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Best CTI records

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Maybe this has been done before, but I'm curious to see what people regard as the best works on the CTI label, which clearly has a notorious reputation for many of us on the forums.  But I did just read how Felser is a rather big fan.

There is very little from CTI in my collection, but there are some records I would call classics, or at least near-classics.

  • Red Clay--Freddie Hubbard
  • Blue Moses--Randy Weston
  • Beyond the Blue Horizon--George Benson 

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Milt Jackson's "Sunflower" is fantastic. Really creates and sustains a mood. One of the best records of MIlt's career. Different from his other great records but on the list for sure.

The first two Joe Farrell records are great -- "The Joe Farrell Quartet" and "Outback." For some reason, I don't know "Moon Germs" as well and have always thought it wasn't quite as good as the first two. But I could be wrong about that. I'll give it another listen soon. 

Ron Carter's "All Blues."

Jobim, "Stone Flower"

Edited by Mark Stryker

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I've got lots - 57. But that includes a good many on Kudu and one on Greene Street. I've only come across two I disliked so much I ditched 'em - 'Yellow & green' by Ron Carter (CTI) and 'Gamblers life' by Johnny 'Hammond' Smith (Salvation). In addition, to that lot there are all those early CTI albums that came out on A&M - some George Bensons, I think a Herbie Mann, a couple of Nat Adderleys and 3 of Wes Montgomery. I suppose they should be candidates for something. I like some, but others not a lot. Don't think I ever bought the Mann.

So picking favourites is pretty hard.

Picking a 'BEST' - well you've probably done it. But 'Blue Moses' is probably (but not certainly) the only one that I'd put in my favourite 20, I think.

I may think of it later and put in a list of favourites that hardly anyone here will like :)

MG

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Jobim "Stone Flower"

Joe Farrell "Outback"

Milt Jackson "Sunflower"

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I guess there several related labels.  I believe Kudu is where Grover Washington appeared.  I'd think he would get some votes.

 

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12 minutes ago, Mark Stryker said:

Milt Jackson's "Sunflower" is fantastic. Really creates and sustains a mood. One of the best records of MIlt's career. Different from his other great records but on the list for sure.

The first two Joe Farrell records are great -- "The Joe Farrell Quartet" and "Outback." For some reason, I don't know "Moon Germs" as well and have always thought it wasn't quite as good as the first two. But I could be wrong about that. I'll give it another listen soon. 

Ron Carter's "All Blues."

Jobim, "Stone Flower"

12 minutes ago, Mark Stryker said:

Milt Jackson's "Sunflower" is fantastic. Really creates and sustains a mood. One of the best records of MIlt's career. Different from his other great records but on the list for sure.

The first two Joe Farrell records are great -- "The Joe Farrell Quartet" and "Outback." For some reason, I don't know "Moon Germs" as well and have always thought it wasn't quite as good as the first two. But I could be wrong about that. I'll give it another listen soon. 

"Moon Germs" is really good.  To me, basically the equal of "Outback" and ahead of the first one (though there's no denying the greatness of "Follow Your Heart").

 

12 minutes ago, Mark Stryker said:

Milt Jackson's "Sunflower" is fantastic. Really creates and sustains a mood. One of the best records of MIlt's career. Different from his other great records but on the list for sure.

The first two Joe Farrell records are great -- "The Joe Farrell Quartet" and "Outback." For some reason, I don't know "Moon Germs" as well 

 

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Jobim's "Wave." It's more of an A & M release, but it does have a CTI logo on it, so I'll go with it.

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There are really a few eras of CTI.  the A&M era, the standalone label when Sebesky was the main musical guy, the brief time when Bill James was, and the David Matthews era.  My deep affinity is for the Sebesky era in the early 70's.  Freddie Hubbard had a bunch of wonderful albums on the label such as "Red Clay", "Straight Life", "First Light", "Sky Dive", and "Keep Your Soul Together"  Turrentine's "Sugar",  Milt Jackson's "Sunflower", Jim Hall's "Concierto", "Beyond The Blue Horizon" "Body Talk", and "White Rabbit" by George Benson, Weston's "Blue Moses" are all pretty great, and there are lots of other good to excellent recordings.  Hubert Laws early work, Airto's "Fingers" and "Free".  Some of the Ron Carter records.  And plenty more, as well as the Kudu label recordings with 
 

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8 minutes ago, B. Clugston said:

Jobim's "Wave." It's more of an A & M release, but it does have a CTI logo on it, so I'll go with it.

What I said. Though that's one I haven't got or heard.

I have a lot of admiration for Creed Taylor. He was really great at producing records that met the needs of several markets very well indeed. However, though he was expert at getting money in through the door, he was ALSO expert at spending more than that. Having started my Civil Service career in the bankruptcy business, and having met an awful lot of very stupid people who were every bit as good as Taylor at that, tends to mitigate my admiration rather significantly.

Anyway, for what it's worth, here are my favourites:

Stan Turrentine - don't mess with Mr T

Hank Crawford - Wildflower

Stan Turrentine - Sugar

Johnny 'Hammond' Smith - Breakout

Lonnie Smith - Mama wailer

Les McCann/Houston Person - Road warriors

Idris Muhammad - Power of soul

Stan Turrentine - Salt song

Grover Washington - All the king's horses

Johnny 'Hammond' Smith - Higher ground

Milt Jackson/Stan Turrentine - Cherry

Idris Muhammad - Hose of the rising sun

Grover Washington - Inner city blues

Randy Weston - Blue Moses

Grover Washington - Soul box

Grover Washington - Live at the Bijou

Freddie Hubbard/Stanley Turrentine - In concert

Grover Washington - Mr Magic

Johnny 'Hammond' Smith - Wild horses, rock steady

Milt Jackson - Goodbye

There you go.

