1. Missy Elliot – Miss E… So Addictive

“This album marked for me a new era in Hip Hop production. It made me fall more deeply in love with the art form and helped me to see the possibilities of the genre. It is meticulously written and produced and I was on tour with Herbie Hancock when it came out and we listened together and talked in depth about the moving sounds and textures that kept our ear engaged – “ear candy’ that made this album distinct, keeping “jazz elite” listeners captivated. I learned so much from this album.”

2. Rachelle Ferrell – Individuality (Can I Be Me?)

“A masterpiece from Rachelle Ferrell, meticulously produced by George Duke, and Rachelle herself. I know this from the recording and mixing engineer, Erik Zobler, and George, that Rachelle is a master in the studio. Her songs and collaborations are amazing on this project. Her vocal performances are outstanding and the other thing I like is that it is a predominantly live recording (opposed to programmed) and was written and produced in a timeless fashion, so will remain a classic.”

3. Joni Mitchell – Don Juan’s Reckless Daughters

“This album is brilliant. And I can’t really describe how I felt when I first heard Paprika Plains, especially. It is a masterpiece, much of which seems improvised by Joni. The album is true Americana – maybe before the industry used that term widely to describe a genre of music. The jazz influences are there strongly with Jaco Pastorius and Wayne Shorter, aw well as the incredible percussionists on the album. They are all my favorites – Don Alias, Manolo Badrena, Alex Acuna, nd Airto Moreira. This is also the best in what has been called World Music. Joni has always reached for something different, reached for the best within herself, and collaborated with other master musicians, reaching a universal audience and sound that defies category. She is one of my favorite artists and though I picked this album, it is impossible for me to really pick a favorite Joni Mitchell album. She inspires me with whatever she does.”

4. Miles Davis – Miles Smiles

“The repertoire, the quintet that I love, and the freedom of their performances, makes this one of the important recordings for me, contributing greatly to my development. This sound was new for me when I heard it. I loved Delores and later met the women it was written for and felt I knew something about her due to Wayne Shorter’s composition. Freedom Jazz dance and Gingerbread Boy were ‘cover’ songs and I fell in love with the modern approach Davis’ band took. And of course Footprints was a masterpiece in how to play openly in ¾, which inspires me greatly.”

5. Keith Jarrett Trio – Still Live

“This trio has my mentor and strongest drum inspiration, Jack DeJohnette on drums, along with Gary Peacock on bass. I particularly like this trio because of the beauty and inventiveness they brought to the standards we have heard before many times. The lyricism of Keith is singular and the trio set a personal standard for me of what direction I head toward when playing the standard repertoire. Also, this trio helped me to understand group improvisation, and how the drums and the drummer can dance in its own way, opposed to keep time and or be relegated to supporting others dance. Jack, for me, displays on the instrument all of the things that I want the drums to do – breathe, dance, keep time, tell stories, paint, and more….”

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