November 19, 2019

Ten Album Covers

By Jeffrey the Barak.


In recent weeks, people have been posting ten album cover images on their Facebook feeds, with a varying comment that usually says something like “no explanation, just the cover”, and then they have to meet a challenge by nominating someone else.

I was dreading being asked to be the next victim, er, participant, because I can never really say what my favorite albums are. They change over time, and in many cases the favorite piece of music was never on an “album” in the traditional sense.

I do know that as my tastes have evolved, I seem to have emerged well beyond the other side of the sixty year period of dominance of the electric guitar. Yes I still like Jimi Hendrix and John McLaughlin, and I still love Frank Zappa, but it is unlikely that they or any other electric guitarist will make up the larger part of any list I make today.

As a drummer of fifty years and a recent graduate of the “I actually like my own jazz drumming for the first time” school. I find that a lot of my listening comes via Spotify and YouTube, and I watch and enjoy other drummers. I have a whole list of new and currently working drummers that I like, about whom I knew nothing only two years ago in most cases.

But this does not help me pick album covers.

I have to think back over sixty years of listening to music to do that. Three diameters of vinyl, with three rotation speeds. Cassettes, Cartridges and Compact Discs. MP3s and similar files. Major releases, independents, bootlegs. Just about every delivery method comes back into memory. Almost all of it is available to stream, but some has been forgotten in time.

So I put together a list of ten albums today. It might have been different last week, and it might be different next week. But for today, these ten album covers should represent what I would present if I were to use the Facebook method of boring the pants off everyone.

  • Eric Dolphy – Out to Lunch
  • Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention – One Size Fits All
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland
  • John Coltrane – Giant Steps
  • Louis Armstrong with Ella Fitzgerald – Ella and Louis
  • Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds of Fire
  • Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
  • Na Palapalai – Ha’a
  • Ornette Coleman – Something Else!!!!
  • Charles Mingus – Ah Um

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