Chris Flory – 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 Chris Flory 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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Prologue: I am a jazz guitarist, but that has nothing to do with these choices. I choose these because they are beautiful, they move me, and to me, represent a bigger artistic statement that happens to be jazz, which in two instances happens to be on guitar – Chris Flory

1) Bill Evans – Everybody Digs Bill Evans: This is so hard swinging and profoundly beautiful! And it also hits on everything that is most important to me: presentation, integration with the sidemen, and compositional brilliance that is completely natural and mostly improvised.

2) Charlie Christian – The Live Minton’s Sessions: OK, here’s a guitar album! In my youth, it was referred to as “the red Charlie Christian album”, a $1.99 re-issue on Everest/Archive. If you want to be part of the “origin story” of modern electric jazz guitar, then you have to start here. It still holds up brilliantly 80 yrs later, and just count your blessings that YouTube and apps now have various “slowdown” functions to learn/analyze/nail the brilliant playing on this disc. ……back in the day, I would put, say, one of those “Savoy” bridges on 16rpm on the LP, retune for pitch, master the part in that “nearby” key; and THEN get it up to speed, and re-learn it back in the correct key……. but I learned that MF, haha!

3) Erroll Garner – Concert By The Sea: I could say a lot similar to what I said about the Bill Evans record, plus this: Erroll is like just a force of nature, and so perfectly contained in the unity of his style and presentation. You’re just pulled along by it! Erroll Garner was a BIG influence on my playing in my younger years.

4) Duke Ellington – Live at The Crystal Ballroom, Fargo, ND, 1940: There is so much Duke Ellington out there that it’s hard to seize on just one thing, but this double LP presents Duke at mid-century at the height of his powers. This is American Classical Music and there is just so much here, and so much beauty and brilliance from the sidemen as well – Hodges, Webster, Blanton. There’s a whole WORLD in this concert.

5) Bill Doggett – Hot Doggett: If you like blues-influenced jazz guitar playing, then you maybe need to dig a little deeper than Benson, Grant Green, etc.  At a certain point, there was a whole sub-genre of (very popular) organ/guitar/tenor “R&B” that had a totally organic and really swinging groove for all the instrumentalists involved. Billy Butler is the guitar player on this one and he is great— great sound, great ideas, great unison playing. This LP is just really nicely “of a piece” and even if the riff-tunes sound a little similar to each other, the GROOVE is happening throughout. And if you like this guitar, check out Bill Jennings and Floyd Smith for more of this world!  

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2 Comments

  1. Cool! I’ve been playing 8 hours a day for most of my life and although I’m sure I listened to these….I will revisit them. As far as jazz guitar goes Wes pretty much is the standard and then the guys under him…George, Pat, John. Sign me up for this newsletter. I would love to write something from my own experience and knowledge to help the community! Lmk and I’ll discuss something people hopefully can gravitate to. Thanks!!

    • Hi Alan and thanks for the comment and for the offer to contribute to Jazz Guitar Life. I will send an email to you soon and we can discuss such ideas further.

      Take care and all the best.

      Lyle – Jazz Guitar Life

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