Reminiscing in Tempo: Memories and Opinion, Volume 15: What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz record albums of the 1960’s?


McCoy Tyner’s 1967 recording The Real McCoy was included in the lists of musician Robin Eubanks and journalist John Goodman as being among their favorite jazz record albums of the 1960’s


“Reminiscing in Tempo” is part of a continuing effort to provide Jerry Jazz Musician readers with unique forms of “edu-tainment.”  As often as possible, Jerry Jazz Musician poses one question via e mail to a small number of prominent and diverse people. The question is designed to provoke a lively response that will potentially include the memories and/or opinion of those solicited.

Since it is not possible to know who will answer the question, the diversity of the participants will often depend on factors beyond the control of the publisher. The responses from the people who chose to participate in this edition are published below with only minor stylistic editing. No follow-up questions take place.


In this edition, we ask the question:

“What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz record albums of the 1960’s?”


(Readers are invited to participate by using the comments field at the conclusion of this feature)


The 60’s were full of great recordings, but here are the ones that marked me for life.

‘Kind of Blue’ from Miles Davis.

I know this album was released in 1959, but to me it is THE DEFINITIVE jazz recording of all time.

This recording introduced me not only to the poetic side of Miles, of whom I was already a fan, but to the great work of John Coltrane, Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderly and pianist Bill Evans. These three men became my principal musical Gurus and have inspired me throughout my life.

‘A Love Supreme’ from John Coltrane.

At the time I first heard this recording, I was already a fan of Coltrane having listened to him on Miles Davis’ recordings since 1958. He had a huge impact on the way I ‘saw’ jazz. In addition I was making my first tentative steps towards some kind of self discovery. However, with this album, he not only created a new form in jazz, but also integrated for the first time, the spiritual dimension in jazz music. This had an impact on me that has lasted until today and will continue until my final day, perhaps beyond.

‘Sargent Pepper’ from the Beatles.

This choice may seem strange to you, but nevertheless, this album had a major impact on me. At the time of the release of this album, many of us musicians whether jazz, pop or other, were making first steps towards trying to address the big questions of life, and the Beatles also. It was how they addressed these questions, and found new ways of expression in lyrics or in music in answering these questions that endeared them to me.

I could go on citing great artists of the sixties such as James Brown or the band Sly and the Family Stone who also had a powerful impact on me musically, but the list would run too long.


My favorite three jazz recordings from the 1960’s are (in order)

1) Four & More (Miles Davis)
2) Miles Smiles (Miles Davis)
3) Empyrean Isles (Herbie Hancock)

“Yes I’m a vibraphonist but I’m very much a drummer, as well. The connection between Tony Williams and Ron Carter is just amazing. They’re like a tag team competing for a championship. They way the two of them play just elevates everybody from Miles, George Coleman, Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard.”


(1) The Modern Jazz Quartet, European Concert (Atlantic, 1960)

(2) Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan, Two of a Mind (RCA, 1962)

(3) Bill Evans, Conversations with Myself (Verve, 1963)

(4) Miles Davis Quintet, Nefertiti (Columbia, 1967)

The turf, needless to say, is impossibly large, and I might pick four completely different albums if I were to answer this question later today, or next week. But I doubt if they’d all be different.


Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – Free For All

McCoy Tyner – The Real McCoy

Wayne Shorter – Night Dreamer

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme

JJ Johnson – Proof Positive


The 60’s are my era and choosing three or four is impossible, but here are the ten that first came to mind:

Ornette Coleman: Ornette!
Duke Ellington: Far East Suite
Gil Evans:  Out of the Cool
Miles Davis: My Funny Valentine
Archie Shepp: Fire Music
Sonny Rollins on Impulse
  John Coltrane: A Love Supreme
Cecil Taylor: Unit Structures
Jaki Byard Experience


1. Bill Evans Live at the Village Vanguard, Bill Evans (1961)
2. New York Tendaberry, Laura Nyro   (1968)
3. Booker Little & Friends, Booker Little (1961)


Some of my favorite ’60s jazz albums:

Out to Lunch, Eric Dolphy’s masterpiece with six brilliant compositions, an extraordinary ensemble (especially featuring the contributions of Bobby Hutcherson and Tony WIlliams plus bassist Richard Davis, Freddie Hubbard stretching his imagination on trumpet and Dolphy making breakthroughs on flute, bass clarinet and alto);

Unit Structures, Cecil Taylor’s magnificent and unique ensemble album, still rich with sensuous mystery after 60 years;

