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Welcome to the Jazz Quiz
for June

Did They Shake The World?

This month we challenge you to identify fifteen jazz albums from their descriptions. How many can you work out? ......

 

Which album is this?

 

At the beginning of this year Jazzwise magazine listed their '100 Jazz Albums That Shook The World'. Because these are 'albums' they also include re-issues of some recordings made before albums were introduced, for example, they include an album of Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives and Hot Sevens which would have 'shaken the world as '78 rpm recordings' during the 1920s. We have chosen just 15 albums from the list of 100 - how many of them can you identify from the descriptions given in Jazzwise?

 

Give yourself an extra point if you are able to identify the film in which these song lyrics appeared:

I push the middle valve down
The music goes down around below
Below, below, deedle-dee-ho-ho-ho
Listen to the jazz come out

 

A link to the answers is at the bottom of the page - don't forget to check your score.

 

 

Which musicians and albums are being described?

 

1. '(She) was a by-word for vocal worship among her peers and musical associates by the late 1940s, but little she recorded before this album consistently showed her true worth to jazz. Nestled in a sympathetic small-group setting, (she) simply blossoms into an overwhelmingly seductive artist whose complete abandonment to her own idea of line and sound gives the listener a level of ecstatic pleasure delivered only by – well, by (her), Ella and Billie, truth be told. She may later have equalled this in other settings, but here the gauntlet was well and truly thrown down.'

 

2. 'The great gypsy did pretty much all his recording during the pre-album age, and while he was justly honoured by the French soon after his death, most early UK vinyl releases were haphazard collations in indifferent sound. By contrast, this compact little high-quality cardsleeve box of three CDs, accompanied by a magnificent 75-page booklet in French and English which contains lavish photographs and discographical details, is by some distance the best one-step intro to (his) staggering genius. Transfers from the original 78rpm singles are magnificent and the selection of titles is absolutely on the money, from earliest ..... sides to his post-war experiments with shifting personnel and electrified guitars.'

 

3. '....... this classic album .... represented a career breakthrough. .... a studio venture with a specially constituted group familiar with (his) working quintets. Ervin’s contributions, for instance, ‘Fables Of Faubus’‚ and the gospelised opener ‘Better Git It In Your Soul’, are a definition of “hot”, while Knepper on the deliberately old-fashioned ‘Jelly Roll’‚ makes it satirical and serious at the same time. Similar things apply to ‘Bird Calls’‚ and ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’, where Handy pays oblique homage to Parker and Lester Young respectively but don’t ignore the crucial reactions of the crisply recorded Richmond. Novice producer Teo Macero’s tight editing allowed for more tunes and more user-friendly presentation than on Blues And Roots.'

 

 

Name the album

 

 

4. 'By 1962 (his) trio was one of the top draws in jazz worldwide and (he) himself habitually won every jazz piano popularity poll going. Why? Well, the change in 1958 from piano-bass-guitar to piano-bass-drums had allowed him room to develop the group’s leaner, grittier side and emphasise melody rather than bullish pyrotechnics. (this album) is the epitome of this approach: cool, funky, incredibly concentrated and well thought-through, it hangs together as a perfect modernist tribute to the funky roots of jazz, covering tracks from ‘C Jam Blues’ to ‘Moten Swing’ and ‘The Hucklebuck’. Canadiana Suite may be (his) creative high water point, but (this album) defines him.'

 

 

 

 

5. '(He) is indispensable, a one-man mission statement. Here he showed how much could be achieved within the basic jazz quartet format. Reaction at the time seems to have been along the lines of where on earth did this come from? Coherent, vital and mind-stretching, (his) eight pieces provide a remarkable insight into Thomas’ great work but also into the creative process itself and the myriad sources jazz could explore for inspiration. With its jaunty, picaresque tunes and assured playing that reflected Thomas’ saucy, roguish book, the album is a wonderfully humorous work that extended the boundaries in a hugely subtle way. After this, there would always be more to jazz than just blowing.'

 

6. '(He) first made a significant contribution to recorded jazz through his arrangements for Miles’ so-called Birth of the Cool sessions for Capitol, but it was the 1952 pianoless quartet that hit the headlines and made him (as well as trumpeter sidekick Chet Baker) virtually overnight jazz celebrities. This album covers the initial (and best) sides (his) Quartet cut, for Pacific Jazz, including ‘Bernie’s Tune’, ‘Freeway’ and ‘Walkin’ Shoes’, where the uncanny empathy between (him) and Baker is constantly underlined by the firmly resilient beat of Chico Hamilton. West coast jazz in its infancy and at its most joyously infectious.'

