3 Jazz Albums to Listen to in FLAC Format

 

url John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (1965)

John Coltrane was booted from legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis’ band in the late 1950s due to his escalating alcohol and heroin addictions. A Love Supreme, recorded in 1964 and released the following year, found Coltrane, who plays tenor saxophone throughout, casting out his troubles and confessing a then-newfound devotion to God.

The album is broken up into four songs–“Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance” and “Psalm”–over thirty-odd minutes, just a fraction of the time Coltrane’s quartet was used to performing. Rounded out by McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums and Jimmy Garrison on bass, Coltrane here seems his most fluid and poised. His solos are compact–to the point and poignant; “A Love Supreme,” the album’s sometimes-sung-sometimes-played refrain, hits even harder.

A Love Supreme was a smash when it was first released, garnering two Grammy nominations and selling a slew of copies, and its stature has only grown since Coltrane’s death in 1967. It’s heralded as not only one of the greatest jazz albums of all time, but one of the best–period. Like a hug from a grandparent or your favorite mantra, its warmth and constancy seem (and may very well be) never-ending.

url Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (2014)

Steven Ellison–AKA Flying Lotus–is the grandnephew of jazz pianist Alice Coltrane and the aforementioned John Coltrane. Though he’s been making electronic-based music for a decade now, it wasn’t until Ellison’s last two releases that he began deliberately delving into jazz for his compositions.

I’m glad he did. Because although Flying Lotus’ music has always been stimulating, You’re Dead! takes his tunes to another level entirely. Throughout 19 tracks in a blistering 38 minutes, Ellison balances hip-hop and jazz influences in equal measure; rappers Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg make appearances, as do pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Kamasi Washington and bassist Stephen Bruner (AKA Thundercat).

You’re Dead! is both explosive and improvisational. Aside from the Kendrick-assisted “Never Catch Me,” most songs clock in under the three-minute mark and are solely instrumental. The disc runs from one playful-sounding idea to the next, bolstered by Lotus’ experimental flourishes and Thundercat’s tireless basslines. And though death may have inspired You’re Dead!, this record is brimming with life.

url Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968)

Yes, Astral Weeks is a jazz album. It was recorded over three sessions in late 1968, during which Van Morrison let his accompanying musicians play whatever they felt over his songs; and those musicians–flautist John Payne, guitarist Jay Berliner, bassist Richard Davis, drummer Connie Kay and percussionist Warren Smith Jr.–all happened to be accomplished jazz artists.

The eight songs that comprise Astral Weeks move on their own time. Van Morrison’s delivery is leisurely and not to be bothered, almost as if he’s dreaming up syllables seconds before he sings them. There were no rehearsals before the crew began recording, and some tracks are borderline messy. However, it’s that messiness that allows the album to emit love and pain and all the other basic emotions in such a raw, base, human way.

There’s a big part of me that thinks Astral Weeks is a really, really doofy record. But there’s a bigger part of me that loves hearing Davis pluck that first bassline on the title track–that loves knowing I’m about to get lost in Van Morrison’s surreal, harmonious vision for the next hour.

The albums listed above are available for FLAC downloads and FLAC streaming on Murfie!

Bargain Hunt Giveaway: Tom Waits, Björk & Charles Mingus

The Murfie marketplace is full of ridiculous bargains. Working here at Murfie HQ, I see more great deals on the site than I could possibly justify snagging myself. That’s why I’ve decided to start the “Bargain Hunt Giveaway.”

Here’s how it works: When I see an awesome deal on an interesting album, I take note of it. I’ll spend $5 (total) on some great albums, talk about them a bit, then give them away to you!

For a chance to win, either comment below or tweet @murfiemusic with the hashtag #BargainHuntGiveaway, and include the name of the album you’d like to win. Next week, I’ll pick three random winners and gift them the album on Murfie.

Read on for my recent finds, and remember that I only paid $5 for all three of these albums!

First Find: Tom Waits – Bone Machine
Tom Waits has been one of my favorite artists since the day I purchased a copy of Real Gone on vinyl. It was the first of many vinyl purchases made on a whim, and I never regretted it. While Real Gone may have been my gateway album, Bone Machine has some absolute classics. “Earth Died Screaming”, “Dirt in the Ground” and “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” are the kind of songs you will find on just about every Tom Waits cover album, and Bone Machine was in general a taste of the sort of material he’d release for the next two decades.

