#1
Am I the only one that doesn't really see the purpose of this? When I first started to get into jazz, I thought it was kind of neat that they sometimes put alternate takes on albums, because it gives some insight into how a song evolved in terms of harmonic thinking, melodic concepts, different tempos etc. However, the best jazz albums are, in my opinion, cohesive pieces of arts, and it seems like putting a bunch of extra takes on the cd makes it more into just a compilation of songs.

One of the big culprits of this is the reissue of Giant Steps by Coltrane. That album is a ****ing masterpiece, really some of the most exciting and motionally gripping jazz music I've ever heard. However, after the original tracks are alternate takes of every tune on the album except for the song "Spiral". I mean, after listening to the masterpiece that is Giant Steps, why would anybody want to listen to what is essentially a slightly inferior version of Giant Steps?

Again, I sometimes think its interesting listening to different versions of songs; the alternate take of "Countdown" certainly was unique since Coltrane took a much longer solo and was able to stretch his ideas out a bit further. I just think that these alternate takes shouldn't be included on the album itself since it kind of dilutes the work of art. I dunno, maybe they could release double albums if they are going to do this, one for the original album and the other for alternate takes?

What are your thoughts?
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Last edited by thegloaming at Oct 16, 2011,
#2
To me it makes jazz more bearable in recording. To me, much of what is so great about jazz is the unpredictability which is killed by recordings, having alternate takes adds a bit of it back in.
#3
Quote by Vlasco
To me it makes jazz more bearable in recording. To me, much of what is so great about jazz is the unpredictability which is killed by recordings, having alternate takes adds a bit of it back in.

How is unpredictability killed by recordings? For the album Kind of Blue, the musicians hadn't even seen the music prior to the recording. The song "Flamenco Sketches" is pretty much a completely improvised song form, each soloist just chose how long he wanted to spend blowing on a certain mode, and then when he changed mode the band had to follow him. That is about as spontaneous as music can be.
I couldn't think of a thing that I hope tomorrow brings
#5
Quote by thegloaming
How is unpredictability killed by recordings? For the album Kind of Blue, the musicians hadn't even seen the music prior to the recording. The song "Flamenco Sketches" is pretty much a completely improvised song form, each soloist just chose how long he wanted to spend blowing on a certain mode, and then when he changed mode the band had to follow him. That is about as spontaneous as music can be.



But only the first couple times, after that you need to hear the group live - or listen to alternate takes. Even then the alternate takes will become just as ingrained.
#7
Quote by Vlasco
But only the first couple times, after that you need to hear the group live - or listen to alternate takes. Even then the alternate takes will become just as ingrained.

I disagree. I've listened to Kind of Blue a couple hundred times at this point, and it still yields new textures, moods, and meanings. I look forward to hearing it 10 or 20 years from now when my musical perception has changed, as I'm sure it will sound quite different then.
I couldn't think of a thing that I hope tomorrow brings
#8
And what makes you deem alternate takes as inferior, then?

We simply listen to music differently; I understand the textures and moods but I also like to hear different angles to them as well.
#9
They just don't seem to be the most accurate reflection of the true aim of the composition in most cases. For example, I would say that the alt take of Giant Steps (the song) was taken at too slow of a tempo; those fast cycling chord changes and the lines Coltrane played over them have a much better effect at the faster tempo.

Sometimes, there isn't anything readily apparent that makes the album take better than the alternate; it just has that fire that the alternate lacks....know what I mean?
I couldn't think of a thing that I hope tomorrow brings
Last edited by thegloaming at Oct 16, 2011,
#10
I love alternate versions of anything. Demo songs are awesome in particular.
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#11
i think in general record companies ad these types of things in order to have more of a reason to re-release an album. usually this means re-mastering the tracks but sometimes they give bonus tracks and alternate takes so that even people who have the album will want to buy it again.

personally, i think its really cool. not just jazz but anything. at the same time i know how you feel. some songs i feel are so perfect how they are that just listening to another take seems so odd. however some alternate takes i like much better than what made the album. also i like them because it gives an insight into the creative mind of the artist. actually it kind of makes the artist see more real to me. its like an aduio snapshot in time. i like too when you can hear people talking or something. makes me picture what it would be like in there with them.
#12
Quote by thegloaming
They just don't seem to be the most accurate reflection of the true aim of the composition in most cases. For example, I would say that the alt take of Giant Steps (the song) was taken at too slow of a tempo; those fast cycling chord changes and the lines Coltrane played over them have a much better effect at the faster tempo.

Sometimes, there isn't anything readily apparent that makes the album take better than the alternate; it just has that fire that the alternate lacks....know what I mean?


Sometimes, and yet I still value those takes.
#13
By the very least, isn't it just a bit interesting to have a chance to hear what didn't make it to the original album? It can add a little bit of perspective. Think of it as somewhat of a "the making of".

But more broadly, if you think of jazz tunes as through-compositions represented by a single recording, you're kind of missing half the point of jazz. A big part of the beauty is precisely based on the fact that there isn't a single set-in-stone way that a tune is played every time. Hearing a different arrangement or a different improv going on within the same arrangement is great. Anything else wouldn't make sense, especially in a jazz idiom.

"Take 5" by Dave Brubeck isn't represented by the single recording that made it to an album that has been played most - it's represented by how Dave Brubeck and his band played it live, each time somewhat differently, and how other musicians have been playing it in their own ways since then. The only necessary common thing is a very basic structure or perhaps a head. Otherwise, you can essentially do whatever you want with it and it still counts as being "that song".

In this sense, it's true that the medium of officially recorded songs presented as stand-alone compositions can't represent jazz well. The songs (as "the book" of tradition) have basically become communal entities that vary with what each person does with it, and even an originally created song is never set in stone in the first place insofar as there is improv.

Just sayin'
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Oct 17, 2011,