A JAZZ LIBRARY
My hometown, Detroit, was a nexus for great music, especially jazz and gospel. I was allowed to sneak in
the back door of the famed Baker’s Keyboard Lounge when I was twelve to hear the great musicians that came
through the city. I was fortunate to have heard the Miles Davis Quintet with John Coltrane, the Cannonball
Adderley Quintet with Detroiter Barry Harris on piano. Ron Carter went to my high school. Yusef Lateef
studied oboe and flute in the same music school where I studied. And living down the street from me was
the legendary Rev. Charles Nicks Sr. and his brilliant son, Charles Nicks, Jr. with whom I went to high school.
The Rev. Charles Nicks Jr. became a titanic figure in the history of contemporary gospel music.
I am often asked to share a list of my own “desert island” (now iPod) albums. This admittedly skewed list includes
much from the Miles Davis oeuvre. Miles Davis was an unremitting form-giver and fearless innovator, always pushing both
his own limits and that of the music. With an unfailing eye for talent, his bands - particularly those from the mid 50's and mid 60's-
extended the boundaries of group improvisation, achieving levels of collective artistry rarely matched.
Much of the evolution of modern jazz from the late 1940’s through the early 2000’s goes through Miles and his bands.
In those groups were established musicians, pioneers, and pioneers-to-be: John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers,
Philly Joe Jones, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter, John McLaughlin,
Joe Zawinul, Keith Jarrett, Marcus Miller, and literally dozens of others. Remarkable, too, is that many of Miles’s band members,
given almost limitless creative freedom, arguably
played their best music in his groups.
The “’Best Of’ on Blue Note” compilations are excellent; they are not the usual assemblages of third and fourth takes.
They are great introductions to the music of Bud Powell, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, and Art Blakey.
Wallace Roney was Miles Davis's protege. He is, without doubt,
the most original and uncompromising of the new generation of trumpet players.
Brazilian music and jazz have long influenced each other. Apart from its infectious rhythms, the rich harmonic patterns of
Brazilian music appealed to jazz musicians. And few Brazilian musicians are unaware of the traditions of American jazz improvisation.
The late Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes, and Joao Gilberto, Rosa Passos, and Daniela Mercury are but a few of the remarkably
passionate Brazilian musicians whose work is truly extraordinary.
I hope music from this
list provides you with as much enjoyment as it has me.
Birth of the Cool
Walkin’, Cookin’; Steamin’; Relaxin’; Workin’ (all five collections on Prestige)
Miles on Blue Note, Volumes 1 and 2
Kind of Blue
Round About Midnight
Sketches of Spain
Someday My Prince Will Come
Complete Town Hall Concert (formerly two albums: My Funny Valentine and ‘Fore’ and More)
Filles de Kilimanjaro
In a Silent Way
Tribute to Jack Johnson (soundtrack)
Siesta (sound track)
Get Up With It
My Favorite Things
A Love Supreme
Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley
Live in New York
Live in San Francisco
Live at the Lighthouse
Them Dirty Blues
Know What I Mean?
Best of Cannonball on Mercury
Best of Chet Baker Sings
Let’s Get Lost
Complete Quartet Recordings with Gerry Mulligan
Chet Baker in Paris, Volume 2
Best of Horace Silver on Blue Note; Vols 1 and 2
Best of Wayne Shorter on Blue Note
Genius of Modern Music; Blue Note; Vols 1 and 2
Live at Town Hall
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Best of Art Blakely on Blue Note
Clifford Brown and Max Roach
Study in Brown
Clifford Brown and Max Roach (Emarcy)
Live at the Village Vanguard
Live at the Five Spot, Volumes 1 and 2
Out to Lunch
Speak Like a Child
This Here is Bobby Timmons
Dissection and Reconstruction of Music from the Past
Plays Standards (Verve)
The Savoy Recordings (master takes)
Best of the Dial Years featuring Miles Davis
Best of Bud Powell on Blue Note
The Standard Bearer
The Wallace Roney Quintet
The Legendary Joao Gilberto (World Pacific)
Feijao Com Arroz
Me and My Heart
Entre Amigos (with Ron Carter)
Ornella Vanoni, Vinicius deMoraes
La Voglia, La Pazzia
Brazil: A Century of Song (4 CD set)
Samba Bossa Nova (Putumayo collection)
Black Orpheus (soundtrack)