Monday, January 21, 2008

Living on The Edge: Rock Revival's Ten Most Rock and Roll Jazz Musicians

Now, this might seem a wierd topic for a rock site, but what happens when you peer over the boundary between rock and jazz and look for people who are like minded with Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath: Do they exsist in the Jazz world, can we find the same attitude, talent, wildness, and musicianship that we love in our rock. I think you'll be surprised..

1. Miles Davis: OK his 50's and early 60's stuff is pure Jazz but wait until the late 60's. listen to the live album Bitches Brew and you hear what Hendrix would sound like if he played the trumpet, what Lou Reed might have produced if he could'nt sing (oh he could'nt), how Cream sounded during their long instrumental breaks........

2. John Coltrane: You know that feeling you get when a guitar solo suddenly takes off into the stratosphere, think the very first guitar scream on Stevie Ray Vaughn's The Sky is Crying, half way through Buddy Guy's Blues at My Baby's House, the solos on Gov't Mules Endless Parade; well that's the same sound made by John Coltrane: check out Afro Blue, near the end of Greensleeves, the excact same magic that makes us love rock and roll.

3. Jean-Luc Ponty: If Eric Clapton is the electric version of Robert Johnson, Jean-Luc is the electric version of Stephan Grappelli, one of the greatest Jazz violinists ever. Jean-Luc POnty is one of the few purveyors of the Electric Violin, played with Frank Zappa and early Elton John, goes absoultely mental on his own, See albums Aurora or Imaginary Voyage and they are pure prog rock in Jazz clothing.

4. Medeski, Martin and Wood: Popular with jazz fans but also the Jam Band fraternity: ie, the natural successors of The Grateful Dead, along with Phish, Goverment Mule, Rusted Root, Dave Matthews. MM & W play a mean Hey Joe, starts VERY slow but builds up over 15 minutes to the best Hendrix cover I have ever heard, but it's Jazz.......

5. Pat Metheny: Is this Jazz or is this rock.... who cares, it's mastery of the electric guitar like no other, the sounds he gets out of it were revolutionary in the 70's but not all that well known to rock fans

6. Mahavishnu Orchestra: Well they really are hard to put in a genre, part rock part jazz, John McGlaughlin et al. kicked arse but when it came to psychadelic music, making a heavy mark on the development of Prog (the great Jan Hammer also played with them for a while, see the Jeff Beck Group and Jan Hammer Live 1972, brilliant)

7. Roland Kirk: Well the music is a bit different but the stage prescence IS rock, blind, playing three horn instruments at once, one of the great wildmen of Jazz in the volatile 60's

8. Art Blakey: Put quite simply, if you love Mike Portnoy of Dream Theatre you'll love Art Blakey, he is the unqualified master of the hard hitting Jazz drumworld, famous with his band THe Messengers in the 50's and 60's, keep an open mind and you'll be blown away

9. Sun Ra: Who can we compare this late 60's madman to: all I can think of is Captain Beefheart, Zappa is way to tame for Sun Ra

10. Jeff Beck: Well, you might not be aware but when you listen to Blue Wind, Led Boots, She's a Woman from his mid-70's period it's jazz-fusion: no , not Earl Klugh or the crap American's call smooth jazz ( I'd rather listen to ads), but proper jazz-rock fusion.

Have a listen to some of these tracks and you'll see that Jazz can be Rock and vise versa, they are labels that only works sometimes...................

Image: Courtesy Columbia


Anonymous said...

The most stupid post ever. You don't know nothing about jazz rock.

paul and dave said...

hey everyones entitled to their opinion, but whats yours, can you let me know what you think, what do you feel i have missed,