md655321

The Five Albums That Changed the Way You Hear Music

78 posts in this topic

"Mating Call", yes! Some of the best Trane from that year (1956) and one of the albums I had early in the game... reminds me of two other albums/groups of recordings that probably influenced me a bit:

"The Cats" (Flanagan/Burrell/Coltrane with forgotten/unsung Idrees Sulieman and the great Doug Watkins) - the calypso is nice, the long blues is terrific and was one of the earlier examples of funky hardbop that I really dug (I still love the sound of Watkins - he's just as great as Chambers, but he never had that much exposure and died way too early... Mingus picking him for "Oh Yeah" is all the proof you need for his greatness!)

The other is the Dameron/Navarro material. I'm still not sure I "get"/"feel" Navarro (I don't dislike him, don't get me wrong), but Dameron is an artist I enjoyed a lot, early on... the Blue Note 2CD set is great, the live sessions are just as good, no matter if with Fats or not, Allen Eager provides lots of interesting spots there, too!

Other influential music was by Abdullah Ibrahim (everyone who got my BFT will know that by now) - "African Marketplace", the KAZ sampler "African Horns", "African Sun" (by Ibrahim again), then also the great live trio set from 1996, "Yarona". He was one of the first artists (jazz, that is) I saw live, and I loved that late 90s solo recital I saw very, very much. Still keep it in memory as a very touching experience of beauty and soul. (It seems he's gotten old after that... "Yarona" is a high point, and I think that last one I am aware of... I never enjoyed an album or a concert - saw him twice more, with Max and with his trio - nearly as much as I did with the solo concert and "Yarona".)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good thread!

Strictly according to the title question (in chronological order):

Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

John Coltrane - Transition

Herbie Hancock - Crossings

Abbey Lincoln - Straight Ahead

Lester Young - Complete Aladdin Sessions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. The Clash: London Calling.

2. Wailers/Lee Perry African Herbsman

3. Baaba Maal/Mansour Seck, Djaam Leeli.

4. Duke Ellington, Blanton-Webster recordings

5. Cal Tjader's Latin Concert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4. Duke Ellington, Blanton-Webster recordings

Oh yes. I hear that. Indeed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine would have to be the following and in no order of preference. They would be the ones I would grab if I could only have 5 too

1 Art Blakey A Night in Tunisia Blue Note

2 Donald Byrd Ethiopian Knights

3 Keith Jarrett Koln Concert ECM

4 John Coltrane A Love Supreme Impulse

5 Yann Tiersen Amelie Soundtrack

They are always being played , constantly and always get me going

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fives that made a difference in the way I was hearing the music were, in chronological order:

- a French Decca album of the Count Basie Orchestra with Lester Young,

- a French Odeon ten-incher of early Duke Ellington,

those two LPs were my introductions to the music of the Count and the Duke,

later came the followings:

- the Prestige LP by the Miles Davis quintet (with Coltrane) 'Cookin' '

- the Candid LP by Cecil Taylor 'The World of Cecil Taylor'

- the ESP first album by Albert Ayler 'Spiirual Unity'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine would have to be the following and in no order of preference. They would be the ones I would grab if I could only have 5 too

1 Art Blakey A Night in Tunisia Blue Note

2 Donald Byrd Ethiopian Knights

3 Keith Jarrett Koln Concert ECM

4 John Coltrane A Love Supreme Impulse

5 Yann Tiersen Amelie Soundtrack

They are always being played , constantly and always get me going

as my daughter just plays one tune of the soundtrack on piano and presented me the cd of amelie soundtrack this christmas days,

i have to say, that this album seem completely not to match with your other choices,

but it does......it`s so with me: constantly and always get me going, especially track 4, the piano theme "....:L´après midi

it`s really moving....

so i have to check out your choices number 2, which i do not know,

i agree completely with number 3 and 4....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a fun thread. Let's see...

Shotgun, by Jr. Walker & The All Stars: I was in love with Top 40 radio when I was a kid in the '60's, listing first on my 2-transistor radio, then on my 6-transistor, each glued to my ear. Shotgun thrilled me, but it was a few weeks until it dawned on me: I loved this song, but it had no words! How could that be? Is that allowed?

Strictly Personal, by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band: As a teen, I was into Zappa and all his offshoots on Bizarre/Straight, though the records themselves were awfully hard to come by in Brooklyn. Then my brother brought me home this album, which I had never heard of. I hated it; all the songs sounded the same. But something compelled me to keep listening (maybe it was Gimme Dat Harp Boy, which had a great groove). Then, one day, it was like a door opened, and I was able to get inside the music. I really understood it, loved it, and never heard music in the same way after that.

The ESP Sampler: It was 99 cents (printed proudly on the cover), and I bought it as an impulse purchase on the same foray to King Karol on 42nd Street when I bought Uncle Meat and Trout Mask Replica (forget about finding those in Brooklyn). The ESP Sampler was a disk I played as much to laugh at what I heard as to enjoy - each track was 30 seconds long, there were like 30 tracks on a side, so what emerged when you played a side was more a pastiche of sounds, little snippets and impressions. It was almost certainly the first time I heard true "out" music, and I laughed at it: this people were crazy! But enough of it lodged in my head, I guess, to help me understand the language.

Music from Charlie Chaplin film shorts: Back in 1971, there was a Charlie Chaplin revival, leading up to his receiving an honorary Oscar. Channel 13 (the PBS station in NYC) often played his early shorts, I think 3 in an hour program. This was before the archivists "corrected" the shorts, so they were the ones in super-fast motion with the music with all the funny sound effects - you know, the ones we grew up with. I found myself taking an interest in the music, so one day I used my portable cassette recorder with a microphone up to the TV speaker to record the music from a few of them. I often listened to that cassette, and that led me to an appreciation with the style of music from the '20's and '30's.

Vivaldi: Concerti Per Mandolini, I Solisti Veneti, Claudio Scimone: Growing up, I hated classical music. You know, the stuff they forced you to listen to in school, and the stuff that TV and all the authorities insisted was the only real music. Yuck and double-yuck. All those lugubrious orchestras, Leonard Bernstein lecturing you how to appreciate music (you know, how to bear listening to something you really didn't want to listen to)...you get the idea. Still, I often tried, on my own, to sample various things, as per the Frank Zappa dictum: go to the library and educate yourself if you've got any guts. So I'd haunt the bargain bins at Alexander's Department Store and come home with something on Westminster Gold and try to like it, really I did, without any success. There was a longstanding ad campaign by the Musical Heritage Society that offered 2 classical albums for a buck or something, and one of them was this Vivaldi album, which they claimed sold tens of thousands of copies when played on some European pop station. So I got it, and it really did help me to love Baroque music. (The album is available on compact disc on Erato.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting idea for a thread. And quite difficult to answer - partly because I can think of far more than five turning points (or forking points); partly because its difficult not to choose what you think you ought to have as a key disc rather than what might have been a real clincher that you have since lost interest in.

Here's a stab:

61LnitUb1uL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

1970 - My third album (the single of 'Question' had been my first record ever). At the time I was listening to pop radio pretty randomly - this one sent me away from the top 20 and into the thickets of the prog-rock/album rock of the early 70s. [Just to show what a left turn it proved to be, my first two albums were by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition!!!! The Moody Blues might be considered naff today, but they saved me from Wembley!).

61ljy-nJwVL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

1971 - Took me nearly a year to really get this but I think it opened me up to more discordant music; and the wonderful Tippett/Charig/Evans sequence on side two had me very curious about jazz. The Soft Machine, Centipede, Henry Cow, the Canterbury bands and ultimately Ogun all came from this.

51NBxEqgrOL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

1971 - prior to buying this I had a single by East of Eden called 'Jig-a-Jig' that was a minor hit; it resonated somewhere with my awareness that I had an Irish heritage through my mother. Heard (and recorded in a primitive manner) a session Fairport did of some of these songs for John Peel's show a few months before release. Bought the LP when it came out and followed it up through other Fairports, Sandy Denny, Swarbrick and Carthy and on into English (and eventually via Planxty Irish) folk music.

1190554023_f.jpg

1973 - Somehow I knew rock music would never be enough, and the rock music of the early 70s pointed outwards in so many directions. I was rather taken by the classical twiddlings of bands like The Nice, ELP, Yes etc but attempts to listen to classical music had no impact. One of the pieces that really grabbed me was a version of the main tune from the Karelia Suite by The Nice. One evening I was listening to Jon Anderson being interviewed on the radio and playing some favourite records and he played the last movement of Sibelius 5. I was utterly captivated by it. A friend leant me the disc above and for the first time an extended piece of classical music made sense. Followed it up by buying a few budget Sibelius discs and then on to Stravinsky, Mahler and Bruckner. Vaughan Williams was a couple of years down the line!

413%2BkT0QTqL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

1975 - Began the process that, over about a year, got me accustomed to a jazzier way of harmonising music. Also the idea that music didn't have to stick to a strict beat. Not my first Jarrett (that was the decidedly odd 'In the Light') but gave me a taste for ECM and eventually jazz.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I have to limit it to five, it would probably be this rather odd assortment (with more commentary than anyone really wants to read):

1. Budd Johnson - Ya! Ya! (Argo): Not only the first jazz album I owned, but the first LP, period. I was twelve and had just taken up the saxophone, and my mom got me this one for Christmas. I was disappointed that I didn't get a rock album like my brother, but I gave it a chance. I like about half of it right away, but I credit Richard Davis' bizarre, atonal, double stopped, bowed solo on "Exotique" for opening up my ears at an early age.

2. Bix Beiderbecke and the Chicago Cornets (Milestone): After listening exclusively to rock for about three years after receiving #1 above, I started expanding my listening, and bought two jazz albums, this one and #3. This two-fer contained the Wolverine sides, and I was hooked by the second cut, "Jazz Me Blues" - Bix's solo got to me right away, and I've loved older jazz ever since.

3. The Essential Charlie Parker (Verve): At a band clinic, someone played a cut from this, and it floored me. I didn't understand how someone could improvise so coherently at that speed - and to an extent, I still don't.

4. Arista/Freedom Sampler (Arista/Freedom): My sweet mom liked to rummage around surplus and junk stores, and would bring home any record that looked like a jazz album, since she knew I was interested. By 1975 I had been trying to learn all I could about jazz, and had read about something called "free jazz," but couldn't imagine what it sounded like. This promo sampler came out that year, and had tracks by Anthony Braxton, Oliver Lake, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Albert Ayler, among others. The Art Ensemble track was too short to make an impression, but I "heard" Braxton and Lake right away. The Ayler track ("Spirits") just repelled me. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to make music that was so ugly. But at the same time, I was fascinated - why did he play like that? So I kept listening, and I heard the structure of the piece - it was an improvised rondo, more or less. Once I heard the form, I started getting the message - one of those life-changing moments.

5. Miles Davis - Miles Smiles (Columbia): Not only is this a beautiful album, but the free-bop approach was a revelation to me. Years later I had a gig with my quartet, and the drummer couldn't make it. So I hired an excellent Atlanta drummer who was playing with Curtis Mayfield at the time. He had never played anything like my tunes before; he sounded good, but I could tell he was puzzled. About a year later I saw him, and he told me that he had picked up Miles Smiles, and that two minutes into the first tune, he yelled out, "That's where Jeff Crompton gets that shit from!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I posted in this thread three years ago, my top five pretty much stand, but I would like to squeeze in Miles' Bitches Brew, because over the last couple of years, this album has really opened my mind to electric/fusion music a lot. A very powerful album, that has taken me repeated listenings over years of time to really fully understand it (which I think I still fully don't, but it still thrills me nonetheless).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Donald Byrd; Byrd's Eye View

Sun Ra; Heliocentric Worlds Vol 1

Archie Shepp; Four For Trane

Cecil Taylor; Air

David Murray; Flowers For Albert

These are the really important ones that opened my ears. Near misses are Mingus Ah Um; Bird and Diz- Quintet of the Year; MIles Davis -Milestones and Tadd Dameron's Mating Call.

Three years on my choices still stand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Donald Byrd; Byrd's Eye View

Sun Ra; Heliocentric Worlds Vol 1

Archie Shepp; Four For Trane

Cecil Taylor; Air

David Murray; Flowers For Albert

These are the really important ones that opened my ears. Near misses are Mingus Ah Um; Bird and Diz- Quintet of the Year; MIles Davis -Milestones and Tadd Dameron's Mating Call.

Three years on my choices still stand.

thumbs_up.gif NICE pics!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Donald Byrd; Byrd's Eye View

Sun Ra; Heliocentric Worlds Vol 1

Archie Shepp; Four For Trane

Cecil Taylor; Air

David Murray; Flowers For Albert

These are the really important ones that opened my ears. Near misses are Mingus Ah Um; Bird and Diz- Quintet of the Year; MIles Davis -Milestones and Tadd Dameron's Mating Call.

Three years on my choices still stand.

Your avatar should be there too really. It's an astonishing disc but I couldn't recall which of the Shepp albums I heard first.

thumbs_up.gif NICE pics!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(notably Kevin Ayers "Song for insane times")

:tup

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(notably Kevin Ayers "Song for insane times")

:tup

Great album!

