Here are some sound clips from my faculty recital last month. I try to make a point of keeping myself challenged, and mission accomplished on this one.
The repertoire, selected collaboratively with my outstanding pianist colleague Dr. Kumiko Shimizu, was all pieces with some connection to jazz music. First up on the program was selected movements from Claude Bolling’s Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano. Flute isn’t part of my teaching assignment at Delta State, but this piece was too fun to pass up and my flutist colleague Dr. Shelley Collins is extraordinarily supportive of my flute playing. Since I spend most of my work week living in reed land, however, my flute chops don’t get the attention I would like, and I’m a bit self-conscious about my sound and my control of the instrument. I hear a number of things on the recording that I am less than satisfied with, but overall I think it went okay, and it was well received by the audience (even the part of the audience whose grade doesn’t depend on keeping me happy).
Next was a new-ish piece by young composer Alyssa Morris, a fellow BYU alum. I had heard her Four Personalities for oboe and piano performed by Nancy Ambrose King a few years back at an IDRS conference, and it immediately sprang to mind when I started brainstorming jazz-influenced oboe pieces. We performed the first two movements (second, then first), which, to our ears, had the strongest jazz elements. The first movement (performed second) in particular has characteristic swing rhythms and figures, and it was strange but fun to tackle those things on the oboe.
At the John Mack Oboe Camp over the summer, I heard a fine performance of this piece by the Oregon Symphony’s principal oboist, Martin Hebert. I also got some reed help from Linda Strommen (of Indiana University), which has greatly improved the pitch stability of my reeds. I’m pleased with the improvement over last year’s recital. I’m not sure I have entirely adapted tone-wise to the change, however, and I was a little surprised by my sound on the recording—to me, I don’t quite sound like me.
Note: This is something I wrote back in the olden days (2003?) and published on another website. I’ve relocated it here with a few minor edits. I still think it’s a pretty decent list, with, admittedly, a few weaknesses (the biggest ones, I think, are a failure to really address the jazz singers, and a certain saxophone-centric bias). In any case, I hope you enjoy it.
Full disclosure: if you buy any of these albums by clicking on the links below, I earn an astonishingly tiny sum of money.
Hello, music fans!
I’ve picked out, for your listening pleasure, ten essential jazz albums, as an easy introduction to the wide world of jazz. You’re welcome.
I’ll assume that you already love music. But maybe you’re a lifelong rocker. Or a connossieur of the great classical composers. Or maybe you like both kinds of music: country and western. No matter your taste, the jazz section of the record store can be a little bewildering.
Let’s face it, the jazz world is a members-only club. We jazz fans love to lord our superior musical tastes over the uninitiated masses. You listen to whom? Kenny G?! I think I need to lie down.
Plus, if you’re like me, your budget doesn’t quite allow for the latest comprehensive 40-disc boxed set from Verve or Columbia Records. Same thing goes for rare and valuable vinyl collector’s items.
So, these ten albums have been carefully chosen to do a few things:
Introduce you to key jazz artists, styles, albums, and songs.
Keep the cost reasonable. These albums are all readily available and reasonably priced single compact discs (no expensive multidisc sets) or iTunes albums.
Preserve the dignity of the jazz tradition, by giving you the music in complete album format whenever possible. No samplers or compilations, except in a couple of cases where compilations are the only logical choice.
And, most importantly, add the pleasure and richness of the jazz world to your life!