“What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz record albums of the 1970’s?”

September 24th, 2014

Records by Weather Report were frequently found on the lists of noted critics and musicians answering the question, “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz record albums of the 1970’s?”


“Reminiscing in Tempo” is part of a continuing effort to provide Jerry Jazz Musician readers with unique forms of “edu-tainment.” As often as possible, Jerry Jazz Musician poses one question via e mail to a small number of prominent and diverse people. The question is designed to provoke a lively response that will potentially include the memories and/or opinion of those solicited.

Since it is not possible to know who will answer the question, the diversity of the participants will often depend on factors beyond the control of the publisher. The responses from the people who chose to participate in this edition are published below with only minor stylistic editing. No follow-up questions take place.

Our previous edition asked the question of a variety of noted critics and musicians, What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz record albums of the 1960’s?  Because the question was popular with our participants and our readers, we decided to ask the same question of the 1970’s, and even posed the question to many of the same people.


In this edition, we ask the question:

“What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz record albums of the 1970’s?”


(Many thanks to all of our participants.  Readers are invited to share their own lists by using the comments field at the conclusion of this feature)


In the ‘70s, I was doing more recording than listening, but here are some of my favorites of the era. I left off projects with which I was involved although I’m pretty happy with some of those.


Tony Williams LifetimeTurn It Over (Polydor)

This was a most amazing and innovative band that was completely overlooked. “Vuelta Abajo” is a perfection. Larry Young, Tony and McLaughlin forged a real fusion of jazz and rock (as opposed to R & B or funk).


McCoy TynerExtensions (Blue Note)

McCoy was one of the freshest and most consistent recording artists in the ‘70s. I picked this one because Wayne Shorter and Gary Bartz solo so magnificently.


Charles MingusChanges One/Changes Two (Atlantic)

Mingus had an inspired burst of composing in 1974. This is also the year he was reunited with Dannie Richmond and the great band with Don Pullen, George Adams and Jack Walrath crystallized.


Hank JonesBop Redux (Muse)

This was the decade that Hank Jones finally got to record the brilliant trio music that everyone knew he was capable of. This is one of my favorites because of the classic bop compositions he chose to explore.


Weather ReportI Sing The Body Electric (Columbia)

This band just kept growing and evolving. It’s hard to single out one album, but this one was so richly textured and innovative that it has special memories for me.



Read Cuscuna’s response to the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz albums of the 1960’s?” by clicking here


I couldn’t limit my choices to four favorite albums.  Here are seven:

Bill Evans  New Conversations — 1978
Bill Evans   Intuition  — 1974
Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobin  Elis & Tom   1974
Joao Gilberto    Amoroso — 1976
Keith Jarrett Facing You — 1971
Herbie Hancock  Head Hunters — 1973
Weather Report   Heavy Weather — 1977




Black MarketWeather Report

Weather Report was doing this incredible fusion of so many elements and incorporation of all sorts of world music which was enormously important in my development as a musician. In fact, when I made my one solo album, it was important to me to put a version of the song “Black Market” on it, daunting as that was to attempt.

Bitches BrewMiles Davis

Bitches Brew opened a new door musically for a lot of musicians. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that it broke the door down. There are Miles Davis albums from earlier years that I did like more but I have to include this record and Miles because he was the father of funk/jazz and of so many elements that would crop up in my music over and over again.

HeadhuntersHerbie Hancock

Headhunters was a record that showed me how a musician who was steeped in traditional jazz could transition with great ease and brilliance to other forms of jazz and be equally brilliant. I can’t tell you how many times I played “Chameleon” and “Watermelon Man.”

Red Clay Freddie Hubbard

I was fortunate to meet Freddie when he was still physically strong and an incredible player. That was before he went through some very difficult times later in life. I think it’s important to remember how great he was and how incredible he sounded. This record was another seminal influence that helped me find my own direction.



I got a little carried away, but I wouldn’t know which to eliminate.

In the early 1970s, many of the most astonishing albums were discoveries of unknown performances from earlier eras; they played such a profound role in understanding jazz in that period that I’ve chosen one (Clifford Brown) to stand in for all of them. The rest are a few glorious stops in a momentous era that combined Loft Era rapprochements across time and genres, the reemergence of old masters, and the promise of great daring to come. I’m limiting myself to 25, in no order at all.

Duke Ellington, The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse. (Or The Latin American Suite, but it was mostly recorded in the 1960s, or This One’s for Blanton, duets with Ray Brown.)

Ornette Coleman, Skies of America. (Symphonic Ornette.)

Thelonious Monk, The Black Lion solo session as remastered by Acoustic Sounds: The London Collection, Vol.1.

Beaver Harris, From Ragtime to No Time. (The very title was a call to arms.)

David Murray, Flowers for Albert. (A modest beginning.)

Art Ensemble of Chicago, Les Stances A Sophie. (Or Nice Guys.)

Jaki Byard, Sunshine of My Soul. (Recorded live, and unknown till 2007.)

Air, Air Lore. (Deconstructing Jelly Roll Morton.)

Julius Hemphill, Dogon. A D. (Updating the Saint Louis blues.)

Dave Holland with Anthony Braxton, Conference of the Birds. (Disarmingly charming.)

Cecil Taylor: Spring of Two Blue J’s. (Or 3 Phasis, which unleashed Shannon Jackson, or Dark to Themselves, which ushered in David S. Ware.)

Jack DeJohnette with David Murray and Arthur Blythe, Special Edition. (Or any entry in the Special Edition series.)

Marvin Hannibal Peterson: Children of the Fire (Little heard and unjustly neglected. )

Art Pepper: Straight Life. (Marking his real return.)

Gil Evans, Svengali (Or The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix.)

George Russell, New York Big Band.  (This is Mr. Lydian all-in, as they say, but Vertical Form VI is also choice.)

Sarah Vaughan, How Long Has This Been Going On? (A Pablo all-stars masterpiece.)

Sam Rivers, Crystals. (The first time we knew what he could do with an orchestra.)

Sonny Stitt, Constellation. (Pure bebop for purists.)

Hank Jones, Ron Carter, Tony Williams: Kindness, Joy, Love, and Happiness. (Or any of the Great Jazz Trio albums.)

Jimmie Rowles with Stan Getz, The Peacocks. (Stan presented the subtly surprising Rowles.)

Arthur Blythe, Blythe Spirit (Or Illusions, but this one is more varied and down home.)

Dexter Gordon with Barry Harris, Biting the Apple. (The Columbias heralded the great homecoming, but for playing, this is Blue Note level.)

Count Basie and Zoot Sims, Basie & Zoot. (Swing squared.)

Clifford Brown, The Beginning and the End. (Absolutely.)




Read Giddins’ response to the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz albums of the 1960’s?” by clicking here


Miles Davis, In s Silent Way
Keith Jarrett, Mourning of a Star and Facing You
Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters


Here are four of my favorite jazz albums of the 1970s:

Earl Hines/Joe Venuti; duets, Hot Sonatas (Chiaroscuro) 1975

Wild Bill Davison, Bob Wilber, Eddie Hubble, Ralph Sutton, Isla Eckinger, Cliff Leeman; The Chicago Jazz Giants Live! (MPS Records) 1977

Mary Lou Williams; Live at the Cookery (Chiaroscuro) 1975

Art Ensemble Of Chicago; Kabalaba: Live At Montreux Jazz Festival (AECO Records)1978



It was in the ’70s that I started playing jazz bass professionally. Here are five of the albums that meant the most to me back then:

Miles Davis, Jack Johnson (Columbia, 1971)

Stan Getz, Captain Marvel (Columbia, 1972)

Gary Burton and Ralph Towner, Matchbook (ECM, 1974)

Pat Metheny, Bright Size Life (ECM, 1975)

Paul Desmond, The Paul Desmond Quartet Live (Horizon, 1975)

I still listen to all of them with undiminished pleasure today.


Read Teachout’s response to the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz albums of the 1960’s?” by clicking here


Three from the ‘70s that I wouldn’t be without:

Charles Mingus, Let My Children Hear Music, 1971. This is not only Mingus’s masterpiece, which he acknowledged on the jacket of the LP, but Sy Johnson’s. Sy arranged all but three pieces, which Charles did not acknowledge. This is deep, complex, multilayered jazz played by as many as thirty musicians (again, unacknowledged). Mingus employed everything from circus sound effects to echoes of Richard Strauss, creating a swinging, roiling cauldron of music like no other jazz record.

