LxListening: All That Jazz

Derby's, Jazz, smokey

For some, jazz music is merely a cacophony of nonsensical noise. To others, it is heaven by way of music. Not that I have ever felt the former, but the more I listen to jazz and make it my own, the closer I get to aligning myself with the latter. Jazz is ambiguous and spontaneous. Jazz can be incredibly happy, or it can be devastatingly depressing. It has the ability to take so many different forms, and sometimes many forms in a single song.  It doesn’t necessarily follow the usual structures or progressions. Sometimes it doesn’t follow any progressions. It doesn’t play by the rules in that sense. I especially love when jazz is fused into other genres of music, but for this list, I am going to stick with some of my favorites of the basics. One college spring break on a long, late night drive, Wes and I began a tradition of late night jazz sessions on road trips. As of recent, I’ve found myself doing it more and more often myself. Last Monday, I had a nice three-hour stretch of road in which I let some of my favorite jazz artists drive their airy, spastic, beautiful notes straight into my skull and enrich my soul. Here are some highlights from that jazz session.
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Flying Lotus Review: Until the Quiet Comes

Flying Lotus
Until the Quiet Comes

Flying Lotus, Until the Quiet Comes, album cover art

If you missed our top ten list last week, we focused on our favorite descendants of musicians. Had we optioned all family members and not only on direct descendants, Flying Lotus would have neared the top of our list. The great-nephew of the late John and Alice Coltrane, Flying Lotus has seemed to have pulled heavily from his great aunt and uncles jazzy gene pool. Combining old styles of free form jazz with a new electronic sound may not be completely originally attributed to Flying Lotus, but he has certainly mastered and popularized it. One reason I love jazz is because of its ambiguity. It has so much room for imagination and interpretation. It doesn’t force you to think any one certain way, it allows you to feel and create your own use for the music. There are moments in this album that feel so tense and claustrophobic that it makes me feel so anxious I need a cigarette (and I don’t smoke), but by the next song I am relaxing on a beach with a Corona in hand. Seamlessly fusing an album of this nature together is an accomplishment all on its own. The fun that comes with it is just the icing on the cake.

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Top Ten Thursday: The Hologrammy’s

tupac, hologram, coachella, digital

All it took was the one and only Coachella music festival to bring Tupac back from the dead…at least in Obi-Wan Kenobi hologram form.  A hundred grand plus and the unequaled genius of Dr. Dre was what proved necessary to display Tupac’s hologram performing “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Gangstaz” with Snoop Dogg (for those with a more technical interest in the technology used, see this article).  The shocker is that, from the youtube videos and first-hand reports, the hologram actually looked pretty good.  This may not prompt the esteemed writers of LxL to rush out and buy tickets for the inevitable tour of Tupac reborn (who am I kidding, I’m in), but it did get the ball rolling on which deceased musicians we would like to see show up at a music festival near us.  Our preference would be that these legends show up in hologram form, as opposed to zombified (aka Bob Dylan’s most recent tours), because zombies give us the willies.  Enjoy, and let us know who you would like to see brought to computer-generated life.

10. Notorious B.I.G./Ol’ Dirty Bastard

biggy, notorious, crown, king, close-up

Alright, so maybe the connection between Notorious and ODB are tenuous at best (Jay-Z sampled ODB’s “Brooklyn Zoo” for his track “Brooklyn’s Finest”, which contains a verse by Notorious).  But with the power of post-humus production, we would like to see a Watch The Throne-esque collaboration featuring Big Poppa and Big Baby Jesus in a feast for the ears.  Yes, ODB went by Big Baby Jesus for a period of time during his late-career nosedive. 

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