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09.17.17 rec roulette round 7: teach me how to h09.01.17 rec roulette round 6: jazzy pants
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rec roulette round 6: jazzy pants

Gimme jazz from an artist I haven't heard
1John Coltrane
A Love Supreme

And make it good.
2Art Blakey
The Big Beat

Definitely more of a "typical jazz" album here, Art Blakey pulls out an exercise in mastering simplicity. Obviously not to say any of the playing is easy, but the more standard jazz beats and arrangements here are less complex than the experimental/avant/free iterations of the jazz mood, such as in Karma below. What makes this album stand out from similarly styled jazz efforts is a bit hard to pinpoint. Every song here is so much fun and each one has a creative way to keep you interested. Blakey shows off his incredible drumming in subtle and big ways. Perhaps only if Shorter had been a bit more pronounced on sax could it have been much better, but who am I to say? 4.4/5
3Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Alone in San Francisco

Well, this proves Monk is an awesome pianist. It's nothing particularly complicated nor is it so simple as to become boring. Monk plays some wonderful melodies but makes sure to always bring in some unexpected chords to make you think and feel the music actively. I'll contradict myself here by saying my only main drawback is that, although the songs themselves don't get boring, over the course of the album, unless you put effort into active listening, it can run together a bit. I guess for me, although it's merit in an active listen is more important, perfection requires an enjoyable passive listen too. 4.25/5
4Pharoah Sanders

I believe this is the album of the three I am most conflicted on and also the one I'm most likely to bump to a much higher rating after 30 listens. After 4 though, my opinion of the moment is remaining steadily where it is. This album frustrates me a bit. It closes with what is now one of my favorite jazz songs in a wonderfully spiritual bliss, the message of which speaks powerfully. The rest of the album's spiritual vibe is also one of my favorite aspects. I am biased towards the message increasing my enjoyment though, and a more objective look at the earlier parts prove to find a bit more repetition than desirable for the full affect to be achieved, coming across slightly as a vocal hold on the tempo rather than completely as a free spirited exclamation. In terms of the music, it is all very well done. The calculated use of noise is an effective complement to the message and is truly interesting and innovative when taken in pieces. However, despite the abstract and complex nature of
5Pharoah Sanders

the noise, I feel even it is a bit repetitive as are the vocals of these passages. The first 80ish% of the album is merely very good because of this, but the last song is truly breathtaking. Overall I give it a 4.2/5.
UPDATE: Okay, I was right. It did grow on me more but instead of rewriting I'll just add this bit. I still think the circular nature of The Creator isn't the greatest song structure and the bass line is a bit derivative of Coltrane's Acknowledgement, but I see a lot more of the intricacies now that are really stunning. Also Colors is still great. 4.3/5
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