Chick Corea, Piano Improvisations, Vol. 1, 1971. Before Return to Forever and his other forays into fusion with the Miles Davis bands, Chick Corea showed his abilities as a wonderfully innovative pianist here. He moved jazz into deeply personal territory with these compositions, playing with modes, fourths, Latin music, fine melodies. I hear the influence of Debussy’s Preludes strongly. “Sometime Ago” and the eight-part suite “Where Are You Now?” are unmistakably Chick.

Dexter Gordon, Homecoming, 1977. This double album for Columbia marked for me a peak in straight-ahead jazz for the ‘70s. No one played this stuff better than Dexter, and this document of his return from Copenhagen to New York and the Village Vanguard showed him at the top of his game. He joined a very compatible group featuring trumpeter Woody Shaw. Up-tempos predominate, but “Fenja,” which Dexter wrote for his then-wife, shows off his fine lyrical side. His later wife Maxine details the homecoming here.


Read Goodman’s response to the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz albums of the 1960’s?” by clicking here


My selections are:

Marion BrownAfternoon of a Georgia Faun

Herbie Hancock…..Crossings

Weather Report….I Sing The Body Electric

Ornette ColemanScience Fiction




3-4 isn’t really enough—or fair.

Here are mine…

Freddie Hubbard, Red Clay
Leon Spencer Jr., Louisiana Slim
Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons, You Talk That Talk
Herbie Hancock, Thrust
Doug Carn, Infant Eyes



Read Myers’ response to the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz albums of the 1960’s?” by clicking here




Of my three favorite jazz album selections of the 70s, only one was discovered in that era. I first heard Keith Jarrett’s The Koln Concert when I was 20 and in search of everything experimental. Jarrett, who is a great jazz improviser as well as classical pianist–playing everyone from Bach to Mozart, and being a composer of classical music himself–has said he learned improvisation while playing classical music. The Koln Concert introduced me to Jarrett’s holistic, risk-taking approach, which I immediately embraced and loved.

The Koln Concert was recorded at The Opera House in Cologne on January 24, 1975 on a substandard Bosendorfer piano, a small baby grand whose sound was off, on a night when a jet-lagged Jarrett was exhausted and wearing a brace to protect his aching back. The concert was separated into two parts when it was made into an album, and subsequently became the best-selling jazz record of all time.

McCoy Tyner‘s Atlantis, recorded in 1975 on Milestone Records, features a 20-year old Azar Lawrence playing tenor and soprano sax. I was sure I was listening to Coltrane when I first heard the album, which was recorded live at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner, with Joony Booth on bass, Wilby Fletcher on drums and Guilhermo Franco on percussion. Wilby, a wonderful drummer, died shy of his 55th birthday, on October 15, (also my birthday) in 2009, and spent 10 years with Tyner.

Atlantis is richly textured, explores several kinds of jazz, and contains four Tyner modal originals, including the catchy, swift and exuberant “Atlantis,” the title cut. As I am a percussion queen, I am fondest of what turn out to be the longer cuts on this album–“Atlantis,” “Makin’ Out,” and “Love Samba,” my favorite being “Makin’ Out,” which, again, feels like an homage to Coltrane. When I listen to it, entire narratives play out in my head.

I am convinced that jazz is the story maker’s art.

Oscar Peterson‘s Trio, recorded in 1973, features Joe Pass on guitar, Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson on bass and the master on piano and won a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance by a Group. It is not hard to see why.

With his original trio grouping with Ray Brown and Herb Ellis, Peterson brought the concept of trio to a whole new level, although his trio with Orsted Pederson and Pass reaches similar heights. I am crazy about “Blues Etudes,” on Trio which features Peterson exploring several jazz styles, including stride and boogie-woogie, but my favorite cut is “Chicago Blues,” which is simply phenomenal, Peterson at his finest. You can hear both these numbers–the former played live at Ronnie Scott’s Club in 1974–on Youtube.


