1. John Coltrane "Sun Ship"
- The most emotionally powerful collection of music I have ever heard. This is not about notes, it's not about changes, it's not about "solos"- no individual could ever create the passion found here. If you haven't heard it, you haven't been there.
2. David Binney "Afinidad"
- Just about the only alto playing I'll listen to. His solo on Aguantando is a real awakening... his technical mastery is only matched by his cohesiveness in what he says. This entire album feels very natural.
3. Charles Lloyd "Water Is Wide"
- Charles Lloyd has the sweetest tone of any living instrumentalist, to my ears. It's not so much what he plays, the sound itself brings tears to my eyes. This album sings me to sleep.
4. Charlie Parker "Bird With Strings" & Frank Sinatra "Jobim With Sinatra" (tie)
- Real soul, real beauty. Bird never sounded so wonderful as he does on that recording, and Sinatra's voice tells Jobim's mellow stories better than anyone.
5. John Coltrane "A Love Supreme"
- The beginning of the rest of our lives. It doesn't matter what kind of music you listen to, it doesn't matter if you even like "jazz" at all. John Coltrane wasn't playing jazz. John Coltrane was speaking, through music, to every person of every race, religion, age, and gender on this earth. He was letting us all know that inside, we are all the same, and we all have the power of good. John Coltrane's is the only music I have ever found that speaks to everyone.