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Great musicians of the 20th century

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  #1  
Old 4th February 2010, 11:44 AM
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Great musicians of the 20th century


Great musicians of the 20th century
Recently while surfing the net I came across Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 great albums,singers etc.Like all lists there was something to be pleased about and a LOT which I found difficult to digest.Rolling Stone had focused almost entirely on rock/rock'n' roll/r&b and ignored jazz music.Iconic jazz albums like A Kind of Blue by Miles Davis and A Love Supreme by John Coltrane seemed to have been included as an afterthought while the Beatles and Bob Dylan dominated the list.In the 100 great singers list there was no mention of the five singers I would rate as the best.Namely-Billie Holiday,Ella Fitzgerald,Louis Armstrong,Nat King Cole and Mahalia Jackson(pls. don't confuse the last with Michael.Don't like his music one bit).
So let's make a list of our own.I am restricting my list to all genres of western music except the classical.But we could have separate lists for Western and Indian Classical.

ROCK/R&R/FOLK/BLUES
BOB DYLAN--HIGHWAY 61/BLONDE ON BLONDE/BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME/BLOOD ON THE TRACKS
PHIL OCHS--THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE/LIVE IN CONCERT/FAREWELLS AND FANTASIES
NEIL YOUNG--RUST NEVER SLEEPS/HARVEST/TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT
LEONARD COHEN--I'M YOUR MAN/VARIOUS POSITIONS/THE FUTURE
JIMI HENDRIX--ARE YOU EXPERIENCED/ELECTRIC LADYLAND/BAND OF GYPSIES
ERIC CLAPTON--JUST ONE NIGHT/SLOWHAND/461 OCEAN BOULEVARD
ELVIS PRESLEY--30 #1 HITS(COMPILATION)
JONI MITCHELL--BLUE/CLOUDS/COURT & SPARK
ROBERT JOHNSON--COMPLETE RECORDINGS(COMPILATION)
BOB MARLEY--LEGEND/UPRISING/EXODUS/KAYA
CREAM--DISRAELI GEARS/WHEELS OF FIRE
THE BEATLES--SGT.PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND/RUBBER SOUL/ABBEY ROAD
THE ROLLING STONES--BEGGARS BANQUET/STICKY FINGERS
THE WHO--WHO'S NEXT/TOMMY
LED ZEPPELIN-1,2,3,4
PINK FLOYD--DARK SIDE OF THE MOON/THE WALL/MEDDLE
TRAFFIC--LOW SPARKS/WHERE THE EAGLE FLIES/GOLD(COMPILATION)
STEELY DAN--CAN'T BUY A THRILL/AJA/TWO AGAINST NATURE
GRATEFUL DEAD--AMERICAN BEAUTY/WORKINGMAN'S DEAD/BLUES FOR ALLAH
DOORS--STRANGE DAYS/MORRISON MOTEL/AMERICAN PRAYER
SANTANA--ABRAXUS/MOONFLOWER/CARAVANSERAI
CCR--CHRONICLES/PENDULUM
DIRE STRAITS--DIRE STRAITS/COMMUNIQUE/MAKING MOVIES
EAGLES--HOTEL CALIFORNIA/ONE OF THESE NIGHTS
SIMON & GARFUNKEL--BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS/PARSLEY,SAGE,ROSEMARY &THYME
JETHRO TULL--AQUALUNG/CREST OF A KNAVE
QUEEN--SHEER HEART ATTACK/NIGHT AT THE OPERA
ALLMAN BROTHERS--LIVE AT FILMORE EAST/BROTHERS AND SISTERS
DEEP PURPLE--MACHINE HEAD/FIREBALL
R&B/SOUL/GOSPEL
RAY CHARLES--ANTHOLOGY(RHINO)(COMPILATION)
ARETHA FRANKLIN--NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVED YOU/LADY SOUL
MARVIN GAYE--WHAT'S GOING ON/LET'S GET IT ON
MAHALIA JACKSON-ESSENTIALS (COMPILATION)
SAM COOKE--TWO SIDES/BEST OF(COMPILATIONS)
OTIS REDDING--BEST OF (COMPILATIONS)
JAMES BROWN--BEST OF(COMPILATIONS)
JAZZ
JOHN COLTRANE--A LOVE SUPREME/GIANT STEPS/MY FAVORITE THINGS
MILES DAVIS--A KIND OF BLUE/BIRTH OF THE COOL/SKETCHES OF SPAIN
DUKE ELLINGTON--AT NEWPORT/MONEY JUNGLE/ESSENTIALS(COMPILATION)
LOUIS ARMSTRONG--GREAT SUMMIT/HOT 5 & HOT 7
THEOLONIOUS MONK--MONK'S DREAM/LIVE AT THE IT CLUB/CRISS CROSS
ORNETTE COLEMAN-THE SHAPE OF JAZZ TO COME/THIS IS OUR MUSIC
SONNY ROLLINS--SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS/WAY OUT WEST/NIGHT AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD
CHARLIE PARKER-- WITH STRINGS/JAZZ AT MASSEY HALL/CHASING THE BIRD(BOX SET)
DIZZY GILLESPIE--AT NEWPORT/WITH ROY ELRIDGE/SWING LOW SWEET CADILLAC
CLIFFORD BROWN--AT BASIN STREET/STUDY IN BROWN
OSCAR PETERSON--NIGHT TRAIN/WE GOT REQUESTS/ON THE TOWN
CHARLES MINGUS--THE CLOWN/BLACK SAINT AND SINNER LADY/EPITAPH
ERIC DOLPHY--OUT TO LUNCH/LAST DATE
ART BLAKEY--JAZZ MESSENGERS/NIGHT AT BIRDLAND
MAX ROACH--PLUS FOUR
BILLIE HOLIDAY-DECCA AND COMMODORE(COMPILATIONS)
ELLA FITZGERALD--THE SONGBOOKS/WITH LOUIS ARMSTRONG/WITH JOE PASS
NINA SIMONE--ANTHOLOGY/SUGAR IN MY BOWL 67-72(COMPILATIONS)

