Alto Essentials—Nine More Saxists List the Must-Hear Albums

A JazzTimes bonus feature from our June issue

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For our June issue, we asked more than 20 prominent saxophonists to list for us five to 10 alto sax recordings that they feel are important. Several of those lists appeared here last month. The others are now presented here.

We provided our contributing saxists with the following criteria: an album can fall into any genre of jazz from any era and the alto player can be a leader or sideman. The recordings simply needed to be “great performances that helped shape the jazz alto saxophone tradition.”

For albums on which the altoist is not the leader, we’ve listed the name of the leader first, with the altoist’s name in parentheses. The lists are not necessarily ranked in any order.

We hope you enjoy these lists!

JAY BECKENSTEIN (SPYRO GYRA)

The Quintet (Charlie Parker, alto) Jazz at Massey Hall

David Sanborn Taking Off

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at “The Club”

The Dave Brubeck Quartet (Paul Desmond, alto) Time Out

Charles Mingus (John Handy, alto) Mingus Ah Um

Oliver Nelson Sound Pieces

Billy Joel (Phil Woods, alto on “Just the Way You Are”) The Stranger

Kenny Garrett Triology

Lee Konitz The Lee Konitz Duets

Bud Shank/Bob Cooper Blowin’ Country

KENNY GARRETT

Charlie Parker Charlie Parker With Strings: The Master Takes

Johnny Hodges Passion Flower: 1940-46

Cannonball Adderley Nippon Soul

Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come

Eric Dolphy Out to Lunch!

GRACE KELLY

Duke Ellington (Johnny Hodges, alto) Far East Suite

Paul Desmond/Gerry Mulligan Two of a Mind (RCA Victor, 1962)

Charlie Parker Charlie Parker With Strings: The Master Takes

Miles Davis (Cannonball Adderley, alto) Kind of Blue

Lee Konitz Live at the Half Note

The Phil Woods Six “Live” From the Showboat

RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA

Charlie Parker The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948

Benny Carter 4 Montreux ’77


Bunky Green Places We’ve Never Been

Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come

Strata Institute (Steve Coleman & Greg Osby, altos) Cipher Syntax

Steve Lehman Octet Travail, Transformation, and Flow


Cannonball Adderley Somethin’ Else

Herb Geller & His All Stars Herb Geller & His All Stars Play Gypsy

DAVID SANBORN (favorite alto solos)

Charlie Parker “Just Friends,” from Charlie Parker With Strings

Cannonball Adderley “Easy to Love,” from Nippon Soul

Kenny Garrett “I Only Have Eyes for You,” from Bobby Hutcherson’s Skyline

Eric Dolphy “Out to Lunch,” from Out to Lunch!

Hank Crawford “Stoney Lonesome,” from From the Heart

“Please Send Me Someone to Love,” from The Soul Clinic

David “Fathead” Newman “Hard Times,” from Fathead: Ray Charles Presents David Newman

Phil Woods, almost any solo

Johnny Hodges, almost any solo, especially with Duke Ellington

Benny Carter, almost any solo

JALEEL SHAW

Bobby Watson & Horizon The Inventor

Charlie Parker Live at St. Nick’s

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at “The Club”

Johnny Hodges with Billy Strayhorn and the Orchestra Johnny Hodges With Billy Strayhorn and the Orchestra

Lee Konitz Motion

STEVE WILSON

Charlie Parker The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948

Charlie Parker Charlie Parker With Strings: The Master Takes

Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come

Miles Davis (Cannonball Adderley, alto) Kind of Blue

Johnny Hodges with Billy Strayhorn and the Orchestra Johnny Hodges With Billy Strayhorn and the Orchestra

PHIL WOODS

Charlie Parker Charlie Parker With Strings: The Master Takes

Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans Know What I Mean?

Lee Konitz Quartet Jazz Nocturne

Johnny Hodges Everybody Knows Johnny Hodges

Jon Gordon Along the Way

MIGUEL ZEN?”N

Charlie Parker Quintet Complete Live at Birdland: May 17, 1950

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco

Lee Konitz Motion

Steve Coleman and Five Elements Def Trance Beat (Modalities of Rhythm)

Kenny Garrett Triology