Jazz in the key of Rolling Stone
I recently went to the spiffy new library out here in Spanish Springs with the aim of grabbing something semi-intellectual and cranially meaty. I walked out with the fourth edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide.
In order to write off my 75-cent overdue fine, I’ve got to use the Guide in a column. So here’s the deal: I think all the five-star jazz albums (and it wasn’t a comprehensive jazz list by any stretch; this thing is mostly rock-oriented) will fit into my space. Left
out are all the “best of” collections, a lot of which are five-stars. Clip this column and stash it in your wallet/handbag/manbag in between the emergency antidepressants and the morning-after pill, so you’ll have it next time you’re in the mood to financially support a commonly overlooked genre.
Tony Bennett—Jazz, Perfectly Frank
James Carter—The Real Quietstorm, Conversin’ with the Elders, Chasin’ the Gypsy
Ornette Coleman—The Shape of Jazz to Come
John Coltrane—Live at the Village Vanguard, A Love Supreme
Miles Davis—Cookin’, Relaxin’ with Miles, Workin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet, Round About Midnight, Porgy and Bess, Kind of Blue, Sketches of Spain, Nefertiti, In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Pangaea, Live at Montreux
Herbie Hancock—Sextant, 1 + 1
Billie Holiday—The Quintessential Billie Holiday, Volumes 1-9
Antonio Carlos Jobim—Wave, Elis & Tom
Charles Mingus—Mingus Ah Um
Eddie Palmieri—Azucar pa Ti, The Sun of Latin Music, Unfinished Masterpiece
Tito Puente—Puente in Percussion, Dance Mania, Tambo, 50 Years of Swing
Sonny Rollins—Tenor Madness, A Night at the Village Vanguard
Frank Sinatra—Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim
Cal Tjader—Soul Sauce, Primo
This does seem like a very abbreviated list. Only one Sinatra?
Here are a few of the five stars in Blues, Soul and R & B:
Bobby Blue Bland—Two Steps from the Blues
Marvin Gaye—What’s Going On
Al Green—Call Me
John Lee Hooker—Plays & Sings the Blues
Lightnin’ Hopkins—Lightnin’ Hopkins, Last Night Blues
B.B. King—Live at the Regal
Charley Patton—all five of his collected works rate five stars
Prince—Dirty Mind, Purple Rain, Sign O’ the Times
Professor Longhair—Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Muddy Waters—At Newport
Stevie Wonder—Talking Book, Innervisions, Songs in the Key of Life
Only one album apiece from Muddy and B.B.? Hey, those snotty punks at Rolling Stone ain’t pushovers!