My Albums of the Week #9: Gil Scott-Heron, Tino Contreras, Dave Brubeck

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.


Gil-Scott Heron
Pieces of a Man
(Flying Dutchman, 1971)

Tracklist (favourite songs underlined): 1 – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised / 2 – Save the Children / 3 – Lady Day and John Coltrane / 4 – Home Is Where the Hatred Is / 5 – When You Are Who You Are / 6 – I Think I’ll Call It Morning / 7 – Pieces of a Man / 8 – A Sign of the Ages / 9 – Or Down You Fall / 10 – The Needle’s Eye / 11 – The Prisoner

Gil Scott-Heron’s studio album debut, opening with the incendiary “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” one of the seminal tracks that influenced the birth of hip hop. Music throughout Pieces of a Man crafted by Scott-Heron in collaboration with creative partner Scott-Heron. Yet, it is the timelessness of the lyrics more than the groove, with its flinching observations on society, politics and such themes as drug abuse and racial tension that make this album timeless.


Tino Contreras
La Noche de los Dioses
(Brownswood, 2020)

Tracklist (favourite tracks underlined): 1 – La Noche de los Dioses / 2 – Máscaras Blues / 3 – Naboró / 4 – Malinche / 5 – El Sacrificio / 6 – Al Amanecer / 7 – Nina Yahel

Mexico’s premier jazz musician Tino Contreras shows no sign of slowing down. At over 90-years-old, nobody matches his idiosyncratic expressivity behind the drumkit. His new set is a revisitation of some standout tracks from his repertoire. Yet, the music feels modern and redefines the meaning of “spirituality” in music, reveling in the adventure and mystery of the unknown.


The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Time Out
(Columbia, 1959)

Tracklist (favourite tracks underlined): 1 – Blue Rondo à la Turk / 2 – Strange Meadow Lark / 3 – Take Five / 4 – Three to Get Ready / 5 – Kathy’s Waltz / 6 – Everybody’s Jumpin’ / 7 – Pick Up Sticks

In my opinion, one of the greatest jazz albums of all time. And it’s not just because “Take Five” grants it mainstream status. It’s also not because of its odd time signatures, which would have made it a novelty record had it not been for the stellar musicianship of the artists involved. It’s also not simply because of Brubeck’s penchant for melody. Frankly, it’s because the blend of these elements represents a kind of nerdy jazz that turned out to be, arguably, the single greatest contribution of White Americans to the development of the jazz idiom at the time. Not to mention that without its idiosyncratic radicalism, 1959 would have been a less legendary year for jazz had Dave Brubeck never made it.

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