The Sun Ra Arkestra Performing Shadow World in a Concert in West Berlin

This video presents one of the most important free jazz groups ever: the Sun Ra Arkestra. They are playin a concert in West Berlin and performing the song Shadow World. It is not clear when this concert was recorded but the black and white pictures suggest it was in the late 1960s when german television still recorded and transmitted in black and white.
Sun Ra was always regarded as an excentric musician and many people have no access to this kind of music, they even say it is no music at all or that all musicians are fake, that they can’t play their instruments. However, this is not true. All musicians in the Sun Ra Arkestra were excellent on their instrument but just had no wish to play in the well known mainstream, repeating standard tunes and performing what everybody could accept. It is a fact that such great jazz musicians as John Coltrane took a couple of saxophone playing lessons from the sax player who appears in this video, John Gilmore might be his name, leave a comment if you know better.
The band was really avantgarde, watch that at the end they even come up with some rap – in the late sixties !

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Walk Spirit Talk Spirit Performed by McCoy Tyner Trio Plus Sax

This video clip features bandleader McCoy Tyner on piano, Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums, Gerald Cannon on the accoustic bass and guest saxophone player Gary Bartz on the alto saxophone.
McCoy Tyner is one of the most impressive jazz piano players with a musical background that includes playing with the legendary tenor saxophone master John Coltrane. The John Coltrane Quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums has recorded some of the best known jazz standard tunes of music history, among them My Favourite Things.
In this video, McCoy Tyner is an old guy who plays with maturity and taste while providing an interesting harmonic base for the imporvisations of Gary Bartz on the alto saxophone. The double bass solo by Gerald Cannon is also very interesting. Funny, it reminds me the classic hard rock song Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple in some parts.
This video only shows the first nine and a half minutes of the song, you can go to youtube and look for the second part which lasts about another four and a half minutes and includes a drum solo by Eric Kamau Gravatt.

The Elvin Jones Trio Performing A Night in Tunesia – Jazz Standard by Dizzy Gillespie

Elvin Jones is one of the most significant jazz drummers of all times. He became famous while playing with the John Coltrane Quartet and in some occasions he has played duets with John Coltrane, for example on the album Interstellar Space which is an entire album dedicated to this saxophone-drums duet.
In the video clip featured here, Elvin Jones is playing with a guitar player and a hammond organ player: Bireli Lagrene and Joey Defrancesco. This is a relatively unusual combination of musical instruments.
The song they perform is the well known jazz standard tune A Night in Tunesia which was originally recorded by Dizzy Gillespie and his orchestra.
This recording of the song lasts about nine minutes and of course there is enough space for soloing on all instruments. Watch how Elvin Jones beats the drums, there are very few drummers out there who play with this energy and feeling.

Saxophone Robot Performs Giant Steps Solo by John Coltrane

Watch this video here with a saxophone robot playing John Coltrane’s famous solo over his bebop tune Giant Steps. The song is in up tempo bu you might feel that this solo could be played a little bit faster. Well, there is another version of Giant Steps at a higher speed, 350 bpm to be exact.
Some people say that this solo sounds cold and unpersonal. While this can be admitted it is still amazing that a machine can actually play a saxophone and with a high grade of accuracy. This is not simply a synthesizer or a computer’s sound card that synthetically imitates the sound of a certain music instrument, instead it is a machine that produces an air stream which is directed into the mouthpiece of a tenor saxophone while some artificial hands move the keys of the instrument.
You might want to listen to Giant Steps with John Coltrane’s original sound from the Blue Note record Blue Train on the soundtrack while a computer generated video animation shows the melody written out as sheet music in real time.
Of course there is a difference in interpretation and John Coltrane sounds as human as a musican can sound. We like this video because it helps to illustrate the point of slight tempo variations throughout the performance of a song. This sould be considered by all the ‘musicians’ who insist on the objectivity of a metronomes pulse. Yes, it is true that some sheet music indicates a certain number for the beats per minute the piece should be performed with. However, the japanese robot does exactly this while in real musicians’ interpretations there might be slight variations of the speed. Of course we don’t want to encourage the musicians to play ‘easy’ parts with the indicated speed and slow down during the ‘difficult’ parts, but we want to encourage the performers to put their personal style into an interpretation and that this style should be ruled by the sense of balance and freedom.
We don’t think that this robot qualifies as a suggestion for our poll about the greatest tenor saxophone player ever heard, but it´s up to you to decide now..

Sheet Music Animation Giant Steps by Tenor Sax Legend John Coltrane

This video is an excellent didactical approach to the tenor saxophone solo playing of John Coltrane. It shows the musical notes pregressively appearing on the screen as they are played by John Coltrane. The synchronisation between images and sound is marvellous and helps the saxophone student to learn the phrasing of this solo. In our opinion, this is the best didactical method we have ever seen, not only for the saxophone learners but for all musicians. Of course, if you are talented enough to learn such a solo just by ear, you have an enormous advantage, but we are sure that there are only a very few musicians out there who can achieve this.
The piece itself is regarded as difficult to learn, especially because of the up tempo speed and the unusual distance of a third of the tonal centers in the structure of the piece.
In the future we will also post a video clip that shows a robot playing this legendary solo. Look out for this post and if you like watch more videos with John Coltrane and listen to more of his music, you can visit the fiesta-musical.com site. On this blog we have also posted an interview from 1960 with John Coltrane, the legendary jazz giant.

Branford Marsalis Quartet Performing Yes and No by Wayne Shorter

Watch this video with the Branford Marsalis Quartet performing the song Yes or No, an original composition by Wayne Shorter that appeared on the LP JuJu on the label Blue Note Records in 1964. Branford Marsalis is one of the greatest tenor saxophone players ever. Whenever he plays you will notice the influence the legendary Bebop sax player John Coltrane has caused over the following generations of jazz musicians, especially over the tenor saxophonists.
On this record Branford Marsalis is accompanied by Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts on the drums who is really heating up things and provides a solid speedy base for the solos of Branford Marsalis on tenor saxophone and Kenny Kirkland on piano, while Robert Hurst is playing the accoustic bass. Our personal point of view almost always rates original recordings higher, so you might want to check out the mentioned Blue Note Records LP JuJu with the composer of this song called Yes or No, Wayne Shorte, on saxophone and accompanied by piano legend McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on the drums and Reggie Workman on bass. Notice that McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones belonged to the original John Coltrane Quartet.
We have no doubt that the original version is ‘better’, but who cares? This is a live performance of a really good and hot jazz quartet and sounds very cool, see how the musicians enjoy their working. We just want to give the credit for composing this song to Wayne Shorter, but that doesn’t mean we greatly enjoy this version by Branford Marsalis and his band.
As always when we post about a tenor saxophone player, we invite you to participate in our poll about the greatest tenor sax player ever.
Branford Marsalis comes out of a family of important jazz musicians and began to play with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers as well as with his brother’s band, the Wynton Marsalis Quintet. In the meanwhile he has played with a lot of jazz ‘monsters’ including Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Herbie Hancock. We strongly recommend you to watch out for more videos and records of this modern jazz legend.

John Coltrane interview from 1960

John Coltrane talks about his favourite musicians and what he likes most of his own work. This video is a jewel since it presents John Coltrane in an interview expressing his ideas about the music he is performing instead of playing his saxophone or flute. The pictures of the movie are the front covers of John Cotrane’s records.
John Coltrane talks about the instrument tone he would like to improve and on getting things to the lyrical level, about his favourite musicians Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon, about Blue Train as his favourite album, about tradition, about his work with the Miles Davis Quintet, the group John Coltrane was playing in when this interview was recorded.