Here are 3 favs of mine:

Gnu HighKenny Wheeler
Bitches BrewMiles Davis
Doin’ It Right NowVon Freeman


Read Bloom’s response to the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz albums of the 1960’s?” by clicking here


Asking for a list of favorite albums within any parameters would usually send me scurrying through my collection of LPs and CDs, shelved and online references, reviews and columns I wrote in my first professional decade…But the request arrives while I’m on vacation, removed from the archives and no closer than the local library to an internet connection.  So here’s what I can offer off the ever-thinning top of my mind:


Dave Holland, Conference of the Birds (1972) – Whenever someone raises the question of how many, or how few, great albums appeared in the ’70s, my automatic response is “There’s Conference of the Birds.”   Beyond its intrinsic strengths, it touches several bases, which is always handy for lists of this type.  The front line contains two of the decade’s most important saxophonists, Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers, whose concepts were highly distinctive yet linked by their individual employment of Dave Holland and Barry Altschul,  the decade’s answer to Mingus/Richmond in terms of bass/drum flex.  Most important, this is the first sign of the gifts that made Holland one of the strongest composers and bandleaders of the ensuing decades.


Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band, Long Yellow Road (1974) – The large working jazz ensemble went into further commercial decline during the ‘70s, yet composers old and young were still creating memorable works in a stylistic range from retro-rag to all-out.  Composer/pianist Akiyoshi made one of the strongest impacts with her assemblage of vivid personalities (here including Bobby Shew and Gary Foster as well as co-leader Tabackin), a sound-pallet and melodic perspective drawing deeply upon both personal and jazz heritage, and rhythmic power.  All the more reassuring at the time of Duke Ellington’s passing.  This was the band’s second album, I believe.


Wayne Shorter, Native Dancer (1974) – I recently had occasion to listen to a lot of Shorter’s works as a leader, and confirmed that this collection is among the two or three that resonate most strongly for me.  Though resolutely acoustic, I find it more viscerally appealing than any other supposedly audience-friendly jazz of the early fusion years.  What I only realized while scanning a discography, yet is clear upon re-listening, is that several of the most striking piano parts are overdubbed by Shorter.  Herbie Hancock is excellent when he does appear, and featured guest Milton Nascimento never sounded better.  Uniformly great writing by Nascimento, as well as two of Shorter’s best, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Diana.”


Air, Air Time (1977) – A major lesson of the decade was that, in Chicago’s AACM and St. Louis’s BAG, the guiding principle was not each-one’s-own freedom but a more expansive notion of improviser-centric composition.  Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Julius Hemphill, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill made the point manifest regardless of ensemble setting.  Air, Threadgill’s first great band, was arguably the most consistently revelatory of this cohort’s many large and small, self-led and collective units.  Not Air’s first recording, but the first I heard, and the opening “Keep Right on Playing Through the Mirror Over the Water” knocked me out like few first-time experiences since my initial audition of Mitchell’s Sound.


Joe HendersonAt The Lighthouse –  In many ways ‘Canyon Lady’ may be the most experimental of Joe’s Milestone period, ‘In Japan’ has great solos, but this live record with Woody Shaw is impressive.
Anthony Braxton New York, Fall 1974 – Beautifully composed music at the height of his creativity, and a group foreshadowing the World Saxophone Quartet.
Eddie PalmieriUnfinished Masterpiece – Elegant and violent, experimental and traditional. This record is my idea of how music should be.
Ray BarrettoRican/Struction – a different style than Palmieri’s but equally progressive.



Read Byron’s response to the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz albums of the 1960’s?” by clicking here



It may be fair to rate the 1970s the worst decade for jazz. Fusion stalked the land, record deals dried up, young listeners went to rock. But many mainstream artists soldiered on, and now some gems from that time still shine.

Zoot Sims Meets Jimmy Rowles was one of several enduring collaborations between Zoot and the suave pianist Rowles. For a time Woody Shaw had a Columbia contract, and his Rosewood, voted best jazz album of 1978 by Downbeat, holds up beautifully. In the 1970s I spent a lot of time listening to the Toshiko Akoyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band and I still revisit their LPs. Road Time is representative of their work, which is unfortunately sparse in digital formats. And in the 1970s giants such as Bill Evans were still with us. For me, his lyrical and deeply felt You Must Believe in Spring is the best of his output of the decade.


Read Morris’ response to the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz albums of the 1960’s?” by clicking here



1. Herbie Hancock Mwandishi
2. Weather Report  Heavy Weather
3.  The Brecker Brothers  (self titled)
4. Miles Davis Live at the Fillmore

There are many more, but these stand out, and I wore these recordings out!


I never think of jazz albums as being from a given decade because the ones I love best seem timeless… I had to check and see which albums I loved and listened to a lot WERE from the 70s but here are a few:

Bill Evans: You Must Believe in Spring (recorded in 77.. not released until 81–one of my all-time favorite records
Chick Corea: Light as a Feather 74 (this makes me think of the 70’s..!)
Tony Bennett/ Bill Evans 75
Joni Mitchell Mingus 79


1970s… yes! A great decade for jazz. Here are some faves, in no particular order. There are many more but these came to mind first.

