Week 4 – “Bad” Jazz

First, It should be stated that when I say “Bad” jazz, I’m simply referring to the sound quality of the recording.

Things I’m listening for:

Are the instruments clear?

Is there any signs of clipping?

What is the instrument orientation like in the environment?

Does it sound good?

These are a few questions that I’m asking in order to locate “Bad” jazz.

On my quest to find some “Bad” jazz, I was led to the live recording of the Miles Davis Quintet, they were recorded live in 1969 in Europe. I choose this recording because I found the recording to be harsh and amateur. For example, during the drum solo, I found my self wanting it to be louder, clearer or even cleaner. Once the drum solos are over and the rest of the instrumentation comes in, you can hear faint echoes of a crowd that is there. The crowd was not incorporated into the recording very well, they sound very distant and disinterested.

The saxophone in this recording seems to hit the threshold of pain while listening to this recording. It’s full of clipped notes and unbalanced noise. Half way through the recording I didn’t even notice that there was a piano in the mix! The stand up bass is in the background and sticks out, however it is easily covered up by the unbalanced mixing when the trumpet comes in.

The trumpet (even though the featured instrument at times) seems tremendously overwhealming.

One of the main reasons that I think this recording lacks a good quality is because it’s not only live, but it’s recorded in Mono. This automatically limits the engineer in not being able to create a space in which the listener can relate to in reference to where the instruments are.  Compare this recording to a Rudy Vangelder live recording and you would be astonished!

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