In memory of Johnny Peret

In memory of Johnny Peret
In memory of my friend Johnny Peret, vibist, drummer, accordeonist extraordinaire

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WHATEVER


Danny Thompson – WHATEVER (UK, 1987?)

  What is jazz?  I’ve spent countless evenings arguing with other jazz fans about the very nature of jazz while guzzling unreasonable quantities of beer, wine, Scotch , rum or whatever else was on the table, with as sole result a serious hangover the next morning.  I still can’t define Jazz.  This album is a case in point but, who cares eventually? The Duke waved off these academic arguments about jazz with the breezy statement that there is only good music and bad music.   And believe me, WHATEVER is of the good category.

Danny Thompson, one of UK’s leading bass player, does not need any introduction. If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you are already familiar with this outstanding musician.  Pentangle was among my favourite band in the late sixties and I still listen to their albums with as much pleasure as when I first heard them some forty years ago.

Named after his touring band at the time, Whatever, it features Thompson on his trademark double bass, reedman Tony Roberts on all manner of saxes, flutes and clarinets, and guitar from Bernie Holland.

The music falls well within the territory that Pentangle explored in the late 1960s / early 70s, albeit without the twin modal guitars of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, and without the vocals.  This trio produces a thick and complex palette of sound, driven by the amazing power of Danny's acoustic double bass, which functions alternately as melody, bottom and rhythm section (no drums), and sometimes all three simultaneously. As to whether it is jazz - well, it's Euro-jazz. Tony's sax calls to mind Norwegian Jan Garbarek, a standard-bearer in that sub-genre. These guys are very adept jazz players, but the music is much more deeply rooted in European folk traditions and it's looking through the folk lens that brings this music into sharpest and sweetest focus. But forget the genres - when you're in the middle of that swirl of emotions that only the finest music can bring, you really won't notice that what you are hearing might be a blend of jazz, Scottish pipes and flameco, as it is on "Lovely Joan".

There is some confusion about the original release date of this album as there isn’t any date in the credits and sleeve notes. . According to AMG, this was originally released in 1974 but according to Wikipedia, it was released in 1987. Could anybody confirm?

Track Listings
1. Idle Monday
2. Till Minne Av Jan (For Jan Johansson)
3. Yucateca
4. Lovely Joan
5. Swedish Dance
6. Lament For Alex (For Alex Campbell)
7. Crusader
8. Minor Escapade

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. well Boogieman, I used to own this way, way back when, must have traded it for a few bucks (IOW: new music!) but I'll take the chance you offer to hear it again...maybe I'll hit that delete button after all, but I'm happy to get re-aquainted with this one from mr. Bass Player!
    thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. From Danny's web site:

    "In 1987 Danny realised his burning ambition and made a record of his own. "I've always been on the fringe of the jazz world and I had an idea to incorporate elements of jazz and folk music, to make a melodic instrumental album with a distinct English flavour." Featured on this album were Bernie Holland, guitar and Tony Roberts, on tenor alto, flute and Northumberland Pipes, who had played in the Danny Thompson Trio in the mid 1960s. The title 'Whatever' was chosen to anticipate the usual question, "do you play blues, jazz or folk?" 'Whatever' was praised by the critics as a seamless fusion of jazz, blues, rock and folk. In the critic's poll the album was voted fifteenth in that years top 50 jazz albums"

    I've recently been listening to the follow up 'Whatever Next' and definitely in the mood for this one. Many thanks boogieman.

    ReplyDelete
  4. truth said: indeed I hit that button, but thanks nevertheless [:-)
    peace, E-mile

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi E-mile,

    I had guessed it wouldn't be your cup of tea ...
    Thanks anyway for leaving comments, it's pretty rare these days.
    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Tom Lord discography gives the date of the session as 1987.

    ReplyDelete
  7. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thank YOU!
    My copy war warped (it was an LP!) by a careless (ex)girlfriend years ago. This record is a treasure! Thank you gain for making my day!
    Don from Monmouth

    ReplyDelete