Jazz

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All Music Guide - Brett Hartenbach
Beginning with his self-titled debut in 1970, Ry Cooder's records seemed to be as much history lesson as they were entertainment. Not because Cooder was trying to club you over the head with this stuff; he simply gravitated to great songs, no matter what the era or genre. Released in 1978, Jazz seems to be his first conscious attempt at a concept album, in the historical sense. Here he pays homage to some of the early tunes and masters of jazz, ranging from the late 1800s through the "coon songs" of the early part of the next century, to the ragtime and "Spanish" music of Jelly Roll Morton, and the sophistication of cornetist Bix Beiderbecke. The only living artist at ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Brett Hartenbach
Beginning with his self-titled debut in 1970, Ry Cooder's records seemed to be as much history lesson as they were entertainment. Not because Cooder was trying to club you over the head with this stuff; he simply gravitated to great songs, no matter what the era or genre. Released in 1978, Jazz seems to be his first conscious attempt at a concept album, in the historical sense. Here he pays homage to some of the early tunes and masters of jazz, ranging from the late 1800s through the "coon songs" of the early part of the next century, to the ragtime and "Spanish" music of Jelly Roll Morton, and the sophistication of cornetist Bix Beiderbecke. The only living artist at the time of release who's represented here is the great Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence, who recorded from the '50s through the '80s, and whose syncopated style was extremely influential in Cooder's own development as a guitarist. Spence's sacred songs are presented here in string and brass band arrangements that emphasize the Caribbean connection between his music and Morton's habaniera pieces. The complexity of the material on Jazz, as well as the arrangements by Joseph Byrd, dictate that this is Cooder's most polished and orchestrated effort to date. Whereas in the past, even at their most removed, Cooder's records usually kept at least one foot in rock & roll or blues, Jazz can, at times, lack some of that fire and be almost bookish in its approach. Still, there is enough excitement in the music's intricacies and Cooder's beautiful, fluid playing to forgive the politeness of some of the performances. From the informative liner notes by Ry Cooder himself to the brilliant compositions, Jazz is, at the very least, educational. But, a little time spent with this music and you'll see why it was and continues to be relevant, as well as beloved.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/1990
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • UPC: 075992735520
  • Catalog Number: 3197

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ry Cooder Primary Artist, Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
David Lindley Guitar, Mandolin
Tom Collier Percussion
Earl Hines Piano
Jimmy Adams Vocals
Randy Allcroft Trombone
Chuck Berghofer Bass
George Bohannon Horn
Stuart Brotman Cymbals
Red Callender Bass, Tuba
Chuck Domanico Bass
Cliff Givens Vocals
Mario Guarneri Horn
Bill Hood Saxophone
Bill Johnson Vocals
Simon Pico Payne Vocals
Tom Pedrini Bass
Harvey Pittel Wind
Pat Rizzo Saxophone
John Rodby Keyboards
Willie Schwartz Clarinet
David Sherr Clarinet
Barbara Starkey Keyboards
Mark Stevens Drums
Technical Credits
Ry Cooder Producer
Lew Brown Composer
Ford Dabney Composer
Cecil Mack Composer
Joe Byrd Producer
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Classy Album

    This album contains some great tunes from an interesting era. The interpretations are classy, smooth and sometimes the overall content of a tune is quite comical (listen to 'shine'). Ry has assembled quite a lineup of old (in years) jazz musicians who do honor to this music, such as the older musicians do in his current 'buena vista social club' assemblages.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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