This album even includes the quintessential manthem* “Goin’ Out West“.

Well I know karate, voodoo too
I’m gonna make myself available to you
I don’t need no make up
I got real scars
I got hair on my chest
I look good without a shirt

Second Find: Björk – Vespertine
Vespertine is an album I always forget about.  And for no good reason! Perhaps it’s because I really hopped on the Björk train full-bore with Volta in 2007. The rest of her catalog came to me in an attempt to find more of what I loved about Volta. Make no mistake, though – Vespertine is its own beautiful beast. “Hidden Place” is an incredibly subdued starting point for the album, and she somehow brings it down another notch immediately after with “Cocoon”. The glitchy beats spread throughout the album really compliment the ever present harp work and her typically ethereal vocals, and in general, Vespertine is all about the atmosphere.

My favorite track on the album is hands down “Sun in My Mouth”, which draws lyrics directly from the e.e. cummings poem “Wade.” Melodically, the song also reminds me of the more delicate moments in some of Sondheim‘s work.  It’s one of e.e. cummings’ more visually evocative pieces, and the brevity of Björk’s interpretation makes sure it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Final Find: Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um
The year 1959 was a huge one for jazz to say the least. Time Out (specifically the song “Take Five”) made Brubeck a household name, while Miles Davis released the masterpiece that is Kind of Blue. We also got three albums by John Coltrane (including the unforgettable Giant Steps) and Ornette Coleman‘s The Shape of Jazz to Come.

While I love all of those albums, Mingus Ah Um will always have a special place reserved in my heart as one of the first jazz albums I really got to know inside and out. I became a fan of jazz in early high school, and Mingus Ah Um is full of tunes I’ve been listening since then. What I love most about the album is how down to earth it is. It sounds like Mingus and his crew are playing in the room with you. I love the realness of the group clapping and distant preaching in album opener “Better Git It in Your Soul”.

Mingus Ah Um is an album completely filled with these intimate moments, including tributes and homages to the likes of Lester Young, Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton. It even caused a bit of a stir in its own right when Columbia famously refused to let Mingus record the politically charged lyrics for Fables of Faubus (though the validity of this claim is still debated). If you come across it, I highly recommend the 50th anniversary 2-disc Legacy Edition, which includes three alternate takes, as well as the sister album Mingus Dynasty.


If any of these albums sound interesting to you, comment below or tweet @murfiemusic with the hashtag #BargainHuntGiveaway, and include the name of the album you’d like to win. Three random winners will be gifted these albums next week!

*manthem = man + anthem

John’s Picks: Judging By The Cover

Normally, we like to share music that we love here – old favorites, or our current heavy rotations.  As an artist, musician and designer, I decided I wanted to share something different today.

I love album art and album design.  For the past 7+ years, I’ve been designing covers for my own music, as well as dozens of friends’ releases.  I also have a bad habit that I must admit to: I buy countless CDs based almost exclusively on the cover art.

For those reasons, I’d like to share some of my favorite album covers and let you judge for yourself.

Pyramid by The Alan Parsons Project was more or less the inspiration for this post.  I ran into the album on the front page of Murfie one day, and it instantly caught my eye.  I’ve never actually heard the album, but that design is undoubtedly ahead of its time.  Pyramid came out in 1978, and you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that the art and cover design is by Hipgnosis.  Sound familiar?  Hipgnosis was a London-based design group that made the iconic art for albums like The Dark Side of the Moon (actually, they did almost all of Pink Floyd‘s art) and Led Zeppelin‘s Houses of the Holy.

112059-largeIf I could just post a gallery of Leif Podhajsky’s work, I would.  In fact, he is something of a design genius, and you should definitely check out his site.  Leif has done the art for tons of modern bands, but most people will recognize his work for Lykke Li (see Wounded Rhymes) and Tame Impala.  I’ve chosen to share Lonerism by Tame Impala as an example of the most subdued his work gets.  Leif often focuses on a balance between intense arrays of color and a counter intuitive desaturation of those same colors.    A lot of his work also features angular mirroring of nature (see The North Borders by Bonobo or another Tame Impala release, Innerspeaker).

