Occasionally, a friend asks me to name my all-time favorite jazz CDs. That’s extremely difficult to do, especially since I own more than 1,500 of them.
Here is my Desert Island List of My Top Ten Jazz CDs of all-time. It is quite absurd that there are no CDs by Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Harold Mabern, Woody Shaw, Lee Morgan, Betty Carter, Charles Tolliver, Kenny Dorham, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Billy Higgins, Jackie Mclean, Hank Jones, Barry Harris, Sonny Rollins, Kenny Barron, Lester Bowie, Duke Ellington, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Phil Woods, Count Basie, Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Heath or many others on the list. Many of these folks perform on the recordings listed below.
There is also no room for my current favorite musician Dianne Reeves (every one of her albums is a gem); my brilliant pals, Brian Lynch, Carl Allen or Branford Marsalis or my all-time hero Roy Haynes in the top ten.
Branford Marsalis’ recent album, Metamorphosen, will surely be remembered as one of the great recordings and bands of the early 21st Century.
I was beyond honored to work on Brian Lynch’s project with Eddie Palmieri, Simpatico, which won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. This record gets better with each listening.
Gary Stager’s Top 10 Favorite Jazz CDs (in no particular order)
- John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
- Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – Buhaina’s Delight
- Bobby Hutcherson – In the Vanguard
- Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage
- Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra – New Life (I know I should say, “Consummation.”)
- Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else
- Sarah Vaughan – Crazy and Mixed Up
- Dexter Gordon – Gettin’ Around
- Thelonious Monk – Live at the It Club
- Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil
Classical entry – Takacs Quartet – Borodin – Smetna
Pop entry = Luther Vandross – The Best of Love OR Stevie Wonder – Natural Wonder
Al Green should be on this list too!
Someday, I will list more and assemble a gallery of the photos of me and the great jazz musicians I’ve met over nearly 30 years.
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.