What are your all time favorite Jazz recordings and artists?

toeknee4bz

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Oh my Not only do i have this cd but i have most of Rit's discography up to his 1993 Wes Bound Cd. You got excellent taste.
Thanks. I am a major fan of Lee Ritenour. I've actually bought everything Rit released up through SMOKE & MIRRORS in 2005. But unfortunately, after that even Rit started treading water. A year or so later he released yet another live set, OVERTIME. The title says it all. I bought it, but I rarely play it. A few good riffs here and there, but basically just rehashing old material once again. And I actually got rid of RIT'S HOUSE from around 2000 or 2001. It just bored me to tears.
 

Bobberman

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Thanks. I am a major fan of Lee Ritenour. I've actually bought everything Rit released up through SMOKE & MIRRORS in 2005. But unfortunately, after that even Rit started treading water. A year or so later he released yet another live set, OVERTIME. The title says it all. I bought it, but I rarely play it. A few good riffs here and there, but basically just rehashing old material once again. And I actually got rid of RIT'S HOUSE from around 2000 or 2001. It just bored me to tears.
Isnt it sad How our favorite artists get into a rut like that over time?
 

toeknee4bz

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If you're into 80s Grusin, check out this one: "Summer Sketches", originally from the NY/LA DREAM BAND album. Starts out symphonic, like a movie score, then builds over time until it arrives into a swing jazz thing toward the end with George Young honking on saxophone, then finally boils with Lee Ritenour noodling out an almost heavy metal electric guitar solo before finally segueing one more time back down to the orchestral. Incredible piece of music.
jazz (jăz)

  • n.
    Music A style of music, native to America, characterized by a strong but flexible rhythmic understructure with solo and ensemble improvisations on basic tunes and chord patterns and, more recently, a highly sophisticated harmonic idiom.

Not sure if this would qualify. But whether one wants to call it "jazz" or whatever.... it's compelling to say the least.
 

Captain Bacardi

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I Enjoy the Crusaders music that the Captain listed but i also like the albums they did after free as the wind such as "Street Life"Rhapsody and Blues. And "Healing the wounds" along with some of Joe Sample's solo efforts such as "Spellbound" Voices In the Rain" and " Roles"

The Crusaders went down hill after Wayne Henderson (trombone) left the group. While the Street Life album was a hit, it just wasn't the same. They got too commercial and I stopped listening to them at that point.
 

Captain Bacardi

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"Smooth jazz" didn't even come about until 1994.

I actually heard the term "smooth jazz" in the 80's once the GRP stuff hit. But I agree it got so much more diluted after that. Bob James was the worst. He started producing acts with Columbia that was truly commercial driven. I remember Freddie Hubbard complaining that CBS released an album under his name with Windjammer that Hubbard said was actually a James session that he was putting his trumpet on. It started a huge riff between Hubbard, James and CBS.
 

Captain Bacardi

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Here's a good example. Upbeat, improvisational and fresh for the time. But it's not generic by any stretch.
Seriously? It may be upbeat but that's about it. Elliot was one of those David Sanborn wannabe's that I considered predictable. Never cared for his stuff. But I guess we just have different definitions as to what "good" is.
 

Bobberman

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Seriously? It may be upbeat but that's about it. Elliot was one of those David Sanborn wannabe's that I considered predictable. Never cared for his stuff. But I guess we just have different definitions as to what "good" is.
To Each Their own and Everyone Has their own tastes and We Dont Have to Agree. But We can Always Be Agreeable. Thats what i Like about this forum DIPLOMACY Is definitely one of the best parts of it.
 

Rudy

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Seriously? It may be upbeat but that's about it. Elliot was one of those David Sanborn wannabe's that I considered predictable. Never cared for his stuff. But I guess we just have different definitions as to what "good" is.
I run hot and cold on Sanborn myself. My favorite has to be Upfront, which had Ricky Peterson on Hammond B3. Next would be Another Hand which was very different from what anyone expected of him, and the cover of NRBQ's "Hobbies" (featuring NRBW's Terry Adams on piano) is a highlight from that as well. I had Pearls but loaned it out (and apparently my buddy kept it :laugh: ). The earlier albums had some good tracks scattered on them ("Chicago Song" is one of his signature tunes), but they did not age well. But surprisingly, the live-in-the-studio album Straight To The Heart has aged rather well since it relies more on musicianship than the "80s sound" that his studio albums had. (I have the laserdisc of this recording, and I don't think it was ever released on DVD or BluRay.) I haven't listened to many of his more recent albums to know what is on them.

