A 52 Week Autobiography Through Music – Week 22 – The Great Jazz Trio Live at the Village Vanguard
I purposefully postponed releasing this week’s post due to the fact that I was waiting for a new, vinyl version of this album to arrive in the post. Yes thats right I said vinyl. I, for the first time in 10 years again own a turntable! My vinyl album history is a long one and not for this blog. Suffice it to say I lost over 500 records about 10 years ago in a very unfortunate incident and at that point I gave up on the medium… until now.
I thought I would be able to find a digital version of this album but it turns out to be not so easy. I found a few tunes uploaded to YouTube but after a significant amount of searching I could not locate a decent version of Naima to either buy or rip from some dark corner of the internet and I had already made the video talking about my love of that tune so I couldn’t just leave it out. This of course was Thursday by the time I realized I needed to find that album so I turned to discogs and found a copy available in Antwerp. The record was shipped on Friday but apparently here in Belgium it takes at least 3 business days to ship something 36 miles… I should have ridden my bike to pick it up. So enough about that. Let’s get to the importance of this album and why I chose to talk about it.
Sometimes one album can alter the course of ones listening and The Great Jazz Trio Live at the Village Vanguard certainly did that for me. This record completely changed my understanding about what Jazz was. Before this my exposure to jazz was mostly big band which by nature is usually more conservative - I say usually because as we will see with a future post that larger ensembles can in fact achieve a level of playfulness and freedom that a trio can. I learned from this record what improvisation was from a jazz perspective. This record is by no means free or experimental but the looseness of the playing is something I had not heard before. One could hear that these tunes were organically evolving and that no two performances would be the same. I didn’t immediately start buying a bunch of jazz record upon hearing this album but I did start listening to some jazz radio and I paid particular attention to the other records on which these 3 musicians played. Of course Tony Williams became an instant hero to me. Tony makes a very important appearance again in a few months.
This is a great album and it is a crying shame that it is out of print. Thank goodness for the lively used record market. I am very happy to own a copy of this record again. Now its time to listen...
Thank you to my Aunt Patricia for again changing my life!