Jazz cd for papa - help!
December 12, 2005 5:02 AM   Subscribe

I suspect I've left this too late but I'm looking to buy a jazz cd for my father for Christmas.

He's a long time jazz fan but because I've not been home for a while there has been no opportunity to surreptitiously get a feel for what he's been buying lately. I've been trying to remember past purchases and I think they include some or all of the following: Clark Terry, Oscar Peterson, Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Young, Ben Webster.

Any suggestions for a gift based on the above? He's generally very open to new ideas.

Quadruple bonus points if the cd is available via Amazon UK with an "available in 24 hours" ship date. Thank you!
posted by ceri richard to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The two Jazz albums i'd immediatelly reccomend would be
"kind of blue" by Miles Davis
"A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane
posted by tnai at 5:30 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: Dave Young, a Canadian Jazz bassist who has played with the best of them did a series of albums about ten years back that were all piano bass duets, with a different pianist on each track. The Side By Side (vol III) album was my favourite if only for the excellent cover of the song Joshua. It looks like Amazon.uk won't get it to you for Christmas but you could always try calling up HMV or similar.
posted by furtive at 5:32 AM on December 12, 2005

he's probably got them though so another recomendation would be...
Impressed With Gilles Peterson Vol.1 and vol.2 - two great compilations of rare british jazz.
posted by tnai at 5:32 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: Not to put down tnai's suggesetions but those are such standards that if your dad own's ten jazz albums then he's probably has both of them.
posted by furtive at 5:34 AM on December 12, 2005

tnai - both those are hugely famous standards, but they're also later in style than the stuff that ceri richard listed. so either his father will already have them, or, if he doesn't, it's because they're not the kind of thing he likes.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:34 AM on December 12, 2005

oh, sorry.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:35 AM on December 12, 2005

I suspect I've left this too late...

Nobody needs to be reminded of that.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:54 AM on December 12, 2005

also, realised i may be assuming ceri's sex wrong...
posted by andrew cooke at 6:01 AM on December 12, 2005

Does he have warm feelings toward Peanuts specials? (Do they even air those in the UK?) Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas album is the kind of thing that many jazz fans wouldn't buy for themselves, and it's seasonally-appropriate.
posted by box at 6:03 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: Cannonball Adderley - Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (Live at "The Club")

Cannonball Adderley's most popular album, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy wasn't actually recorded "Live at 'The Club'," as its subtitle says. The hoax was meant to publicize a friend's nightclub venture in Chicago, but Adderley actually recorded the album in Los Angeles, where producer David Axelrod set up a club in the Capitol studios and furnished free drinks to an invitation-only audience. Naturally, the crowd is in an extremely good mood, and Adderley's quintet, feeding off the energy in the room, gives them something to shout about. By this point, Adderley had perfected a unique blend of earthy soul-jazz and modern, subtly advanced post-bop; very rarely did some of these harmonies and rhythms pop up in jazz so saturated with blues and gospel feeling. Those latter influences are the main inspiration for acoustic/electric pianist Joe Zawinul's legendary title cut, a genuine Top 40 pop hit that bears a passing resemblance to the Southern soul instrumentals of the mid-'60s, but works a looser, more laid-back groove (without much improvisation). The deep, moaning quality and spacy texture of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" stand in contrast to the remainder of the record, though; Nat Adderley contributes two upbeat and challenging originals in "Fun" and "Games," while Zawinul's second piece, "Hippodelphia," is on the same level of sophistication. The leader's two selections -- the gospel-inflected "Sticks" and the hard-swinging, bluesy bop of "Sack O' Woe" (the latter of which became a staple of his repertoire) -- are terrific as well, letting the group really dig into its roots. Adderley's irrepressible exuberance was a major part of his popularity, and no document captures that quality as well -- or with such tremendous musical rewards -- as Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. (All Music Guide)
posted by mookieproof at 6:12 AM on December 12, 2005

Response by poster: tnai: thank you - I'm fairly sure he has (possible multiple) recordings by Miles Davis and John Coltraine. I'd not come across Gilles Peterson before, but definitely one to bear in mind.

furtive: Have just listened to Dave Young samples, I think you might be on the right track here (no pun intended).