Bob James...most of his music I flat out don't like. It just comes across as being very bland and generic. "Angela" (aka the Taxi theme) is memorable, and there are a handful of others, but I've heard entire albums where maybe only one track is one I could even remember once I was done playing it. I have owned Sign of the Times (since the title track was a radio hit locally) and as many times as I listened to that record, I still can't remember a single one of the other songs.

But...here's the thing. I really do like that Bob James/David Sanborn record, Double Vision. I feel the difference is that with a "voice" out front like that, the music becomes more interesting and engaging. (I haven't listened to their recent Quartette Humaine much yet, but it is not even remotely similar.) Maybe it is Sanborn playing off of James, and vice versa...? I have always called it a "make-out album". :laugh:
 

Bobberman

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I run hot and cold on Sanborn myself. My favorite has to be Upfront, which had Ricky Peterson on Hammond B3. Next would be Another Hand which was very different from what anyone expected of him, and the cover of NRBQ's "Hobbies" (featuring NRBW's Terry Adams on piano) is a highlight from that as well. I had Pearls but loaned it out (and apparently my buddy kept it :laugh: ). The earlier albums had some good tracks scattered on them ("Chicago Song" is one of his signature tunes), but they did not age well. But surprisingly, the live-in-the-studio album Straight To The Heart has aged rather well since it relies more on musicianship than the "80s sound" that his studio albums had. (I have the laserdisc of this recording, and I don't think it was ever released on DVD or BluRay.) I haven't listened to many of his more recent albums to know what is on them.

Bob James...most of his music I flat out don't like. It just comes across as being very bland and generic. "Angela" (aka the Taxi theme) is memorable, and there are a handful of others, but I've heard entire albums where maybe only one track is one I could even remember once I was done playing it. I have owned Sign of the Times (since the title track was a radio hit locally) and as many times as I listened to that record, I still can't remember a single one of the other songs.

But...here's the thing. I really do like that Bob James/David Sanborn record, Double Vision. I feel the difference is that with a "voice" out front like that, the music becomes more interesting and engaging. (I haven't listened to their recent Quartette Humaine much yet, but it is not even remotely similar.) Maybe it is Sanborn playing off of James, and vice versa...? I have always called it a "make-out album". :laugh:
I have every Bob James cd from " Bob James one to "Grand piano canyon" i have most of David Sanborns Early albums up thru Hearsay. And all 3 of Bob James collaborations with Earl Klugh " Two of A Kind, One On One, and Cool. Again i understand These aren't Everybody's cup of tea. But there are some memorable Gems to be found.
 

Captain Bacardi

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Sanborn at least acknowledges he's not a jazz player but an R&B guy. And that's fine.

As for Lee Ritenour, there's no denying he's an incredible guitarist. But his albums usually come across as boring to me. A couple of exceptions are Alive In L.A. (his best as far as I'm concerned) and the acoustic Rio. Wes Bound had a couple of decent moments but the rest of his catalog seems to be this laid back dullness, very little fire. I'm guessing it's a California thing. :D I finally had to stop getting any of his albums. Fool me once....
 

Captain Bacardi

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One of the newer artists I've been getting into is Esperanza Spalding. She plays some intricate bass and sings - and I'm not a huge fan of vocals, usually. But this girl's got it. Not bad to look at, either. :wink:


 

toeknee4bz

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One of the newer artists I've been getting into is Esperanza Spalding. She plays some intricate bass and sings - and I'm not a huge fan of vocals, usually. But this girl's got it. Not bad to look at, either. :wink:


The first track was a little bit too abstract for my taste, but I enjoyed her reading of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed". Good acoustic guitar in the background too.
 

toeknee4bz

Well-Known Member
As for Lee Ritenour, there's no denying he's an incredible guitarist. But his albums usually come across as boring to me. A couple of exceptions are Alive In L.A. (his best as far as I'm concerned) and the acoustic Rio. Wes Bound had a couple of decent moments but the rest of his catalog seems to be this laid back dullness, very little fire. I'm guessing it's a California thing. :D I finally had to stop getting any of his albums. Fool me once....

By this comment I assume that you're not including Rit's more electric albums such as FEEL THE NIGHT, "RIT", RIT 2 and BANDED TOGETHER. Those are anything but 'boring'... but then again, they're not exactly "jazz" albums by any stretch either. At any rate, to each his own.
 

toeknee4bz

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Bob James...most of his music I flat out don't like. It just comes across as being very bland and generic. "Angela" (aka the Taxi theme) is memorable, and there are a handful of others, but I've heard entire albums where maybe only one track is one I could even remember once I was done playing it. I have owned Sign of the Times (since the title track was a radio hit locally) and as many times as I listened to that record, I still can't remember a single one of the other songs.

