Absolutely Art Blakey “Free for All”, the intensity on this recording is beyond belief. All I have to say about this is Art Blakey, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Curtis Fuller, Cedar Walton, And Reggie Workman WOOOOOO!!! It’s also interesting that this band recorded a few other tunes on that day that never got released, some with a singer. It would be amazing to hear that.
In all honesty it’s not fair to ask me to name just one recording, I’m a dedicated student of this music and for sure have checked out just about every single musician you could ever possibly name, current and classic.
So that being said there are quite a bit of recordings that are very special to me. Jackie McLean “Bout Soul” features the absolute two biggest influences on my playing, Jackie McLean and Rashied Ali. I knew Mr. Mclean since I was a little kid, even before I really played the trumpet, and I was very fortunate to perform with him quite a bit and to get a lot of lessons with him. Rashied was a good friend and I played in his band the last 3+ years of his life. He took me to 20 or so countries and before one of these tours (probably 2008) he smiled at me and said “josh, I have something for you that you are going like” he went back in his building and emerged with a cd. “Bout Soul”, I listened to this recording all the way to wherever it was in Europe we were going first. It really messed my head up!! I remember going past his seat with my headphones on and saying to Rashied, What the @$&! Is this, this is amazing. Rashied, Jackie, and another guy who gave me quite a bit of work when I was in need of it, Grachaan Moncur!! Wow!! Such an amazing record, so open. There’s much more to this story but I don’t think there is enough space here to tell it.
And one more, In this time of violence, hostility, gigs that don’t pay ANY money and crowded, noisy subways, musicians are in need of tranquillity and peace. And the record that gives me the most peace, (actually I’m listening to this as I write this) is Shirley Horn’s “May the music never end” absolutely the most beautiful recording I have ever heard. Nothing can calm me down as much as this does. Such and elegant lady, her phrasing is a very big influence on my playing.
2) What’s your favorite non-jazz tune?
“A Change is Gonna Come,” the Sam Cooke version.
3) What would you want to be if you weren’t a musician?
Anything where I would be rich! I could really use two, tree million dollars.
4) What would you NOT want to be?
Broke, homeless, sick and alone
5) If you were about to have your last meal, what would it be?
If it was my last meal I don’t think it would really matter. Anything really, I’d probably drink a bottle of Lagavulin with a side order of Heineken and fade away into the abyss
6) What living musician do you admire most? Why?
Mccoy Tyner, he changed the concept of the piano when he was still very young. But he did it the right way. He was a childhood friend of Richie Powell who was Bud Powell’s younger brother. To me, the modern music of today comes through Bud and Monk and their associates like Elmo Hope, Sadik Hakim and Tadd Dameron. and then through people like Sonny Clark Walter Davis Jr. and Bobby Timmons. Mccoy was very schooled in that type of playing so much that he changed it up completely with those open chords, those strong left handed Root-fifth bombs and moving chords around in anyway he saw fit to create and release tension. One of my greatest musical experiences was playing “Fly With The Wind” with Mccoy and Gary Bartz. I still have yet to hear that sound come out of any piano or player. When he hit that first chord, the heavens opened up!!
7) What’s the last book you read?
The last book I finished was “Seize the Time” by Bobby Seale. I have read the majority of other books for research on different topics since then but haven’t finished them