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Artist’s Choice: John Hollenbeck on Jack DeJohnette

Today’s top jazz performers pick 10 favorite tracks by the players, singers and styles that helped define them.

Jack DeJohnette
Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette and Gary Peacock
John Hollenbeck

I know I’m not alone in being mesmerized by Jack DeJohnette’s playing and oeuvre. Mr. DeJohnette’s work epitomizes the joys of mystery, individuality, originality and courage. Although I love Jack’s recent recordings, creating this playlist has allowed me to look back and see how certain recordings of his were so important to my inspiration as a young musician.

Jack has a personal, elastic sense of time that defies logic but always feels great. His sound concept has been a guiding light for me and other modern drummer-composers. His crisp, dry cymbal and drum sounds maintain a transparency that allows a great amount of activity without getting in the way. It is a testament to his innate musicality that, while I’m in awe of his drumming, my thoughts and comments here are often about the big picture and the many important milestones that Mr. DeJohnette has been a part of. To see his impact on modern music, think about what the ECM label catalogue would look like without him! It is fitting that in 2012 Mr. DeJohnette will be awarded an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for his “significant lifetime contributions [that] have helped to enrich jazz and further the growth of the art form.”

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