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August 26, 2019


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Farran Nehme

Said profile writer already endeared herself to me no end by citing Citizen Kane as an overrated movie and when people responded with things like "Jesus" she said "I have a degree from a prestigious film school and I stand by this." Between that, and this, suffice it to say I won't be buying her overpromoted novel.


Hey, I have that Evans in Toyko album. It's real good!

Gary McGrane

All pianists today, cognizant of it or not, owe a great debt to Bill Evan's. As far as most Americans, look what they listen to. To quote another clown " sad".

Marc Ziner

I’m disappointed by the skepticism in your piece. I think jazz deserves to be celebrated as often as possible and not criticized in a cavalier way. I got my first Jazz album, ”Birth of the Cool” when I was 15, so I’ve been a jazz enthusiast for 56 years. I’ve heard many people tell me they hate jazz, and candidly, I think those people are missing the boat and the excitement this music brings us. Also, I’m curious as to why you write about the 50 albums on the floor by your coffee table and not your 50 favorite albums.

Glenn Kenny

I'm sorry for the disappointment, Mr. Ziner. As is indicated in a couple of asides and a link embedded in a quote, a good third or quarter of the piece is facetious. The format is a parody aimed at the arbitrary nature of list or listicle making; the stuff in the preamble is a piss-take of the GQ UK piece linked to in the unfortunate quote about Sonny Clark, which derives from that piece. Most of my observations are sincere and genuine, though. I have no genuine skepticism about jazz; if I had, I'd be a fool to have spent so much money and time on it over forty-seven years.


Great notes. You made it clear that you are responding to an assinine ignoramus who claims jazz is a con, and you provide a groovy response that basically even the records sitting next to your turntable provide plenty of evidence that Billy Bob, a con name if ever there were one, is as sensitive to musical quality as Trump is to the environment. No need to select favorites, that's your point.


Fun list to sleep on. As a jazzophile, I’m starved for conversation and hope you’ll share more jazz columns. If we’re going to be accused of cultural elitism, we might as well flaunt it, right?

Not many guitarists on your list. Random coffee table assemblage, or not a lotta love for amplified jazz?


What is the Monkey Album of which you speak? Looking through Tal Farlow discography, internet searcing... no clues! I'll give a couple of the Norgran albums a spin. Should I be ashamed to admit, as an (amateur) guitarist I haven't listened to Tal Farlow's work.

Glenn Kenny

It’s a joke of the “not worth explaining” variety. The actual record is titled “The Tal Farlow Album” and it’s great.

Jan Kopecky

What? There should be 43 jazz recordings on your list. No Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"? Many consider it the best jazz album of all time. Therefore, it should be No 1!


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My pantheon would include a trio of Carnegie Hall albums: Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and MJQ.

Rand Careaga

Late to the party, but I commend to the attention of anyone checking in on this thread the 1964 album “Jazz på svenska,” austere arrangements (Jan Johansson, piano; Georg Riedel, bass) of Swedish folk songs. Sample here:



Jazz på svenska (Swedish jazz) is an essential piece, one of the cornerstones of Swedish jazz. Jan Johansson also did "Jazz på ryske" (Russian jazz), which is also essential.

James Keepnews

Dude! I couldn't bear to keep seeing a bare Kirk Douglas above the fold, as it were, when I'd check in here, so I haven't lately and missed this post entirely. Quite the stacks of wax, Max -- as to the peerless Wes, let's not forget that his deep and complex harmonic concept was also almost entirely self-taught. He was able to tease out the advanced harmonic language of bop by ear (and thumb) and on the gig. His chord-melodic technique is exquisite, genuinely stirring and pursued by almost no one else in quite the same way -- Joe Pass had his own ideas in that regard well before Wes emerged and Jim Hall gravitated towards more parallel chord forms. It can come off schmaltzy in the wrong hands, but never with Wes, or at least not via his guitar playing (some of those of the cheese-ass Don Sebesky arrangements for Verve towards the end, though, oy...). Some of the best practitioners of this chord-melodic form include Carmen Caramanica, a Utica-based guitarist and one of his students, my buddy Paul Kogut. What I wouldn't give to hear his much bruited live dates with Coltrane in the early 60's.

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