Recommend me some moody Jazz . . .
August 30, 2008 5:49 PM   Subscribe

Recommend me some moody Jazz . . .

Looking for moody, mysterious, late-night, mid-tempo sounding Jazz; similar to:

Nicholas Payton - Little Re-Re
Chris Potter - Unspoken

Nothing cheesy or too slow or too-romantic please. Muted-trumpet and vibraphone stuff are welcome.
posted by querty to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
While I listen to a lot of Jazz, I reckon the thing that would fit that description the best out of what I have would be Polar Bear.

The first two trackson the player there are probably my favourite tracks by them (perhaps not both the best examples of their moodier sounds I admit).
posted by opsin at 6:03 PM on August 30, 2008

I know nothing about jazz yet feel this is exactly what you need.
posted by atmosphere at 7:05 PM on August 30, 2008

I would recommend a classic: Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage.
posted by GrooveStix at 7:37 PM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: I'm not familiar with the artists you mentioned, but I would recommend 'Bohren & der Club of Gore' based on your description.
posted by k1ng at 7:47 PM on August 30, 2008

Blue Impressions is what I think of when I think moody late-night jazz. Since it's a Japanese import and probably difficult to track down, I'll list some of the artists on the compilation instead: Donald Byrd, Bobby Hutcherson, Ronnie Laws and Bobbi Humphrey. Some of these are more likely to violate the "no cheese" rule than others, as they're all fusion-y jazz artists from the 70s and I tend to think of that stuff as bordering on cheese. I have since heard Byrd's Ethopian Knights album and quite liked it too.

Other than that, though, don't know of much; I'd love to see what other recommendations people have, as I really like the smoky midnight ambience.
posted by chrominance at 7:59 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Koop, baby.
posted by phrontist at 8:15 PM on August 30, 2008

If you are into saxophone, you might try anything by Michael Brecker. I have heard him introduced as the most prolific saxophone player ever. I don't know if this is true, but i can say that his style is unique, edgy, dark, satisfying. Great music to work to, IMO. He also only jams with the best. His last released CD: Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, John Patitucci. Sadly, he passed away in January. I always describe him as the Shakespeare of the Saxophone. Only one comes along every millenium or so. An true genius.
posted by boots77 at 8:22 PM on August 30, 2008

Dude, "late night jazz" and nobody has said "Kind of Blue" yet? Its the alpha and omega of late-night jazz.

You also need the John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman record, and Sinatra's "In the Wee Small Hours." That's all you need for the next few years or so.
posted by jbickers at 8:26 PM on August 30, 2008

Monk's Mood by Frank Morgan

Poor Butterfly by Ray Drummond

Get other suggestions at Pandora.
posted by bjgeiger at 8:27 PM on August 30, 2008

Here are some albums I love dearly which may fit your bill; they are the ones I pull out when I'm looking for just that late-night mood. They're all fairly classic recordings; I hope that doesn't make them sound cheesy to you. I don't think any of them are cheesy at all (on the contrary, they're all quite exploratory and virtuosic in their own ways) but you've probably heard themes from most of them at one time or another.

Miles Davis: Kind of Blue and Filles de Kilimanjaro. Two all-star lineups: the first, Kind of Blue, comes near the end of Davis' Cool period and features (among others) Cannonball Adderly, Bill Evans, and John Coltrane; while the second, Filles de Kilimanjaro, was one of the first records where Davis went electric, with the help from the likes of Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Ron Carter. It's not nearly as hectic, fusiony or out-there as Bitches Brew or even In A Silent Way, but does start to explore some of those same spare, dark, strange places. If it's muted trumpet you want, Miles is the master.

Speaking of Bill Evans, his Village Vanguard recordings are really some of the finest moody jazz out there, in this Pinchbottom's opinion. Recorded during a single run at the famous NYC club, they feature a simple piano-bass-drums trio where the players seem to move in telepathic syncopation with each other. (Mote: These records were originally issued as two albums, Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby; selections from the two were issued as a single album called At the Village Vanguard, and the two together plus bonus tracks comprise The Complete Village Vanguard recordings.)