MG

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For me it's

Freddie Hubbard: Straight Life, Red Clay, First Light, In Concert Vols 1&2

All of Stanley Turrentine's albums on CTI

Milt Jackson: Sunflower

George Benson: Beyond the Blue Horizon

Grover Washington, Jr.:Inner City Blues, Soul Box

Ron Carter: All Blues, and Spanish Blue isn't bad either, which I bought in Japan last year

Gilberto With Turrentine

Joe Farrell: Moon Germs (always meant to get a copy)

Chet Baker: She Was Too Good To Me, (though for personal reasons it's hard to listen to, reminds me too much of my father who I don't have a good relationship with, he loves this album.  My mom had to track it down in a store for him a few years before I was born)

Jim Hall: Concierto

Don Sebesky: Giant Box

Hubert Laws: Afro Classic

Johnny Hammond: Breakout and Higher Ground

CTI All Stars: The California Concert, and CTI Summer Jazz At the Hollywood Bowl

 

 

Edited by CJ Shearn

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Pure Desmond by Paul Desmond is the album by him I would keep above all others.

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15 minutes ago, jeffcrom said:

Pure Desmond by Paul Desmond is the album by him I would keep above all others.

:tup

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I always found it interesting that Billy Cobham showed up on a lot of CTI sessions, not that I've heard a lot.  I always wanted to view him as one of the great drummers, but did not hear much of his work outside of Mahavishnu.

 

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Five of my favorite CTI records:

- Stanley Turrentine - Salt Song

- Joe Farrell - Outback

- Freddie Hubbard - Red Clay

- Airto - Fingers

- George Benson - Body Talk

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Never cared for most CTI albums. Contrary to what many others have said, Milt Jackson’s Sunflower album is not

to my taste.  At one time I had both Sunflower and Goodbye and disposed of both. I love Milt Jackson and have countless other of his recordings I like a great deal.

Though I am not home to  check, my recollection is that the only 3 CTI albums I have and enjoy are :

Paul Desmond - Pure Desmond

Stanley Turrentine with Milt Jackson - Cherry

Jim Hall - Concertierto

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5 hours ago, jeffcrom said:

Pure Desmond by Paul Desmond is the album by him I would keep above all others.

Although not my favourite Desmond platter (1st rank is occupied by his Artists House "Live" recordings) this is definitely a very good one....

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Never a great favourite. There is a bit too much over-production and reverb on these recordings for my liking and they are about as 70s as avocado bathrooom suites. 

Having said that, I do like ‘Outback’, ‘Keep Your Soul Together’ and the Stanley Turrentine/Astrud Gilberto collaboration. The 4CD longbox provides a good overview.

The George Bensons are OK too.

Edited by sidewinder

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Red Clay

Blue Moses

Stone Flower

Montreux II (Bill Evans)

Moon Germs

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17 minutes ago, jazzbo said:

Montreux II (Bill Evans)

Oh yes ....

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I dislike the bombastic CTI sound, prefer Creed Taylor's work on Verve or A & M, where it was not as exaggerated. I do not like the bass and drums sound on these recordings, and some of the featured guys, like Steve Gadd. I kept very few for that reason - 

All the Ron Carter albums (except for "Anything Goes")

Blue Moses (although that one could have been much better with Melba Liston arranging)

Hubert Laws' In The Beginning

Airto's Free and Fingers

George Benson's Beyond the Blue Horizon

Of the Milt Jackson albums, only the one with Turrentine survived the purge.

The CD reissues could sound a lot better if they hadn't used so much noise reduction - Van Gelder's CTI's have a lot of tape hiss and if you reduce it you damage the overall sound, IMHO.

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12 minutes ago, mikeweil said:

The CD reissues could sound a lot better if they hadn't used so much noise reduction - Van Gelder's CTI's have a lot of tape hiss and if you reduce it you damage the overall sound, IMHO.

I believe they suceeded quite well with the first Blu-Spec batch (in 2013)

https://www.discogs.com/de/label/650533-CTI-Supreme-Collection

but unfortunately went for a more boosted sound with the second batch (in 2016)

https://www.discogs.com/de/label/1062927-CTI-supreme-Collection-2

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Thanks for pointing these out, but I'm not the one who can afford one sonic upgrade after another .....

Forgot to mention Kenny Burrell's God Bless the Child - my favourite of them all, and the only one that gets regular play.

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If I was literally forced at gunpoint to keep just one, it would be Sunflower. But only with the original packaging, bigass shiny yellow record cover. Because yeah, CTI was about more than just music so hell yeah packaging enters into the decision. If you say CTI without also saying Pete Turner...

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38 minutes ago, JSngry said:

If I was literally forced at gunpoint to keep just one, it would be Sunflower. But only with the original packaging, bigass shiny yellow record cover. Because yeah, CTI was about more than just music so hell yeah packaging enters into the decision. If you say CTI without also saying Pete Turner...

Yeah, some of those early album covers (the Deodato Prelude was a favorite along with the Jackson) were awesome, but some were, shall we say, a bit twisted (looking at you, Stanley Turrentine's Sugar).  But they were all attention-getters, for sure.

Image result for milt jackson sunflower

Image result for deodato prelude

Image result for Stanley Turrentine Sugar

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