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James Cooper

James Cooper is an English professor, a poet, and a longtime fan of jazz.

My Jazz Story

My father exposed me to jazz by playing his Scott Joplin and Stan Getz records when I was growing up. That initial introduction, which later was augmented by the descriptions of jazz in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and The Dharma Bums and Frank Zappa’s experiments with jazz on his Waka/Jawaka and Grand Wazoo albums, led to my own explorations into jazz, starting in earnest with Miles Davis’ Big Fun. Despite my love for jazz over the past forty-some years, I have attended only a handful of concerts; the most recent ones have featured Chris Burnett, Matt Otto, and Alaturka, all of which were in the Kansas City metro area. For those people seeking to explore jazz, I recommend getting a good discography, such as The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (5th ed), and paying particular attention to those recordings that have gotten the most number of stars possible. That approach should lead to years of sifting through the best that has been created.

My Favorites

  1. Gene Ammons--Blue Gene
  2. Anouar Brahem--Thimar
  3. Gary Burton--The New Quartet
  4. Gary Burton--Ring
  5. John Coltrane--Coltrane's Sound
  6. John Coltrane--Crescent
  7. John Coltrane--Giant Steps
  8. John Coltrane--Ole
  9. John Coltrane--Lush Life
  10. John Coltrane--Plays the Blues
  11. John Coltrane--Traneing In
  12. Miles Davis--Big Fun
  13. Miles Davis--Filles de Kilimanjaro
  14. Miles Davis--Get Up With It
  15. Miles Davis--Kind of Blue
  16. Miles Davis--Miles Smiles
  17. Urszula Dudziak--Future Talk
  18. Jan Garbarek--Dis
  19. Jan Garbarek--In Praise of Dreams
  20. Jan Garbarek--It's OK to Listen to the Gray Voice
  21. Jan Garbarek--Madar
  22. Jan Garbarek--Places
  23. Jan Garbarek Group--Photo With
  24. Jan Garbarek--Ragas and Sagas
  25. Joe Henderson--So Near, So Far
  26. Dexter Gordon--Go
  27. Dexter Gordon--Our Man in Paris
  28. Keith Jarrett-My Song
  29. Stephen Micus--Twilight Fields
  30. Gerry Mulligan & Chet Baker--Carnegie Hall Concert
  31. Charles Mingus--Mingus Ah Um
  32. Charles Mingus--Mingus at Antibes
  33. Thelonious Monk--5 by Monk by 5
  34. Thelonious Monk--Misterioso
  35. Mike Nock--Ondas
  36. Old and New Dreams--Playing
  37. Art Pepper--Roadgame
  38. L. Shankar--Song for Everyone
  39. L. Shankar--Vision
  40. John Surman--Upon Reflection
  41. Michal Urbaniak--Atma
  42. Michal Urbaniak--Fusion
  43. Michal Urbaniak--Urbaniak
  44. Eberhard Weber--Little Movements
  45. Eberhard Weber--Pendulum
  46. Eberhard Weber--Yellow Fields