It seemed like a good idea in the meeting ...
68. Mickey Roker and Stanley Turrentine
Easy Walker / Blue Note, 1966
Though he never recorded a solo album as a leader, drummer Mickey Roker created more snap, crackle and pop than other more acknowledged jazz stick-lers of the '60s. This session with tenor guru Stanley Turrentine finds Roker slapping the skins and firing the soloists with his wonderfully urbane and sophisticated approach. Like fatback wrapped in silk, Roker's groove swings hard, but his snare-drum accents and cymbal embellishments are surprisingly graceful and deft. Easy Walker's menu includes conservative choices like "What the World Needs Now" and "Wave," but the band (McCoy Tyner, Bob Cranshaw) is so in the pocket, the music simply floats. Roker continues to hold down a monthly residence at Ortlieb's Jazzhaus, where young musicians bask in the glow of his illuminating presence.
69. Stanley Clarke
School Days / Epic, 1976
Though you could easily point to his innovative acoustic work with Chick Corea or Joe Farrell, or even his ignored leadership role in fusion supergroup Vert�, Stanley Clarke will forever be remembered for School Days, his debut as a leader. Recorded at the waning height of the fusion movement, School Days is a joyous album that showcases Clarke's incredibly far-ranging talents. The title track is a tour de force of killer electric bass matched with exceptional compositional skill, while "Quiet Afternoon" reveals a knack for penning the kind of beautiful melodies that would come to serve Clarke in his future role as soundtrack composer. With George Duke, Steve Gadd, John McLaughlin and David Sancious, School Days holds its own nearly 30 years later.
70. Bootsie Barnes Quintet
Boppin' Round the Center / Harvest, 2004
For more than four decades Bootsie Barnes has been playing jazz joints in town. (In recent years he's made Ortlieb's his jam session home, where he plays with some of the city's most revered musicians and vocalists.) Barnes grew up in the Richard Allen Homes with his old pal Bill Cosby. On the title song of Boppin' Round the Center he pays tribute to his childhood at the Richard Allen rec center, where he and Coz would dance the bop. On this wide-ranging LP, Bootsie also does his take on such standards as "Young and Foolish," "All the Way" and "Felicidad." It don't get any more Philly than Bootsie Barnes.
71. Chubby Checker
Your Twist Party / Parkway, 1961
Gauging the lasting impact of Chubby Checker's Your Twist Party depends on whom you ask. The average American would tell you "The Twist" was a catchy tune that started one hell of a dance craze. Chubby Checker would then give said average American an earful. "Don't dare call my dance a craze!" he said in a recent phone interview. "Right now, on the phone, we're doing the Alexander Graham Bell. If you got the lights on in your office, you're doing the Thomas Edison. Whenever you dance on the floor with somebody, you're not touching them and you're doing something with each other, that happened on American Bandstand in two minutes and 42 seconds, and the world is still doing it. You gotta understand that." Understood.
72. Christian McBride
Sci-Fi / Polygram, 2000
Everyone's loves his acoustic bass playing, but Christian McBride's Sci-Fi is an electric blowout that features covers of Steely Dan's "Aja" and Weather Report's "Havona" played by a fiery band that eats jazz standards for lunch. As if throwing his acoustic jazz credentials to the wind, McBride and band (including Herbie Hancock and David Gilmore) attack Sting's "Walking on the Moon" and Stanley Clarke's "Butterfly Dreams" like they're a grudge for a guy who owes them money. Perhaps having played some of the finest acoustic bass of his generation with everyone from Michael Brecker (see No. 41) to Benny Golson, McBride felt the need to reflect the influences of his generation and cast them in this daring new light.
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide