Quintin Zoto – 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 Quintin Zoto 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) 🙂


1) Wes Montgomery Trio – A New Dynamic Sound (1959): This was one of the first “jazz” albums I heard and certainly the first Wes record. The sound of this record from the start to finish had me totally mesmerized for years. Though I don’t think this is the quintessential Wes album in terms of his career, this one has always spoke to me the most. The arrangements of the tunes and the harmonic sounds throughout the album are so hip to me and still sounds so fresh. On this record you get to hear Wes play single note lines, octaves, chord melodies, comping, bebop, blues and its all so killing! 


2) Grant Green – Street Of Dreams (1967): Wes and Grant were my original two heroes of the guitar. My first Grant album was “Talkin’ About!” which I listened to every single day for probably about 2 years straight. However, when I first heard “Street Of Dreams”, the combo of this iconic trio with Bobby Hutcherson somehow sounded so perfect like the universe really meant that to happen! The tunes and arrangements on this record are so hip and Elvin has me dancing my ass off the whole record. Specifically about Grant, his playing on this is so clear, motivic, and melodic. He is is totally singing on his instrument and the blues are in full swing. 


3) Pat Martino & Gil Goldstein – We’ll Be Together Again (1976): Pat Martino, one of the supreme artists of this instrument! I am also from Philadelphia, so Pat was always a hometown hero, though he is an international icon and goes way beyond a place of origin. When I first heard this album, I remember being so moved I felt like I was existing somewhere else. I couldn’t believe that only two instruments created an entire universe like that. Just speaking of the aesthetic of the record, Pats archtop with Gil on the Fender Rhodes might be one of the most amazing combinations I’ve ever heard. They are able to create one sound with each other and the interplay is so incredible. The playing is so deep that even on the standards they create a uniform feeling and tone throughout the entire record. This record messed me up so much I had to spend 2 years around Gil Goldstein exclusively discussing this kind of music and playing and I’m still not over it. Gil told me an interesting story about the first track “Open Road”, saying that he and Jaco were talking in Miami about the record date with Pat coming up and Jaco dared him to bring in something really challenging and different. So Gil thought Pat would need to work it out a bunch and figure it out, but Pat just played it down with him and mastered it in a take or two ! RIP Pat


4) Miles Davis – In A Silent Way (1969): What more can you say about Miles? This album was a turning point not only in guitar, but music all together. Specifically expanding the horizons of what a “jazz guitarist” was expected to play, or role to fulfill. John McLaughlin brought in new sensibilities about the instrument that Miles was able to frame in such an innovative way, though Tony had technically been finding those things just before. And just John’s intro alone on the title track is, in my opinion, one of the single great moments in recorded guitar! 


5) John Scofield – Blue Matter (1986): Sco is a guitar player who was extremely impactful to me when I was young. This record is in my top 5 because it was another pivotal moment in the guitar as a voice in jazz music and what its capabilities were. Sco is able to bring so many different elements into his music while always remaining to sound like himself. This album showcases so many things I love about him. Not only his amazing playing but also his amazing writing! 


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About Lyle Robinson 353 Articles
Lyle Robinson is the owner/creator/publisher and editor of Jazz Guitar Life, an online magazine dedicated to the Jazz Guitar and its community of fine players worldwide.


  1. Hello, while I had listened to Miles and Wes I had not paid attention to this period of Miles career and I have just scratched the surface of Wes beginning to listen to his work just last year. I was really struck by the mood and how quiet both tracks are and have added them to my play list. Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll listen closely to the other tracks in the next few days. I think a link to a playlist in streaming services should accompany these blogs.

    • Hi Tom and thanks for dropping by 🙂 I will look into the playlist idea but have no clue where to start as I do not use streaming services to listen to music. I do have the Jazz Guitar Life podcasts on a variety of such services but I don’t use them for personal listening. I will check out the idea however and there are the YouTube links to each tune which hopefully helped.

      Thanks again for the comment and suggestion and take care.

      Lyle – Jazz Guitar Life

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