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Over the past seven years, Herlin Riley has recorded four compact discs, two under his own name and a pair as a sideman, for the Criss Cross Jazz imprint. Riley's work on these recordings is significant because it stands outside of a long-term, high profile association with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra which ended in 2005. In addition to providing points of entry into his skills as a composer and bandleader, the discs serve as prime examples of a drummer who checks his ego at the door yet is able to shape a small band's progress in myriad ways.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.