Volume Six of Abstract Truths, An Evolving Jazz Compendium. If unfamiliar with the series, please first read here per its genesis and intention. We return with Los Angeles selector Phil Cho, who can most readily be found in the real world playing around the city via his ongoing night, Floating, at the Melody Lounge in Chinatown, and/or hosting the Third Place listening parties. Cho, below . . .
This began as one mix and has somehow spiraled into three separate parts…which speaks to both my indecisiveness, but also to just how much incredibly varied jazz music is out there. The three following three sections feature some of my favorite styles of jazz – spiritual, fusion and vocal/ambient.
Thembi was one of the first jazz records I stumbled upon. This mix is built around that record and the next track, which features one of my favorite male jazz vocalists, Leon Thomas. You may not be a spiritual person, but I think we can all agree that there is some otherworldly energy in spiritual jazz.
Alice Coltrane ft. Carlos Santana – Angel of Air – Illuminations
Heikki Sarmanto – The Land That is Not – Open Ear
Pharoah Sanders – Astral Traveling – Thembi
Leon Thomas – The Creator Has A Master Plan – Spirits Known and Unknown
Brother Ah – Transcendental March (Creation Song) – Move Ever Onward
Horace Tapscott – Peyote Song No iii – The Call
Mtume Umoja Ensemble – Utamu – Alkebu-Lan, Land of the Blacks
The following features fusion, my first love and the gateway drug to my later jazz habit. Fusion can be kind of a taboo genre in some circles, but for me, it’s less tied to genre than it is to a particularly open and free approach to music. As such, I’ve tried to cover a range of sounds here and have purposefully chosen songs that don’t perfectly fit the standard jazz mold.
Mark Egan – Touch of Light – A Touch of Light
Danny Gottlieb – Peace of Mind – Aquamarine
Pat Metheny – As Falls Wichita, So Wichita Falls – As Falls Wichita, So Wichita Falls
Joe Zawinul – The Great Empire – Dialects
Hideo Yamaki – The Black Hole – Shadow Run
Guru Guru – Globetrotter – Globetrotter
Weather Report – Barbary Coast – Black Market
Didier Lockwood – Aspiring Answer – Surya
Masabumi Kikuchi – New Native – Susto
Herbie Hancock – Rain Dance – Sextant
Jack DeJohnette – Aho – Zebra
“See her how she flies / Golden sails across the sky / Close enough to touch / But careful if you try”
This mix ends with Norwegian singer Radka Toneff’s hauntingly beautiful rendition of Jimmy Webb’s “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.” Toneff was found dead only weeks after the recording was released, which is undeniably sad, but also beautiful in a way as her memory lives on in this timeless masterpiece. “Fairytales” would later become the best selling jazz record ever in Norway, and still continues to inspire musicians and collectors today, myself included. The songs that come before it all possess a similar timeless quality. Enjoy
Azimuth – The Tunnel – Azimuth
John Surman – Changes of Season – Withholding Pattern (thanks Chee)
Meredith Monk – Eon – On Behalf of Nature
Mike Nock – Ondas – Ondas
Billy Higgins – Humility – Mr. Billy Higgins (thanks Stephen)
Pharoah Sanders – Harvest Time – Pharoah
Eberhard Weber – Fluid Rustle – Fluid Rustle
Daniel Lentz – Requiem – On the Leopard Altar
Yumiko Morioka – Moon Road – Resonance (thanks Zach)
Radka Toneff – The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress – Fairytales
**imagery inspiration via the work of Japanese illustrator Seiichi Hayashi.