I can understand how one might view his music this way, especially looking back at his earlier works being so dated in their sounds. Might've been cutting edge for the time, but.... this is 2017. So I get it.

Regardless, the TOUCHDOWN album which features the original and full length version of "Angela (Theme from "Taxi")", LUCKY SEVEN, "H", FOXIE and GRAND PIANO CANYON (which included the tune "Restoration", the very first track featuring the members of what would become Fourplay) are still albums that I can put on and enjoy the lion's share of the tunes in their entirety. Same goes for the Earl Klugh collaborations ONE ON ONE and TWO OF A KIND. I had thought the same would be so with the third BJ/EK album COOL, as well as Bob's IVORY COAST and RESTLESS. But unfortunately they were pretty much one track wonders with the rest exactly as you described: "bland and generic". So I guess if I had to be perfectly honest, I'm kinda "hit or miss" about Bob James' music as a whole. Definitely an artist I have to be in the mood to hear.

On the other hand, I can tell you that he puts on one heck of a live show. I saw him at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival in 1991, while he was promoting GRAND PIANO CANYON. His performance was as intricate and as spontaneous as any. During the early 90s, Bob was at his best in the live shows, along with Lee Ritenour, Harvey Mason and Nathan East when they started Fourplay. Unfortunately, they simmered down into the rut as well.
 
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Bobberman

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I can understand how one might view his music this way, especially looking back at his earlier works being so dated in their sounds. Might've been cutting edge for the time, but.... this is 2017. So I get it.

Regardless, the TOUCHDOWN album which features the original and full length version of "Angela (Theme from "Taxi")", LUCKY SEVEN, "H", FOXIE and GRAND PIANO CANYON (which included the tune "Restoration", the very first track featuring the members of what would become Fourplay) are still albums that I can put on and enjoy the lion's share of the tunes in their entirety. Same goes for the Earl Klugh collaborations ONE ON ONE and TWO OF A KIND. I had thought the same would be so with the third BJ/EK album COOL, as well as Bob's IVORY COAST and RESTLESS. But unfortunately they were pretty much one track wonders with the rest exactly as you described: "bland and generic". So I guess if I had to be perfectly honest, I'm kinda "hit or miss" about Bob James' music as a whole. Definitely an artist I have to be in the mood to hear.

On the other hand, I can tell you that he puts on one heck of a live show. I saw him at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival in 1991, while he was promoting GRAND PIANO CANYON. His performance was as intricate and as spontaneous as any. In the early 90s, Bob was at his best in the live shows along with Lee Ritenour, Harvey Mason and Nathan East when they started Fourplay. Unfortunately, they simmered down into the rut as well.
I first heard Bob James through the tv series Taxi as he did the music for it and a short time later i started hearing the Touchdown album being used on one of our tv stations as " Test pattern music". Lol but i Love what i Heard. And other tv stations were playing other Bob james albums or songs to sign on with and i have every one of those i heard. And more. Say what you will about him But He got A Lot of Airplay both On Radio as well as tv. And in my opinion i think that was what helped introduce arists and their albums to folks such as myself.
 

toeknee4bz

Well-Known Member
Seriously? It may be upbeat but that's about it. Elliot was one of those David Sanborn wannabe's that I considered predictable. Never cared for his stuff. But I guess we just have different definitions as to what "good" is.

As I said originally, I wouldn't give you a nickel for one of his more recent releases. I wouldn't consider myself as a hardcore Richard Elliot fan. With SOUL EMBRACE, it was obvious that he was leaning toward a more R&B approach that just didn't grab me at all. But I like INITIAL APPROACH. And I still stand by my comments. It's an excellent album, IMHO.

Same goes for SHADOW PROPHETS by Kevin Eubanks. I'm not a fan per se, but that one album is incredible. NORTHERN NIGHTS by Dan Siegel. Same notation. The self-titled TONY GABLE & 206 album. LOVE DANCE by Ivan Lins. BIRD OF PARADISE by Djavan. MEGALITH by T- Square. I could go on, but you get the idea.
 

