10 Seconds: Nicholas Costley-White
1. Bill Evans - Walkin' Up (5'09" - 5'19")
From Bill Evans - at the Montreux Jazz Festival (1968)
" I’ve always enjoyed slightly unusual matches of musicians. I feel like if everyone’s coming from the same angle and agreeing with one another the whole time it can become less exciting. Bill and Jack (De Johnette) is quite a mad but amazing combination for me. They’re pushing an incredible amount on this take. Bill doesn’t take long solos on the whole album, as if the energy of the whole thing is almost a bit much for him to keep riding! In this extract I enjoy the detail of this ending which they then play with such loose abandon."
2. Django Reinhardt - Tiger Rag (1'38" - 1'48")
From Django Reinhardt - Vol. 6 : Swinging With Django (1937)
"I love this duo. Django is obviously an amazing soloist, but here you get to hear some of the most ferocious rhythm guitar playing ever recorded I think. The sax player plays this long chromatic melody that just seems to bubble over with joy and Django responds with this incredibly funky 8th note groove!"
3. Herbie Hancock - The Eye of the Hurricane (1'23" - 1'33")
From Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage (1966)
“One of Herbie’s most famous and celebrated albums for good reason. He lays out for a lot of Freddie Hubbard's solo on this tune, leaving space for that incredible swing beat from Tony Williams. Absolutely amazing blowing from Freddie, such harmonic freedom and amazing sound and time feel. He plays this really strong blues lick at the top of the chorus which Herbie has the perfect chord to respond to with. Also, when Freddie starts distorting his sound on a long note on the next chorus, how that just seems to almost make Tony’s ride cymbal beat falter for a second, but in a very beautiful way. Each note between each band member has an effect on one another."
4. Kurt Rosenwinkel - The Remedy (3'34" - 3'44")
From Kurt Rosenwinkel - The Remedy (2008)
"This is one of my favourite Kurt albums. I think the composing and improvising here is amazing. There’s such a strong feeling of intention behind Kurt’s sound and phrasing here. He plays these two notes and you can hear him exhale in between each one. Like the Freddie Hubbard solo, you feel like each note has such great importance and meaning. Almost like it’s taking everything out of him as a person/musician to make those notes happen at that moment."
5. Miles Davis - The Theme (6'22" - 6'32")
From Miles Davis - The Complete Live at The Plugged Nickel (1965)
"Wayne and the rest of the band are absolutely razor sharp on this recording. He works his way through an extended improvisation returning continuously to the same four-note motif, transposing and abstracting it. The band are cooking, interjecting contrapuntal ideas beneath him. He seems to absolutely explode at this point, bringing the motif to it’s most intense climax, sustaining the last note with this fury and passion. I quite enjoy that the band just keep cooking underneath it, no fireworks in response. I’m screaming listening to it. Later on in the track, Miles attempts to barge his way and interrupt the solo, which at first Wayne ignores, before bringing it quickly to a close."
6. Kurt Rosenwinkel - Zhivago (4'49" - 4'59")
From Kurt Rosenwinkel - The Next Step (2000)
"Another Kurt moment! This record was very important to me when I was at music college and so has always stayed with me. This is such an otherworldly and deep composition. Kurt is using a very unusual guitar tuning on this whole album, which effects both his playing and his sound on the guitar in a really interesting way. He’s able to use the tuning to remove his intellectual brain from his improvising and play from his intuition/heart. Here he plays this beautiful melodic shape over the neck, transposing it through the sequence and displacing it rhythmically. It’s possibly not the most purely improvised moment, but it sounds just amazing to me."
7. Chris Cheek · Ethan Iverson · Ben Street · Jorge Rossy - Walkin' Up (2'42" - 2'52")
From Chris Cheek · Ethan Iverson · Ben Street · Jorge Rossy - Lazy Afternoon (2007)
"Like all of these takes, this is another album I loved when I was studying at the Guildhall. Chris blows so beautifully and economically through such a tricky chord sequence, with ultimate style and grace. Just as you think he’s really getting go he calls it a day! Jorge perhaps thinks Chris is going for another chorus so switches to sticks, but then bring the dynamic down to support the amazing bass solo from Ben Street. Ben’s solo here is totally virtuosic in it’s concept, similarly economic as Chris’"
8. Jimi Hendrix - Rainy Day, Dream Away (3'10" - 3'20")
From Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland (1968)
"When I first heard this, I think I burst out laughing. I couldn’t believe someone could make such a vocal sound on the guitar. It totally sounds like someone laughing, having an animated chat in the pub. Outrageous. Jimi’s the GOAT."
9. Herbie Hancock · Michael Brecker · Roy Hargrove - My Ship (4'19" - 4'29")
From Herbie Hancock · Michael Brecker · Roy Hargrove - Live At Massey Hall (2001)
"This album is pretty amazing and I love this reinterpretation of Gill Evans’ arrangement of My Ship, originally for Miles’ album Miles Ahead. Herbie’s solo seems to absolutely transcend any music “theory” and just explore melodic tension and beauty whilst also being incredibly harmonic. He’s demonstrating so beautifully what I love about the process of learning jazz: study everything you can in your own time and then when you get to the gig, forget it all and play from your heart. Easier said than done!"