Ross Porter, president and CEO of Canada’s premier jazz station and outspoken champion of the genre, has written a guide to 101 of its essential recordings. Naturally, the majority of these albums are quite mainstream and reflective of the standard jazz canon, unsurprising for the man who once said, referring to the notion that only music elitists like jazz, “My goal is to break down the walls and build bridges between listeners and the music.”
That would explain nominating Harry Connick Jr., Diane Krall and George Shearing alongside Coltrane, Kirk and Monk. What’s most intriguing about this collection are the detailed anecdotes by Porter about each album, explaining the background information on the music and the artist, as well as the unique merits of each recording. And Porter does allow space for some lesser-known musicians like Phil Nimmons and Guido Basso.