By Don Heckman
Here’s my annual, continual and growing list of the many musical reasons I have 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, Gilberto Gil, 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 the beliefs and the music of John Lennon.
– The life, music and ideas of George Russell.
– The lives, music and teaching of Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar.
– The music in the poetry of Rumi.
– The mugham of Azerbaijan.
– The lives and music of Blossom Dearie, Russ Garcia, Louie Bellson, Maurice Jarre, Les Paul, Mary Travers, Mercedes Sosa and many more no longer with us.
– The poetry of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The songs of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, Carole King, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Bacharach and David, Sting and all the other singer-songwriters.
– The music of Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joan Baez, The Who, David Bowie, Nirvana, Kanye West (among others).
– Selmer saxophones and clarinets, Fazioli pianos, Pro Tools and Logic Pro.
– The composers and the lyricists whose music will live forever in the Great American Songbook.
– Everything and anything by Mozart, but especially the Clarinet Concerto and the Clarinet Quintet.
– The madrigals of Gesualdo.
– 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.
– The Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, the Goldberg Variations, the Cello Suites the Brandenburg Concertos and almost everything else he ever wrote.
– The String Quartets of Debussy and Ravel.
– Rachmaninoff‘s Piano Concerto No. 3.
– The Bartok Concerto for Orchestra. His String Quartets No. 3 and 4.
– 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.