September 9, 2008

Seasonal Sonic Sensations: Fall (Part 1)

Fall brings many wonderful things, including pumpkin spice coffee, brilliant maples and warm sweaters; the most comforting element of fall, however, is the music that represents and enlivens the season. I almost always gravitate toward jazz and instrumental rock in early to late fall, namely Guaraldi, Coltrane, GY!BE and Tortoise. For those hungry few who are seeking the perfect fall album this year, look no further; this list can help.

Kenny Wheeler
Gnu High

(1976)

Comprised of trumpetist Kenny Wheeler, pianist Keith Jarrett, legendary bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Jack DeJohnette, Gnu High readily lends itself to both smooth jazz and avant jazz tendencies, as each of these three pieces wind loosely over musical landscapes simultaneously barren and lush, much like the appropriate album cover by Tadayuki Naitoh, depicting a mountainous region of beautifully fading fall foliage.


Herbie Hancock
Speak Lik
e A Child
(1968)

Herbie's atonal masterpiece still stands as one of the most intensely intimate and explorative jazz records ever released, and one that will undoubtedly become saturated in personal memories and elusions to childhood. This is not jazz for a sunny summer's day, nor is it completely a rainy day listen; Speak Like A Child is the last day of summer, that last fragrant evening, when adolescence is most vital; this is the last hour of our youth.


Vince Guaraldi Trio
A Boy Named Charlie Brown

(1964)

If Speak Like A Child is the final hour of our youth, then it stands true that A Boy Named Charlie Brown is the soundtrack that plays continuously throughout every memory, through the innocence and the carefree abatement of the playground we once knew to be life. The great thing about Guaraldi's music is, although childhood naturally diminishes over time, it holds some musical key to the secret lives we once lived as children, and allows them tangibility.


Dave Holland Quartet
Conference Of The Birds
(1973)

Conference Of The Birds came about after Dave Holland found an epiphany in a group of birds that would always gather in his London apartment's small garden at 4 or 5 am in the summers. This classic free jazz ensemble created the music that nature has been crafting, almost completely unnoticed, since history began, and the experience is like none other. If you've ever wondered what all the hype surrounding jazz was about, behold your answer.
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