51P55ARAzDL._SS500_.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In no particular order:

1. Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys. This is the one that let you know there was more to rock than first met the eye. I'd always liked the Beach Boys, but this went way beyond their "fun in the sun" esthetic. There's a reason Paul McCartney thinks this is the best rock album ever made. Caroline, No is a particular favorite. Where does the idea for the train sounds at the end of that one come from? The sort of thing that makes you reconsider the possibilities. I'm not sure some albums that were made subsequent to this one get made if not for Pet Sounds.

2. Wagner - The Ring Cycle. I've long been a WWII nut with a particular fascination for the German experience during the '30's and '40's. I'd never really been into classical music, but this lines up so perfectly with that period of German history and my perception of the German psyche that I was particularly drawn to it. That opened up a whole new side of music for me, starting with the German composers (particularly Karl Orff) and working its way outwards.

3. King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King. This one remains a hugely influential favorite of mine on many different levels. It's the one that led me to Soft Machine, Hawkwind, Pink Fairies and other prog rock bands of that era. I can't think of any album that better defines a particular time in my life than this one. I've gone through three vinyl copies, bought just about every iteration of the album on CD and topped it off with the recently issued box set with studio takes, live takes, outtakes and a DVD of the band performing the music on this album live.

4. Breezin' - George Benson. This is where jazz (although I know now it really had little to do with jazz) began for me. Almost all instrumental (save for the dreadful On Broadway), a leaping, loping, toe tapping experience that led me in more directions than I can begin to count. Certainly where I can trace the roots of my obsession with instrumental music. I wore out the grooves on that one.

5. Santana - Santana. It was the summer before my sophomore year at Lewis & Clark. A couple of classmates of mine from Southern California came up before school started and brought this with them. I was playing drums in a band at the time and I distinctly recall that what Michael Shrieve did on that album made me realize I was wasting my time. The whole percussion thing (drums, congas, timbales) just bowled me over. Soul Sacrifice remains my all-time favorite Santana song. This opened the door to the post-Beatles and Stones era. California music. The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Hendrix, Sons of Champlin, Lee Michaels, The Doors and way too many more to list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't need five.

Larks' Tongues in Aspic

Starless & Bible Black

Red

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool old thread! I'm surprised it didn't get more replies.

250px-Hendrix_BandOfGypsys.jpg

This opened my ears to a whole world of both meaningful message music and deep deep groovy shit.

Ditto. Hendrix changed everything for me.

africa.jpg

51mvRFmmVvL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I heard Africa/Brass at my friend's house. It was some of the first jazz I ever enjoyed. Went to the local music shop to buy it, but they didn't have it so I bought Giant Steps instead. All the songs profoundly advanced what my ears could understand. "Naima" remains one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard.

De+La+Soul+-+3+Feet+High+And+Rising+(1989).jpg

Still my favorite rap group. Listening to an album like this branched my listening into many genres, because I ended up finding all the samples.

917675.jpg

Produced by George Clinton. Made me know I like funky music.

gg_alive_fr1231983532.jpg

Cemented jazz as my favorite genre, in knowing that jazz could be as deep and spiritual as Coltrane and as funky and groovy as this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In something like chronological order, in terms of when I encountered them in my life:

1. Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland. I think I first heard this when I was 16 years old. I remember I went on a trip with my sister to Ocean City, Maryland, and something about the sunshine and the breezes off the ocean triggered a desire to hear Hendrix. To be honest, I don't think I ever really understood the power music had to be transformative until I heard the opening few minutes of 1983: A Merman I should Turn To Be...

2. Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde. Listening to Hendrix sort of naturally led me to Dylan, first through his greatest hits packages and then the individual albums. This is the first one that really blew me away, and I think the full effect of it came when I was around 17 or 18 years old. For me, there are few lyrical performances as wonderful as Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again. This music not only changed the way I thought of music, it changed the way I thought of language. After hearing this I became more interested in poetry and in becoming a writer.

3. Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain. Today this is nowhere near my favorite Miles album, but at the time I heard this I was absolutely blown away by the orchestration and the lyric expressiveness of Miles' trumpet playing. I didn't really encounter this music until I was about 25 years old. It snapped me out of a musical boredom that had been created by listening to too much Dylan, too many songs based on guitars and simple chord structures. This is the album that turned me on to jazz.

