Records of the Month – Jazz and Soul – June 2020
Jazz and Soul Subscription Records of the Month!
Our musical elves have sifted through thousands of archives of music and listened to hours upon hours of albums to bring you 3 incredible records this month! Not only that, but a dedicated team of historians tried their absolute best to give you a little background on each one! All part of a day’s work here at Vinyl Wings!
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Monk’s Dream, 1963
Monk is one of those pianists who you can recognize within 5 seconds of a record playing. His off-beat and syncopated style is truly one of a kind. The first time you hear a Monk record you might think “is my record scratched, did it just skip a beat?”.
Calm down, there’s nothing wrong – it’s just Monk. He’s like the Picasso of the jazz world – he takes every element of a piece, twists and bends it around to create a masterpiece of his own.
This particular album is Monk’s first for Columbia Records and is accompanied by a fantastic set of musicians – Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, John Ore on bass and Frankie Dunlop on drums. They’re absolutely fantastic and every layer upon layer of musical complexity fits in just perfectly to give us this incredible recording.
Not only that, but you’ve also got some solo pieces by Monk such as Just a Gigolo, which you probably won’t hear played like this by anyone else.
Otis Blue, 1965
10 of the 11 songs on Otis Blue were recorded within 24 hours. Who is in this super efficient band you ask? Stax Record’s very own best of the best – Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper and Donald Dunn. That being said, don’t think for a second that anything here has been rushed.
The album is complex and covers so much ground in terms of style. From the very up-beat cover of the Rolling Stone’s Satisfaction, to the raw, groaning soul that Otis displays on I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.
Otis’s untimely death in 1967 was a tragedy and the only thing we can think of when I hear this album is – what else could there have been? We should count our blessings and simply be grateful that part of what we were left with was such a perfectly packed album as Otis Blue.
Jazz at Massey Hall, 1953
The level of hype around this concert is difficult to put into words considering the line-up – Charlie Parker, Dizz, Mingus, Max Roach and Bud Powell. Frankly, this was the best of the best of bebop. Post writing this, check out our January 2021 Selection which featured Dizzy Gillespie’s Concert of the Century – a Tribute to Charlie Parker album!
Bebop started as a style for cult musicians who were by no means the big names they are today. It was an underground genre which accidentally set the foundation for the rest of modern jazz. The rapport the musicians have on this record is incredible, notwithstanding the challenges present.
Parker, afflicted by a heroin addiction, by this point had a strenuous relationship with Dizz who rumour has it kept popping off stage to watch the Marciano-Walcott championship fight happening at the same time.
Max Roach was quoted in 1985 saying “The atmosphere was pretty difficult, but when you look at the people in that dressing room and the issues and problems they all had, it would need a whole conference of psychologists to work it all out. People should just be grateful that the music was made and recorded at all”.