Jimmy Heath: Langston Hughes Library, Flushing, New York, 30th April 2013 It was impossible to make a choice! This is Charlie Parker with Strings (Mercury Records, 1950)--a compilation of all the Charlie Parker with Strings--not just the one studio performance; there's some live performances. Someone at The Charlie Parker organisation that used to give the benefits for Charlie Parker--the Foundation that his wife started--made this compilation and they gave them out to some of the sponsors and people who came to support that organisation. There are recordings from the Apollo Theatre and different venues. ...read more
Orbert Davis: Symphony Centre, Buntrock Hall, Chicago. 15th May, 2013 This is Clifford Brown with Strings (EmArcy, 1955). I was a teenager when I first heard this incredible album--the depth is in its subtleties--and Clifford is so perfect with the string writing of Neal Hefti. It's a true blending of classical and jazz. The first thing I knew--this is funny--I recognized the name Neal Hefti from the Batman theme! For me as a trumpet player I study Clifford Brown; as an arranger I study Neal Hefti, so this brings both those worlds together and ...read more
Double Six--when I was in college in my first year, I formed a singing group patterned along the lines of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross--and Double Six. Double Six changed my life; I listened to them instead of going to class--I think they almost sent me home! Very important music to me, I became friends with Michel Legrand--his sister sang in the group then, and Mimi Perrin--thank you Mimi! we'll all see you soon. So Double Six (EMI Columbia, 1962)--very important, lots of important people--but a special place for them. Photo Credit: William ...read more
I choose a Clifford Brown album called The Beginning and the End (Columbia, 1973). It chronicles this guy's experience from the beginning of his musical career until a recording the day before he actually died. It's strange, because when I first got the record I didn't really know what the record was about or why they put it together. I just remember hearing this amazing trumpeter and trying to mimic his version of 'Donna Lee,' and I can remember at the end of the song hear him speak to the audience--and even as a little kid feeling that ...read more
Terence Blanchard: Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 30 June 2011 It's Miles Davis Four and More and the reason why it's so special for me [is] because I remember the first time I heard it as a kid. Listening to that live performance blew me way because you know I had been listening to a very different style of trumpet playing and improvisation. Those guys just kept me in a tail spin trying to figure out what they were doing, where they were going and I remember I was trying to get a handle on what ...read more
Robert Glasper: Glasgow Jazz Festival, 28th June 2012 The reason this album is special to me is because the producer of the album--J Dilla is my favorite hip hop producer and I got the privilege to actually work with him before he passed away in 2006. To work with him--watch him make music--watch him in the lab" and see how he works. J Dilla is probably the only producer I know that changed the way musicians actually play their instruments. Normally a producer will just take from the musicians and do their ...read more
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