My personal top Tone Poet records
This has been an excellent series in presentation, pressing and remastering thus far. There are some weaker titles in the series, but with Spotify I’ve been able to listen to the albums before buying to make sure I don’t have LPs that will just sit on the shelves gathering dust (I'm not a completist or collector).
So here goes my top 5 picks, let us know yours !
1) Chick Corea : Now He Sings Now He Sobs. This pressing has allowed me to take my time and get into the album a bit more than previously heard reissues on CD that were dry and opaque. One of the top trio albums of all time, made all the more important with Mr. Corea’s recent passing.
2) Bobby Hutcherson : Oblique. Wow, this one sounds lush and fresh, as if the tapes were recorded last week. I can throw that one on as nice background music when cooking dinner (not pejorative) or listen to it more intently. It has no horns which to me is a refreshing change from Blue Note’s usual fare.
3) Herbie Hancock : The Prisoner. Underrated is the word. It sounds like it’s floating on air, the sound stage is beautifully laid out. Love hearing the lesser known players featured here. This is a continuation of what Herbie was playing on Maiden Voyage and Speak Like A Child. Some purists have scorned the 4 or 5 bars of Fender Rhodes on the album as if Herbie was preparing to sell out. Don't listen to these guys, jazz didn't end in 1968 !
4) Chet Baker : Chet Baker Sings. The only Chet album that gets regular spins in my collection. The sound is lush and just right for this type of music. Universally praised, so I don’t need to expand.
5) Sam Rivers : Contours. Strong material and playing, mostly excellent sound. Joe Chambers on drums is perfect all the way through. Nice bridge between post bop and avant guard, a gem in the TP series.
Most will say, what about Etcetera ? It sounds absolutely awesome, but after years of having heard this on CD, it’s not something that gets frequent visits on the TT. I love Wayne Shorter’s inventiveness, writing, but there are other recordings that I would have reissued first, namely Schizophrenia.
Future Tone Poets that I would love to see : Speak Like A Child, Schizophrenia and Fuscia Swing Song.