09 March 2006

8+

"Sly" by Herbie Hancock which clocks in at 10:20

(In the spirit of this song, and jazz in general, I decided to freewrite this post. Play was pressed and the writing ensued. All links and formatting were done after the fact along with a few tweaks here and there.)

Something just struck me as funny. I was trying to think of what I could write, given how little I actually know about jazz music. It's one of those things I always really enjoy whenever I take a moment to sit down and listen or, of course, if I go see some LIVE jazz. Tell you what - that's where it's at. I'll take some no-name jazz band in a tiny cheap ass NYC club over the same setup with a rock band, any day. Maybe that's precisely because I don't know jack about jazz, thus my tastes aren't very well formed. Crap jazz sounds good to my ears while crap rock is just crap. That may well be, but "Sly" begs to differ.

"Make with the funny thing, daddyo".

Okay see, rock loving hipster types have quite the tendency to 'get off' on someone flexing their written-word muscle. They "ooh" and "ahh" over things written in long sentences with flowery language and cheap metaphors. If someone can write an excellent piece about certain music, they'll jump all over it and own the music the next day. They (and let's be honest, I may as well just say "we") tend to enjoy reading people like Nick Sylvester and sites like Pitchfork. Okay, USED to like those things. Now it's all Tiny Mix Tapes and Stylus...or whatever. I don't know actually. I haven't gotten my latest issue of indie-cred quarterly yet (seriously, what're you guys reading for album reviews lately, Pitchfork still? I'm at a loss as I am sick of their crap but have nothing to fill the void so instead I just look at their ratings and skim the review). My point is: odd how incongruent such peoples' tastes are, isn't it? The rock music we all know and love so much isn't exactly the auditory equivalent of what we like to read.

What am I saying? I'm saying that THIS SONG sounds more like what goes over so well with the cool kids, in terms of words on paper. If we listened to music that sounded like what we like to read, well, it'd sound much more like this song. If we read things more like what we listened to, we'd all be reading more Nick Hornby. Wait, I seem to be lost in my own analogy. That's okay, confusion works well stylistically with the song. More often I personally prefer efficient/effective writing that one can't generally find on music sites; yet, I too am one of these indie-rock suckers.

I do enjoy branching out at least. I like "showy" writing as well as "showy" music from time to time. I like to groove and chill and move my head to whacked out time signatures. If it's good, showy writing and music can be a month long phase for me every now and then. A fun sidestep into enjoying pure technical 'wow-factor' talent. Well, this piece of music you've got here is beyond good. It's a classic with a wow-factor of 62. Steely Dan, Phish, Medeski Martin and Wood, probably half of current jazz, et al. - MEET YOUR MAKER.

BUY Head Hunters HERE. This album is a MUST own.

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
British Sea Power - "Lately"
Islands - "Swans"
Isolée - "Pillowtalk"
Animal Collective - "Banshee Beat"
Wilderness - "Post Plethoric Rhetoric"
The Wedding Present - "Interstate 5"
Sleater-Kinney - "Let's Call It Love"
My Morning Jacket - "Dondante"
Wilco - "Spiders (Kidsmoke)"
Isis - "From Sinking"
Lemon Jelly - "A Tune For Jack"

8 comments:

JM said...

can i suggest "Funky Tonk" by Miles Davis in this case, off of Live Evil, clocking in at 23:28 and a perfect example of why nobody else inthe world should ever hook up a trumpet to a wah wah pedal except for Davis. (this excludes Skerik and his saxophone, a worthy effort). Oh, and FUck you Erik Truffaz! Oh and check out "Your Mouth" by Frank Zappa which is 17:24 and parts of which sound EXACTLY like the theme song to Arrested Development on acid.

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Matt.. How did you manage it? A 5 paragraph review of "Sly" without mention once of the great Sly Stone that this is an unapologetic homage to? This song DRIPS with "There's a riot goin on" references.

I love this track, I love my Jazz, someday you indie rock guys need to be forced to sit down and comprehend the grandeur of Charles Mingus's The Black Saint and The Sinner lady.

Much cred on a great site here, I check it twice a week. Psalm 69 and this hit a 10 on my scale, although your disparaging words for Loveless cause me physical pain. I love the Smiths, but I suspect coming from Northern England dulls the wonder of this band a bit.. They're about as exotic as a can of Coke.. I always preferred The Pixies.

Fabry said...

;-)

Trevor Jackson said...

Thanks for this track. It's a reminder to finally replace my long-lost copy of this album.

As for the writing about music I like to read? This post is a fine example of what I look for in music reviews--a mix of personality, humor, and humility. Album reviews? These days it's so easy to get two or three songs as previews of an album, you can let the music speak for itself in making the choice to buy or not buy.

I'm not discounting the importance of music reviews. I just think the format P-fork and Stylus and the other online-only music mags need to reevaluate their approach to voice. Put down the snark and cynicism and pick up the sincerity.

landrew said...

I haven't listened to the track yet, but thanks. I'm still new to getting into jazz myself. I have a few Miles Davis albums and they all seem excellent. My favourite find so far is "Waltz For Debby" by the Bill Evans Trio, but like everything else it's all subjective. I seem to prefer mellow laid back jazz.

As for music sites, well Pitchfork is still the first one I check every day. I can hardly believe I've been reading it since 1997. Then comes Tinymixtapes, You Ain't No Picasso, Metacritic, and now Ear Farm. Keep up the good work. Music blogs like yours are really the best indicator nowadays of what's interesting out there. I haven't listened to the radio or watch a music video in 3 years, but I buy new music almost every week. And it's all thanks to internet music sites like yours.

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wes said...

great song, thanks

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