Lovely Recordings Hosted by Max Hollins

A day rarely goes by that I don't listen to music. I prefer to think of myself as a music lover rather than an audiophile, though I do love having audio gear that allows me to better enjoy the music I love. Lovely, no? If it gets me closer to the tunes, I probably want it. However, if I had to choose between having access to more music or mo'better (and better) equipment, I'd go for the former. I grew up listening to rock, prog rock and pop, as well as classical and opera (shudder!) on the radio my mom had on all day, almost every day. I started listening to jazz due to the influence of my younger brother when he switched from violin to bass guitar, then studying double-bass and jazz at university. This music, in so many of its idioms, has been the major part of my musical diet for about 30 years.

Pat Metheny: Letter From Home (Geffen Records, 1989)
Pat Metheny's Letter From Home was probably the first CD I ever purchased and if it had been vinyl would have been worn through within a few months. Have been a Metheny fan ever since.

Available from Tidal

Dave Holland Quintet: Not For Nothin' (ECM, 2001)
Dave Holland's Not For Nothin' was an eye-opener in that his piano-less quintet is comprised of musicians who are each stellar in their own right. Together, they are stunning. Holland on double-bass always lays down a solid foundation and his solos can astound, Robin Eubanks doing things on trombone that blew my mind, Chris Potter on tenor and soprano also incredible, particularly when he and Eubanks are playing in unison or intertwining lines, the superb Steve Nelson on vibraphone and marimba, and Billy Kilson's polyrhythms and interplay with Holland.

Available from Tidal

Keith Jarrett: Keith Jarrett, At the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings I-VI (ECM, 1995)
The single disc release of the first set of June 4 was the first of his albums that I acquired. At first, his moaning and vocal outbursts were a bit distracting, but with further listens I realized just how absorbed in the act/art of playing in the moment he must be and, despite a prickly reputation, how much he must love doing it. The other 5 sets/discs are also excellent, but III is where it started for me.

Available from Tidal

Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny: Beyond the Missouri Sky (Verve, 1997)
Beautiful songs beautifully interpreted by two master musicians.

Available from

Chris Potter Underground: Follow the Red Line – Live at the Village Vanguard (Emarcy, 2007)
Chris Potter with Adam Rogers on guitar, Craig Taborn on Fender Rhodes and Nate Smith on drums. Palpable energy, vibrant, deeply satisfying (in a funky sort of way on some tracks).

Available from Qobuz

K.D. Lang: Hymns of the 49th Parallel (Nonesuch Records Inc., 2004)
What can I say? I'm Canadian and it doesn't get much more so than this set. Heck, one can almost smell a heady mix of maple syrup, bacon and beaver tail while listening to this album. For those wondering, the latter element is a local, deep-fried flat pastry available with various toppings.

Available from Tidal

Rush: Moving Pictures (Mercury, 1981)
Best. Rock. Band. Ever. I kid, mostly, but these guys were a huge influence when I was in high school. Have all of their albums, except the first three, which is heresy to some.

Available from Tidal

Level 42: A Physical Presence (Polydor Records, 1995)
Without which my interest in jazz may not be what it is today. Because of the instrumentals, but I also really enjoy their lyrics and vocals.

Available from Tidal

David Bowie: Blackstar (ISO/RCA/Columbia/Sony, 2016)
I'm not religious, or even spiritual to a great extent, but… Good lord! This was a revelation. Thin White Duke/Ziggy Stardust backed by a cast of excellent jazz musicians.

Available from HDtracks

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