Charlie Parker – A Studio Chronicle 1940-1948. My first loves in jazz were 1930s swing and 1960s avant-garde, so it took me a while to get around to really listening to 1940s bebop and 1950s mainstream. Guess what, Parker is a genius; I know that’s not an original opinion, but I didn’t really appreciate how true it was before.
Bud Powell –The Complete Bud Powell On Verve. More bebop immersion. Five CDs worth of piano trios is not normally the kind of listening experience I would seek out, as there’s a big risk of stuff just sounding the same. But Powell’s vigorous, forceful playing stands out.
Bobby Hutcherson – Patterns. In honor of his passing I have been listening to a lot of his stuff again; I love the vibes and Hutcherson is one of the great masters. That said, his recordings under his own name tend to be a little soft-edged for my taste; he is responsible for one undisputed jazz classic, Dialogue, but it really sounds more like an Andrew Hill record. But Patterns is a good and often overlooked session, with lovely flute from James Spaulding.
Prince Buster – Fabulous Greatest Hits. The King of Ska is dead, long live the king; too many obituaries of late. This greatest hits record is in fact the only readily available recording by Prince Buster; to hear much, much more, don’t miss Steve Barker‘s great four-part radio tribute.