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Charles McPherson: Keeping the Faith

By Published: December 12, 2007
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Personal Picks

AAJ: Out of your rich body of work, what are your favorite recordings and the ones which you would recommend to someone just discovering your work?

CM: Of recent times I would say Come Play with Me (Arabesque Records, 1995), some of my Arabesque records of late and Manhattan Nocturne (Arabesque Records, 1998). Maybe older stuff; there's one I did as tribute to Billie Holiday involving strings, doing tunes that she made popular and a couple of tunes that she wrote as well. It's on a label called Mainstream, it's called Siku Ya Bib (Mainstream Records, 1972), which is Swahili for "The Day of the Lady. It has arrangements by Jimmy Wilkins, with strings and orchestra on there, and we are doing mostly ballads and tunes that she did.

Charles McPhersonAAJ: Do you have any dream projects which you have yet a chance to do?

CM: I did a project for Arabesque three or four years ago with a string quartet. I wrote some of the arrangements, [and] a young pianist wrote a few more of the arrangements. They haven't released it yet. There are some issues with this record company. Hopefully, they'll put that out in another year or so. It has some nice ballads, some of the [Great] American Songbook.

If I could push a button and do what I wanted to right now, I would like to do a CD of Afro-Cuban music, some of the Latin-based genre of music; mix the jazz with that. I do like that kind of music; I like the congas and the timbales. I would like to do a project with that kind of a rhythm section, with all of the sound effects and that kind of thing. I want to approach the music going that way.

AAJ: You used congas on Manhattan Nocturne, correct?

CM: Yeah, a couple of time. So I have flirted with it, but I would like to do a whole album like that.

Then it's a work in progress. I always want my latest thing to be the best.

Selected Discography

Charles McPherson, Live At The Cellar (Cellar Jazz, 2002)
Charles McPherson, Manhattan Nocturne (Arabesque Records, 1998)
Charles McPherson, Come Play With Me (Arabesque Records, 1995)
Charles McPherson, Illusions In Blue (Chazz Jazz, 1995)
Charles McPherson, First Flight Out (Arabesque Records, 1994)
Charles McPherson, Follow the Bouncing Ball (Musicraft Records, 1992)
Charles McPherson, The Prophet (Discovery Records, 1984)
Charles McPherson, Free Bop (Xanadu Records, 1978)
Charles McPherson, New Horizons (Xanadu Records, 1977)
Charles McPherson, Live In Tokyo (Xanadu Records, 1976)
Charles McPherson, Today's Man (Mainstream Records, 1974)
Charles McPherson, Siku Ya Bibi (Mainstream Records, 1972)
Charles McPherson, McPherson's Mood (Prestige Records, 1969)
Charles McPherson, Horizons (Prestige Records, 1969)
Charles McPherson, From This Moment On! (Prestige Records, 1968)
Charles McPherson, The Quintet Live! (Prestige Records, 1966)
Charles McPherson, Live At The Five Spot (Prestige Records. 1966)
Charles McPherson, Con Alma! (Prestige Records, 1965)
Charles McPherson, Be-bop Revisited! (Prestige Records, 1964)

Photo Credits
Top Photo: Jos L. Knaepen
Center Photo: Courtesy of Charles McPherson
Bottom Photo: Sue Storey

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