First Listen: Factory Girl 

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Earlier this month I did a First Listen of the Album “Factory Girl” by Corey Christiansen. I live tweeted the experience which you can check out below.

Now that I’ve listened to the album for a couple of weeks I’d like to give you some of my final thoughts on it.
Overall the album is an enjoyable experience, however I’d say it’s more like an “average” release from Corey Christiansen. It’s a good album overall, but I prefer listening to Lone Prairie and Roll With It over this album. Corey Christiansen is notorious for changing up his style with each and every release so I’m sure the next album will be a refreshing change of pace. Still, if you like American music, this will definitely be an enjoyable album to listen.

First Listen: The Hudson Project 

Earlier this month I did a First Listen of the album “Hudson Project” on my twitter account. Below I attached some screenshots of my initial reactions.


Since then I have listened to the album some more and would like to share how my thoughts have changed/ developed.
After repeated listens The Well”, “Modern Day Tuba”, and “Bass Desires” are songs that stand out and showcase different members of the group really well. These tunes show us how well this group can work together. Overall, I wouldn’t consider this an absolute must own, but I found it to be a fun record to listen to.

First Listen: Chris Potter Sundiata

I did a First Listen of Chris Potter’s Sundiata on my twitter account which can be found here. I always do this on the first Monday each month. After an extra week of accessing the album I’d like to share with you my overall thoughts on Sundiata, but before I do that, here are some screen shots of my live reaction to the album.


Initially I had a very mixed to lukewarm reaction to Sundiata. However, the more I listen to this album, the more I am enjoying a lot of the original music. I’m getting more comfortable with the form of the songs and the melody is clearer to me and having a bigger emotional impact on my listening experience. I still feel this isn’t an absolute must own record or even an essential Chris Potter recording, but it is an enjoyable listen and  I can recommend the album with confidence.

If you haven’t done so already come hang out with me on twitter the first Monday of each month when I live tweet the First Listen Album of the Month. It’s a fun time and challenges me to quickly articulate a feeling I have about an album instantaneously. My twitter handle is @EdwinGarcia88.

First Listen: Branford Marsalis “I Heard You Twice The First Time”

Earlier this month I did a First Listen of Branford Marsalis’ album I Heard You Twice The First Time. I live tweeted the experience on my twitter @EdwinGarcia88 here are some of the tweets:


And now that I’ve had some time to listen back to the album I’d like to share with you my overall thoughts. I was genuinely surprised with how much I enjoyed this album. I like the Blues as much as the next person, but sometimes an entire album can become tiresome and repetitive. I Heard You Twice The First Time was neither of these things. It was refreshing and changed just enough track by track to keep me interested. Whether it’s the social issues brought up in “Brother Trying to Catch a Cab”, the killer guitar solo on “B.B. Blues”, or the monk inspired tune “Straight from the Ghetto”, I always wanted more.
This album was an absolute pleasure to listen to, and if you’re even remotely in the mood for some blues this album should quench that thirst. The album spans a little over an hour, but feels relatively short. I would consider this album one of Branford Marsalis’ hidden gems, it has good but not glowing reviews and can be found in most record stores for a low price. Pick it up if you can or stream it on your favorite platform.

First Listen: Jaco Pastorius Big Band:Word of Mouth Revisited 

  
Earlier this week I did a First Listen of the album Jaco Pastorius Big Band Word of Mouth Revisited. I’ve never listens to this album before so I live tweeted the experience and placed these tweets below.      

   

  

  

                                                                           

I went into the album with little to no knowledge of what this albums was about. The album is essentially a homage to Jaco Pastorius as the project was recorded post humously using several different bassists and some Jaco arrangements. The album has some really bright spots such as “Havona”, “Teen Town”, and “Punk Jazz Revisited”. “Havona” and “Teen Town” captured the energy of those Weather Report tunes and put these pieces in a big band setting very nicely. The bass playing was also superb. “Punk Jazz Revisited” was fantastically arranged by Marcus Miller and, in my opinion, turned out much better than the original. The liner notes and in depth comments on each piece makes owning the physical copy an added treat. 

Still, despite all this album did right there are somethings I’m not a fan of. The “Jaco Speaks” interludes are distracting, unnecessary, and bordering on tasteless. Your using someone’s voice after there death and making it sound like he’s commenting on the tracks. It just doesn’t sit with me well and makes me wonder if it should even be done. Tracks like “Punk Jazz” and “Barbary Coast” were fairly weak and this album would’ve been much more enjoyable if you just got rid of those tracks completely. 