PS.I did not notice that I had posted the thread to the Speakers forum.Hence resubmitting on the Music forum.Happy listening and listing!

Last edited by ajay124; 2nd March 2010 at 08:47 AM. Reason: additions
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  #2  
Old 4th February 2010, 12:10 PM
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Re: Great musicians of the 20th century

Hi,

In the following, I list a few musicians in the last century whom I consider great in the North Indian style of Indian classical/semiclassical music.

Please remember there were many many excellent artistes, but only a few can be truly great. Also these are only my personal opinion. If I've forgotten somebody, I may later include that name.

Vocals: Abdul Karim Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Bhimsen Joshi

Instrumental:
Sitar: Ravi Shankar, Vilayat Khan, Nikhil Banerjee
Sarod: Ali Akbar Khan
Sehnai: Bismillah Khan

Tabla: Ahmedjan Thirakuwa, Anokhelal, Shamta Prasad, Kishen Maharaj, Keramatullah Khan, Zakir Hussain

Semiclassical vocals:
Thumri: Siddheshwari Devi
Ghazal: Begum Akhtar

Regards.
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  #3  
Old 4th February 2010, 01:37 PM
 
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Re: Great musicians of the 20th century

Asit - what are your thoughts on Kishori Amonkar and Begum Parveen Sultana? Any reasons why stop short of greatness?

I have recently been listening to some Hindustani Classical and it is very very different from Carnatic that I am used to listening. I will probably be pestering you with a few questions on this subject just as soon as I have conceived them well enough in my mind, that is.
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Old 4th February 2010, 01:40 PM
 
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Re: Great musicians of the 20th century

Also Asit - if you were to prepare a list of great musicians of Carnatic music, who would they be?
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Old 4th February 2010, 09:02 PM
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Re: Great musicians of the 20th century

Vortex,

There have been quite a few very very good artistes in North Indian classical music. For example, in vocals, I look for anything by Wahid Khan, Sawai Gandharva (guru of Bhimsen Joshi), Omkarnath Thakur, Mallikarjun Mansur, Kesarbai Kerkar and today's Kishori Amonkar and Ulhas Kashalkar. In instrumental music there is also a similar number of musicians.

Many of the above artistes have given many memorable performances which would definitely be some of the greatest music for a long long time. But remember the TS wanted us to list the greatest musicians (as opposed to music). To be called a great musician, there has to be simply an unmatched level of performances over a long period (20, 30, 40 or 50 years), in the process opening up new avenues (in terms of form) in music, and contributing in a way to shape music for a long time to come.

