1. John Coltrane Quartet - A Love Supreme
- What can you say that hasn't already been said about this recording? Some have called it over-rated... I'm not one of them. Arguably the greatest jazz quartet statement of all-time. At turns burning and contemplative, equitably showcasing all four members' unique talents, this is forever a moving and uplifting piece of music.
2. Isotope 217 - Unstable Molecule
- The collective group of people from Chicago that makes up groups like Isotope 217, Tortoise, Chicago Underground, etc... are a very creative and exciting bunch. I had to pick something from their "oeuvre." For me, the tune "La Jetee" is a classic and I could not be without it. It's a beautiful, mystical, uncategorizable piece of music.
3. Stevie Wonder - Songs In The Key Of Life
- Greatest "Pop" recording of all-time? It gets my vote. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Stevie should be on a stamp. If we could all be just a little more like Stevie Wonder the world would be a much better place. And, of course, the music!!! There is no other record (in any genre) that has a higher percentage of classic material on it: "Village Ghetto Land," "Sir Duke," "I Wish," "Summer Soft," "Isn't She Lovely," "Ngiculela - Es Una Historia/I Am Singing," "If It's Magic," "As," "Another Star." And these are just the tunes that I feel are undebatable... There are another 5 or so tunes on the record that I would also call classics. The music is of course the main thing here, but I've also chosen this recording for Wonder's endless message of Love and his fearless and perceptive social conscience. Wonder for President!!!
4. Norman Blake - Whiskey Before Breakfast
- In Old-Timey music, for my tastes it doesn't get any better than Norman Blake. Virtuostic flat-picking, soulful and intricate finger-picking technique, and a highly personal and deeply felt vocal style make Blake irresistable and forever listenable. If this album doesn't bring images of Americana (farmers, wide-open heartland, creaky old wooden porches, etc...) to your mind, you're probably not human. Think James Agee's and Walker Evan's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men set to music.
5. Kurt Rosenwinkel - Deep Song
- This was the most difficult choice for me to make. I'm an electric guitarist so I knew I needed at least one pick that featured my instrument heavily to make it through my desolation out there on the deserted island... Not choosing something from my hero Pat Metheny was hard for me to wrap my head around, but I kept coming back to this record. Contemplating never hearing Brooklyn Sometimes again was too much to bear! If you're interested in more of my thoughts on this recording, you can see my review of it here.
1. Day Is Done - Brad Mehldau Trio (my review:)
2. Middlehope - Rebecca Martin
3. Blues Guitar Virtuoso Live In Europe - Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
4. Bright Size Life - Pat Metheny
5. The White Album - The Beatles
6. Evanescence - Maria Schneider
7. Ah Um - Charles Mingus
8. Far East Suite - Duke Ellington
9. Blues Is King - B.B. King (could possibly switch places w/ N. Blake in top five...)
10. Amnesiac - Radiohead