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The jazz musicians' equivalent of a sex tape.
May 31, 2014 9:01 PM   Subscribe

I just found out about a super-secret super-smooth jazz record. Are there others out there?

I just learned from a very reliable source that an adventurous jazz group that is located, in terms of style and stature, somewhere between The Bad Plus and Vijay Iyer, recently made the smoothest of smooth jazz recordings in order to pay for their upcoming tour. The CD credits are all pseudonyms.

Have any other examples of this surfaced?

Once you know who is playing on this recording, the smooth jazz sounds just a little off, like the players weren't able to completely shed their style and training. If you were trying to do some detective work to discover other recordings like this, what telltale remnants of their usual technique would you listen carefully for?
posted by umbú to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not sure if you're asking about smooth jazz specifically, or for other examples of anonymously recordings, but Here come the Mummies are apparantly made up of fairly well known studio musicians whose real identities are a closely guarded secret.
posted by jpdoane at 9:39 PM on May 31


Yes, there are similar stories. Some good ones circulate Berklee.

If you were trying to do some detective work to discover other recordings like this, what telltale remnants of their usual technique would you listen carefully for?

The obvious answer is characteristic licks or voicings. Chick Corea has certain chords he reaches for. Gonzalo Rubalcaba has a few giveaway runs. Bill Frisell is often emulated but nobody barks intervals in quite the same way. Ron Carter and Charlie Haden are night and day. Et cetera. But you know that already.

If you're trying to unearth these things via pure detective work, then I think you'd need to be at the point where you can already recognize musicians blindly. Most people can't—as evidenced twice monthly in the jazz magazines—if only because this requires a ton of constant listening. From the other side, I suppose you could sit and listen to smooth jazz albums one after another hoping to hear anomalies, but how would you know the difference between legit discovery versus just onset madness.
posted by cribcage at 9:42 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Are you bound to guard this secret too? If not, please reveal the title of the recording you mention!

(I've always entertained the idea that smooth jazz as a genre is not inherently incompatible with artistic worth. However the only real case I've found so far to show this is so is some Joe Sample. I'd be very curious to hear the album you refer to.)
posted by bertran at 9:55 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]


I've always entertained the idea that smooth jazz as a genre is not inherently incompatible with artistic worth. However the only real case I've found so far to show this is so is some Joe Sample.

Bob James?
posted by atoxyl at 4:27 AM on June 1


I'm with bertran.

It would be hilarious if it's Mostly Other People Do The Killing but I guess they aren't as prominent as those named.
posted by kenko at 2:08 PM on June 1


One could probably write a book about recordings made by famous musicians using pseudonyms. Charlie Parker did it a fair amount, and John Lee Hooker might be able to fill up a chapter all by himself.

But one of my favorite examples of "I can't believe it's those guys playing on that record" is the cheapo "Batman" album released during the 1960s to exploit the popularity of the TV show.

It was credited to "The Sensational Guitars of Dan and Dale," who, as it turns out, were really members of the Blues Project and Sun Ra's Arkestra.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:06 PM on June 1 [3 favorites]


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