Ornette ColemanScience Fiction (Columbia, 1971) One of the rare Ornette recordings to feature vocals, this take sounds colossal with Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins on drums, plus four tightly voiced horn players (including Ornette and Dewey Redman and two trumpeters) and a processed mix that adds to the density and intensity. Vocalist Asha Puthli really belts it out with fearless energy, a perfect beginning to a record that has a serious edge to it. Any record that has the word “science” in it has my attention.

Keith JarrettMysteries (Impulse! 1976) Keith Jarrett was at his creative apex in the mid-1970s, recording with his best band, the American quartet which featured Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman and Paul Motian. The group chemistry was a perfect fit for Jarrett’s stream of consciousness approach to melody. To my ears, this band took Ornette’s concepts and applied them to American folk and rock.

Jim Hall and Red Mitchell (duo recorded live at Sweet Basil, Artists House, 1978) This album was very influential to me as a bassist. The intimate interplay between Jim and Red stands as a shining example of a great jazz duo. When I first came to NYC in the mid 1980s places like Bradley’s, Zinno’s, The Village Gate, Sweet Basil and others had steady duo gigs. One of the first shows i heard was at The Knickerbocker, where I stood just feet from Ron Carter and Kenny Barron as they tore through tunes like Nardis and Rhythm-a-ning.

Herbie HancockThrust (Columbia, 1974) Paul Jackson and Mike Clark created the perfect bedrock of uber-funk for Herbie’s awesome forays into the analog synth universe. I love Herbie’s records from this era. Cool orchestrations, with layers of synth mixed with orchestral sounds like Bennie Maupin on bass clarinet. Seamless playing and just the right balance between studio production and the spontaneity that’s the defining characteristic of jazz.


SeasonsPete Jolly (A&M)
Gula MatariQuincy Jones (A&M)
Land of Make BelieveChuck Mangione (Mercury)
Chester & LesterChet Atkins & Les Paul (RCA)
MizrabGabor Szabo (CTI)



Ornette Coleman: Science Fiction

Miles Davis: On the Corner

Charles Mingus: Cumbia and Jazz Fusion

Art Ensemble of Chicago: Fanfare for the Warriors

Anthony Braxton: The Montreux/Berlin Concerts


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28 comments on ““What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz record albums of the 1970’s?””

  1. And then there’s Duke Ellington’s “New Orleans Suite”, and Cedar Walton and Hank Mobley’s “Breakthrough”, and Lee Morgan’s “Live at the Lighthouse” and “The Last Sessions”, and Anthony Braxton’s “Creative Orchestra Music 1976”.

    1. Your post reminds me of the three recordings Cedar Walton made for Steeplechase in the late 70’s. Another great Steeplechase recording from that era was Rene McLean’s “Watch Out!”

  2. Four off the top of my head in my vinyl collection:

    1. Weather Report Mysterious Traveler- Interesting compositions with a coherence throughout.

    2. John McLaughlin My Goals Beyond- An acoustic shade of what McLaughlin was later to do with Mahavishnu. Jazz guitar solo pieces sitting alongside of East West ensemble vamps. I’ve never gotten tired of this one.

    3. Duke Ellington Latin American Suite

    4. Modern Jazz Quartet The Last Concert- All of their classics performed without sounding trite or sentimental. Way to go out on top.

    5. Jim Hall Concierto- Jim Hall and Paul Desmond interpretation of Aranjuez on the title cut rivals Miles Davis and Girl Evans version for me. I enjoy both performances and there both very different which is the essence of the art of jazz.

  3. Elvin Jones, “Live at the Lighthouse,” McCoy Tyner “Extensions,” Keith Jarrett, “Treasure Island,” Weather Report, “self titled,” Return To Forever, “Light As A Feather,” Miles Davis, “Agharta”

  4. So many wonderful recordings listed here. I think one of the most challenging questions to ask any fan of literally any type of music, would be to pick just a few. Even when you limit it to one decade, there is so much great material to choose from. Being a big band fan, I am glad to see some big bands listed. I was literally on the road constantly in the first half of the 70’s and then living in New Orleans from ’75 – ’78, so I probably didn’t listen as much as i should have back then, but it was sure good to be working all the time. I might add one of the albums from the group Chase, just because they were so successful at combining the Jazz and Rock idioms. (And of course – I love trumpet!)