StickyCarpet: Heh. Sorry.

all: I appreciate how very difficult this question is given the lack of information but all recommendations are much appreciated!
posted by ceri richard at 6:13 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: Here are a few off the top of my head that I doubt he owns:

Sonny Sharrock & Pharoah Sanders - Ask The Ages

Peter Brotzmann - Three Points And A Mountain

John Zorn - (hrmm... too difficult to pick out a good introduction, maybe "Live in Jerusalem")

Muhal Richard Abrams - Rejoicing With The Light

Have to go to work now, I'll check in later to see if I should recommend more.
posted by aiko at 6:28 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: If you're looking for more recent stuff (still classics though):

For Piano, It's McCoy Tyner.

For Sax, Josh(ua) Redmond.
posted by zpousman at 6:31 AM on December 12, 2005

Response by poster: andrew cooke: yes indeedy, I need to update my profile to mention these bumps under my sweater :-)

box: I don't think he's much of a Peanuts fan and to be honest, has a drawer full of Simpsons paraphenalia from grandchildren that are appreciated but a little difficult to actually use (Simpsons pinball game anyone?)

mookieproof: Cannonball Adderley is hitting the right note with me (pun intended) and I can't remember seeing the name in his collection, vinyl or cd, thank you!

all: Thank you, I'm having a great time checking these out.
posted by ceri richard at 6:34 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: I've sold a lot of this album to people who can hold their own end of a good conversation about jazz. I work in a mall, and I haven't had a chance to listen to it myself, so fair warning. However, it's fairly new so there's a good chance your father doesn't have it yet.
posted by carsonb at 6:50 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: heh. I mean either of those albums. according to amazon.co.uk, the thelonious monk quartet with john coltrane -- live at carnegie hall ships in 24 hours and can be had by Christmas.
posted by carsonb at 6:56 AM on December 12, 2005

god, I totally confused myself. must remember coffee before trying to answer AxMe questions
posted by carsonb at 6:57 AM on December 12, 2005

yep, carsonb's suggestion seems to be the jazzbo xmas gift of 2005.

My favorite second-tier Duke record is "Ellington Meets Hawkins." There's a good chance he doesn't have that one, and it's charming.
posted by bendybendy at 7:16 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: Bill Evans? Any of these: 1, 2, 3 would probably be safe bets for someone who already has the Evans standards (Village Vanguard, etc.). If you want to spend a little more, The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings would be a pleasant surprise even if one already had some of the tracks uncompiled.

Canadians Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass might be a change from his usual listening that's still up his alley. McConnell's of the right era for your dad's tastes and has some fantastic arrangements of tunes he'd recognize, but it's emphatically modern jazz and not big-band music.

And any jazz fan that doesn't already have the latest edition would appreciate a copy of the Penguin Guide -- even if he's already got an older edition. It's updated regularly but it's hard to justify buying yourself a new edition when you've got a perfectly good old one lying around.
posted by mendel at 7:20 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: I can't believe nobody has recommended Horace Silver's Song for My Father. Classic, appropriate, and ships in four to five days.
posted by felix betachat at 7:31 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: What about more modern / recent jazz artists, like Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, The Cinematic Orchestra, The Bad Plus, Brandford Marsalis, Saint Germain (although I can't find any albums by them anymore...), or Béla Fleck?

From the artists you listed, it seems like your father is into earlier jazz. I think that, if he is an open listener, which jazzholes tend to be, then he could appreciate some of these artists. I would recommend The Cinematic Orchestra and Brad Mehldau.
posted by Third at 7:48 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: I've got a lot of Jazz records, so I'm trying to think what might have been new to me that I learned about on MeFi. Tomasz Stanko is the first that comes to mind.

