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My Top 10 Influential​ Jazz Albums – Jonathan Ross

Jonathan Ross

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Jazz Guitar Today continues to reach out to players to ask the question, “What albums influenced you and your playing style?”

Jonathan Ross is a very active member of the music scene in Chicago, IL, where he grew up. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies from Columbia College Chicago in 2008. Jonathan taught Music courses at the University of Toledo while earning his Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies, graduating in 2017. He is always seeking continued growth in his musicianship and is constantly searching for the good notes. On any given day, Jon can be usually be found at Jam sessions all over the Chicagoland area. Let’s see what he has to say about the albums that influenced his playing…


Money Jungle – DUKE ELLINGTON ft. Charles Mingus and Max Roach

Top 10 Jazz Albums #1

The first track, “Very Special” was the first Jazz track that really got my attention. It was simple, clear, yet impactful. “African Flower” was another favorite of mine from this album. I would credit this album as what got me started on Jazz.


“Blue Bossa” by KENNY DORHAM

Top 10 Jazz Albums #2
Kenny Dorham

I used to take guitar lessons in a small studio in Oak Park, IL. Several times a year the school would hold recitals for the guitar students. Kids were playing all kinds of stuff, but usually in the Rock vein, including myself, who played mostly Rock and Blues at that time. An older kid got up and played “Blue Bossa” on Guitar, complete with an improvisation. In hindsight, it was probably a very rudimentary solo, but it had a big impact on me, because I had never heard anyone play guitar like that at the time. This planted the seed of improvisational playing in me, and I still make improvisation the main element of my playing no matter what genre I’m playing.


Incredible Jazz Guitar – WES MONTGOMERY

Top 10 Jazz Albums #3

What can be said about this album that hasn’t already been said? Furthermore, what can I say as a guitar player that countless other guitar players haven’t already said? Wes influenced everyone from John Abercrombie, Pat Metheny, George Benson, Jimi Hendrix… you name it! I was particularly drawn to his dark, warm guitar tone, and the seemingly endless well of ideas that he had.


The Poll Winners – BARNEY KESSEL, RAY BROWN, SHELLEY MANNE

Top 10 Jazz Albums #4

Another example of hearing some basically “shred” on guitar, but in a way I’d never heard before. To this day, I’m still trying to work on the solo to “Jordu” here and there. One day, I’ll master it. I’ve never been a particularly “chopsy” or speedy player. Which leads me to the next selection. Barney had one of the most consistent guitar tones in recorded music. 

Jim Hall Trio – LIVE   

Top 10 Jazz Albums #5

Yet another guitarist with a completely. unique sound and approach. Jim Hall would play a melodic idea, and then pretty much never repeat it. Sure, he’d take a melodic fragment and play it in a sequence sometimes, but he never seemed to run out of ideas. Some guitar players have their cliches, even Wes. Jim Hall hardly had any. He wasn’t going to tear your head off with a million blazing fast licks. He’s not that type of player. But, he was a different kind of virtuoso. Speaking of virtuosos…

Top 10 Influential​ Jazz Albums Continued…

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