Records of the Month – Jazz and Soul – October 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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In a Silent Way, 1969
We love this record for the music as well as the fact that it was a foundation for a new branch of jazz – you can think of this as early progressive jazz, or even the rockier jazz which Weather Report made a name for.
In terms of timing, this was the late 60s – rock was dominating the market place and Miles was looking for a new direction that carried forward his core values in a creative and relevant way. The record was greeted by mixed reactions from critics at the time, but is today regarded as one of Mile’s most important works.
If we look at the line-up of musicians on this record it is nothing short of a who’s who of electronic jazz. You’ve got Wayne Shorter (later Weather Report) on saxophone, John McLaughlin on guitar, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock on keys in addition to Joe Zawinul (later Weather Report and previously with Cannonball Adderley).
These guys were seminal to the direction which jazz later took. The sound of this album has been described by reviews as a perfect marriage between music and technology. Personally, we hear something new in the album every time we listen to it and that’s what we believe makes it so special.
Still Bill, 1972
While so many music icons are discovered at a relatively young age, Bill’s career only took off at age 32. By that point he had grown as a person, had experiences both good and bad and lived a life – and that’s precisely what he brought to his music.
Every song he sings about love, heartache, friendship and camaraderie is covered in an extra layer of maple syrup. Bill, much like other folk musicians, was a storyteller, but he brought the kind of energy that belonged to a Janis Joplin. Every song has the potency to tear your heart out, while the next one will lovingly rebuild it.
The record kicks off with the thick baseline of Lonely Town, Lonely Street, but our two highlights are Use Me, a tune with one of the funkiest grooves ever, and Lean on Me – what would become the undisputed anthem of friendship.
The best aspect of Bill’s music to us is the fact that it’s relatable and accessible to so many people. Just about any experience one may have been through, Bill is likely to have sung about. We hope you all find something in this one that will make it as special to you as it is to us.
Olé Coltrane, 1961
Released just one year after Miles Davis’s groundbreaking Sketches of Spain album, Olé Coltrane was John’s last studio album with Atlantic Records before moving over to Impulse!, who offered greater musical freedom for the saxophone maverick.
Playing on both Spanish and Eastern-influenced scales and themes, Olé puts on display Coltane’s continuous advancement and movement into much more complex compositions and new directions.
Supported by the fantastic group of Elvin Jones (drums), Eric Dolphy (flute and alto sax), McCoy Tyner (piano) and a very young Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Olé can at times be an intimidating listen for those who’s ears aren’t Coltrane-attuned.
With a play time of 45 minutes and a mere 4 tracks, each tune is given the opportunity to really develop and evolve right in front of the listener, reaching the kind of “high” which only Coltrane can provide.