  5. Always interesting to see who is turned on by what and pleased to see Toshiko acknowledged together with Mingus and Hubbard’s “Red Clay” but where were Trane and Sonny Rollins? Whilst choice of music is wholly a subjective matter. I was hugely disappointed at many of these choices by, reputedly, recognized and knowledgeable jazz writers. Some famous names have diminished themselves in my eyes.

    1. A criticism of Rollins during the 70’s is that his recordings didn’t have the same fire and creativity of his live performances. Maybe that played into the participants’ decision to leave him out.

  6. it would seem ,with few exception, that folks cad see no further than major cooperation labels.
    there are hundreds of independent recording that artistically could go up against the “majors”.
    such is the power of the moneyed.

  7. I’m amazed at no-one calling Johnny Griffin’s great “return” records, or citing MORE of Dexter’s (and, for me, “Homecoming”, despite its notoriety, is not the one I’d list)… and more of Woody Shaw. Nor do I see “Red Clay” as Hubbard’s greatest record of the decade. And more should be made of Joe Henderson, Clifford Jordan and of the Jones/Lewis band with Roland Hanna and Pepper Adams, as emblematic. Similarly, Getz was pumping out master-pieces in this era too. But for none of your critics to call Cedar Walton even once kinda shocks me… I’d add Ronnie Mathews’ “Roots, Branches and Dances” on BeeHive, and any number of the wonderful, wonderful Tete Montoliu records on SteepleChase (the same label I’d look to for many other ’70s highlights: much fantastic Chet Baker, Kenny Drew, Doug Raney and Horace Parlan on SteepleChase).
    Speaking of labels: MPS, in Germany, had probably the best and most representative catalogue of that decade. Just check their Martial Solal and their George Shearing issues… but they covered so much more, and with the finest production values imaginable.
    Tommy Flanagan’s great trio was also getting into its mighty stride by the ’70s – although the canonical discs would come in the ’80s. Same goes for Kenny Barron, I guess.
    “How Long Has This Been Going On” is not Sarah’s greatest ’70s record (nor even her greatest Pablo record)! You’d have to consider her “Live in Japan” and Michel Legrand albums on Mainstream, or her 2 magnificent Brazilian records, rather. They really are high-points in the unstoppable trajectory of an artist who never peaked.
    Also, Benny Carter was getting back in the studios, and with Carter, in 1976, Dizzy made what is possibly his last TRULY great album, “Carter, Gillespie Inc.”.

    1. All interesting contributions…I recall that Walton was getting heavily into fusion during the late 70’s — and not particularly interesting fusion, at that. His live sets for Steeplechase were, in my memory, his great contributions during the 70’s. Woody Shaw’s “Rosewood” was only mentioned once by the critics — which is surprising to me. I think that is one of the great records of the 70’s — still in rotation at home after all these years.

      1. If I may say: No, that is not the case at all.
        Cedar did record, I think, 3 fusion type albums, as a result of contracts with Columbia and RCA, and arising, I think, from his association with Freddie Hubbard, but they are very far from typical of even his seventies output, nor, I think, have they ever been reissued, or even widely heard – I’ve never seen them crop up in discussion before!
        Much rather, all the while he was at the helm of one of the decade’s pre-emminent acoustic pure-jazz groups, recording, variously, under his own name, or as “The Magic Triangle” or “Eastern Rebellion”.
        Central to all this was the presence of Sam Jones and Billy Higgins in his groups, and I think it safe to say, that, with Cedar, they added up to one of jazz’s all-time greatest ever rhythm sections. Although, when Louis Hayes was in the group, as in the 2 volume “Live at Boomer’s” LPs on Muse, it was also marvelous.
        The 3-volume SteepleChase LP set you quote is certainly representative, but I wouldn’t nominate it as the best stuff I know. I prefer the group when it had George Coleman, or, especially, Clifford Jordan. Later, in the ’80s, he’d go on to record more in trio, and with Ron Carter too… But, make no mistake, throughout the ’70s he was a beacon for straight-ahead, pure, swinging jazz, being amongst the eras most important leaders, and probably its greatest composer too.

