1. The Rolling Stones | Let's Spend The Night Together
When I think in terms of bands, The Rolling Stones is the first that pops into my mind. The reason is because they are a real band, they're actually making Music as a group where… You know if you pull one of those guys out of there I just can't see it functioning. It's integral. It’s the closest thing to a Jazz… Like a real Jazz group. The Music is spontaneous, which is totally the big deal about playing Jazz, it's like: we're creating something brand new, right in the moment. And I think The Stones do that in the Rock format so eloquently. It’s classic. It’s the Perfect Imperfection.
2. The B-52's | Rock Lobster
The reason why I love them so much is because I hated them. The first time I heard them... My older brother came home with this record, Rock Lobster, and I was like... What is this crap? Get this junk out of my face. But, as Time went on, I began to realize the brilliance of what they were doing. The B-52's Music is evolved. I still have a lot of musician friends that hate them, that don't like them… They think it's crass or whatever, but... They broke a lot of rules, and they put it back together in a seamless, perfect way. Their Music is awesome. I love The B-52’s.
3. Michael Jackson | Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Michael Jackson was like a product. Maybe somebody who wasn’t, you know, fully in control of his life. A person who was born to do something on this planet that required the control of group of people. A system, almost. It made it possible for his incredible talent to do extraordinary work. What he was doing was what all great artists do, which is compiling the works of his predecessors and putting it together in a way that was unique, and representing that, in the latest, up-to-the-minute style. But to do that, of course required innate talent. Michael Jackson is just an extraordinary artist.
4. Sonny Rollins | God Bless The Child (Billie Holiday Cover)
Sonny Rollins is probably the main guy that a lot of my peers who are familiar with the way that I play will often times say, Oh, well, you play like Sonny. I don’t know. I don’t really think I do, but I definitely play more like Sonny than I play like any of the contemporary guys who are around today. I think that Sonny is a guy who has lasted an incredibly long time, so that’s why I like him. 'Cause he’s evolved, he’s mature. And he’s always had this approach that’s like, Don’t mess with me, you know, this is how I sound.
5. Led Zeppelin | Immigrant Song
I think Led Zeppelin is incredible because they’re basically a Blues band, and then they took that early Rock And Roll thing like… And they created this way out, crazy Music. The way I see it… Bebop happened. Bebop happened in the 40’s or something, and that was Blues sped up and mixed with a whole bunch of Classical Music harmony. And then that melded into Doo-Wop, I think. If you listen carefully to Doo-Wop Music, Bebop, early Rock And Roll, and Rockabilly, they are harmonically and rhythmically very very similar. They evolved together as this sort of musical family. That was happening, probably way way back. If you trace it all, it goes way back to the blending of African rhythm with European harmony. And then what do you do with that? You throw in Folk Music from The Americas, and you get Rock And Roll. What Led Zeppelin did was they just took the most basic Blues and early Rock And Roll style, and they put it on eleven. They made it eleven loud! And they did it a way that had incredible integrity. And of course it advanced, I mean it went way into The Future. What those guys did in the 70’s, in my opinion, is still ahead of it’s time, even now. But the fact that they were able to pull it off and happen in their time is also an extraordinary thing. So, that was amazing that that happened.
6. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti | Creepshow
Ariel is an incredible artist. Ariel is my Time Machine… When I hear Ariel’s stuff, it takes me back to the 60’s. Like, when I first started thinking about Composition. When I was a kid I was way into AM Radio, Pop; really cheesy stuff, and Ariel’s Music captures this combination of Innocence and style that the 60’s had. With a forward perspective that’s just outside of our Time-zone. It’s a timeless sound. And it’s pure, it’s purely him. He does it in a way that brings about a melding that’s relevant to everything that we’re conforming to. His Music is really fantastic, and he has influenced me dramatically in so many ways as a writer, I mean he probably gave me more of a boost as a writer than anybody I know personally, that’s for sure.
7. The Supremes | You Can't Hurry Love
Motown. Let’s talk about… Rather than individual artists, let's talk more about movements in the industry within the craft. What happened? I don’t know what happened exactly, this kind of Music was, I think, coming out of the Church, most likely the Gospel Church, and mixing a lot of Pop, a lot of 60’s Pop, and a lineage of Doo-Wop, and early Rock And Roll and all that stuff. So, Motown just came out with this endless stream, this parade of Music that was very influential in my life. The Supremes, The Temptations, everybody. That body of Music influenced me a great deal. And now that I go to church I understand how the Church has been integral to Music. I go to a Gospel Church where they totally get their freak on musically. It’s incredibly real and soulful, it’s amazing. I understand that Music came out of the monasteries, it came out of the Church. That’s where they figured out the scale, chanting and stuff, and the Roots of Music are in Praise. And that’s a tricky thing because now we have diversified so much as a society that you can be… You know, we have Black Metal, but that’s worship too, you’re just worshipping maybe a darker aspect of the Spiritual Realm. There is a place for classics. Fads move too fast for Art. It often takes a lifetime for an artist to come into their own, and so the confusion is that; you can spend your whole life coming up with something that’s truly artistic and then you’re gonna be passé because you took too long. I don’t think it works that way. I think that there’s a timeless component that drives artists and that it’s actually the Future trying to reach into the Now. And, yeah, sometimes it does take an incredibly long time for an artist to get their stuff together, ‘cause it’s complicated and the level of skill needed is very, very high. But, if people are attracted to a particular ambiance or a stylistic feel, then that’s cool.
8. Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto | The Girl From Ipanema (with Astrud Gilberto & Antonio Carlos Jobim) (Pery Ribeiro's 'Garota De Ipanema' Cover)
Stan Getz was a major influence on my sound. But again, what happens when I start talking about this stuff is, I start going into the community, the School of it, this lineage, you know. And this is very evident in the Saxophone World. This kind of stuff is pretty easy to trace.
9. Lester Young | It’s Only A Paper Moon
His sound is smooth and creamy. Sexy saxophone that you hear in a movie when people are getting ready to do the wild thing. That’s a certain body of Sound sonically and harmonically, stylistically, and what note choices are contained in this type of playing. That’s been a big influence on me. They called it Horizontal Improvisation, because it’s going this way. Vertical Improvisation is about the chord tones, which is more popular in Rock And Roll. And then the lineage that goes back, you know, to the Doo-Wop, the Bebop. All that stuff is based on chord tone and notes to get your note choices and your phrasing. Where as in a horizontal improvisational playing, it’s based more on the melody and the melody is flowing in this way, on this plane. What’s happening harmonically is embellishing the anchor of the melody. So, that School of Playing has been a major influence of the way I play the saxophone. But, I am starting to learn how to do the Vertical way, but I do it in the Rock field. I realized in Rock And Roll, sometimes sticking to the chords is the most powerful way to play.
10. The Kinks | You Really Got Me
Bubblegum… I loved Bubblegum, it’s so cool, and that’s an influence. One Hit Wonders, I like one hit wonders. One hit wonders are kind of cool, how it happens... Like... Here’s the guy, here’s his thing, there you go. Boom, dig it.