Mental Ward

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All That Jazz

Now comes our first detour off the virtualization path. As I mentioned in my first-ever blog entry, this is mostly about virtualization, but not all.

If you hate jazz, don't waste any more time reading this. If you love jazz, welcome, my friend! This list will be nothing new to you. If you're just getting into jazz, I wanted to give you a list of my favorite albums, and something to get you started on your own jazz journey. So now, I hereby offer my first bloglist: Keith's Top 5 jazz albums of all time.

1. Kind of Blue, Miles Davis. Generally regarded as the greatest jazz album of all time -- with good reason, I might add. Miles was, is, and always will be, the best. Sorry, no arguments allowed. Favorite song: Freddie Freeloader.

2. 'Round About Midnight, Miles Davis. Notice a trend here? Just a hairs-breadth below Blue, but that's not exactly an insult. Davis, Coltrane, Garland (Red, not Judy), Chambers, Philly Joe Jones. What's not to love? Favorite song: 'Round Midnight.

3. Straight, No Chaser, Thelonius Monk. Monk and Duke Ellington are IMHO the two greatest jazz composers ever. Monk's complexity was astonishing. Favorite song: Straight, No Chaser.

4. Time Out, Dave Brubeck. Founder of 'West Coast' jazz. One of the great jazz drummers in Joe Morello, and the most famous jazz song of all time in Take 5. Hey, there's a reason my column on the back page of the print mag is called Take 5. Favorite song: Take 5. Duh.

5. Jazz at Massey Hall. The greatest instrumentalists of the bop era -- Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie and Charles Mingus -- jam out in this extraordinary live session. Favorite song: A Night In Tunisia.

Remember that this is only a starter list, and only reflects my tastes. It killed me to leave out albums from the likes of Art Blakey, the Duke, Count Basie, Clifford Brown and others, but you've gotta cut off the list somewhere.

One other note: a great way to pique a child's interest in jazz is to fire up Joe Cool's Blues, an album of Peanuts music from the Marsalis family. Kids will instantly recognize the main Peanuts theme. From there, you can lead them into more exploration of this incredible field of music.

To answer the inevitable question: Where's Coltrane's A Love Supreme? Great album, but not one of my top 5. I must admit, I don't listen to it nearly as much as Blakey, Davis, Ellington or Monk. Maybe that says something bad about me.

Posted by Keith Ward on 01/29/2008 at 12:48 PM


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