toeknee4bz

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I first heard Bob James through the tv series Taxi as he did the music for it and a short time later i started hearing the Touchdown album being used on one of our tv stations as " Test pattern music". Lol but i Love what i Heard. And other tv stations were playing other Bob james albums or songs to sign on with and i have every one of those i heard. And more. Say what you will about him But He got A Lot of Airplay both On Radio as well as tv. And in my opinion i think that was what helped introduce arists and their albums to folks such as myself.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to be disparaging about Bob James. When I put on "Ludwig" or "Marco Polo" from FOXIE, I crank it to the moon! It is kick butt good stuff.
As for how it all started: I think a lot of us young guys got started listening to the more modern contemporary jazz styles because of stuff like Bob James' "Taxi" theme, among others. I remember hearing all sorts of stuff on radio and tv public affairs programs, and I liked what I heard... so when I started acquiring all of this stuff I felt like a kid in a candy store. When I found out that the music used on the "WJAX Community Calendar" was actually "Sweetwater Nights" by Dave Grusin... or when I found out that the "Lutheran Social Services hotline" music was actually "Road Runner" by Lee Ritenour... or when I found out that the "Jacksonville Job Finder" music was "Maui Waui" by Chuck Mangione... well, you can imagine the thrill. Oh, and let's not forget the channel 17 news using "Theme from Firepower" by Gato Barbieri. I'd never heard of him before that!
 

Bobberman

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Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to be disparaging about Bob James. When I put on "Ludwig" or "Marco Polo" from FOXIE, I crank it to the moon! It is kick butt good stuff.
As for how it all started: I think a lot of us young guys got started listening to the more modern contemporary jazz styles because of stuff like Bob James' "Taxi" theme, among others. I remember hearing all sorts of stuff on radio and tv public affairs programs, and I liked what I heard... so when I started acquiring all of this stuff I felt like a kid in a candy store. When I found out that the music used on the "WJAX Community Calendar" was actually "Sweetwater Nights" by Dave Grusin... or when I found out that the "Lutheran Social Services hotline" music was actually "Road Runner" by Lee Ritenour... or when I found out that the "Jacksonville Job Finder" music was "Maui Waui" by Chuck Mangione... well, you can imagine the thrill. Oh, and let's not forget the channel 17 news using "Theme from Firepower" by Gato Barbieri. I'd never heard of him before that!
I agree with you although the stations differ by call signs the basic music is the same at least until they stopped using regular jazz artists and switched to generic production music. And like you when i started getting the music i know the feeling of being like a kid in a candy store (" EAR CANDY" That is.) And on a related note one of our PBS stations used to use a mix for their sign on and background music the first two songs from Chuck mangione's Fun and Games lp and Cast your Fate to the Wind And Siberian workout From George Benson's Good King Bad album. And that same station also used at times music by Tom Scott. As well as Bob James. And on the CBS Affiliate 33 miles south of me they used 3 songs from George bensons Weekend in L.A LP the title song. Along with We All Remember Wes and California PM. Excellent wake up music i think.
 

Captain Bacardi

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By this comment I assume that you're not including Rit's more electric albums such as FEEL THE NIGHT, "RIT", RIT 2 and BANDED TOGETHER. Those are anything but 'boring'... but then again, they're not exactly "jazz" albums by any stretch either. At any rate, to each his own.

Agreed that they're not jazz albums, but yeah, I found them extremely boring. I had Rit and Rit 2 and sold them to Half Price shortly afterwards. Totally blase.
 

AM Matt

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Don't forget the late Charles Mingus "Mingus Ah Um" (from 1959) which has the song "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" (also done by Jeff Beck from his 1976 "Wired" album & Joni Mitchell from her "Mingus" 1978 album). Matt Clark Sanford, MI
 

Captain Bacardi

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I'm surprised that no one so far has mentioned any of the early 60s stuff from Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto.

Yup, the Getz/Gilberto album is a classic for sure. Jazz Samba by Getz & Charlie Byrd is another one. Another Getz favorite - although I need to be in a certain mood to listen to it - is Focus. And Getz with J.J. Johnson At The Opera House is another classic.

Wayne Shorter has a few that I really enjoy, such as Speak No Evil, Wayning Moments, and the 70's Brazilian album Native Dancer.
 

Rudy

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I run hot and cold on Getz. I like his playing but at times it is just too loud. That has to do more with the recording than it does the artist, though--he is a loud player, and his playing is helped by use of some limiting on his mic. Getz/Gilberto is somewhat ruined (IMHO, anyway) by the tenor just blaring out from such a quiet backing--certainly far from relaxing. Yet I have four versions of it...go figure. :D This is less a problem on Jazz Samba and Jazz Samba Encore where the backing is more even in level and the music a bit more spirited. Two others of his I like are two he cut for Columbia in the 70s: Best of Two Worlds (featuring Joao Gilberto and his then-wife Miucha), and Captain Marvel (which is essentially Getz with the first version of Chick Corea's Return To Forever group). Beyond that, I haven't heard much that interested me. I did find it amusing that his album But Beautiful with Bill Evans was a bit stressful at times--two strong-willed musicians butting heads. :wink:
 
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