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Agalloch's Aesop Dekker On His 5 Favorite Jazz Records

Agalloch and Ludicra drummer Aesop Dekker says he thinks Bobby Hutcherson is a sorcerer. Ross Sewage/Courtesy of Profound Lore hide caption

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Ross Sewage/Courtesy of Profound Lore

Agalloch and Ludicra drummer Aesop Dekker says he thinks Bobby Hutcherson is a sorcerer.

Ross Sewage/Courtesy of Profound Lore

Aesop Dekker played drums on two of my Top 10 favorite albums of 2010: Agalloch's Marrow of the Spirit and Ludicra's The Tenant. Both records make different statements about black metal, but dispense with the trappings of the genre with original forward motion. When he's not behind the drum kit, Dekker turns fans on to oft-unheard metal, obscure Japanese hardcore seven-inches and, most surprisingly, jazz on his blog, Cosmic Hearse. He told me over email that his father introduced him to '50s and '60s Blue Note LPs, and that "before I ever heard Kiss, there was only Coltrane." I asked him to pick five of his favorite jazz records for Take Five. —Lars Gotrich

I play metal, but jazz reminds me to lighten up and let my instrument speak. Jazz solos communicate through a seemingly arbitrary set of notes. When I listen to the moan of Ben Webster's sax or the playful discord of Thelonious Monk's keys, I feel like I'm picking the brains of these talented men, many of whom have left the earth behind. I have many favorite players and no shortage of albums that showcase their collaboration, but here are the five I lean on most when my soul and my ears require some peace.

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Aesop Dekker's 5 Favorite Jazz Records

Cover for The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

Track A - Solo Dancer

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Charles Mingus

  • Song: Track A - Solo Dancer
  • from The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

The seasick riff of this album opens and closes one of the most dynamic and crushing records of any genre. It's like a Lovecraftian noir soundtrack.

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Song
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
Album
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
Artist
Charles Mingus
Label
Impulse

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Cover for Destination... Out!

Love and Hate

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Jackie McLean

  • Song: Love and Hate
  • from Destination... Out!

Grachan Moncur III wrote three of the four pieces here, and while I will inhale anything he touches, I prefer this record to the stuff he recorded as a leader. "Love and Hate" is a favorite: a dreamy and vaguely sinister landscape where Bobby Hutcherson, Roy Haynes and Larry Ridley lurk in shadowy corners. Jackie McLean's forceful grace sweetens the deal.

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Song
Destination... Out!
Album
Destination... Out!
Artist
Jackie McLean
Label
Blue Note

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Cover for Blues and the Abstract Truth

Yearnin'

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Oliver Nelson

  • Song: Yearnin'
  • from Blues and the Abstract Truth

A pantheon of genius. Chambers, Haynes, Dolphy, Evans, Hubbard and Barrow under the direction of Oliver Nelson made one of the most thoroughly enjoyable, front-to-back jazz albums I have encountered. "Yearnin'" is the record's centerpiece, a bawdy strut through smoke-filled dens of ill repute.

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Song
Blues and the Abstract Truth
Album
Blues and the Abstract Truth
Artist
Oliver Nelson
Label
Impulse!
Released
1961

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Cover for Out There

Sketch Of Melba

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Eric Dolphy

  • Song: Sketch Of Melba
  • from Out There

Though Out to Lunch is considered one of the greatest records of all time, Out There makes my Top 5 because of Ron Carter's burly cello. It lends a hazy sadness to many of these songs. In "Sketch of Melba," Eric Dolphy's flute rains, while Carter's strings sob and sigh in the downpour.

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Song
Out There
Album
Out There
Artist
Eric Dolphy
Label
Prestige

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Cover for Components

Tranquillity

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Bobby Hutcherson

  • Song: Tranquillity
  • from Components

I love vibes, and Bobby Hutcherson is a sorcerer. Check out the intro to "Tranquility." It's beautiful and could sit easily on a God Is an Astronaut or Mogwai album. This record has everything from ribald moaners like "West 22nd Street Theme" to menacing abstractions like "Air." It feels complete yet unsettling.

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Song
Components
Album
Components
Artist
Bobby Hutcherson
Label
Blue Note
Released
1965

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Get to know jazz, five songs at a time, with more Take Five lists.