If you look at my list of the greatest musicians in my previous post, everybody there has done that. You'll be surprised that I was even hesitating to put Zakir Hussain in that list, because if he is there then why not Swapan Chaudhuri or even Anindo Chatterjee. But then Zakir has a bigger repertoire, I think, among all living tabla players, a bigger canvas of work (within classical music, not fusion-type), and perhaps a slightly higher level of consistency of the level of performance since I heard him the first time some 30-35 years ago.

I am not qualified to enlist the greatest Carnatic musicians of the century. Yes, I have heard a lot of them. But for a whole century? That's a tough ask, because one has to hear all those musicians, so many of them are simply excellent. I do not simply have the vast experience required to even try such a thing. Even if I had a chance to hear them all, the most difficult would be to set the scale. For that one needs a lot of knowledge and I simply do not have that in the Carnatic style of Indian classical music.

Regards.
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Old 5th February 2010, 07:41 AM
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Re: Great musicians of the 20th century

For someone like me whose knowledge of hindustani classical music is restricted to a few recordings of Ravi Shankar/Amjad Ali Khan/Bismillah Khan and Bhimsen Joshi,your list provides useful information for initiating myself into a new world of music.Also,I agree with you that the criterion for selection should be excellence/originality/innovation over a reasonably long period of time.
Adding some more musicians-
PACO DE LUCIA-Spanish flamenco guitarist.-CONCIERTO DE ARANJUEZ/GOLD
(COMPILATION)
DJANGO REINHARDT-Gypsy jazz guitarist-DJANGO REINHARDT WITH STEPHANE GRAPELLI/BEST OF
JOE PASS--Perhaps the greatest jazz guitarist EVER!--VIRTUSO 1,2&3/BEST OF
EDITH PIAF--French singer-La vie en rose or any other compilation
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Old 5th February 2010, 11:05 AM
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Re: Great musicians of the 20th century

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajay124 View Post
For someone like me whose knowledge of hindustani classical music is restricted to a few recordings of Ravi Shankar/Amjad Ali Khan/Bismillah Khan and Bhimsen Joshi,your list provides useful information for initiating myself into a new world of music.
Some of the names mentioned like Abdul Wahid Khan and Abdul Karim Khan died in the first half of the last century. Hence the recording quality is abysmal. Even recordings of Siddheswari Devi, Begum Akhtar, Amir Khan and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (all of whom I have heard live) are generally poor.

So I am afraid my list is not good for an initiation into Indian classical music. This is just a list of the great musicians of the last century. But an almost unbelievable list. If they all performed in one music conference, I think many Indian classical music lovers would find it hard to control themselves. Take for example, Abdul Wahid Khan of the Kirana school. I have not put him in the great musicians' list. However, he was a musicians' musician. It is greatly acknowledged by everybody that the great Amir Khan, although not a disciple of Abdul Wahid Khan, basically followed Wahid Khan and built his own style based on Wahid Khan's. There was a time when Amir Khan used to secretly listen to Abdul Wahid Khan when Wahid Khan was doing riyaz (practice). Knowing this Wahid Khan stopped singing the second phrase (antara) of the vadishes (compositions). I do not know if the above is a story, but many people swear by this, and it is actually true that Amir Khan used to sing some compositions with only the opening phrase (Asthayee) .

Stories and anecdotes apart, it is better to start with better quality recordings of instrumental Indian classical music. Just search. About an year or 8months ago Cranky wanted to know about such better quality recordings. There many people including me had some suggestions.

Regards.

Last edited by Asit; 5th February 2010 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 5th February 2010, 04:20 PM
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Re: Great musicians of the 20th century

Hi all,

Here is a very absorbing interview of Ustad Zakir Hussain at the Dept of Ethnomusicology of UCLA taken by a Michael Robinson.

This is the link: Zakir Hussain Interview

Zakir, in his own lovely and charming way, answers all the questions (even though some questions were kind of meaningless, at least to me. Zakir is one very articulate man). He talks about tabla, ragas, Indian classical music, some Western music, and about some of the great musicians. Please read it. It is non-technical and very enjoyable.

Regards.
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Old 5th February 2010, 06:20 PM
 
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Re: Great musicians of the 20th century

a bunch of great anti-musicians..

ornette coleman (well ????).....

but surely

Cecil Taylor

David Thomas and Per Ubu.....
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Old 5th February 2010, 08:18 PM
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Smile Re: Great musicians of the 20th century

Nice Thread!


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