Friday, November 2, 2012

Guest Post: Patrick Boyle's Choice Cuts

Thanks to my good friend and partner-in-crime Professor Patrick Boyle, here is an insightful and generous guest blog post to muse upon today.

"Choice Cuts" by Patrick Boyle

I enjoy reading blog posts of artists ‘top ten’ lists of key recordings. It’s a fun way to learn about their backgrounds. I had a teacher once who said ‘you are what you eat, you are what you listen to.’ So I compiled the following informal annotated best-of list that includes some of my most favourite recordings for my students at the University of Victoria. I passed it along to your favorite drum blogger (and mine) Jon McCaslin who asked me to turn it into a blog post. Here you go, in no particular order:

Miles Davis - Love for Sale

Just a killer. So many personalities working together. Everything a young jazz musician needs is here.

Miles Davis - Walkin' (Live in Tokyo 1964)

Just listen to the drums and piano for the entire trumpet solo and maybe that's all you'll ever need to hear for the rest of our lives. I have likely played this at least once in ever class I've ever taught.

Hank Mobley - Soul Station

Total swinger. If jazz makes you burb, then wear a bib listening to this. Capital ‘J’ jazz. Wynton Kelly on piano is so fluid.

Keith Jarrett - Survivors Suite

A warning about Survivors Suite. For me, this is truly heavy. Esp 12min-18:30. There are moments on this record that I feel were made for me alone to hear, as though there is an alien secret language in the notes. Obviously that cant be true, but Jarrett is unreal (he plays piano, soprano and flute on this recording, with Dewey Redman on tenor, Charlie Haden on bass, and Paul Motian drums). Of course the record might not resonate the same way with you, but for me I would honestly say this is my most favorite single jazz recording, even more than the Love for Sale.

Mike Murley, Dave Liebman, Jim Vivian, Ian Froman Live at the Rex in Toronto


I was at this show with Jon. Jim is an old friend from Newfoundland and Murley plays on my last record, so there's the idea of hearing friend's personalities come through their music while listening to it WITH friends that appeals to me here. And if you know a little of their backstory with Liebman then it’s kind of like THEM listening to a friend. Meta-meta listening! This sound quality of the gig doesn't translate as well on YouTube, and I don’t know what the band thinks about it being online, but take my word for it...it was super super heavy. They made a wonderful record available here http://www.cornerstonerecordsinc.com/pages/cat130.html

Many people, including me were completely transported at this show to somewhere way way far away....somewhere where 'potential' and 'imagination' meet and where it might be possible to hear everything at once forever. One of the top two or three shows I've ever witnessed.

Barry Elmes Quartet - Grooveyard

This was the 2nd jazz group I ever saw in my life (around 1991). Kevin Turcotte was my trumpet teacher for many years. To me, this is quintessential 'Canadian' jazz. You can set your watch by the time-feel of any member of the band. Beyond solid.
It’s funny…Jon and I grew up thousands of miles away from each other but we bonded over so much of the same music, especially this band.

Murley, Bickert & Wallace – Test of Time


 This record isn’t out yet, but it is streaming for free till Nov 5. What a thrill. If you are in Toronto be sure to check out the Ed Bickert Celebration Nov 29. This record, like so many others on this list, is so full of ‘time.’  I swear, all I need is to hear really great time.

 Ron Miles - Quiver

This record came out recently. Ron is a fave trumpeter of mine with my two other faves, Bill Frisell on guitar and Brian Blade on drums. Ron's sound is visceral, from the heart. Without a bassist, the time has to flow naturally/authoritatively from each player.

Django Reinhardt -Limehouse Blues

I first heard this with my parents in Heathrow when I was maybe 12 or 13. My folks are the type of people to buy me things I want to shut me up. Later, when I found out that what he did at 1:34 was done with only two fingers on his right hand, I realized maybe my 'able-bodiedness' was capable of more than I was putting it through. It helped me try harder.

Lyle Lovett - Simple Song

Ok, not jazz…but so much more. Lyle is serious. I've seen him a couple of times live and have rarely experienced a performer 'giving it' more. His lyrics aren't that straightforward. They can be taken many ways. But the melodies are direct and his stage show flawless. Really, this is all about the last lyric for me.

Penderecki - Polymorphia

This is more fun to listen to with the score. What kind of mind made this? Dang.

Pat Metheny on Night Music

'Night Music' for many musicians born when I was born was a huge deal. It was on quite late. Saxophonist David Sanborn was the host and he would assemble only the deepest and most progressive musicians. Metheny is beyond words. A true jazz fiend....not friend. He is a fiend. Wherever he is right now as you are reading this sentence, he is practicing.

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

I got this record for my birthday in 1995. To really dig it, you should go here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Love_Supreme to learn some of the issues behind the music itself. I think about this record when I am unsure about things. It has deep answers to questions I haven't really formulated. Coltrane at this time was on a quest. We are all on some kind of quest. Coltrane acknowledged it though. He was honest about what he didn't know.

Frank Zappa - Hot Rats

I have all my uncles old LPs and among them is an abundance of Zappa. Zappa would've been the greatest music prof ever had he had the chance. A vast mind with a tendency to disrupt protocol of all kinds. Google more for some deep live cuts. Hot Rats is just my fave Zappa studio record, but so many have deep resonance, especially considering his stage banter.
Wynton Marsalis - Green Chimneys

This trumpet playing, especially from 3.27 onward, necessitates a force and commitment we can all have if we really try. Think about THAT!!!

Joe Zawinul – The Harvest

How this record was for sale in Corner Brook, Newfoundland I’ll never know. How no one plays this tune that often I’ll also never know. This is a great live version. Bobby McFerrin is on the studio version from the album “Dialects.”


Ornette Coleman - Lonely Woman

Jon and I share much love for Ornette and his fabulous musicians. I had the privilege of giving the pre-concert lecture for the Ornette Coleman concert at Massey Hall in 2009. He is a massive influence on so many people. When I met him, I thanked him for his years of incredible music...to which he replied...."music is energy." I am still figuring that one out. Ornette is not from this time. We'll sort him out when we are long gone.

Incidentally, when is the last time you listened to recordings with friends? The few times I've listened to music with dear friends who are equally keen have been formative. Plan a dinner party where you eat, drink and listen. Be sure to invite me. I don’t like olives.

Phew. That’s a lot of music. Hope you dig. What are your choice cuts? And now…back to Jon.

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