The Jazz BiBle
ON AUGUST 17, The Vinyl Factory, a British indie music enterprise, tweeted a 40-second video clip to mark the 57th anniversary of the release of Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue. Many believe that the 1959 record has changed the shape of not only jazz but also music. The slickly edited clip features five great musicians – pianist Herbie Hancock, double-bassist Ron Carter, rapper Q-Tip, the late singer and pianist Shirley Horn, and guitarist Carlos Santana – giving their one-sentence take on the album. Hancock says it’s a cornerstone album; QTip says it’s like the Bible, every home has a copy; but it’s Santana’s quote that kept recurring that evening when I dug out my copy of Kind of Blue and spun it. He says in the it sort of, at least for me, epitomises the blues-influenced, understated flow of Kind of Blue. It’s a very versatile album – you can play Kind of Blue in low-volume ambient mode; or you can sit in the dark with the volume cranked up and enjoy every nuance of it. That’s what I did after getting the cue from The Vinyl Factory’s tweet.
The Vinyl Factory’s website is a trove of delightful things. In the films section, there are full-length documentaries: I discovered a short film series, Analogue, which features musicians whose love for analogue has defined their music; a film on an Amsterdam radio station and record store that has set up shop in an erstwhile brothel deep inside that city’s storied red-light area; a vinyl FAQ that tells you when you should change your turntable’s needle; and a docu on New York’s famous jazz clubs. Besides stories, news and features, The Vinyl Factory also has a label and record shop and, indeed, its own vinyl pressing plant.
A band that I like teased us in recent weeks with releases from their forthcoming album. They are the Pixies, the influential Boston alternative rock band formed in the 1980s – they broke up in 1993 but came back in 2004 and later lost their original bassist, Kim Deal. Well, the Pixies are back with a new bassist, Paz Lenchantin and I had the good luck of seeing them play in New York last year. The Pixies play their own brand of punk rock inflected with the pulsating style of surf rock. Their songs are, in true punk style, short but with high pace and impact. The yetto-be-released sixth studio album is called Head Carrier but the band has dropped two singles from it – Talent and Um Chagga Lagga. Both are upbeat songs and older Pixies fans would probably love their throwback to the band’s early sound such as on albums from the late 1980s like Doolittle. Tailpiece: When Das Racist, the New York rappers, broke up a few years ago, I was dismayed. MC Heems, Kool AD and Dapwell (real names: Himanshu Suri, Victor Vazquez, and Ashok Kondabolu) had just one studio album and two mixtapes but their work was clever, funny and funky. Given their ethnicities, their lyrics often explored issues of identity but in a clever sort of way. And they evolved a style of hip-hop that was very distinctive from anything else in the genre. So, I was glad to see a single dropping from the Swet Shop Boys, MC Heems’s new venture with Riz MC (Riz Ahmed of Pakistani descent). The track T5 has a shehnai soloing through it and is about the humiliation and harassment of random checks at airports. The single precedes the release of their album, Cashmere. If T5 is an appetiser, the meal will be worth waiting for.
Musician Miles Davis’s
For more DOWNLOAD CENTRAL columns, log on to hindustantimes.com/brunch. Write to Sanjoy at email@example.com.
Follow @sanjoynarayan on Twitter