week I bought a couple of new vinyls for to get back into that old school listening to music. Me and a friend went to Rotterdam, which is a great place to look for records and going through all the boxes full of vinyl. Especially the Nieuwe Binnenweg is the place to be, with stores as the Plaatboef and Demonfuzz Records. Plaatboef has a lot of records, cd and vinyl, ranging from new releases to a lot of second hand vinyl. Demonfuzz is the store for the real vinyl fans. It is a bit more expensive, but the quality of all the records is very good. Plus it has a lot of music that I like, a lot of jazz, soul, hip-hop and world music.

So these are the records that I bought:

Steely Dan – Greatest Hits. This is a band that I did not really know that well, but I heard some quite interesting stuff of them. Reason enough to check more of them. It is hard to say which genre this is, but I can best explain it as complex pop music with a lot of jazz influences. Listen: Reelin’ In The Years

A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory. One of the most inspiring and groundbreaking hip-hop records. Released in 1991, this was one of the records that showed hip-hop was not only about gangsters and ghettos. The Tribe rapped about everyday stuff, like love, their interest in rap music and the racism they had to go through in normal life. All this was done in a quite optimistic way with smooth, jazzy beats. Records like these show the wide variety of subgenres in hip-hop and are perfect for sunny summer days. Listen: Buggin’ Out 

Charlie Parker – Immortal Sessions: Volume 6 Bongo Bop. Of course, Charlie Parker is one of the most influential saxophone players ever. I didn’t have any records with his music, so here I go. Probably more to follow. Listen: Cool Blues

Eric Gale – Ginseng Woman. Eric Gale is a guitar player, who did most of his work as a session musician. I got to know him by a friend of mine who let me hear a band called Stuff (check this out). I didn’t know he released solo records, but Wikipedia tells me he has twelve solo records and many, many more albums as session guitarist. I really like this album, it has a very relaxing vibe to it. And it sounds like Gale is really doing his own thing, instead of playing on others’ records. Listen: East End, West End

Nigeria 70 Sweet Times. This record is a collection of ‘Afro-Funk, Highlife & Juju from 1970’s Lagos’. I really like this Afro-Funk and Highlife stuff, because it shows a weird development in history. We all know that Afro-American soul and jazz music was highly influenced by original African music. What happened in the 1960’s and 70’s is that this music came back to Africa and had a big influence over there. The result are funky soulful grooves with typical African sounding vocals. Listen: Unity In Africa by Eji Oyewole.

Sergio Mendes & Brazil ’66. Of course we all know Sergio Mendes from the massive hit Mas Que Nada. But this guy has been active for a much longer time, since the 50’s! He was one of the first persons who played bossa nova, together with other legends as Antiono Carlos Jobim. This record is perfect for beautiful summer days. Listen: Upa, Neguinho

Horace Silver – Song For My Father

16 Jan

The last couple of weeks I am really into this jazz song. Horace Silver is a jazz pianist and is well known for his funky type of playing. This song really shows that, with a strong bossa nova feel. Apart from the theme melody that you may recognize (the horn melody inspired Stevie Wonder for Don’t You Worry Bout A Thing), his solos groove as hell. I really like this kind of jazz. If you know more of it, feel free to comment!

Mar Variations

16 Dec

I got to know Mar, a Dutch singer and artist, from his work with producer Full Crate. Together the make electronic, very relaxing music, always very intensive, sometimes jazzed up with an acoustic guitar. Besides making good music, they really know how to present themselves in their videos. They got the same kind of intensity as the songs. Listen to songs like I Said and She Was Fly.

Since a while Mar is also doing another project, called Mar Variations. For these variations, he takes his own look on a couple of songs and he really puts them in own hands. They got the same kind of feel as the Full Crate collab, again accompanied with great, simple videos. And the songs are not at all the ones you would think, because he does Lil Wayne, Aphex Twin and producer Oddisee (check that guy out!). And last, but not least: Mar can even turn Wham’s Last Christmas into a beautiful song.

Best of Blue Note

10 Dec

On Dude, What’s My Food? I shared one of my Sinterklaas presents with you, now I’ll show you another one. I also got a box called Best of Blue Note, containing fifteen albums of true jazz legends on the famous record label. Almost all the famous jazz names made albums for Blue Note, like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Chet Baker and so on. I can tell you, those are not the least names in jazz music. And all of them are in the box. And not only their albums, every cd goes together with a book, telling the story of the artist and the album together with beautiful pictures.

Here some songs of the albums. Listen to it, and you’ll realize what a legendary record label Blue Note was.

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Moanin’

Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage

John Coltrane – Blue Train

Bill Evans & Jim Hall – My Funny Valentine

I still have to listen closer to all the albums, so there is probably more to follow. But this will keep you excited for the time being.


Regeneration Music Project

28 Nov

A couple of weeks ago I came across this interesting project, which challenged five different artists to create a song in a complete other genre then they usually do. This mix of their own background with these other genres resulted in some surprisingly cool songs.

The first one, and my favourite, is a song by Mark Ronson, who we all we know from his work with Amy Winehouse. Ronson brought together an interesting group of people, like Erykah Badu, Mos Def and Zigaboo Modeliste (drummer of the legendary funk band The Meters). With these people Ronson had to create a jazz song and he came with a swinging, cheerful New Orleans style song: A La Modeliste.

One of the all-time best hip-hop producers, DJ Premier, had to make a classical song. So he asked one of the all-time best rappers, Nas, to join him (with a little help of the Berklee Symphony Orchestra) and came with Regeneration. Of course, strings in hip-hop are used a lot, but I never heard classical music and hip-hop combining in such a smooth way.

Pretty Lights, usually making electronical music, made a cool country song: Wayfaring Stranger. The Crystal Method made an R&B song (with Martha Reeves!): I’m Not Leaving. Since I’m not really into dubstep, the ‘rock’ song Breakn’ A Sweat made by Skrillex was in my eyes the least successful.

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