Jazz for dark, lonely nights of the soul
June 22, 2013 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Jazz songs like "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat/Theme for Lester Young" by Charles Mingus?

[playlist filter] I adore Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, by Charles Mingus. I listen to it in somber moods, in inquisitive moods, when I leave the library and walk across my campus at 3AM, looking at the stars above - it slows the world down.

What are some other jazz songs that share that same smoky melancholia?

* List songs/albums not artists, please. I do not have the time to look up the entire discography of Artist A.
* Wordless, please.
* The longer the song, the better.

Thank you!
posted by facehugger to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

Oh sweet lord, "Mood" by Miles Davis off ESP is great. Miles also was the master of muted trumpet ballads, which are best found off his four Prestige albums "Workin," "Relaxin," "Steamin" and "Cookin." The songs "My Funny Valentine" and "It Never Entered My Mind" are worth checking out.

Mal Waldron's "Duquility" has a mournful off-tune bowed cello from Ron Carter running against Eric Dolphy and Booker Ervin on horns. Love that cut.

The Bill Evans/LaFaro/Motian trio stuff isn't always melancholy, but it's generally quiet, thoughtful, introspective and intelligent. Try Evans' "Waltz for Debby" and see what you think.

Any of the Coltrane recordings of "I Want To Talk About You" fit the bill. The studio version is on "Soultrane," but I like the one off "Newport '63" a lot. Also, "Evry Time We Say Goodbye" off "My Favorite Things."

Let me add Wayne Shorter's "Infant Eyes" off the album "Speak No Evil," Sonny Rollins' "You Don't Know What Love Is" from "Saxophone Colossus," Sam Rivers' "Beatrice" from "Fuschia Swing Song," Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" from "The Shape of Jazz to Come," and maybe "Melancholy Mood" from Horace Silver's "Blowin the Blues Away."
posted by GamblingBlues at 8:21 PM on June 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Obscure, and dark as hell - Bennie Green's Lullaby of the Doomed.

Slightly more classical sounding, perhaps not as moody - Gerry Mulligan - What is There To Say?

There are so many more, but none come to mind at the moment.
posted by alhadro at 9:10 PM on June 22, 2013

"Peace" by Tommy Flanagan off the Something Borrowed, Something Blue album.
"Adagio From Concierto De Aranjuez" by The Modern Jazz Quartet from the album Space
"Solitude" by Ben Webster
"A Ballad" by Gerry Mulligan, with Stan Getz, from the album Getz Meets Mulligan in Hi-Fi
"Bumpin' on Sunset" by Wes Montgomery from the album Tequila. Not to be confused with his other tune "Bumpin," which is a whole 'nother thing.
"Crystal Silence" by Chick Corea, with Gary Burton, various albums, but certainly Chick Corea and Gary Burton in Concert (Zurich, October 28, 1979)
posted by paulsc at 9:36 PM on June 22, 2013

The Long Tomorrow by Tied & Tickled Trio
posted by John Cohen at 9:41 PM on June 22, 2013


Bohren & Der Club Of Gore

German group, don't be misled by the name. Very slow, soulful sax.

posted by gnossos at 10:05 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

A few more tunes that come to mind:

"I Remember Clifford" by Arturo Sandoval, several albums, but of course I Remember Clifford. A tune by Benny Golson, in remembrance of Clifford Brown.

"When It Rains" by Brad Mehldau, from the album Largo

"Love Theme From Spartacus" by Ahmad Jamal, from the album Genetic Walk

"As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls" by the Pat Metheny Group (with Lyle Mays), from the album As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls. This tune runs about 20 minutes, and one Youtube commenter wrote "... I thought this music was about nuclear armageddon and children playing in the park. ..."

"Summer Night" by the Keith Jarrett Trio, from the album Tokyo '96. If you like Jarrett, he does go on, at length, on a lot of his recorded works, including things like The Köln Concert, which is a bit more than an hour of solo improvised jazz piano, which many find very introspective, if not downright melancholy. Occasionally, Jarrett breaks into a kind of wordless self-humming, which may or may not be part of the music, and which isn't generally miked for recording; but you may hear him humming some melody or harmony to what is coming from the piano, if that is something that would rule him out for you, entirely.

"How Long Blues" by Ray Charles with Milt Jackson, from the CD compilation Soul Brothers/Soul Meeting. That's Ray Charles, not on piano, not singing, but blowin' alto sax!
posted by paulsc at 12:03 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not sure if it qualifies as "smoky" but I love Le Valse Kendall - Branford Marsalis & Joey Calderazzo - from their album Songs of Mirth and Melancholy.
posted by belau at 6:49 AM on June 23, 2013

"Cristo Redentor" by Donald Byrd has vocal harmony, but no lyrics.

Horace Silver also does a very nice, restrained version of "Lonely Woman"

"Lament for Booker" by Freddie Hubbard is another example in the melancholy tribute genre.

"Vein Melter" by Herbie Hancock
posted by Svejk at 7:07 AM on June 23, 2013

Is "Round Midnight" by Thelonious Monk too obvious? Pretty much all of his stuff is great.
posted by Concordia at 9:08 AM on June 23, 2013

How about 'Amsterdam Blue' by Jon Hassell? Nice, smokey, chill-out trumpet, and almost ten minutes long.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 11:05 PM on June 23, 2013

Eric Dolphy, Something Sweet, Something Tender
posted by dfan at 6:59 AM on June 25, 2013

Hi there, I made a Spotify playlist for this thread!
posted by johnasdf at 10:22 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

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