Whenever the topic of desert islands arises among jazz fans, the focus is invariably on which albums (discs) one would choose to cram into a suitcase if one were ever stranded on an otherwise barren island. While the consideration of particular arrangements seldom governs the debate, I really think it should. After all, few albums, however admirable, can be entirely engaginghighs and lows are inevitable, and some selections inescapably bestow more pleasure than others. A classic arrangement, on the other hand, is worth its weight in gold, as one can listen to it over and over again and marvel each time at its ingenuity, tastefulness and charm. With that in mind, I've given some thought to some of the big-band chartsnot albumsI'd want by my side in the event that some catastrophic event should leave me marooned on a desert island. The list is by no means comprehensive; I'm sure there are many others that would give me enduring satisfaction as well.
With almost 2,400 big-band CDs in the garage / library, I can do no more than barely scratch the surface. These are merely a handful (an even hundred, actually) of arrangements that I've cherished over the years and can listen to time and again without becoming restless or bored. I'll begin by naming my personal Top Ten (a relatively easy task, as it turns out), with the remaining 90 listed in alphabetical order. Names of the arrangers are given in parentheses; an asterisk (*) denotes that the arranger is also the composer. Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite charts, starting with the ten gold medal winners.
has taken this well-worn jazz evergreen and remade it in his own incomparable style). 2. Love for Sale (little-known Pete Meyers is the man behind one of the most hard-driving big-band charts ever written). 3. When You're Smiling (Tom Kubis