Saturday, March 21, 2009

Five Albums That Shaped My Listening

Over on Facebook there has been an application introduced that allows people to list the five albums that have shaped their listening. These are the five that I picked:

John Coltrane - Giant Steps: I could have put "insert any Coltrane album here" but I went with this one because the first time I heard it (and each time afterward) I was amazed by the speed and control of the music. It's just blazing fast, but yet he is playing just perfectly, and the songs are wonderful as well. (amazon link)

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks: A college roomate was a big Van Morrison fan and he introduced me to this masterpiece. It is an album that seems to defy both genre and timeframe, existing in a Universe all its own. Morrison's live reprise of the album released earlier this year was fine, but it is the original that is a bottomless well of inspiration and beauty. (amazon link)

Elmore James - Shake Your Money Maker: James was a genuine musical epiphany for me, making me literally jump out of my seat when I heard his blasting version of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" on WRPI in my youth. James recorded before the LP format became popular in the blues and this album is one of the finest one disc introductions to his incendiary music. (amazon link)

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew: Like Coltrane, there are any number of Miles albums that could be here, but when I was young and impressionable, and slowly making the transition from listening to jam rock like The Grateful Dead and Traffic to jazz and blues, this was the bridge that made it all possible. (amazon link)

Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska: Growing up like I did in the suburbs, Springsteen was omnipresent, with anthems like "Born to Run" hurtling out of thousands of car radios. But it was this, a stark haunting meditation on American folk music that hit home for me. (amazon link)

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