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My Top 10 Influential​ Jazz Songs – Taylor Roberts



Joe Pass – Have You Met Miss Jones

This was the first track on his album with Niel Henning Orsted Pederson called “Chops.” I had a steady duo gig with a bassist at the time, and this album was our Bible. While their respective techniques are jaw-dropping (as the album title implies), it’s the interplay and storytelling that are the most compelling aspects of the recording. Their take on this is a more straight-8th feel. Just incredible.

Russell Malone – Sing

Easily in my top 3 of greatest jazz guitar solos of all time. The album “Jazz at the Bistro,” which is a live duo performance with Benny Green, completely changed my paradigm. It’s hard to find nowadays as it’s only sporadically available on CD, but if you get the opportunity, give it a listen. It exemplifies my favorite setting to play in, which is guitar and acoustic piano. This is their take on a classic by James Taylor. The overall arc of Russell’s solo is an absolute rollercoaster of bebop, blues, and traditional swing, and I’ve stolen so much of his vocabulary and phrasing from this solo that it dominates the majority of my playing today.

Russell Malone – How Deep is Your Love

Another track from his duo album with Benny Green, “Jazz at the Bistro.” Russell has an instantly recognizable style as a solo guitarist. There’s just so much soul!! This was also the first recording I’d ever heard of a guitarist using the harp-harmonic technique that was pioneered by Lenny Breau. There is a video of this arrangement from a different live performance on YouTube.

Jim Hall – The Bridge

From Sonny Rollins’ iconic album of the same name, this solo (and Jim’s playing in general) reminds me that I don’t have to deliver a barrage of blistering chops in order to make a statement on fast tunes. Add to the fact that I’ve never really heard any contrived, muscle-memory licks from Jim and you wind up with a perfect cocktail.

Top 10 Influential​ Jazz Songs Continued

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