Ethan and the gang over at The Bad Plus' Do the Math blog have had an interesting project this past couple of weeks, a survey of their friends about music and musicians. Of course when your friends include Tim Berne, Fred Hersch, Django Bates, etc, it's going to be a worthwhile read. They opened the floor, and since I'm always so short of opinions, I thought I'd jump in.
One caveat- as I'm sure it is with most people, this list is totally arbitrary and for the most part could be completely different if you asked me tomorrow. (B & C would be the same, for sure)
GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OR TWO OF AN ESPECIALLY GOOD OR INTERESTING:
1. Movie score. Cinema Paradiso (the best of a certain breed)
2. TV theme. “Suicide is Painless” from M*A*S*H
3. Melody. This Is Always, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy”
4. Harmonic language. Claire Fisher, Bartok (esp. string quartets), James Carney's "Miracle Mile"
5. Rhythmic feel. Prince “Now” from the Gold Experience,
6. Hip-hop track. The Roots “Long Time”, Talib Kweli “Get By”
7. Classical piece. Bartok String Quartet #4, Morton Feldman “Rothko Chapel”, Bach Well-Tempered Clavier
8. Smash hit. The Police “Every Little Things She Does is Magic”
9. Jazz album. Wayne Shorter “Ju-Ju”
10. Non-American folkloric group.
11. Book on music. Toch “Shaping Forces in Music
A) Name an surprising album (or albums) you loved when you were developing as a musician: something that really informs your sound but that we would never guess in a million years: Tracy Chapman, “Crossroads”
B) Name a practitioner (or a few) who play your instrument that you think is underrated: Billy Drews, Dick Oatts, George Adams, Gary Bartz
C) Name a rock or pop album that you wish had been a smash commercial hit (but wasn’t, not really): Jennifer Kimball, “Veering From the Wave”
D) Name a favorite drummer, and an album to hear why you love that drummer: Joey Baron on Bill Frisell’s This Land, Michael B. on Prince’s “Rainbow Children” (skip straight to the last track)