If you read my last post, you know that I was given a challenge of coming up with my top 10 favorite songs or recordings. Well, after sifting through some 8000 or so songs on iTunes, I have finally picked 10 (well, 13 actually). Here they are in no particular order, and my reasons for picking them.
1. Chameleon – Maynard Ferguson – The first time I ever played a saxophone solo in public was a junior high jazz band concert in 7th grade. This was the song.
2. Hello City – Barenaked Ladies – When I first met my wife, she introduced me to the Barenaked Ladies. Every time I hear this song (or any song from the “Gordon” album) it makes me think of her and when we started dating. I like that.
3. The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin – I had to include a song from my all-time favorite band, and I just think this song really showcases how well they wrote music. I have always enjoyed music that was written with a lot of creativity.
4. Third Symphony, Mvt. 3 – Mesto (for Natalie) – James Barnes – One of the most moving pieces of music that I have ever played in an ensemble. I can remember weeping while playing this piece several times.
5. Shiny Stockings – Count Basie – This is the tune that introduced me to the Basie Band. I can remember specifically playing this song at a jazz festival in high school. It has been one of my favorite big band charts ever since.
6. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy – Cannonball Adderley – This is the song that introduced me to Cannonball. He has since become one of my top two favorites and biggest influences.
7. Irish Tune from County Derry – Percy Grainger – Hands down, my favorite wind band piece of all time. To me, this piece is the standard of beauty in the wind band literature.
8. Ornithology – Charlie Parker – This is from one of the first jazz recordings I ever owned – Charlie Parker at Storyville. I can remember just being amazed when I first heard it as a young saxophone player.
9. Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag – James Brown – I can remember hearing this recording on the local oldies station that my parents listened to. Probably my first introduction to soul/r&b music. I have always loved this tune!
10. Daphnis & Chloe – Suite No. 2 – Maurice Ravel – When I played this piece in college, it was the first time I really connected emotions to performing music. I mean deep emotion. I had always heard directors and conductors talk about playing with emotion and feeling, but it never really clicked with me until I played this piece.
11. Delta City Blues – Michael Brecker – This one is from my other biggest saxophone influence. What Michael does with overtones in this recording just blows my mind. He is one of the all-time greats. I wish I could have seen him live before he passed away.
12. Cheese Cake – Dexter Gordon – I was introduced to this recording at a jazz camp that had a huge impact on my life when I was in high school. I wish I could have picked every track from this album entitled “Go.”
13. Bu’s March – Benny Green – I always wished that I could play piano, and I love this album from Benny Green recorded live at the Village Vanguard. This recording has one of the hardest swinging shout choruses I’ve ever heard.
So there you have it. Looking back at this list, I noticed that each song has had a particular impact on my life as a teacher and musician, and I suppose subconsciously, that is why I picked them. I hope you get a chance to check out any that you are not familiar with, and I challenge you to do the same and pick your top ten. Please share the results here!