Maiden Voyage, pianist-composer Herbie Hancock’s enduring pleasure, again with Hubbard and Williams, solid Ron Carter and saxophonist George Coleman’s most imaginative, fervid solos, an album that’s not avant-garde but perfectly balanced, melodic and expressive

Symphony for Improvisers, Don Cherry’s color-imbued two suites with Pharaoh Sanders on piccolo (!), tenor saxist Gato Barbieri in peerless counterpoint with Cherry, beautiful vibes/piano playing by Karl Berger and sublime drumming by Edward Blackwell (plus fascinating bass interplay by Henry Grimes and J.F. Jenny-Clark)

It’s a coincidence, maybe, that all these albums are on Blue Note, but I could easily name another 4 or 8 ’60s albums on that label of which I’m equally fond (stating with Taylor’s Conquistador, Cherry’s Complete Communion, Sam Rivers’ Contours, Andrew Hill’s Judgement). Of course I am enthralled by many other ’60s albums, too — this was my formative period, and Roscoe Mitchell’s Sound, Miles In A Silent Way, Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, Rip Rig and Panic, Inside Betty Carter, Coltrane’s Impressions just begin the list of the many recordings that caught my imagination and drew me into loving jazz in all its forms.


As a woodwind improviser, I tend to honor music that features saxophone players and these would be my favorites. These are recordings with solos that I have studied, notated and played on multiple instruments:

Les McCann & Eddie Harris “Swiss Movement” – the right music at the right time, recorded in 1969 (may have been released a bit later, but it’s a seminal 60’s sound)

Eddie Harris “The In Sound” – Ron Carter sounds amazing, and Eddie is the definition of versatility and real Soul

John Coltrane “A Love Supreme” – Black religious music delivered with concept, execution, poise

McCoy Tyner “The Real McCoy” – my favorite piano and tenor solos ever

Honorable mention: Lee Morgan “Delightfullee” – the record that made me want to play Jazz because it was the first time I heard Joe Henderson; I stole it from my parents’ basement, but it belonged to my Uncle Dan


1. J.J.Johnson – “Proof Positive” on Impulse

2. Miles Davis – ” Four and More” on Columbia

3. Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – “Ugetsu” on Riverside ?

4. John Coltrane – “Afto Blue” on Impulse


Favorite albums of the 1960s, in no particular order below…

Stan Getz-Getz/Gilberto
John Coltrane-A Love Supreme
Sonny Rollins-Alfie Soundtrack
Count Basie-Straight Ahead


Gil Evans “Out of the Cool” (Impulse, 1960) Gil Evans “Individualism of Gil Evans” (Verve, 1964) Bob Brookmeyer “Gloomy Sunday and Other Bright Moments” (Verve, 1961) Bill Evans & Jim Hall “Undercurrent” (Blue Note, 1962)

There are a 100 other great options, but those are the ones that I’ve listened to for the past couple weeks and always find myself returning to them quite often.

Here are records by four famous jazz pianists, two of them rather obvious choices, two perhaps not.
1. Waltz for Debby (1961): Bill Evans, with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian. Most everybody who loves jazz knows this record or at least some of the tunes. It is the classic outing for this great trio. Debby helped me get through a bad case of the blues at a couple of different times in my life. In particular, the moody swing-and-sadness of “Detour Ahead” was a tune to submerge in. Leonard Bernstein’s “Some Other Time” conveyed sentiment without sentimentality, an Evans trademark. So much of Evans’ music is infused with a sense of working through sadness.
2. Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (1968): Chick Corea, with Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes. This record blew me away when I first reviewed it in March 1969: ” . . . easily one of the most beautiful and technically accomplished discs in the world of post-Bill Evans piano.” To those who were listening, this was a major breakthrough in modal jazz that really put Chick on the map. The original LP came with only five songs. In 2002, Blue Note-Capitol put out a remastered 24-bit CD with all 13 of the trio’s pieces.
3. The Real McCoy (1967): McCoy Tyner, with Joe Henderson, Ron Carter and Elvin Jones. After his years with John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner put together this amazing quartet which built new modal structures on McCoy’s earlier Coltrane approach. Some of your Tyner favorites got their first outing here, namely “Passion Dance,” “Search for Peace,” and “Blues on the Corner.”
4. Live at the It Club (1964): Thelonious Monk, with Charlie Rouse, Larry Gales and Ben Riley. Monk was finally achieving some public success by the mid-’60s and, in fact, never played better than in these recordings. Columbia reissued all the It Club material in a two-disc CD set in 1998, and this was Monk’s house band, more or less, for several years. I don’t dig Larry Gales’s monotonous thump-thump bass playing, but this quartet provides the sound Monk wanted to set off his particular genius.

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