Alternatively, what about the new Sonny Rollins record? That's on my list.
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:12 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: McCoy Tyner.

Great suggestion, the double trios is a great album but they all are great.

Bad Plus.

You love it or you hate it. Slightly de-tuned piano and soggy kick drum. I love it, my sigO is depressed by it.

A conservative choice (not too edgy) would be Jessica Williams. I have worn her CD's out. Live at Yoshi's is really good. All of her trios are wonderful.
posted by leafwoman at 8:13 AM on December 12, 2005

I'm all about the bad plus, but it should be noted that their latest album was one of the ones Sony attached their vicious DRM to, and as far as I can tell they haven't been replaced yet. Whether this affects you in the UK or not, I don't know (US here). We pulled all of the affected discs last week, and only Neil Diamond's 12 Songs got immediate replacement with clean, non-DRM copies. AFAIK, the bad plus' two older albums are not affected (and IMO better than this new one, if you decide to go there).
posted by carsonb at 8:18 AM on December 12, 2005

Best answer: I can't believe nobody has recommended Horace Silver's Song for My Father.

And I can't believe you're recommending it for a "long-time jazz fan." Some people seem to confuse this thread with "I'm interested in getting into jazz: what should I start with?" Helpful note to commenters: anybody who's into Clark Terry, Oscar Peterson, Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Young, and Ben Webster is not likely to appreciate, say, Sonny Sharrock, Peter Brotzmann (for chrissake) or John Zorn. Know your audience.

I second the Tomasz Stanko recommendation; his music is beautiful and shouldn't frighten the horses. Another suggestion along the same lines: Charles Lloyd. Everyone I've played The Water Is Wide for has fallen in love with it.
posted by languagehat at 9:00 AM on December 12, 2005

It might be too pricey, but you could split the difference and get a subscription to Jazziz, a decent magazine that comes with a full length cd each issue with a collection of some of the best new stuff. I had a subscription back in high school, still have some of the cd's.
posted by muddylemon at 10:40 AM on December 12, 2005

My favorite Lester Young CD, and perhaps even my favorite Jazz CD ever would be "Pres and Teddy." Unfortunately, Amazon UK is out of stock except for a rather expensive single bit audiophile version for 30 pounds. If he has the CD I would bet he does not have this version. That seems a bit rich to me, but if you have other options for supply this is a great CD.
posted by caddis at 10:45 AM on December 12, 2005

Oh, and I forgot to second mendel's recommendation for the Penguin Guide; I've got three editions (including the battered-and-torn first, from 1992, because it's the only one to include LPs), and the latest one is on my Amazon wishlist.
posted by languagehat at 11:03 AM on December 12, 2005

Response by poster: Thank you all so much for these suggestions. I've learned a lot but especially:

-- I could be converted to jazz in a heartbeat, there is so much good stuff out there.
-- Yet there is still some jazz that makes me run a mile, stuff I'd classify as "music to slash your wrists by"?

The Penguin Guide suggestion is excellent but will be kept for his birthday with strict instructions to check off his entire collection and to highlight those he'd like to have. My entire family will thank you :-)

I think I've narrowed it down to a shortlist of 5, purchase will depend on availability and cost.

Thank you everyone!

p.s. Feel free to keep adding, I'm sure that this list will be invaluable to others.
posted by ceri richard at 12:17 PM on December 12, 2005

Watch out with The Bad Plus; a lot of the musical references in their tunes (Blondie, Nirvana, etc.) might be a bit too recent for him to get, and he'd be missing out on a lot of what makes them neat.
posted by mendel at 1:28 PM on December 12, 2005

Ellis Marsalis - as a musician, he beats the pants off his two sons

Two for Brazil - available at CDBaby
posted by yclipse at 3:59 PM on December 12, 2005

Hey hey hey watch out there.

I'm 61 and have no trouble "getting" the refs.

Like "Blondie" and Dagwood right?
posted by leafwoman at 5:04 PM on December 12, 2005

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