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My Top 30 CDs

#11 - 15


11.  Charlie Parker - Bird Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Columbia).  If you have never heard Bird (Parker's nickname) before, this is the CD I would recommend.  Like I mentioned above, the technology in the mid 40s wasn't  the greatest.  This CD is an engineering wonder:  they filtered out everyone except Parker, and then brought in musicians who were familiar with the style, such as Jon Faddis on trumpet (a nice replacement for Dizzy Gillespie) and Ray Brown (bass), who played with Bird.  They had these guys record their parts in stereo.  The result is a stereo-sounding recording, with all solos played by Parker.  This CD has a nice variety of Parker music, from the mile-a-minute Lester Leaps In to Laura, a recording Bird made with an orchestra behind him.  Many Parker classics are on here, also, such as Now's the Time, Parker's Mood, and Ko Ko.

12.  Louis Armstrong - Louis Armstrong II (Brilliant Collection).  Nothing special about this particular CD.  I found it in the used bins, grabbed it, and really liked it.  This CD contains many songs from his legendary Hot Fives and Hot Sevens CDs.  It really, really swings, and Armstrong shows why he was, in my opinion and many others, the greatest American singer of the 20th century.  (Late 1920s)


131.  Harry Connick, Jr. - When Harry Met Sally Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Columbia).  Harry was 21 when he made this recording.  This recording won him a Grammy and made him a star.  He has a Frank Sinatra-like voice, and is a monster on the piano.  Most of this is big band swing music, but a few songs feature him on the piano.  All of the songs are classics, such as It had to be you, Don't Get around much anymore, and Let's call the whole thing off.  (1988)



14.   Miles Davis - The Birth of the Cool (Capitol).  Back when BeBop was the rage, Miles came up with this unique idea.  He took a nonet (9 instruments) including non-traditional instruments (tuba, french horn), and had them play a softer, laid-back jazz that became known as "cool jazz" (not that Adult Contemporary/Easy Listenting stuff, that tries to get passed off as jazz).  This CD features some incredible musicians, like Gerry Mulligan (Baritone Sax), Lee Konitz (alto sax), Max Roach, and Kenny Clarke (drums).  This was the first of Miles' many recordings that took jazz in a whole new direction.  (1949-50)




15.  Victor Wooten - What Did He Say (Compass).  Victor Wooten is the MAN!  I really enjoyed his first CD, "A Show of Hands," and it only featured a bass guitar and voice.  This has more instruments and styles, including funk, hip-hop, and jazz.  If you want pure jazz, you may not enjoy this.  If you want to hear a virtuoso on the bass guitar, pick this up.  His cover of Cherokee is fabulous! Wooten made a name for himself with the  jazz-bluegrass fusion group Béla Fleck and the Fleck Tones.  I am not the only one who thinks highly of this recording:  Down Beat magazine gave it 5 stars (out of 5) and compared it to other bass classics by Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius.  (1997)


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