Top 10 Favorite Sunny Jain Tracks

I am thrilled that Sunny Jain will be visiting Wesleyan University’s campus for a concert this Saturday afternoon and then coming back throughout the academic year for a residency. Best known for leading the band Red Baraat, he is a remarkable drummer, composer, dhol player, bandleader, entrepreneur, and activist. I also have the privilege of…

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Top 10 Favorite Peter Gabriel Tracks

I have loved Peter Gabriel for most of my life and on some level have only in recent years realized the degree to which that’s true. It’s a funny thing about inspiration, something I talk about often when teaching jazz history or other sorts of history/appreciation courses – the narratives favor clear-cut lines of influence,…

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Top 10 Favorite Philly Joe Jones Tracks

I missed posting this on the 100th birth anniversary of Philly Joe Jones by a day, but my celebration thereof continues. Generally I’m very careful in suggesting any superlativeness in these inherently subjective Top 10 lists. However, there has never been a musician who has swung harder than Philly Joe and there never will be,…

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Top 10 Favorite David Lindley Tracks

David Lindley, who recently passed on at the age of 78, was a musical chameleon – a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, explorer of multiple cultures and phases of American music history, and more. As a devotee of slide guitar, I was first reeled in to his work through hearing him play electric lap steel as a…

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Top 10 Favorite Wes Montgomery Tracks

What a winter of centennials – Bags, then Dexter, now a happy 100th birth anniversary to the extraordinary guitarist Wes Montgomery. Back when I was a teenager, I used to read guitar magazines and as limited as my own chops on that instrument were (and indeed maxed out at being), I was nonetheless fascinated by…

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Top 10 Favorite Dexter Gordon Tracks

Happy 100th birth anniversary (on 2/27) to absolutely one of the greatest tenor saxophonists who ever lived, Dexter Gordon. When I was a senior in high school, my friend Jimmy Greene loaned me two Dexter cassettes that blew my mind: the mid-60s Blue Note session Gettin’ Around and the mid-70s Steeplechase record Bouncin’ With Dex…

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