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My favorite Jazz albums

I've been thinking about this ever since I started my current band.  I'm going to post my favorites here, and hopefully some of you (any of you) will respond in kind.  Here it goes...

  • John Coltrane, Afro Blue (I believe Afro Blue Impressions) - I had a cassette tape of this album and I forget even where I got it from, but it was my first taste of Jazz.  McCoy Tyner on piano, and Elvin Jones on drums.  My drum teacher at the time, Martin Bradfield, told me about Elvin and it was like magic finding this.
  • Miles Davis, Kind of Blue - believe it or not, I came to this very late, when I was in my late twenties or early thirties.  I went on a jazz-only bender when I finally joined my first group, and this was one of those moments where I changed the way I approached music.  Suddenly it was about the theme, the head, which before was just a way to get to the solos, became important to me.  I started listening to horn players like crazy...
  • Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Caravan - This is such a strong album.  Art Blakey was a powerful and expressive drummer, and was more about raw energy and emotion, keeping them in check but letting them burst free every so often, than technique.  His horn section, which I believe included Wayne Shorter, just blows like crazy on this album.  Sweet 'n Sour is one of my favorites.
  • Bill Evans Trio, Sunday at the Village Vanguard - what in God's Green Earth are they playing here?  Actually, they de-construct jazz and tear it apart, throwing fragments across the stage to each other constantly (Solar, one of my favorites, is magical - it barely states the head, and is so sparse in sections that you almost can't follow it).  Now that I play a variety of tunes, it isn't so hard to analyze, but back when I first heard it, I just laughed with amazement.  Wow.
  • Chick Corea - Piano Improvisations, Volume 2 - A beautiful and lush album of jazz standards and originals.  Trinkle Trinkle (a Monk Tune) is fantastic here.
  • Horace Silver, Song for My Father - A true classic.  Wonderful latin / cuban influenced jazz, expressive as hell.  Besides the title track, give Calcutta Cutie a listen.  The shuffle beat and finger cymbals really add a neat texture to it.
  • Wayne Shorter, Footprints (Adam's Apple) - I play this with a latin three, rather than swinging it, but I love the way it is played here.  A classic.  

That's it for now, the best brain dump I can do...  What is on your Jazz top shelf?



Reader Comments (2)

Yo Ken,
This is great stuff. I am so glad to hear that you are into jazz. As you know that is my thing. I would love to get a copy of the Monk book. Also, I have a book out on Drums and philosophy that you will love. I'll send it to you, Please keep in touch. Martin

April 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermartin bradfield

Thanks Martin! BTW, for Monk fans, here is a list of rules for musicians, supposedly penned by someone in Monk's band in the 60's: Monk's Rules for Musicians. It's hilarious and so true in many respects.

BTW Martin, you're the Jazz & polyrhythm guru. One time Martin showed me four way independent multi-signature coordination, just sitting there tapping away on a practice pad, two feet on the floor, and hitting the side of the music stand. I literally flipped my poop. If I only studied as much as you taught, I'd be so much better...

Bring on the book!


April 19, 2009 | Registered CommenterKen Rimple

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