39184-largeI couldn’t possibly make this post without mentioning the work of Mati Klarwein.  Though his paintings are largely associated with the psychedelic work of the 60s and 70s, Mati’s style was largely developed before the psychedelic era came to prominence.  In that way, like the folks in Hipgnosis, Mati was ahead of his time.  Luckily for him, progressive artists like Santana, Miles Davis and Brian Eno latched onto his work.  With albums like Live-Evil and Bitches Brew by Miles Davis and Abraxas by Santana, Mati’s iconic paintings became the image of a movement.  If you’re interested in more of Mati Klarwein’s work, there was recently released an amazing new book featuring his art called Mati & The Music: 52 Record Covers 1955-2005.

306990-largeAs an honorable mention, I’d like to bring up the recently-released Jay-Z album Magna Carta… Holy Grail.  I hadn’t heard of the album’s photographer Ari Marcopoulos until I got my hands on an incoming copy of the album here at Murfie.  The packaging for that album is hefty to say the least.  Ari Marcopoulos worked in collaboration with Jay-Z and creative director Willo to put together what they consider an album with an art book.  The packaging includes two thick booklets full of Marcopoulos’ photos, and in an interesting touch, all of the text is “censored” with scratch-off black lines.  To my knowledge, this is the only album Ari Marcopoulos has been a part of, and what a way to kick things off!  For those interested, the cover photo is of the sculpture Alpheus and Arethusa by Battista di Dominico Lorenzi (ca. 1527/28-1594) in the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Pat’s Picks

You will probably recognize the brass introduction to Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. This piece was originally composed for Solo Piano in 1874 and brilliantly arranged for Symphony Orchestra by Maurice Ravel in 1922. Full of imagery, Pictures at an Exhibition was inspired by 10 paintings by the artist Viktor Hartmann. Each painting is represented by a movement and there is a Promenade that36077-large comes back with variations.

Le Sacre du Printemps or The Rite of Spring just celebrated the 100th anniversary of its premiere on May 29th, 2013. Heard now as a one of the most influential pieces in recent western music, it initially caused an infamous riot at its first performance because of its avant-garde sound. Igor Stravinsky composed The Rite of Spring in two parts, the first, “The Adoration of the Earth”, and the second, “The Sacrifice”. If any piece of classical music could also be categorized as Metal, it would be this one.

36225-largeThese six movements of Glassworks take the us on an auditory journey like nothing we have experienced before. We start in the familiar realm of the solo piano and travel through a whirlwind of synthesizers, wind instruments, and strings. After experiencing many different colors and shapes, the journey ends in the same place that it started, leaving us unharmed and with a new perception of the sounds around us. Philip Glass released Glassworks in 1982 with the walkman in mind. Composed in a very repetitive style, this recording is all about getting lost in the tones of the instruments and the interaction between them.
29027-large

Speaking of musical journeys…this is one of the best albums to get absolutely lost in. Bitches Brew (Disc 1, Disc 2) is full of both musical and studio innovations that are mimicked even today.

Find more:
Classical albums on MurfieJazz albums on Murfie
MussorgskyStravinskyPhilip GlassMiles Davis

Shopkeep of the Week

2013_0403_featuredshop_may23Way, way back in the good old days of October 2011, Marcus decided to sign up for Murfie. Since then, he’s ordered two kits and sent about 450 discs from Massachusetts to Madison. He’s sold hundreds of them so far, and made some nice cash! Heres a little bit more about this CD-selling pro.

Murfie: How did you originally learn about Murfie?
Marcus: I heard about Murfie on NPR on the bus back to Boston from NYC and I signed up on my smartphone then and there.

Murfie: When did you purchase your first CD? What was it?
Marcus: I purchased my first CD in 1992 at Turtle Music in Atlanta, but I can’t remember what album it was.

Murfie: How many CDs do you own (or did you own at peak)?
Marcus: I owned over 500 CDs at one time.

Murfie: How tall are you?
Marcus: 5 feet 11 and a half inches, and that half is important.

Murfie: Tell us about your musical tastes.
Marcus: My musical tastes are pretty wide ranging, from Lightning Hopkins, Muddy Waters, and Miles Davis, to Neil Young, Radiohead, and The Decemberists, but it probably culminates in the Southern Blues/Rock sound. I never get tired of JJ Grey & Mofro, Whiskey Town, My Morning Jacket and Widespread Panic.

