Tuesday, June 28, 2011

120 Influences, Part 12: Musicians

Once again, I could not narrow a top ten list from these thirteen:
  1. Miles Davis, the trumpeter whose records from Blue Period (1951) through Seven Steps to Heaven (1963) are all jazz classics.
  2. Bill Evans, one of the most influential jazz pianists ever. Any of his trio albums will do.
  3. Stan Getz, known as "The Sound" for good reason. His tenor saxophone is immediately recognizable.
  4. Dizzy Gillespie, who with Charlie Parker created a new music and extended his singular trumpet prowess to small groups and big bands as a worldwide ambassador of jazz.
  5. Glenn Gould, playing the entire Bach solo piano collection, including Goldberg Variations (1955 and 1982 recordings), The Art of Fugue, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Inventions and Sinfonias, French Suites, English Suites, Partitas, and Toccatas.
  6. Stephane Grappelli, whom I saw perform numerous times, would put a smile on anyone's face with the first note he played on his legendary violin.
  7. Yo-Yo Ma, a cellist whose skill on the cello, passion for an astounding range of music, and credibility about nearly anything is unmatched.
  8. Charlie Parker, the alto saxophone giant, co-founder of Be-Bop, and generator of Afro-Cuban music.
  9. Oscar Peterson, Mr. Jazz, who played his piano in every format and with every jazz artist imaginable over a 60-year career.
  10. George Rodriguez, a friend, leader of The New Swing Sextet, and vibraphonist committed to all things Salsa and who taught me to appreciate his music.
  11. Sonny Rollins, the Saxophone Colossus, his tenor has engaged me in live performance from Montreux, Switzerland to Carnegie Hall.
  12. Andres Segovia, the master who brought dignity to the guitar as a classical instrument and played in the greatest concert halls into his nineties.
  13. Toots Thielemans, who jazz harmonica just captured my imagination three decades ago, and I've never let go of him since.