Sunday, June 29, 2008

Free Jazz

Free Jazz, in this case, is not the classic Ornette Coleman album or the style pioneered in the 60s. I wanted to blog about the jazz that was free, as in no cost. Specifically, podcasts.

As a commuter (146 miles round trip), myiPod has been indispensable to my sanity. It helps drown out the mixture of traffic noise, conversation and snoring one gets in a vanpool setting. In addition to the songs I've condensed from my CDs, LPs and iTunes (18,415 and counting), there is a large variety of FREE podcasts available.
On previous blog entries, I mentioned the Sonny Rollins Podcast and the John Coltrane Traneumentary. Additionally, NPR has been running a series entitled Jazz Profiles. Hosted by singer Nancy Wilson, it's featured artists like Charles Mingus, Willie "The Lion" Smith, Gil Evans, Bessie Smith and Count Basie. It's both informative and entertaining.

Marian McPartland's long running Piano Jazz is another source of great music. Guests like Stephane Grappelli, Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans are featured.

Last, but certainly not least, Riverside records founder Orrin Keepnews is the focus of Orrin Keepnews, Producer. He recorded folks like Thelonious Monk, Cannonball Adderley and Wes Montgomery back in the 50s.

Although it doesn't fall into the free category (but certainly highly recommended none the less), the latest of some landmark Keepnews-produced recordings have been released as part of the Concord Music Group's continuing reissue of his distinguished oeuvre. The new series highlights Coleman Hawkins - The Hawk Flies High, Sonny Rollins - Freedom Suite, Wes Montgomery - Incredible Jazz Guitar, Nat Adderley - Work Song, and McCoy Tyner - Fly With The Wind. After a half-century plus career, fortunately, Mr. Keepnews is still very much with us. I belong to the Thelonious Monk Yahoo! group and he is also a member and a very active participant. His emails to the group are very much in keeping with the personality he shows on the podcasts. Happy commuting!

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