Murfie: What can folks expect to find in your store (if different than the above)?
Marcus: A little bit of everything.

Murfie: If you could meet any musician or band in person, who would it be and why?
Marcus: That is a tough one. I would probably go with Muddy Waters since he is no longer with us and there is still a chance I could meet Neil Young or the boys from Widespread Panic.

Murfie: What is your favorite album at the moment?
Marcus: Since it is spring, I really love listing to the first disc of Light Fuse, Get Away with the windows down while driving. Panic is extremely tight on this live album and the set list progression is just pure perfection.

Murfie: What do you plan to do with the millions of dollars you’re making from your Murfie shop?
Marcus: Create my own festival headlined by Panic and Neil Young so they can perform “Walk On”, “Are You Ready for the Country” and “Mr. Soul” together.

Murfie: Which Beatle was your favorite?
Marcus: I don’t have a favorite Beatle, I know it may be sacrilegious, but I’m not really a Beatles fan.

Check out Marcus’ shop on Murfie!

Shopkeep of the Week is a weekly feature that focuses on our most interesting Murfie shopkeepers. These are music lovers like you who have sold hundreds of pre-loved CDs on Murfie and have hundreds more at the ready to please your ears! If you’d like your Murfie Shop to be featured, or if you’d like to nominate a shop to be featured, please e-mail us at info@murfie.com and let us know.

Shopkeep of the Week

jeff pic

In early 2011, JP’s CD collection took a journey from the warm climes of New Mexico to the waning winter of Wisconsin. Since then he has sold hundreds of his pre-loved CDs on Murfie and has over 200 more listed for sale.

JP’s musical tastes run in quite a few directions, and his CD collection numbered about 1,200 discs at its peak! He’s a big Motown guy. He’s also an avid fan of numerous singer-songwriters like Van Morrison, Dylan, Tom Waits, and Jim Croce. You’ll also find The Beatles, Wilco, Mumford and Sons, and The Allman Brothers Band sprinkled throughout his musical sundae—along with a few scoops of Kanye West, Miles Davis, and Oasis —all topped off with a Sinatra cherry! With that said, he admits that there are some stinkers in the collection too, but hey, we all make mistakes sometimes! :-)

MURFIE: When did you purchase your first CD? What was it?
JP: I think about 1986 —Peter Gabriel’s “So.”

M: What do you plan to do with the millions of dollars you’re making from your Murfie shop?
J: Buy an electric toothbrush.

M: Favorite Beatle?
J: Lennon —natch.

Check out JP’s collection on Murfie and find yourself a deal!

Shopkeep of the Week is a weekly feature that focuses on our most interesting Murfie shopkeepers. These are music lovers like you who have sold hundreds of pre-loved CDs on Murfie and have hundreds more at the ready to please your ears! If you’d like your Murfie Shop to be featured, or if you’d like to nominate a shop to be featured, please e-mail us at info@murfie.com and let us know.

How I Made 100+ Successful Trades

I love trading.

I’ve been doing it for a long time.  It started with sports cards in 4th grade.  By 6th grade, I had fully switched to trading Pokémon and Magic: the Gathering.  And so it continues today.

It’s understandable, then, that once my collection was on Murfie, I quickly became addicted to trading my CDs.  I love trading so much that I am happy to say I recently made my 100th trade on Murfie!

What was the trade?  I traded away my copy of Exile in Guyville by Liz Phair for a copy of Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet.  This brings me one step closer to my goal of collecting the entire Miles Davis studio album discography.

100th Trade
What a deal!

How did I do it?  By simply remembering that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, honestly.  My collection is full of things I accumulated over the years that I really don’t care about anymore.  If I’m not digging that Barenaked Ladies CD my mom bought me in high school, there’s probably someone out there who feels the same about their old jazz CDs.

The trick is making offers and waiting for someone to bite!  To complete 100 successful trades, I initiated about 300 trades and received about 20 incoming trades.  That means that for every three trades I’m interested in making, I’m likely to complete one of them.

The odds are pretty good, if you ask me, and you’ll never know what awesome deals you’ll get.