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The Hippest Sounds on Earth
March 1, 2006 8:33 AM   Subscribe

John Coltrane. Thelonious Monk. Hank Mobley. Lennie Tristano. Blue Note. Impulse. Riverside... In other words: jazz. Now three fans in Japan -- a country that has always appreciated America's gift to music even more than the US itself -- have created The Jazz Discography Project, a bare-bones, open-source, astonishingly exhaustive database of the hippest sounds on the planet. For aficionados, just reading an ASCII entry for long out-of-print stuff like A Message from Garcia, featuring a young and then-unknown musician named Bill Evans who would later reinvent his instrument, is thrilling.
posted by digaman (28 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Astonishingly exhaustive is right, cheers for this.
posted by drill_here_fore_seismics at 8:48 AM on March 1, 2006


great link. Thanks digaman
posted by terrapin at 8:52 AM on March 1, 2006


Just about all of the classic jazz masters are here. Great source. I had forgotten about Sonny Criss. I might try to find some of those Rahsaan Roland Kirk records/CD's. Kirk is vastly underrated, IMO. I saw him live many times, as well as Sun Ra, who is not listed on the main page for some reason, but the search engine works just fine for him.

I used to play jazz in Japan. And yes, it's a more lucrative gig than playing in America, generally. Although in the clubs I worked, we were treated like exotic freaks, to some extent. Our sets were 25 minutes per hour, the other time set aside for conversation: "Mr. Haruka would like to buy you a drink," said the club owner.
posted by kozad at 9:04 AM on March 1, 2006


The complex, pedantic nature of this project is certainly to the genre. Reading the disography for Miles Davis is almost like listening to him.
posted by three blind mice at 9:08 AM on March 1, 2006


certainly appropriate to the genre
posted by three blind mice at 9:09 AM on March 1, 2006


Wonderful; thanks, digaman. Much of interest here — for example, I knew that Roland Kirk had been 'introduced' — unlikely as it seems — by Ramsey Lewis. (In fact, I first saw Kirk open for Lewis's trio many years ago.) I didn't realize, though, until looking here that he had recorded an album four years earlier than Introducing Roland Kirk. Or that Ira Sullivan played trumpet and tenor on Introducing.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:09 AM on March 1, 2006


Wonderful link, thank you digaman. I'm now lusting after that Bill Evans/Explorations cd, dammit.
posted by ceri richard at 9:21 AM on March 1, 2006


I might try to find some of those Rahsaan Roland Kirk records/CD's.

Interesting that kozad and I went right for the Kirk discography. One of my favorites has always been Blacknuss, mostly pop hits so familiar that it's easy, as well as fascinating, to see how a jazz master rearranges tunes. It even includes a cover of I Wanna Make it With You, by Bread, one of the whitest groups in history. It's hard to imagine anybody even thinking of placing them anywhere on the blacknuss scale.
posted by LeLiLo at 9:24 AM on March 1, 2006


Who's the loneliest monk?
posted by Kwantsar at 9:30 AM on March 1, 2006


ceri, that Evans record is the shizzit.
posted by digaman at 9:40 AM on March 1, 2006


lelilo, I saw Roland Kirk at the Village Vanguard or Sweet Basil not long before he died. They had to carry him up on stage, and I thought, Ah jesus, this is really sad. But then he proceeded to solo.... on three instruments at once. And beautifully. Yeow!
posted by digaman at 9:43 AM on March 1, 2006


Great post. I know about a dozen people who will be thrilled of this discovery.

:thumbup:
posted by blastrid at 9:55 AM on March 1, 2006


Excellent post. I can't decide if I think it's fueled by pot or speed, or some dastardly combination, but a lot of tedious work went into this. I'm glad it did.
posted by OmieWise at 9:59 AM on March 1, 2006


It's amazing and sad to think how brief the career of a major voice like Eric Dolphy's was. As if Van Gogh painted a dozen canvasses and then split.
posted by digaman at 10:25 AM on March 1, 2006


"Japan -- a country that has always appreciated America's gift to music even more than the US itself"

For serious? I'm guess it's just ignorance, but I had no idea that Japanese appreciated jazz.
posted by travosaurus at 10:33 AM on March 1, 2006


I feel like I am obligated to comment on jazz threads, so here goes: How does this compare to AMG's work on the topic?
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:41 AM on March 1, 2006


Travosaurus, the main character of one of Murakami's novels is actually the proprietor of the type of jazz club that sounds improbable to American ears. As probably one of the most significant Japanese artistic voices to an American audience, it seems pretty telling to me.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:44 AM on March 1, 2006


cheers, digaman!
posted by shoepal at 10:53 AM on March 1, 2006


Travo, I'm so not kidding. Geniuses who couldn't sell out a club show in San Francisco pack huge auditoriums in Japan. They're so down with the good stuff over there. Many of the best albums I own --- holy mother of fuck! -- I first heard as a Japanese import.
posted by digaman at 10:57 AM on March 1, 2006


Yeah, feloniousmonk, there are plenty of jazz clubs in Japan of all different sorts, most of which you won't find in Black American Classical Music's home: the USA. And Murakami is the schnizzle.

And lelilo...that is one of my favorite Kirk tunes...I Wannna Make it With You. Halfway through the tune, he deliberately fucks up the melody line, sounding like he's choking on his horn or something, creating one of the best examples of humor in music, an art form not usually known for being a vehicle for comedy. Jazz, especially, is usually pretty serious stuff. (Yeah, I enjoy Spike Jones, PDQ Bach, Weird Al etc. but Kirk's humor is sui generis.)
posted by kozad at 11:26 AM on March 1, 2006


I find a lot of humor in Monk's music -- almost continuously.

And Mingus too -- "Eat that Chicken" etc.

Now that I think of it, there's a lot of humor in jazz. Just not the sit-com variety.
posted by digaman at 12:29 PM on March 1, 2006


Great stuff -- thanks, digaman!

Nitpick (what would a thread about discographies be without a nitpick?): I checked out a sadly forgotten figure, Tina Brooks, and discovered that only the last session is listed as being on The Complete Blue Note Recordings of the Tina Brooks Quintets (Mosaic MR4 106), which actually includes the previous few as well (including the great True Blue)—as it should, being a four-record set.
posted by languagehat at 1:24 PM on March 1, 2006


yeah, digaman, yer right 'bout Monk and Mingus...
posted by kozad at 1:38 PM on March 1, 2006


Wow.
I think I just freaked the lady out with the frantic dig through the crates for the Albert Ayler that this inspired.
And thanks....
posted by zoinks at 3:49 PM on March 1, 2006


Even if most of his catalog is MIA, I'm thrilled that Don Ellis made the scene.
posted by mkhall at 4:11 PM on March 1, 2006


Omiwise:

Excellent post. I can't decide if I think it's fueled by pot or speed,


I'd vote meth.

Excellent link.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:18 PM on March 1, 2006


Thanks, digaman. Shame about the URL, though. Happy Fun Jazz Disco!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:54 PM on March 1, 2006


Shame about the URL, though. Happy Fun Jazz Disco!

heh, I know.
posted by digaman at 12:26 PM on March 2, 2006


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