Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another Jazz 200 Album

Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section. Going to give it a better listen tomorrow while coding/digging.


Heh. This album was released the year I was born (1957). Many of the compositions on this album could reach four stars, but for a minor flaw. Too much drum solo. This is pretty funny, since as a kid I really liked drum solos (having grown up on old movies featuring and about Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich). That second link to a clip of Buddy Rich with Jerry Lewis is actually pretty fun.

In my teenage years rock drum solos were also pretty common, and I had no complaints. And as I've listened to the various albums I've grabbed off of the Jazz 200 list (this one, Thelonius Monk's "Brilliant Corners" and "Monk's Music", John Coltrane's "Giant Steps", Sonny Rollins' "Saxaphone Colossus" and Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue") it's dawned on me that most of these albums center on compositions using a framing melody, with intervals for improvisational solos by the various band members. So drum solos fit right in.

So I'm not sure why they detract from this album. Maybe it's just that none of the other albums feature drum solos. Maybe the drum solos strike me as jarring, or unimaginative. I really don't know. As I've been reading up on each of these albums, I've learned that some of the key ones were milestones precisely because they broke with the last musical style. Kind of Blue, for instance, is based on "a new formulation using scales or a series of scales for improvisations", or modal jazz.

I lack any kind of formal musical training, even as a dabbler. So directly observing these foundations and how they affect the way the musicians play (and play) is mostly lost to me. I still get the aesthetic pleasure of the music, but if a composition is notable to a musically trained listener mainly for technique, I probably am not going to "get it." Maybe that's what's going on with "Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section."

In any case, unskilled though I may be, I have no problem accepting that this album came in ranked #38, while "Kind of Blue" is Number One.

Please note: I do not regret getting this album. It has a lot of good music, and I've already listened to it several times. I just have a few peeves with some of the compositions. Overall, it's definitely worth having.

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