Reminiscing in Tempo: Memories and Opinion/Volume Eight: When you were growing up, what were three or four of your parents’ favorite recordings?

November 14th, 2006

I’d have to say, in no particular order, an LP box set of Bach organ preludes, an LP box set of Handel’s “Messiah,” and the recordings of my father’s high school choirs (on labels specializing in small-number issues specifically for sale to audiences supportive of high school activities).

They also had some Frank Sinatra V-Discs my father had from WWII that sounded like listening to history (in a good way).

They never really had much in the way of a recording collection. Most of the music we had in our house was live.

Frank Sinatra


I Only Have Eyes For You

You’ve Got A Hold On Me



Some of the albums I remember hearing all the time:

“Birth of the Cool,” Gil Evans

“Sketches of Spain,” Miles Davis

“A Night in Tunisia,” Dizzy Gillespie

“The Hottest New Group in Jazz,” Lambert, Hendricks and Ross

My parents were close personally to Billie Holiday, who was my godmother, and Duke Ellington; I heard so much of their music that I really can’t single out one album for either. My mom was also a big Art Pepper fan!


Lambert, Hendricks and Ross







Both my parents loved Jazz but were not musicians. My father grew up in Harlem, was around all the in places where Jazz was performed and was a manager of a place that had Lucy Roberts and Art Tatum playing together from time to time.

My father would pick me up at age 3-5 and hold me in his arms as he danced to what I would consider some of his favorite records:

1. Stompy Jones – Duke Ellington

2. She’s Funny That Way – Charlie Shavers

3. Various Art Tatum recordings

4. Trumpets No End (Blue Skies) – Duke Ellington

5. Tulip Or Turnip – Duke Ellington

6. Various Billie Holiday recordings

I was born in 1943 in New York and started to play the trumpet in 1953 at age 10. At one time I had the feeling my dad was putting the trumpet into me ears and heart. My father took me to the Apollo to see Max Roach/Clifford Brown.





Father loved “Amazing Grace.” This is what prompted my recording of this title several times.

Mom loved “Come Ye Disconsolate.” This is what prompted my recording of this title for CTI Records in 1969.


Amazing Grace, by Mahalia Jackson

Come Ye Disconsolate, by The Sensational Nightingales









Chopin – “Les Quartoze Valses”, Dinu Lipatti (Columbia)

Beethoven – “Les Sonates de Beethoven” par Yves Nat (Discophiles Français)

Shumann – “Concerto en la Mineur”, Dinu Lipatti (Columbia)


Jimmy Smith – “The Sermon” (Blue Note)

Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers – (Blue Note), Art Blakey – “Orgy in Rhythm” (Blue Note)

Miles Davis – “Kind of Blue” (Columbia)



Jimmy Smith


The Sermon

Art Blakey


Ya Ya




My mother listened, when she was younger, to the pop music of the day. She loved Billy Eckstine’s recording of “Blue Moon“. But by the time I was around it was mostly classical music. A lot of opera… Turandot, The Marriage of Figaro… I also remember Porgy and Bess and the soundtrack to Sweeny Todd.

My father loved Brubeck’s Time Out, and lots of recordings by Sinatra. I especially remember “Only The Lonely.”


Sweeny Todd


Prelude: The Ballad of Sweeney Todd

Time Out, by Dave Brubeck


Take Five



Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...Also in this issue, in celebration of Blue Note’s 80th year, we asked prominent writers and musicians the following question: “What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums; a new collection of jazz poetry; “On the Turntable,” is a new playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings from six artists – Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano, Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian and Aaron Burnett; two new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Jazz History Quiz”; a new feature called “Pressed for All Time,”; a new photo-narrative by Charles Ingham; and…lots more.

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings by six artists -- Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano. Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian, and Aaron Burnett


In this month’s collection, with great jazz artists at the core of their work, 16 poets remember, revere, ponder, laugh, dream, and listen

The Joys of Jazz

In this new volume of his podcasts, Bob presents two stories, one on Clifford Brown (featuring the trumpeter Charlie Porter) and the other is part two of his program on stride piano, including a conversation with Mike Lipskin

Short Fiction

We had many excellent entrants in our recently concluded 50th Short Fiction Contest. In addition to publishing the winning story on March 11, with the consent of the authors, we have published several of the short-listed stories...

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

In an excerpt from his book Pressed for All Time, Michael Jarrett interviews producer Creed Taylor about how he came to use tape overdubs during the 1957 Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross Sing a Song of Basie recording session


"Thinking About Charlie Parker" -- a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #128

Although he was famous for modernizing the sound of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra -- “On the Sunny Side of the Street” was his biggest hit while working for Dorsey (pictured) -- this arranger will forever be best-known for his work with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Who is he?

Great Encounters

In this edition, Bob Dylan recalls what Thelonious Monk told him about music at New York’s Blue Note club in c. 1961.


Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Stan Getz, Sun Ra, and Carla Bley.


Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

Coming Soon

"The Photography Issue" will feature an interview with jazz photographer Carol Friedman (her photo of Wynton Marsalis is pictured), as well as with Michael Cuscuna on unreleased photos by Blue Note's Francis Wolff.

In the previous issue

Jeffrey Stewart, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, is interviewed about Locke (pictured), the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 19 recommended recordings by five jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive