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Post  pinhedz on Tue May 31, 2011 12:57 am

= ANDY =
Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:21 am

Last friday I went to see a fine playing trio called the Reijsiger - Gräwe - Hemmingway trio in a very lovely theatre in my hometown.

In advance of this concert, the theatre send me a very well-written short essay to introduce these artists to me. The basis of this essay was the dynamic that's typical for trio's - and how this dynamic is different from what you'll find in duo's or quartets.

This made me wonder about solo records, jazz records featuring just a single performer playing his instrument. To be honest, I can't really think of any at all. I seem to remember having read about Sonny Rollins do one or some albums like that - but that might just be my memory playing tricks on me.

I would assume that the easiest instrument for a solo-performer would be a piano, as this allows for melody and rythm to be enphasized by the same player. But I can't really thinks of Thelonius Monk, Herbie Hancock of McCoy Tyner solo record, though I have to admit that I'm not a specialist when it comes to these people's discographies.

So I wonder: solo records, do they exist? Are there any interesting, worthwhile gems among them?


Since a pianist can play bass and rhythm along with melody, there's a long tradition of solo jazz piano. Two that spring to mind are Jelly Roll Morton (starting in 1923) and Art Tatum. Also Fats Waller, before he started singing.

I used to be annoyed and distracted by rhythm sections, so one of my first Thelonius Monk records was "Solo Monk," and it's still one of my favorite Monk records.

Guitarists have the same advantage as pianists, so I think any jazz guitarist can play solo if the occasion calls for it. Django Reinhardt recorded solo numbers, and so did George Van Epps.

Playing solo with a strictly melody instrument is not so common, but Jimmy Giuffre recorded some pieces with solo clarinet on his "Free Fall" album in 1962. And there's a whole CD of solo clarinet recorded by Steve Coleman in 2007--"Invisible Paths: The First Scattering."

I'd have to say I have not fully digested the solo clarinet music.

= ANDY =

pinhedz wrote:And there's a whole CD of solo clarinet recorded by Steve Coleman in 2007--"Invisible Paths: The First Scattering."
That's the sort of stuff I'm curious about: album length solo-pieces, preferably using less-likely instruments.



Anthony Braxton - For Alto
Steve Coleman - Invisible Paths
Colin Stetson - New Historical Warfare vol. 1

for solo reed albums. All three of them are fantastic.

There are a few notable Keith Jarrett solo piano records.
There is a pretty good solo album of Marc Ribot playing John Zorn originals, one of the Book of Angels volumes. Some of them are solo records.


Unaccompanied sax:

Unaccompanied bass:

Unaccompanied clarinet:

Schrödinger's Hepcat

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