In A Silent Way, Miles in The Sky and more–Miles Davis 1960’s-70‘s. Like John, many die-hard jazz fans do not enjoy Miles’ fusion works of the late 60’s and 70’s. I saw Bitches Brew up there (as it should be) but I also like to point out these two albums that preceded it. These teetered on fusion but unlike his later big bands in Bitches, here we have his solid 60’s 5tet of Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter and Wayne Shorter. Miles didn’t call his music jazz, to him it was “social music” so join the conversation.
Charlies Mingus – Live at Antibes. Preference for hard driving 60s jazz is probably getting obvious, but this is a fantastic record, a wonderful place to hear Eric Dolphy. Not for the faint of heart, but quintessential Mingus.
Ahmad Jamal Trio – The complete live at the Pershing. Check out Ahmad’s intro to “A Gal In Calico”, unbridled joy. Brings a smile to my face every time.
Genre definition is a critical component of how we recognize jazz greatness. In that light, we should also give due consideration to the Charlie Christian album “Swing to bop”. This album did two things: it heralded the arrival of be-bop and perhaps, more importantly, it redefined the role of the guitar as an instrument in a band context. Modern electric guitar playing (in any genre) would not exist without Christian, and this is the album where it really gained traction.