By Don Heckman
This was first published in its original form a year ago. Everything in that post still holds true, and I thought I’d add a few more musical reasons to be thankful.
– Every note Charlie Parker ever played.
– Ditto for Louis Armstrong.
– Bebop, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Tadd Dameron, Ray Brown, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Clifford Brown and more.
– The magical spells of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.
– Ditto for Don Redman, Sy Oliver, Benny Carter, Neal Hefti, Ralph Burns, Gil Evans, George Russell, Bill Holman, Thad Jones, Oliver Nelson and Maria Schneider.
– Count Basie‘s rhythm section (with Freddy Green, Jo Jones, Walter Page).
– Billie Holiday‘s “Strange Fruit.”
– Nina Simone‘s “I Loves You Porgy.”
– Ella Fitzgerald‘s Song Books.
– Joe Williams‘ “Here’s To Life.”
– Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle.
– Coleman Hawkins playing “Body and Soul.”
– Ben Webster playing a ballad – any ballad.
– Sonny Rollins playing “St. Thomas.”
– Almost anything by Miles, Herbie, Wayne, Ron and Tony.
– Ditto for Charles Mingus, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman,
– Ditto for Thelonious Monk.
– John Coltrane playing “A Love Supreme.”
– Ravi Coltrane playing — right now Along with Charles Lloyd, Branford Marsalis, Christian Scott, Jason Moran, Brian Blade, and more.
– Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Elis Regina, Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, Ivan Lins, Eliane Elias, Heitor Villa-Lobos and all the rest of the creators of the marvelous music of Brazil.
The life, accomplishments and music of Michael Jackson.
The life and music of Eva Cassidy.
The life and music — especially “Imagine” — of John Lennon.
The life, music, and ideas of George Russell.
The life, music and teaching of Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar.
The life and music of Blossom Dearie, Louie Bellson, Maurice Jarre, Les Paul, Mary Travers and Mercedes Sosa.
The poetry of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The songs of Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Bacharach and David, and Sting.
The music of Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joan Baez, The Who, David Bowie, Nirvana, Kanye West (among others).
The composers and the lyricists whose music will live forever in the Great American Songbook.
– The madrigals of Gesualdo.
– Everything and anything by Mozart, but especially the Clarinet Concerto and the Clarinet Quintet.
– Beethoven‘s Piano Sonata No. 32.
– The songs of Schubert.
– Chopin‘s Etudes, Preludes and Waltzes.
– Beethoven‘s 3rd, Schubert‘s 8th, Mendelssohn‘s 4th, Brahms‘ 4th, Tchaikovsky‘s 6th, Prokofiev‘s 1st.
– Stravinsky‘s Sacre du Printemps. His Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet.
– The String Quartets of Debussy and Ravel.
– The Bartok Concerto for Orchestra. His String Quartets No. 3 and 4.
– The Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, the Goldberg Variations, the Cello Suites and almost everything else.
– The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, Falstaff, Madam Butterfly, Die Fledermaus, Three Penny Opera, Porgy and Bess, Hair, Pal Joey, West Side Story and many more..