My fourth choice would be Juan Carlos Laguna's Brasileiro: (Heitor) Villa- Lobos
(Urtext, 2000). I have always loved the music of other countries South of our North American borders, but most especially, Brazil. Of course we all know Antonio Carlos Jobim
or Luiz Bonfa
from their music's association and popularity garnered from the bossa nova/samba craze in the late '50s. We also know popular artists like Sergio Mendes
, Dori Cayimi, Ivan Lins
, and Milton Nascimento
. I became aware of the music of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos through a jazz guitarist friend of mine, David Moreno. We were rehearsing in preparation of a concert performance. Included amidst the repertoire was an adaptation or arrangement of a classical compositionmore likely a guitar etude- -of Villa-Lobos' that Moreno entitled "A Day of Orchids." The musical richness, depth and beauty of this piece made we want to know more of Villa- Lobos' music. The next person to bring me to Villa-Lobos in a roundabout fashion was jazz trumpeter Kenny Dorham
. There is a quite popular guitar etude that trumpet players have adapted as a practice/chop warm up exercise. Dorham recorded this piece on the recording "Inta Somethin'/Matador."
Nothing brings me closer to the unknown in music than having idle moments with nothing but time on my hands. My summer touring schedule during the year 2000 took me to Suomi, Finland. The band spent five days in the country and four of them were off days. Because of Suomi's physical relationship and positioning in such close proximity to the northern polar axis, the city experienced daylight for about twenty hours of the day and about a three to four hour period of twilight before returning to daylight. The band was scheduled to perform one set at the Pori Jazz Festival but our days off were spent sitting in Helsinki. Our hotel happened to be adjacent to a music store. I was so bored that I decided to go to the music store and purchase a nylon string guitar and a disc of Villa- Lobos etudes. I was determined to learn how to play that one etude, in particular. And I surely did.
My favorite piece in particular of Villa-Lobos' is "Bachianas Brasileras no. 5." You've got to hear it to feel, understand, or believe it. Wayne Shorter
recorded an arrangement of it on his disc Alegria
(Verve, 2003). Genius acknowledging genius.
My fifth choice is interesting: Myron Walden
's Like a Flower Seeking the Sun
(NYC, 1999). This is my vanity moment. This is the only recording I listed that includes my musical participation. This is one of the recordings I've made that I truly walked away feeling proud of. There are a few others like George Colligan's The Newcomer
, Bright Nights
(Enja, 1993) by tenor saxophonist Johannes Enders, the three discs I've recorded with Jeremy Pelt (November
(Max Jazz, 2008), Men of Honor
(HighNote, 2010), and The Talented Mr. Pelt
(HighNote, 2011)), David Hazeltine
's Blues Quarters, Volume 1
(Criss Cross, 2000), trumpeter Alex Norris
's A New Beginning
(Fresh New Sounds, 1999), and John Swana
's Tug of War
(Criss Cross, 1999). I have known Myron since he was a reverent, respectful, inquisitive 17 year old. I watched this talent grow, develop and mature into the genius that presently occupies his mind and body. I have participated in a great deal of the incarnations of his working bands. I appreciate his dedication, work ethic, and his commitment to music. Myron has this uncanny ability to conceptualize and eventually realize or actualize his musical ideas. I've seen him think of a grouping of instruments and hit the compositional drawing board and return with ten or twelve tunes specifically for that grouping and its sound qualities and characteristics. We recorded Myron's debut disc as a leader, Hypnosis
(NYC, 1996), through a collection of sessions which were used to satisfactorily complete the entirety of the project.