4. Cecil Taylor - Jazz Advance. My journey through jazz history was an accelerated one, and I think I decided to listen to Cecil after he was crudely dismissed by Ken Burns in his infamous documentary. The brilliance of this recording, which I first remember experiencing sometime around 2003-2004, shocked me. His truly percussive approach to the piano made me feel like I was hearing for the first time the way the instrument was, in some respect, meant to be played. This recording really made me realize what avant-garde jazz, at its very best, was all about.

5. Lee Morgan - Leeway. This is an odd choice, I admit. I could have gone another direction and picked Keith Rowe and John Tilbury's Duos for Doris, which had its own impact on me. But I'm going with the Morgan because it was listening to this for the first time, around 2006 or 2007, that made me realize what an absolutely brilliant bass player Paul Chambers is. After listening to one of his solos on this record, while I was driving on I-97 between Baltimore and Annapolis late at night, I decided I was going to seek out every recording with Chambers on it that I could get my hands on. That solo was what made me truly appreciate the bass, and led me to seek out other great bassists like Oscar Pettiford, Jimmy Blanton, etc. It reshaped the way I think about (and especially the way I listen to) jazz music. When I was spending a year away from home doing research in Africa in 2009, I made his solo on this album my ring tone. My Namibian assistant grew very fond of hearing it every time I had a new message and so I got to tell her about who Chambers was. And finally, listening to this led me to the perhaps foolish decision to buy my own bass in January 2010, which I did, and start practicing on it in my own humble way, which I have.

Edited by Face of the Bass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I quite enjoyed thinking about this question, so thank you for posing it.

My musical life started as a piano student under a strict disciplinarian teacher who had never taught a pre-adult before. Music was a task to be executed precisely, and under conventional strictures. That's where I was coming from.

Chronologically:

Charlie Parker Which album? Who knows. Probably a series of 78s and whatever I pulled from the cheap LP bin. This was the first improvised music I have memory of. That alone is enough to make it a landmark.

Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express (et al.) No longer did music need to move directly from point A to point B, at least not by the most expedient path. It could meander, loop back upon itself...

Ornette Something circa 1960. I'll cite these as the first forms of dissonance that really "struck a chord" with me. Music moved beyond major and minor modes.

(By way of reference, I'm still in my teens at this point.)

Clarence White - 33 Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals. Breaking music down into its most simple form to reveal its starkest beauty. One talented man and a guitar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, what a great question. Thanks for revisiting it. Nice to stop and reflect on a quiet New Years weekend about my own musical pilgrimage.

Sergent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) still remains s huge perspective shattering release for me...

Santana's Abraxas (1970) still makes me smile and say, "wow!".

Leo Kottke's My Feet Are Smiling (1973) took me by surprise and one person's technical mastery and ease at live music making opened up yet another path.

Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961) was one of the first jazz recordings I stumbled onto in 2003 when the lights finally went on about what was for me a totally overlooked musical genre.

And finally, Harold Land's often overlooked Xocia's Dance (1981) helped me to move towards something a bit more "open".

The journey continues, and when I'm totally honest with myself, I know my years of "lurking" here at Organissimo are responsible for three things: a growing jazz budget, a collection that takes up far too much space, and a suspicion that my jazz interests will continue to expand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One important thing for me that changed the way I heard music was a new appreciation of my own culture, which in my experience was always something I was taught to be ashamed of. So the lp record albums that changed my perception and instilled pride were primarily the following:

J'etais au bal: Music from French Louisiana, Swallow lp 6020

and two lps on Rounder

Louisiana Cajun French Music from the Southwest Prairies, Volumes 1 and 2.

(They left out the important term "Creole" in the title, but at least they got "Prairie" in there. It shamed me that the whole world seemed to equate Cajuns with swamp and marsh dwellers. That was not the reality I knew at all. I grew up on prairie land and daddy was a farmer, not a trapper or subsistence fisherman).

In the area of jazz, it was not albums that changed my hearing at all. It was original 78s from the 1920s and 30s. I would say Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France were early astounders, then Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong and the Hot 5s/7s, Jelly Roll Morton, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chuck Berry: "Johnny B. Goode" - Not an album, but the first music I heard that I knew was mine.

Mingus Ah Um - The first jazz I heard that spoke to me on an emotional level.

The Freewheeling Bob Dylan - Outside the realm of any folk or pop music that I'd heard.

The Louis Armstrong Story Volume 1 - The first old music I'd ever heard that sounded new.

Cecil Taylor: Into the Hot - Listened to this every day for a couple of weeks to prepare me for hearing Cecil play live in late '65/early '66. Of course, Cecil didn't sound like the music on Into the Hot when I heard his group play, but that record started me on a journey that I'm still on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.