  8. I noticed not a single mention of two particular Mark Murphy albums, which were released in the 1970s: “Mark Murphy Sings” and “Stolen Moments.” The title track with his own lyrics, from the latter recording, became one of his most requested songs in live performances throughout the coming decades, as did “Red Clay” from the former. Plus Mark’s performances on the two albums solidified his development into a purely jazz vocalist, freer and more aggressive, who influenced many vocalists who came on the scene after him.

    1. Cha Cha,
      Mark was “the man” for many years. Whether in his veritable old age he still is is debatable, though. He was a chance taker and his improvs didn’t always work out but nevertheless he carved an important niche for himself. I once did a master class with him. I can’t remember whether I learned anything. It was a long time ago. I have many of his albums and one never stops learning from them.
      But I doubt whether any of the oracles who chose albums here would have picked a Mark Murphy album as one of their choices.

      1. I attended the Joe’s Pub tribute to Mark on July 3, 2013 and was delighted to see the audience packed with jazz singers of all ages, as well as his non-singing fans. He himself followed the group of his peers, who had performed in his honor, by singing four songs with power and imagination belying his age of 81. So it seemed to me that he was definitely still “the man.”

        Since I heard Mark constantly on local jazz stations during the 1970s, it is kind of a shame, though, that the oracles didn’t consider him worthy of inclusion in this list.

        1. Mmmm, that must have been a nice gig to have attended. I haven’t seen Mark sing in person since the Edinburgh Jazz festival gig which was concurrent with his being one of the guest educators at the vocal jazz summer school that I was attending. I’m sure he’s been a big influence on many jazz singers who came after him but who are today’s pacesetters amongst the men other than Kurt Elling who now must be the most male singer but who’s the queen bee amongst females? Several names come to mind as being excellent interpreters of a lyric and many of them are represented in my record collection but who is going to loom head and shoulders over the crowd and set my head spinning? It’s a great time for jazz singers right now, at least as far as females are concerned, but there’s not too many males raising the hair at the back of my neck.

  9. Jazz recording was hardly in eclipse during those days. Impulse was still going strong, Arista-Freedom, MPS and Inner City issued many great European sessions (even if some were from the 1960s, they were new to the US), ECM was getting into gear and Concord started up.

    Picking 3 or 4 from the 1970s is hard for me, but the first albums to come to mind are:

    Dogon AD, Julius Hemphill\
    Silent Tongues, Cecil Taylor
    Lenox Avenue Breakdown, Arthur Blythe
    Epistrophy & Now’s The Time, Richard Davis

  10. Some great mentions but would somebody please mention Eastern Rebellion! George Coleman, Cedar Walton, Sam Jones and Billy Higgins. One of the great records ever regardless of decade

  11. Some great mentions but would somebody please mention Eastern Rebellion! George Coleman, Cedar Walton, Sam Jones and Billy Higgins. One of the great records ever regardless of decade

  12. I believe the best recording is “Music,Inc. -Live at Slugs !” Another great recording is “Rosewood” by Woody Shaw. Finally, people should take notice of a great solo recording by Paul Bley called “Open, to love.” All these recordings were made in the 1970s !

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The Sunday Poem

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“Why I Play Guitar” by C.J. Trotter...

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem


“Revival” © Kent Ambler.
If You Want to Go to Heaven, Follow a Songbird – Mary K O’Melveny’s album of poetry and music...While consuming Mary K O’Melveny’s remarkable work in this digital album of poetry, readings and music, readers will discover that she is moved by the mastery of legendary musicians, the wings of a monarch butterfly, the climate and political crisis, the mysteries of space exploration, and by the freedom of jazz music that can lead to what she calls “the magic of the unknown.” (with art by Kent Ambler)


The Marvelettes/via Wikimedia Commons
Interview with Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz, authors of But Will You Love Me Tomorrow?: An Oral History of the 60’s Girl Groups...Little is known of the lives and challenges many of the young Black women who made up the Girl Groups of the ‘60’s faced while performing during an era rife with racism, sexism, and music industry corruption. The authors discuss their book’s mission to provide the artists an opportunity to voice their experiences so crucial to the evolution of popular music.

