Don’t take it personally

Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of image hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.

It’s been a long time since I mentioned anything about Jamendo; I used to try to point out good music about once a week, but fell out of the habit a long time ago, and haven’t bothered to pick it up again.

Part of that is because Jamendo has changed since I first signed up a couple of years ago. The site redesign and style changes from last year are now standard and I find them a little heavy. A lot of Flash, a lot of lightbox effects, and a lot of rollovers that require a little more muscle than I usually have in my machine. And to be honest, as a result, I’m less inclined to visit.

But the music seems also to have changed somewhat. It’s unusual for me to find good, honest jazz (which is what I prefer … sorry) on Jamendo; the bulk seems to be more contemporary flavors, and that’s okay too. I am not the only person using Jamendo. ;)

But I also noticed that some of the most “popular” albums had covers that were more … provocative? risque? In other words, that were obviously drawing attention to themselves by featuring a scantily clad — or just unclad — female form. Using sex to draw downloads, really.

And worst of all, I also sensed a certain trend toward … overhyping … in the recommendations system. In the early days I would add just about anyone who asked as a friend, and occasionally I would get a message or two in a week, suggesting a kind of music I actually liked.

But these days that trickle turned to a torrent, and I was getting eight or nine “suggestions” a day, usually at a series of albums that were way beyond anything I was interested in. And two or three new “friend” requests a week.

To be honest, it was spam.

But that’s what I more or less anticipate with “social networking” sites, even ones that are focused on music. And so, as a rather drastic measure, I cut everybody out of my friends list, no matter how long I had known them or included them there.

So don’t take it personally if you were among those to get the axe. I know some of you personally or through other sites, and if you know my music interests and have a genuine desire to tell me about something that might interest me, you know how to contact me.

But the best part is, in the few days since I dropped everyone off that list, I’ve gotten almost no “spam” from the Jamendo community at all. Ah, peace and quiet.

Now, since it would be rather obtuse of me to speak ill of the community without pointing out a couple of good points, I can suggest three albums that definitely fall into my “favored” category.

This is Luc Bartoli‘s Manila.

This is a series of original and very traditional jazz clips, each with a strong backing and good emotion. The album is short, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, but something that survives through several listenings without becoming trite or jingly.

As a counterpart to that, you might consider Hugo Contini‘s two albums, Strikes Back! and Surpriscording.

Contini sticks to many of the classic jazz standbys, and some people consider that a fault. Personally I see no problem in revisiting covered ground, and Contini’s renditions are faithful and skilled. You probably won’t find much that’s innovative among those two albums, but the jazz is good, the performances are solid and the sound quality is top-notch. So in that sense, there’s definitely nothing to complain about.

(And honestly I didn’t notice that those are both RawBounce titles until I looked again at the album covers.)

So there you have it. A few good, solid jazz performances that, for me, are standouts and worth downloading. Give them a try and see if you like them, and of course, if you can think of something that you feel is interesting to me, leave me a note and I’ll check it out. ;)

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