What I’ve been listening to lately

  • Mike Watt & Missingmen. I caught the recent Beijing show by Watt & co which was a revelation. The famously short Minutemen songs were woven together with more recent works in an almost unceasing flow; a kind of improvisational punk-jazz-funk suite with radical shifts in rhythm and tone. Watt is one of the best rock bass players ever, and gave his all in the performance; it inspired me to go back and watch the lovely Minutemen documentary “We Jam Econo.”
  • King Tubby – Shalom Dub. Describing dub is difficult, it’s always some variation of booming bass, clattering drums, spacey horns. So explaining why some dub is good and some isn’t is hard; the good stuff just, well, works. But the difference between the good stuff and the rest is enormous, and it’s immediately obvious this early recording from the legendary King Tubby has plenty of the good stuff.
  • Gil Evans – There Comes A Time. A tragically overlooked large-ensemble masterpiece. On this session, Evans’ typically wonderful horn arrangements incorporate some of the “spiritual jazz” sounds of the 1970s–synthesizers, vibes, electric guitar, heavy percussion–in an inspired synthesis that brings him into Sun Ra territory.
  • Freddie Hubbard – Breaking Point. A very high-quality modernist Blue Note session from 1964, in fact Hubbard’s debut. The compositions are complex and impressive, and the always underrated James Spaulding has great contributions on alto and flute.

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