I think I suddenly understand why I like jazz. Have been listening to it for aeons, but was never able to lay my finger on what it was that makes listening to jazz so different from other genres. Here’s my theory. Jazz is played by a group of musicians through improvisation, and successfully using the possibilities a composition offers demands that players’ concentration is directed towards each other. Listening to jazz makes you feel as if you are on the outside looking in – the musicians pay you no mind; they are busy improvising. This gives the listener a lot of space and freedom in comparison to other or more song-based genres, in which the performers are actively directing their musical message towards you.
The album that made me realize the above is the one posted here by drummer Dave Bailey. Bailey, now 88 years old, plays what’s necessary, nothing more, and in an active and creative way. I first noticed him on Grant Green’s “Green Street“, and have finally found the time to dig into his work as a leader now my taste for jazz has returned (it’s been years).
1960 and 1961 saw Bailey record five sessions as a leader. Pretty much all of them are great, with “Bash!” and “Two feet in the gutter” being my favourites. “Modern Mainstream” is a British release of alternate takes from his 1960 and 1961 recordings, and features “Osmosis“, the outstanding track this post was named after…amongst other things. Focused and gently driving sixties jazz with all players aligning towards a common goal. Nice.