The Crusaders, “Ain’t Gon’ Chang a Thang” from Second Crusade (Blue Thumb, 1973). Double LP with Larry Carlton guesting on guitar has the Crusaders at their best groove jazz.
Herbie Hancock, “Maiden Voyage” from the 1965 Blue Note LP of the same name. Hancock’s water “theme” album. One of the greatest of a great Blue Note era. Very classy.
Jeff Beck, “Freeway Jam” from Blow by Blow (Epic, 1975). Top flight fusion.
Charles Mingus, “Better Git Hit in Your Soul” from Mingus Ah-Um (Columbia, 1959). One of the great jazz records to come out in ’59, and the place to start with Mingus music. Pete’s ultimate desert island jazz record. You could listen to each of 9 songs for a whole month, then repeat until rescued.
Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, “Salt Peanuts” (approx. 1945). Showing off be-bop chops and also humor.
Ken Vandermark, “One More Once” from Design in Time (Delmark, 1999). Avant-garde street music. Two drummers with sax. A modern giant of the Chicago jazz scene recorded on the Jazz Record Mart’s “home” label. JRM on Illinois off Michigan Avenue, Pete’s favorite place in Chicago.
Gato Barbieri, “El Gato” (Flying Dutchman, 1971). Extended world music “blasting” tenor sax with latin backing instruments. Nothing else like Gato in his prime (meaning early 70s … not the “smooth jazz” he got famous for later on).
Ted Curson, “Searchin’ for the Blues” from Jubilant Power (Inner City, 1976). One of Pete’s favorites. OK, lots of 70s. It was supposed to be the worst decade ever for jazz … “lost its way.” Except that there’s lots of great music from the decade, of many different types. Lots of different fusions.
The Bad Plus, “Never Stop” from 2010 album of the same name. Jazz’s power trio channels the White Stripes.
Ornette Coleman & Prime Time with Jerry Garcia, “Singing in the Shower” from Virgin Beauty (Portrait, 1988). Ornette’s “harmalodic” sound. Kind of punk/avant jazz. Really weird at the time, sounds pretty good now.
Ornette Coleman, “Congeniality” from The Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic, 1959). Ornette’s first weird music, that used to get him beat up but now just sounds good. And another one of the jazz albums released in, certainly, the best year for recorded jazz ever.
Fred Anderson and Hamid Drake, “From the River to the Ocean” from the Thrill Jockey album of the same name. Long time Chicago avant-garde saxist who ran the Velvet Lounge on the South Side. Now, Fred is dead and the Lounge is dark. Both heavy losses.