 

7. 'First issued simply as (his name) and illustrated with “a tasteful” mushroom cloud it certainly had an explosive enough impact as it was his first album to capture the rich ensemble sound as well as the beat. Some of the charts wear better than others, but the overall feel is timeless. ‘Kid From Red Bank’ featuring stride piano from the leader and ‘Whirly-Bird’’s shouting tenor saxophone by Lockjaw epitomise the uptempos, while ‘Splanky’ and Newman-and-Thad’s ‘Duet’ do it for the blues. And ‘Li’l Darlin‚’ proves emphatically that smoochy doesn’t have to mean smoo-ooth.'

 

8.'(He) rarely gets his due. A shame, because his good qualities are pretty special. For starters, he knew exactly the way to get the best from Paul Desmond, and for that we should all be down on our knees in thanks. Secondly, he’s a distinctive composer with a knack for melody, as this fine album demonstrates, even if the defining tune, ‘Take Five’, is a Desmond composition. It’s also important to stress (his) commitment to collective invention within his group: still an unusual thing in jazz in 1959. Put that all together and the unusual time signatures that mark this album out tend to pale in significance while the music remains convincing.'

 

 

Name the album

 

 

9. 'The trouble with (him) is the same one faced by someone looking for an ideal single-set introduction to maverick genius Sidney Bechet – in such a long and protean career, how do you get all the best bits on one label? With Bechet it’s still impossible. With (him), you can just about do it. The great man’s original ‘Body And Soul’ masterpiece from 1939 is here, plus a telling number of tracks showing how he paced all the changes in jazz with ease and continued to grow artistically through the decades. The best of the later (his name) is on Verve, but this intro is nicely rounded.'

 

 

 

10. 'Those who only know (him) from his 1950s efforts onwards can have no conception as to the veritable force of nature his trumpet playing was in the 1940s. This CD collation of the earliest sides under his leadership, made for tiny labels such as Guild and Musicraft, will have your jaw sagging in amazement as he consistently delivers ideas that top even those of Parker. Just to keep it interesting, (he) also wrote some of the most enduring bop anthems, and many of them get their first outings here. These sessions, like the Parker Savoys, are the holy tablets of bop.'

 

11. 'There is a curious reluctance for some to acknowledge that (he) came back from his 1959-61 voluntary exile a more complete and fascinatingly complex musician. (The album) is enduring testimony to that fact: he has shed all stylistic baggage, leads from the front, plays with a new poise and freshness and with a unique identity that has stayed intact up to the present day. Although late-50s (his name) may be the stuff to get the critics panting, this was the template for all future (his) creative ventures, whether  they be avant-garde or retro or just plain (his name). Unbeatable music.'

 

12. '(He) already had two bona-fide large-group masterpieces for Columbia down in the plus column.... by the time he and Gil Evans assembled this finely-drawn re-workings of classical pieces of music generally associated with Spain. At its core is the brooding central movement from Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, but the poignant lyricism and incandescent colours (he) and Gil invest the other pieces, including a rare Evans original, with a singularity of vision and intent that makes this a burningly bright and unified achievement. Once more they’d broken the mould, for themselves and everyone else.'

 

13. 'Norman Granz had long cherished the ambition to have (her) recording for his label but had to wait until 1956 to make the signing. His first project for her was to record as many Cole Porter songs as they could lay their hands on in large ensemble style and release them (initially as volumes one and two) on an unsuspecting but quickly enraptured public. The idea caught on and (she) kept doing composer songbooks well into the 1960s. Nobody did it better, even though it could be said that Sinatra’s studious avoidance of such anthologies produced the greater individual legacy.'

 

14. 'Funnily enough, this spring 1963 session was close to (his) last serious stab at bossa nova – he’d already had massive success with Jazz Samba and Jazz Samba Encore – but it turned out to be the musical perfection perhaps no-one had actually been looking for but everyone instantly recognised on the album’s release. This is perhaps the coolest, most definitively etched marriage of melody and latin rhythm ever achieved, and it was achieved by the towering genius of Tom Jobim’s tunes and spare piano accompaniment, Gilberto’s uniquely intimate voice and guitar, a rhythm section that breathes life and colour, all of it topped by the supreme melodist, (his name). All that plus Joao’s wife Astrud as a last minute show stealer and you have a classic on your hands.'

 

Name the album

 

 

15. 'Sometimes, when listening to (them) at their best and this is one of their very best, it’s worth pinching yourself as a reminder that at their heart, this band comprised one of jazz’s most basic jazz configurations. It’s simply, saxophone, piano, bass, drums and percussion. Then, listen to ‘Birdland’, later covered by Manhattan Transfer and Maynard Ferguson, and wonder. Listen to the boost Pastorius gives the band, especially on his own compositions ‘Havona’ and ‘Teen Town.’ Reaching number 30 on the Billboard album chart, even today (the album) remains as stunning in its overall effect as the day it was made.'

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for the answers

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