Monday, November 7, 2011

Who are the great jazz instrumentalists?

I don't mean the great composers (Ellington, Monk, Shorter) or great bandleaders (Ellington again, Basie, Blakey, Miles) or even the great revolutionaries (Ellington again, Miles again, Ornette). Miles and Ornette could blow your mind, and did so frequently, but they were not the guys who make me ask: Can a human being possibly produce sound so grand and beautiful? Armstrong, Hawkins, Holiday, Parker, Rollins, yes. Somewhat reluctantly, Art Tatum and Wynton, yes. Max Roach and Tony Williams. Eric Dolphy, in my book. Coltrane... hmm...

A question inspired by Rudresh Mahanthappa. A guy still in the running.

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