Ken Karsh – 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 Pittsburgh Jazz Guitarist Ken Karsh 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) Johnny Smith – Moonlight In Vermont: Johnny Smith is the reason why I play jazz. Although Moonlight In Vermont was not my first album featuring Johnny, it is arguably the best representation of his impeccable playing. I am also humbled and proud of the fact that Johnny wrote a testimonial for my first CD Ventana.

2) Pat Martino – East: I first heard this recording at my guitar teacher’s apartment. I was 11 years old. I was listening to the title cut. It was more than just a guitar record to me. It was literally a meditation. I got musically high to this record. The rest of the album showcases Pat’s brilliant playing. Some people have complained about the piano being out of tune on this record. To me, it adds character. Eddie Green played so beautifully. I cherish this album. Pat remains one of my main influences.

3) Wes Montgomery – Boss Guitar: This album, to me, is a textbook example of jazz guitar in Organ. I can listen to Wes anytime with no hesitation. The first record I bought of his was “a day in the life.” That’s a whole other story in itself. I kept coming back to it, despite it being “commercial.” That album led me to Wes’s other superb work, including “Boss Guitar.”

4) Pat Metheny – New Chautauqua: There are so many records of Pat Metheny that I love. I picked this one because it effectively combines jazz with a folk influence. Pat greenlighted playing jazz guitar improvisation over folk grooves. That worked well for me, since I have lived and continue to live in both musical camps.

5) John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner – Sargasso Sea: A masterpiece. Two absolutely brilliant players playing all of who they are. Again, many musical influences here for me. I’m a jazz guy and a folkie and I also live in other areas of music.

There are so many others I could mention…

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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.

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