drummer, journalist, disc jockey
I can't really select five top choices of all time, but here are five that I come back to again and again, like fine wines:
1. Paul Desmond & Gerry Mulligan "Two of a Mind" (RCA)
- Two distinctive players blending and swapping ideas over a comfortable rhythm section. Doesn't get much better.
2. Wes Montgomery "Full House" (Riverside)
- Guitarist stretches out with Johnny Griffin on tenor and one of the all-time rhythm sections: Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb. Relaxed and popping at the same time.
3. Stan Getz & J.J. Johnson "At the Opera House" (Verve)
- Live recording with both horns in good shape. Tempos on a couple are right up there and drummer Connie Kay keeps the pots on all the way.
4. Various Artists "Jammin' at Condon's" (Columbia)
- Dixieland with a bunch of swing veterans stretching out on some good tunes. Billy Butterfield, Edmond Hall, Wild Bill Davison, Lou McGarity et al. Nothing like listening to professionals at work.
5. Louis Armstrong "At Newport" (Columbia)
- I always think of Louis when summer rolls around. His set at Newport was fairly typical of the later all-stars. When he drives the band through the out choruses on `Indiana' and `Ole Miss' it's like hearing the first half of the twentieth century distilled into pure sound. No one ever sounded like him.