Overall, I throughly enjoyed listening to this album and will absolutely go back to it again. However, I can’t flat out recommend it to everyone. I think this albums will resonate better with Jaco fans and big band enthusiasts. As long as your expectation is just a nice enjoyable album and you’re not going in thinking you’re going to hear seminal work, you should be fine.  

Also, moving forward, I will be doing First Listens every 1st Monday of the month. So keep an eye out for that and follow me on twitter @EdwinGarcia88 if you’d like to be apart of that experience.  

First Listen: Charlie Haden Quartet Haunted Heart

This past week I listened to Charlie Haden Quartet Haunted Heart and did a live tweet of my first listening of the album on my Twitter @edwin…  Here are a few of my tweets of the experience.

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Now that I’ve listened to the album a couple of times since then I feel like I have a better grasp as to how I feel about the album. The albums highlights are quite extraordinary. I loved “Hello My Lovely”, “Dance of the Infidels” and “Lennie’s Pennies” These tunes were swinging, high energy, and had great solos. The album also ends on a high note with the tune”Deep Song” which had the inclusion of Billie Holiday. To me there isn’t one standout track, this album has a handful of tunes that are of the highest quality and any of them would be a standout track on most albums.

Still, I do have a few complaints. For one, too many songs are a bit too slow paced for my liking. Ballads can be used to give balance to a high paced album, but in this instance, it’s a bit much. These slower paced songs tend to just interrupt the flow of the album and make it drag. Had a few of these tunes been eliminated it would have made listening to the entire album from front to back a more enjoyable experience.

Overall I did enjoy the album, but some of the filler tracks did get in the way. I can recommend this album as a fun listen, but I wouldn’t say this is a jazz classic. If you are a fan of Charlie Hunter, this might be worth checking out, but this is by no means a must own.

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First Listen

Recently I did a First Listen of Thelonious  Monk’s Brilliant Corners. FIRST LISTEN is a new series I started where I listen to a classic jazz album I haven’t listened to before and I live tweet the experience. Below I posted my tweets of this experience.

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Now that I’ve had some multiple listens of the album I’d like to share some of the thoughts I have regarding the album. Personally this has quickly grown into one of my favorite Monk albums. I love the compositions, the solos, and there is a clear balance of different styles of tunes. Another reasons I think I’ve gravitated towards this album is because so many of these compositions were new to me. I’ve listened to so much Monk in my life and it’s been a while since I’ve found an album with this many new tunes for me to hear and that was refreshing for me.

First Listen

In late March I did my very first #FirstListen on the album Point Of Departure by Andrew Hill. For this of you who didn’t read my Jazz Loop Update. #FirstListen is a new category on this blog where once a month I will listen to a classic jazz album I’ve never heard before and do a listening of the album from front to back and live tweet the experience. Later that week I will do a blog post about my thoughts and experiences listening to the album that first time as well as how I feel about the album after multiple listens. So without further ado here is the inaugural blog post on #FirstListen.

 

Listening to Andrew Hill’s “Point of Departure” was an overall good experience. However as a First Listen it was a lot to take in. I didn’t know much about Andrew Hill prior to this listen so I had no idea about what kind of sound to expect. All I knew going in was that people consider this a must listen to album. After listening to this album I can say it has a very “out” sound. This is not a traditional jazz album. I knew that the minute I heard Eric Dolphy play. The instrumentation is also odd or at the very least a wider range than the average jazz album. Here we have piano, tenor and alto sax, bass, drums, trumpet, and bass clarinet. With so many different combinations available the album was never predictable or boring. Here are my thoughts on the album during my first listen via my Twitter account, It is in reverse chronological order.

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Now that I’ve been able to listen to Point Of Departure multiple times a lot of my confusion over form has been resolved. This is definitely an album where multiple listens are needed to enjoy it better. This was a challenging first listen due to the intricate song structure, and instrumentation. I had to be very focused and alert to capture everything that was going on and be able to have a cohesive thought on each track instantaneously. This may be the case for every #FirstListen I do, but since this is the first time I’ve done this, it is way too soon to tell. Overall I did enjoy this album and its first listen, but I feel multiple listening’s really helped me understand and appreciate this album better. I recommend this album as long as you enjoy some of the more out there jazz music. Enjoyed Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch. Then you’ll like this. If you hate that kind of jazz then proceed Point Of Departure with caution.