Royce Campbell – 5 Desert Island Album Picks

Regardless if you’re a beginning student of Jazz Guitar or an established player, we all have at least five albums that we cannot be without! With that said, Jazz Guitar Life has asked Jazz Guitarist Royce Campbell what his five would be (assuming that he knew before hand that he was going to be stuck on a desert island and that said island had electricity and a full component stereo system) 🙂

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1) Kind of Blue – Miles Davis: How can anybody’s top 5 not include Kind of Blue? There’s a reason why it is the biggest selling mainstream jazz recording of all time. It’s the closest thing to a “perfect” jazz recording as I have ever heard. Everything about it is jazz perfection.

2) Smokin’ at the Half Note – Wes Montgomery: Obviously, Wes is my main influence. If you are going to be influenced might as well be influenced by the best. My uncle, Carroll DeCamp played with Wes in the 50’s and he introduced me to Wes’ music when I was 11. Smokin’at the Half Note is generally considered Wes’ best album. Wes and the band of Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums achieve a looseness in the live setting that is pretty much impossible to achieve in the studio.

3) The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery – Wes Montgomery: Are you that surprised that I would include more than one Wes Montgomery album in my top 5 list? One reason I am attached to the album is for nostalgic reasons. It was the very first jazz album I ever bought. I recall the music being very over my head at the time, but I was fascinated by it and determined to figure out what Wes was doing. I didn’t choose it just for nostalgic reasons, though. It’s also a great album with Tommy Flanagan on piano and the Heath brothers Tootie and Albert filling out the rhythm section.

4) Two Jims and Zoot – Jimmy Raney, Jim Hall and Zoot Sims: One reason I chose this album was to give this album some long overdue recognition. It’s some of the best playing I’ve heard from Hall and Raney. It sounds like they were really inspiring each other. I don’t understand why this album isn’t more well known. When I was a young developing guitarist I wore my LP out. Zoot Sims was kinda just along for the ride because this album was really about the guitarists.

5) Live at Birdland – John Coltrane: I chose this album to show I also like to listen to post-bop jazz. I love Coltrane. Despite the title only the first three tracks were recorded live at Birdland but those three tracks are really strong. Coltrane’s quartet which consists of McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums was definitely one of the greatest jazz groups of all time. It’s been difficult to narrow my list down to just five. I realized I have omitted Charlie Parker. Well, maybe on the next desert island adventure.

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