Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, February 18, 2003
WHO'LL BE THE NEXT IN LINE (FOR THE AMOEBA PILE)....My jazz tastes are totally flipped from my rock tastes, at least in a way I don’t quite understand .Whereas I’m perfectly happy to embrace the most atonal, experimental, feedback-heavy, louder-than-whatever rock noise – as long as it’s good (aye, there’s the rub) – I don’t cotton to the same experimentation in jazz, not one bit (exception so far is Ornette Coleman’s two-volume Live At The Golden Circle Stockholm – one of the first jazz CDs I was turned onto). My relatively meager jazz collection is full of Kind Of Blue, Blue Train and their soundalikes – nice, relaxing, limited-challenge (but groundbreaking in its way) JAZZ from the 1950s. I may understand the joys of “out” jazz one day, and the boundary-pushing experimentation of the 1960s, but it isn’t going to start with the Gil Evans Orchestra’s 1961 Out of The Cool. Now I know this one isn’t particularly raucous and wild – except for an unlistenable track called “Stratusphunk” – but it’s the sort of bespeckled grad-student Village Voice intelligencia jazz that makes for a mighty uncomfortable evening at home with the wife. We want Coltrane, we want Miles, we want Dexter Gordon – we don’t want some “outrageous” skin-crawling alto sax – let alone flute and piccolo! -- squealing and braying out of the entertainment center, ruining dinner and starting arguments that go nowhere. I bought this because it was on someone’s idea of a “Best 100 Jazz Records Ever” list, along with some of my faves, so I figured it was worth a try. Besides, isn’t this guy a “giant of jazz”? Or was that BILL Evans? See, I just don’t know from jazz. All I know is this one’s in the to-sell pile. Next on the Top 100 list is something called Borbetomagus. I hope that one sets the mood a little better.