Tag Archives: mahavishnu orchestra

Top Five Jazz Albums to Play On Rapture Day

Be on the lookout for a dude named Ezekiel grabbing his trumpet and jumping into “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” It’s almost time for the rapture to grab up the true believers. I’ve read where the rickety California millionaire driving the whole thing is a fan of music, both celestial and earthly. Perhaps we can assume his tacit sanctioning of these glorious jazz titles as possible soundtracks to the end-days party.

Ascension, John Coltrane (Impulse!)

The erupting horns, the tumultuous drums, the collective agitation – it won’t be an easy ride to the next world. But those who have lived with Trane’s hectic hosanna for a few decades know that the turbulence is balanced by joy – a gospel shout of a different kind. And that’s a hell of an Amen Corner that Pharoah Sanders sits in.

All Rise, Wynton Marsalis (Sony Classical)

As usual Wynton is documenting the common hardships and simple pleasures that cross our paths from cradle to grave – call it a celebration of life’s unpredictable arc.  Maybe that’s why it would make such a grand parting soundtrack: the string orchestra, jazz big band, and sizable chorus create a whomp sufficient enough to make the last glance over your shoulder have a profound emotional impact.

Goin’ Home, Archie Shepp/Horace Parlan (Steeplechase)

Of course, you don’t need a billowing orchestra to provide your celestial outro music. A simple chat between two pals could be poignant enough to get the job done. This pair’s string of duet records began with this program of church music, and the plush tone of Shepp’s tenor gets a big hug from Parlan’s piano every step of the way.

Visions of the Emerald Beyond, The Mahavishnu Orchestra (Columbia)

It takes a certain mindset to waltz towards that white light. Back in the early ’70s, it seemed the frenzied guitarist was so ready to forsake terra firma, he played a double-neck instrument to get there in half the time. Of course, some would say that gooey fantasias such as “Eternity’s Breath” are full of hot air. When prancing towards oblivion, I’ll take “Cosmic Strut” any day.

Judgement!, Andrew Hill (Blue Note)

The shadows on the cover, the music’s eerie tone, the subtle mystery of the band’s interaction – maybe the Rapture needs to deep-six all those glorious adagios and have its participants meet their maker by slipping away down a dark alley. Hill will hurry them along.

And if the planet doesn’t crack apart by 6 pm tomorrow? Come on back here, we’ve got a song suggestion for that, too.

Hey, Dave Douglas rightly included Messiaen on his Apocalypse playlist

Digging the Derby: 10 Jazz Tunes To Spur On The Big Race

The most intense two minutes of annual sport – that’s what they call the Kentucky Derby, right? Hard to disagree. The horses and their riders prep for a year and they’re done in 125 seconds  or so. I’ll assume you’re one of the many who catches the event on the flat-screen, not one of the few who actually make it to Churchill Downs. And I’ll assume you need some tunes to tickle your fancy while fretting about that sizable bet you made earlier in the day. Here,then, are 10 songs with titles that can be applied to the contest at hand.  Throw ’em into a playlist and have fun. If they don’t work, call “Fugue For Tinhorns” jazz (it may well be) and have your fun that way.

Mint Julep, Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers (JSP)

Just keep sipping. Don’t let your mind wander to that wager you’ve made.

Saddle Up!   Bill Frisell, Go West: Music For the Films of Buster Keaton (Nonesuch)

Nice soundtrack for limbering up on the morning of the race.

Fast Track,  Miles Davis,  We Want Miles (Columbia)

Big grooves for a big day.

The Noonward Race, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia)

I’m not sure if good ole Seattle Slew could keep up with Billy Cobham on this one.

Gallop’s Gallop, Thelonious Monk, Live At The It Club (Columbia)

No one clops along as cleverly and confoundingly as Monk.

Racehorse, Count Basie Kansas City Three, For the Second Time(OJC)

Swinging around the track.

Daily Double, Buddy Rich, Ultimate Collection (Stardust)

If anyone can beat the odds and pick two winners at once, it’s Buddy.

My Gal’s a Jockey,  Big Joe Turner, All the Classic Hits (JSP)

Riding night and day, throwing that big leg over – how does Joe pay attention to the race?

Home Stretch, Billy Pierce, Equilateral (Sunnyside)

Check the snare, check the forward motion of the horn. They’re almost there…

Dead Heat, Kenny Burrell/Jimmy Raney, 2 Guitars (Prestige)

Definitely neck and neck down the stretch. Can’t really tell who won.

Photo Finish, Bobby Previte, Weather Clear, Track Fast (enja)

Sometimes it comes down to a shutter click. Previte knows all about chopping time into micro seconds.