The Jazz BiBle

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE -

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

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