Book Excerpt

An excerpt from Emily Jon Tobias’ MONARCH: Stories, and a reflection on our friendship

In Memoriam

photo via Wikimedia Commons
A few words about Willie Mays...Thoughts about the impact Willie Mays had on baseball, and on my life.


photo of Earl Hines by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Pianists and Poets – 13 poems devoted to the keys...From “Fatha” Hines to Brad Mehldau, poets open themselves up to their experiences with and reverence for great jazz pianists


photo of Archie Shepp by Giovanni Piesco
The Photographs of Giovanni Piesco: Archie Shepp...photos of the legendary saxophonist (and his rhythm section for the evening), taken at Amsterdam's Bimhuis on May 13, 2001.


CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
“On Coltrane: 4th of July Reflections” – a poem by Connie Johnson

Click here to read more poetry published in Jerry Jazz Musician

Calling All Poets!

News about a Jerry Jazz Musician printed jazz poetry anthology, and information about submitting your poetry for consideration

Short Fiction

Short Fiction Contest-winning story #65 — “Ballad” by Lúcia Leão...The author’s award-winning story is about the power of connections – between father and child, music and art, and the past, present and future.

Click here to read more short fiction published on Jerry Jazz Musician


photo of Louis Jordan by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 – 1960...Richards makes the case that small group swing players like Illinois Jacquet, Louis Jordan (pictured) and Big Jay McNeely played a legitimate jazz that was a more pleasing listening experience to the Black community than the bebop of Parker, Dizzy, and Monk. It is a fascinating era, filled with major figures and events, and centered on a rigorous debate that continues to this day – is small group swing “real jazz?”


photo of Coleman Hawkins by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
“The Naked Jazz Musician” – A playlist by Bob Hecht...As Sonny Rollins has said, “Jazz is about taking risks, pushing boundaries, and challenging the status quo.” Could there be anything riskier—or more boundary-pushing—than to stand naked and perform with nowhere to hide? Bob’s extensive playlist is comprised of such perilous undertakings by an array of notable woodwind and brass masters who have had the confidence and courage (some might say even the exhibitionism) to expose themselves so completely by playing….alone.


Excerpts from David Rife’s Jazz Fiction: Take Two – Vol. 3: “Louis Armstrong”...A substantial number of novels and stories with jazz music as a component of the story have been published over the years, and the scholar David J. Rife has written short essay/reviews of them. In this third edition featuring excerpts from his book, Rife writes about four novels/short fiction that include stories involving Louis Armstrong.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

The cover of Wayne Shorter's 2018 Blue Note album "Emanon"
Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 20: “Notes on Genius...This edition of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film is written in response to the music of Wayne Shorter.

Click here to read previous editions of Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

In Memoriam

Hans Bernhard (Schnobby), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Remembering Joe Pass: Versatile Jazz Guitar Virtuoso” – by Kenneth Parsons...On the 30th anniversary of the guitarist Joe Pass’ death, Kenneth Parsons reminds readers of his brilliant career

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Jazz with a Beat: Small Group Swing 1940 – 1960, by Tad Richards

Click here to read more book excerpts published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Jazz History Quiz #172

photo of Teddy Wilson by William Gottlieb
Teddy Wilson once said this about a fellow jazz pianist:

“That man had the most phenomenal musical gifts I’ve ever heard. He was miraculous. It’s like someone hitting a home run every time he picks up a bat. We became such fast friends that I was allowed to interrupt him anytime he was playing at the house parties in Toledo we used to make every night. When I asked him, he would stop and replay a passage very slowly, showing me the fingering on some of those runs of his. You just couldn’t figure them out by ear at the tempo he played them.”

Who is the pianist he is describing?


photo via Picryl.com
.“Community Bookshelf, #2"...a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share news about their recently authored books. This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so…

Contributing Writers

Click the image to view the writers, poets and artists whose work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, and find links to their work

Coming Soon

An interview with Larry Tye, author of The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America; an interview with James Kaplan, author of 3 Shades of Blue: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the Lost Empire of Cool; A new collection of jazz poetry; a collection of jazz haiku; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction; poetry; photography; interviews; playlists; and lots more in the works...

Interview Archive

Ella Fitzgerald/IISG, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Click to view the complete 25-year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Judith Tick on Ella Fitzgerald (pictured),; Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz on the Girl Groups of the 60's; Tad Richards on Small Group Swing; Stephanie Stein Crease on Chick Webb; Brent Hayes Edwards on Henry Threadgill; Richard Koloda on Albert Ayler; Glenn Mott on Stanley Crouch; Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake; Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

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