And speaking of Julian "Cannonball" Adderly, his record Somethin' Else (featuring Davis as well as Art Blakey) has a somewhat similar feel to Kind of Blue, though it's a bit more energetic. This record also features my favorite version of the jazz standard Autumn Leaves.

If you don't mind vocal jazz, the great Nina Simone is about as moody and mysterious as they come. I haven't yet delved as deeply into her catalog (a-HEM) as I would like, but the Verve Records compilation Quiet Now - Night Song seems tailor-made to your specification. In fact, Verve has a series of compilations by various jazz artists that each begin with the phrase "Quiet Now"; I'm guessing that most of these might fit nicely with what you're looking for, though I haven't listened to them personally.

Hope this helps!

ps: for some reason I can't abide capitalizing the word "jazz" -- does that make me bad? Probably.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 8:32 PM on August 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Payton and Potter are fine, but they're twigs off the branches off the trunk, and you may as well delve into trunk...i.e. some of the classic geniuses who inspired those guys.

First, anything by Miles Davis in the Fifties and Early Sixties. Kind of Blue is the obvious choice, but there's so much good stuff. You should start out with his collaborations with Gil Evans, which were extra atmospheric (Miles Ahead. Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain, Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall, or Quiet Nights.

Consider Chet Baker (anything where he mostly plays trumpet, I don't think you're looking for singers here).

Cal Tjader is the moody vibes guy, but may be a bit too old-fashioned for you (listen to samples on amazon to find out).

A couple ear stretchers, not exactly what you're looking for, but sort of next steps in different directions:
"Home" by Steve Swallow (out of print but downloadable on itunes), "Renewal" by Arnie Lawrence, "Elis & Tom" by Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Unity" by Larry Young, and "Out of the Afternoon" by Roy Haynes.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 8:52 PM on August 30, 2008

I would recommend a classic: Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage
- Especially the track "Little One"

What about Bill Evans
Kieth Jarret - Live at the Dear Head Inn- Track 4 will make you weep
Lionel Hampton
posted by mattoxic at 10:02 PM on August 30, 2008

One of my favorite moody Miles Davis records is The Complete Concert 1964. He's with Herbie Hancock at this point, and the version of My Funny Valentine on that record is one of the greatest interpretations of it I've ever heard.
posted by lizarrd at 10:03 PM on August 30, 2008

I would recommend:

Yusef Lateef - Detroit

Miles Davis - Ascenseur pour L'échafaud
(which is a much overlooked soundtrack album)
posted by degoao at 10:36 PM on August 30, 2008

Oh yes, there is also

Yusef Lateef - Cry!, Tender
posted by degoao at 10:37 PM on August 30, 2008

Best answer: In a Silent Way. Miles Davis.

Or if you want something by someone most of the employees of Google have never even heard of, there's Ondas by Mike Nock.
posted by philip-random at 10:47 PM on August 30, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all your recommendations!
posted by querty at 12:27 AM on August 31, 2008

Miles Davis, 'Round Midnight, although probably the whole album 'Round About Midnight would work. Also Coltrane's Every Time We Say Goodbye.
posted by juv3nal at 3:54 AM on August 31, 2008

Individual tracks:

Joshua Redman: Oum O U from the album Elastic
Andrew York: Marley's Ghost from either the album Into Dark or Perfect Sky
Herbie Hancock: Vein Melter from the album Head Hunters
Gary Burton: Elucidation from the album Like Minds
Dave Brubeck Quartet: Strange Meadow Lark from the album Time Out
posted by furtive at 6:26 AM on August 31, 2008

Best answer: Seconding Bohren & der Club of Gore – it can get a bit glacial at times, but in the best possible way.
posted by avocet at 9:38 AM on August 31, 2008

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