Al Di Meola – “Elegant Gypsy”1977 Jazz fusion in the 70s was rife with guitar talent. John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, and this guy (see glasses, left). Di Meola is a one-man band, and on Elegant Gypsy, he showcases his out-and-out rock-jazz style, never rushed, and chock-a-block with insane Yngwie Malmsteen-speed guitar riffs. This man’s talent makes us sick. So does his shredding (“Race with the Devil on Spanish Highway”) and, you’d’ve never guessed it, acoustic duet with Paco de Lucia on “Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil.” At this point in his career, Di Meola had come off the breakup of star-studded Return to Forever,Read More →

McCoy Tyner – “The Real McCoy”1967 Straight jazz never had it so good. As John Coltrane’s pianist on A Love Supreme, Tyner’s career was only just getting started. Here he’s assembled the rhythm section that drove A Love Supreme, with a cooking Elvin Jones on percussion, fiery saxophonist Joe Henderson, and, of course, the legendary Ron Carter. The man who’s appeared on more classic jazz albums than, jeesh, we can’t really count (excepting maybe Paul Chambers). The opener, “Passion Dance”: awesome. The closer, “Blues on the Corner”: likewise awesome. Everything’s incredible about this album, including even the logo (attention Blue Note, send a shirt thisRead More →

Chick Corea – “Light as a Feather”1972 Coming across this album in college was like a heaven-send; “Spain” is one of his best compositions, in humble opinion, and Flora Purim’s vocals give a summery, blistery fire to “500 Miles High” and the album as a whole. Stanley Clarke’s bass blows away the competition, giving the kind of performance that even Jaco Pastorius’ fans would be envious of about five years later. And while everything’s excellent about Light as a Feather, truly, it is the main man, the piano man who shines: Chick Corea’s sheer virtuosity and unwavering brilliance on electric piano is what makes him,Read More →

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme1964 The granddaddy of all modern jazz albums, we’ve decided to start the jazz retrospection with A Love Supreme. There is no reason not to own this album: it is a classic, the classic, and just owning it makes you more interesting. As Coltrane’s musical meditations on God, the master saxophonist started musing on math and the sciences, and here you can hear the sum product of all those mental wonderings and wanderings. It’s grand, eye-(or ear-) opening music that challenges the very reason that music is played. That said, A Love Supreme is complex, brilliant, too, and not easyRead More →