5 + 1

Alberto Diaz Rodriguez/Rock On checks out MG’s five favourite albums (plus 1):

Silent Way 1 Miles Davis / ‘In a Silent Way’
A genre-spawning work which presaged today’s cut-and-paste technology. Some sublime performances from Miles and John McLaughlin, and some determinedly minimal hi-hat from Tony Williams – the reasons were given in a contemporary interview. This was the beginning of a radical and new approach to contemporary music, fusing jazz, rock and studio technology as never before.The reason for the minimal drums? Tony Williams’ new band Lifetime were all invited to perform on the session, and he felt his new band was about to be stolen. As a result, he told (keyboardist) Larry Young to go home, and restricted his tone palette to a single instrument, at least on the title track. The proposal later came from the Davis camp that Lifetime should be the new Davis quartet lineup. The offer was turned down, and Lifetime went on to create such masterpieces as #3 below.
Monkjack 2 Jack Bruce / ‘Monkjack’
One of my favourite bassists decides to make an album featuring no bass at all, just his piano and plangent vocals, supported by Bernie Worrell’s organ. Just as well that it’s sublime. The highlight is his version of his own tune ‘Folksong’, originally from Harmony Row. It may come as no surprise that he was the bassist in Lifetime’s second album… or it may not.
3 Tony Williams Lifetime / ‘Turn It Over’ (Bill Laswell mix)
Laswell revisited this 1970 release in 1999, creating an acceptable mix rather than the shrill thing which was originally released by Polydor. He also undid some of the rather savage edits, revealing untold delights missing from the original album, including a magnificent bass and drums duet. All performers (drummer Willliams, guitarist John McLaughlin, Larry Young on Hammond organ and bassist Jack Bruce) were at the peak of their performing powers. Unfortunately, it appears not to have been commercially released.
4 King Crimson / ‘Discipline’
Prog-rock at its most polyrhythmic, with Adrian Belew’s keening vocals providing a focal point for some wacky, meter-bending guitar wizardry, rotund bass and off-the-wall drumming. This and the next two KC albums were in a league of their own.
5 The Beatles / ‘The Beatles’ aka ‘The White Album’ ‘
What is there to say, except about ‘Ob La Di Ob La Da’? The zenith of pop creativity. How much better could pop music get? None more, not any more, as David St Hubbins would have it.
And the one:
Carla Bley / ‘Escalator Over the Hill’
After years of building up enough courage to approach this apparently seminal double album, which also includes contributions from Jack Bruce, John McLaughlin et al, I finally bought it, only to find that it was sprawling and unfocused. I do keep trying to crack it, though.

Penetrating Qs from Alberto Diaz Rodriguez (Spanish original)