Reminiscing in Tempo: Memories and Opinion/Volume Eleven: What were five of your favorite record albums (or CD’s) when you were twenty years old, and what are five of your favorite CD’s today?

March 5th, 2008

 

I was 20 years old in 1974 and just beginning to crossover from pop and rock into jazz. Having a keen interest in guitar, I was transitioning at that point from players like Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Johnny Winter, Harvey Mandel, B.B. King, Freddie King and Albert King into bona fide jazz guitarists. Oscar Peterson¹s “The Trio,” with Joe Pass and Neils Henning Orsted Pederson, had made a huge impact on me the previous year, so I naturally took great interest in Joe¹s 1974 two brilliant recordings on Pablo — “Virtuoso” and “Portraits Of Duke Ellington” — along with “Guitar Guitars” featuring Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel and Charlie Byrd. But looking back on it, my record listening from 1974 was dominated by fusion bands at the time. And ironically, Return To Forever, which was my favorite band at the time, is mounting a reunion for this summer with the original outfit that appeared on their 1974 recording. So things have come full circle for me 34 years later. Here¹s five records that got heavy rotation on my turntable that year (remember vinyl?):

Return To Forever, “Where Have I Known You Before “(Polydor) — debut of the RTF unit with guitarist Al Di Meola, who also turned 20 in 1974.

Stanley Clarke, “Stanley Clarke” (Nemperor) — RTF bassist with an off-shoot solo project featuring former RTF guitarist Bill Connors along with Tony Williams on drums and former Mahavishnu Orchestra member Jan Hammer on synth.

Herbie Hancock, “Thrust” (Columbia) — Great followup to debut with his Headhunters band, featuring the incredibly intricate and flexible rhythm tandem of drummer Mike Clark and bassist Paul Jackson along with percussionist Bill Summers and saxophonist Bennie Maupin.

Billy Cobham, “Total Eclipse” (Atlantic) — Followup to his 1973 landmark “Spectrum” featuring guitarist John Abercrombie, the Brecker Brothers, bassist Alex Blake, keyboardist Milcho Leviev and trombonist Glenn Ferris.

John Abercrombie, “Timeless” (ECM) — Full-blown fusion outing with the guitar great featuring Jan Hammer on synth and Jack DeJohnette on drums.

On the rock side for 1974 it was: Frank Zappa, “Apostrophe” and “Roxy & Elsewhere”; Stevie Wonder, “Fulfillingness First Finale”; Johnny Winter, “Saints and Sinners”; Freddie King, “Burglar”; Average White Band, “AWB Pieces”; Robin Trower, “Bridge of Sighs”; George Harrrison, “Dark Horse”; Harvey Mandel, “Shangrenade”; Leo Kottke, “Ice Water”; Lou Reed, “Rock N Roll Animal”; Ohio Players, “Fire”; Bob Marley, “Natty Dread.”

Five of my favorite albums that have come out so far in 2008:

Kurt Rosenwinkel, “The Remedy: Live at the Village Vanguard “(Artist Share)

Various Artists, “Miles From India” (Times Square)

Pat Metheny Trio, “Day Trip” (Nonesuch)

Charles Lloyd Quartet, “Rabo De Nube “(ECM)

Conrad Herwig, “Latin Side of Wayne Shorter” (Half Note)

Five all-time favorites:

Anything by Miles Davis

Anything by John Coltrane

Anything by Ornette Coleman

Anything by Thelonious Monk

Anything by Jaco Pastorius

 

 

 


 

Twenty years old, 1988:

Charles Mingus, “Pithecanthropus Erectus”

Black Flag, “My War”

Prince, “Lovesexy”

Stevie Wonder, “Music of My Mind”

Johnny Paycheck, “Johnny Paycheck Sings Jukebox Charlie and Other Songs That Make the Jukebox Play”

* * * *

Thirty-nine years old, 2008:

Patato & Totico

John Coltrane, “Crescent”

Dorival Caymmi, “Caymmi e Seu Violão”

Curtis Mayfield, “Curtis/Live!”

“Songs of the Old Regular Baptists: Lined-Out Hymnody from Southeastern Kentucky”

 

________________________________________________________________________

 

Firstly, when I was 20 years old, it was 1967 and I was attending U.C.L.A! I had only started to play the guitar 1 year earlier, so it was a time of discovery, a great hunger to learn, and the terrifying feeling of trying to catch-up to everyone else! I was gobbling-up LPs and music faster than you can imagine. LPs were only $2 then. $20 went a long way!!! So, it’s almost impossible to limit my choices to five, but that’s what I’ll do.

[1] Miles Davis “Miles Smiles” or “Sorcerer”

[2] Gary Burton Quartet “Duster”

[3] Wes Montgomery “Boss Guitar”

[4] Albert King “Born Under a Bad Sign”

[5] Kenny Burrell/Gil Evans “Guitar Forms”

Today, I am approaching my 61st birthday. It’s hard to believe, at times, hard to accept. I look at recordings rather differently now. But, the five albums I will list have helped to shape my life and my concepts about music-making, which transcends the physical part of playing any instrument.

[1] Miles Davis “Nefertiti” or “Sorcerer”

[2] Larry Young “Unity”

[3] Herbie Hancock “Inventions and Dimensions”

[4] Chick Corea “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs”

[5] McCoy Tyner “Super Trios”

O.K., I can’t do it…..[It’s impossible!]

[6] John Coltrane “Coltrane Plays the Blues”

[7] Paul Desmond-Jim Hall “Complete Quartets”

[8] Bill Evans “Live at the Village Vanguard”

[9] Wayne Shorter “Speak No Evil”

[10] Ralph Towner “Batik”

[11] Keith Jarrett “My Song”

[12] Frank Sinatra “Only the Lonely”

Guitar Forms

 


When I was 20:

“Ugetsu”: Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers

“Transition”: John Coltrane

Jimi Hendrix: “Band of Gypsies”

“Off the Wall”: Michael Jackson

Chaka Kahn: “I Feel for You”

* * * *

Now:

Shirley Horn: “You Won’t Forget Me”

Aretha Franklin: “Live at the Fillmore West”

Prince: “Dirty Mind”

Elvin Jones: “On the Mountain”

“Coltrane’s Sound”: John Coltrane

 

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