The Biology of Plants – Vol. 2

Sixty years after Ornette Coleman released The Shape of Jazz to Come, contemporary musicians continue to challenge and expand upon the core tenets of the genre. Besides its notable anniversary, I mention Coleman’s breakthrough specifically due to its embodiment of disruption. The reception for his playing style has softened considerably…

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Jazz Club // COAST – COAST

“Modern” has always been one of my least favorite genre prefixes. With the myriad of stylistic tags at artists’ disposal, it seems like an odd choice to fixate on the recency of a piece of music as a means of describing its sound. As is demonstrated by any number of revivalist movements operating in the current music landscape, “modern” music isn’t always a guarantee of fresh, forward-thinking ideas, and in my experience, the tag is often used to posture standard genre fare delivered with a newer sheen as something new and revelatory. Of course, there’s an exception to every rule, and when it comes to this particular pet peeve of mine, I’ve never been happier to have a band prove me wrong as wrong as COAST do with their phenomenal self-titled debut. Every aspect of COAST embodies what “modern” jazz should represent. Over the course of the album’s six brilliant tracks, the quartet executes jazz’s greatest traits with precision and agility. In short, COAST offers everything jazz fans love about the genre, except this time, it’s simply performed at a better, higher level.

Starter Kit: Free Jazz

Regardless of one’s musical background, free jazz is one of those genres that can be extremely confusing and often border on nonsensical and sonically belligerent. There are even fans of jazz who still can’t get into the likes of the late works of John Coltrane or anything made by Pharaoh Sanders, preferring instead to listen to other, less insane iterations of the genre. While we believe that music’s value is something strictly decided by the listener, we’ve also found that, despite the difficulty of the genre, free jazz is incredibly rewarding. There’s something undeniably special about musicians that can improvise; if music is the expression of the soul, then free jazz is the direct output of an unrestrained musical voice. While it can sound like noise, it’s in fact a huge show of musicianship, as the artist in question must compress everything they know about music theory into one single point and, in a sense, abandon the strictures it causes for what they feel. In this way, we think free jazz can be one of the most magical and spiritually uplifting genres of music out there, and for those interested in exploring the genre further, the following albums are great introductions to the most liberated plane of jazz.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 3/17/17

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

The Final Years: A Retrospective Of Miles Davis’s Last Albums (Part 2)

If there was one word to ultimately describe Miles Davis’s final handful of recordings, it would be “contentious”. While Davis was never too far away from controversy throughout his entire career, with a great number of his releases not finding proper reception until years after their release, this period of his life perhaps represented more of a disappointment by fans than any other. He’d been able to prove himself to be capable of serious experimentation with albums like Bitches Brew and On The Corner; one could only expect fans to be disappointed with the supposed lack of innovation found on The Man With The Horn.

The Final Years: A Retrospective Of Miles Davis’s Last Albums (Part 1)

In 1975, Miles Davis began life anew as a recluse, a hermit in the middle of Manhattan. Supported by a healthy retainer by Columbia Records and fueled by cocaine, Davis spent most of the next six years in his Upper West Side apartment, composing and practicing rarely, but mostly neglecting his musical gifts. (Whatever else went on during this “retirement” is perhaps best left untouched.) However, by 1980, Davis was back in the studio recording what would become 1981’s The Man With The Horn—his comeback record, and an album that would arguably set the standard for this new wave of his music until his untimely death nine years later.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 2/3/17

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

Stepping Stone: Miles Davis // Sketches of Spain

This is a special article for me, because Miles Davis essentially got me started on jazz. It was listening to albums like Kind of Blue and Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters that got me interested in what this genre of music had to offer, and my love of jazz only grew from there. For a while, I tried to get as much Miles and Herbie as I could, buying CDs on a whim. On one of these whims I found what was also considered one of Miles’s best releases, a little album called Sketches of Spain. And I can say without a doubt my life has been changed by this album in ways I could never quite expect.