Since I was a very small boy, music has always made an important part of my life. For my 9th birthday I received my first LP from my aunt; Alice Cooper – “Billion Dollar Babies” and since then I’ve build up a small collection of over 200 albums that I listened to on an old hifi installation that my parents gave me when they bought a new one. Several years later I bought a Marantz audiorack consisting of a tuner, an integral amplifier and cassettedeck later completed with an equalizer and timer reproducing by big Philips 200 W bass-reflex loudspeakers and from that moment audio and music got much more serious to me. In 1984 I bought the Philips CD-104 player, at about one year after the introduction of the CD, and I began to re-discover my favourite albums. Once I had a stable job, I started to build up a complete hifi system first build up around the small hybrid Martin Logan Aerius floorstanding loudspeakers changed later by the Linkwitz' Orion dipoles; which are still my musical reference. I will come back on my audio system in the near future.
Actually I have a collection of over 1700 cd’s distributed in the following way:
New Age and World Music:...........23 %
I have been so lucky to live my youth during the, in my opinion, most creative period of pop/rock music (1970 – 1985) that gave birth to incredible groups and artists. Beside listening to the radio and records, I loved and still love visiting Pop-Concerts and Pop-Festivals.
Although I have quite a big collection of albums, of course I have my favourite ones.
The choice was so difficult to make but here are the best of the best (by genre and in alphabetic range):
1. JAN AKKERMAN – JAN AKKERMAN (1977)
Jan Akkerman is without any doubt the very best dutch electric guitar player, who can be mentioned fearless among the best of the world. His painstaking, awesome scales are exceptionally quick and are still seeking their rival. I remember when he launched this album, he was invited to the dutch TV broadcast show “The Willem Duys Show”; he was going to play the song “Skydancer” and a greengrocer who was just interviewed hit his Gibson Les Paul guitar when leaving the scenario, it fall on the ground and was completely untuned. Two minutes later Jan played and nobody noticed until the Monday newspaper.
2. HERMAN BROOD & HIS WILD ROMANCE – CHA CHA (1978)
Dutch artist who got fame at the end of the seventies as musician and painter in Holland and committed suicide on 11 July 2001 jumping of the roof of the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam. Lived a life full with sex, drugs and alcohol. Pseudo live album with great songs performed with speed.
3. CAMEL – NUDE (1981)
Camel is group dominated by Andrew Latimer that has made several good songs and albums with an own style, but did not get to the absolute top. They have several great numbers like Selva, Reflections (my two favourites), Captured (this song really excites me!), Lies, West Berlin, Whispers in the Rain, etc.
4. MARIAH CAREY – EMOTIONS (1991)
One of the great female voices of the eighties that arrives to exceptional heights, that she showcases superbly, and will maintain your attention until the last song. This CD meant her definitive breakthrough although I also could have chosen the Music Box album. Can’t Let Go and Till The End Of Time are very, very special and Mariah is ...crème brûlée...
5. COLDPLAY – X&Y (2005)
Coldplay is for me one of the most attractive new pop groups; they have a very particular style and own sound. The trainer of the F.C.Barcelona (Pep Guardiola) uses their music during the training and before the match.
6. CHRISTOPHER CROSS – CHRISTOPHER CROSS (1979)
The first and best album of Christopher Cross, a modest Californian whose songs are timeless and relax me. Beautiful ballads that get a lot of deepness thanks to the special tender voice of Christopher and the back-up vocals of Michael McDonald.
7. DEEP PURPLE – MADE IN EUROPE (1976)
8. DEEP PURPLE – MADE IN JAPAN (1972)
Two live albums of this british rock group led by that time by Ritchie Blackmore, who later founded his Rainbow. Splendid guitar solo’s, two great singers (first Ian Gillan at Made in Japan and later David Coverdale), one of the best drummers (Ian Paice) and not to be forgotten keyboardplayer John Lord. Nearly all my favourite rock-groups consisted in bands with lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboards and drums. Deep Purple is still active, they were going to visit Zaragoza a year ago, I had already bought the entrance, but unfortunately the concert got cancelled due to heavy rain that flooded the hall.
9. THE EAGLES – HOTEL CALIFORNIA (1976)
This classic is a must for everyone who has grown up during the end of the seventees. I remember we were on a one week schooltrip by sailboat on the IJsselmeerlake in the centre of the Netherlands, and a New Kid in Town and Hotel California were absolute hits at that time.
10. EARTH, WIND & FIRE – RAISE! (1981)
Very professional black American soul/funk group. This is one of their best albums although I could have added Gratitude, Powerlight, Millenium and many others. Maurice White and Philip Bailey are two remarkabe artists of that period. I visited one of their concerts in the Ahoy Hall of Rotterdam that was an unforgettable show.
11. EKSEPTION – GREATEST HITS (1973)
Ekseption is one of those incredible talented (dutch) groups that did not get to the top due to not being English or American. Led by Rick van der Linden they made a great number of pop arrangements of classic music “hits” at the beginning of the seventies. The 5th, Air, Rondo, Peace Planet, Adagio and the Sabre Dance are really “Ekseptional”.
12. DONALD FAGEN – THE NIGHTFLY (1982)
This is a must that cannot fail in your cd collection. Excellent and beautifully recorded magic performance when digital recording just showed up. A true Sonic Blockbuster. Fagen is known for his use of complex jazz harmonies, elaborate arrangements, and exacting attention to detail–all anomalies in the pop-rock genre. Fagen launched a successful, if sporadic solo career in 1982, spawning three albums to date.
13. FLEETWOOD MAC – GREATEST HITS (1988)
Rhiannon, Go your own way, Gypsy, Sara, Little Lies, Dreams, Seven Wonders, this album is a sum up of great songs of a great band. The only member present in the band from the very beginning is its namesake drummer, Mick Fleetwood and the best band composition was between 1975-1987, with Mick Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie, Lindsay Bingham and Stevie Nicks.
14. FOREIGNER – THE VERY BEST AND BEYOND (1992)
This group led by splendid lead-singer Mick Jones has made some terrific songs; their breakthrough “Cold As Ice”, and later on “That Was Yesterday”, “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and “I Wanna Know What Love Is” with a female voice at the end that tears me up.
15. PETER FRAMPTON – FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE! (1976)
I’ve listened to this album over a thousand times. The song “Show me the Way”, was the big summerhit of 1976. Light rock music with easy songs and beautiful ballads. Unfortunately Frampton was more popular for being handsome than for his music. This album has no weaknesses for me and can be reproduced in every atmosphere.
16. MICHAEL FRANKS – PASSION FRUIT (1993)
I discovered this artist thanks to a Spanish friend during my University period in Madrid in 1984 when we listened to this disc about 10 times during the car trip in my friend Miguels’ BMW 735i to the carnival of Cádiz. The songs are so pleasant and relaxed, sweet boss-nova rhytm’s with Michaels’ cool voice…
17. FUTURE WORLD ORCHESTRA – MISSION COMPLETED (1982)
Dutch synthesizer pop duo Bernard Oattes & Rob van Schaik who had two hits from this very dynamic album: I’m not Afraid of the Future and Desire.
18. GENESIS – SECONDS OUT (1976)
I love Genesis as a popgroup, I could have mentioned many of their albums I have but the first tones of this one, when Squonk starts, give me goosebumps. I also love the music of Phil Collins, who has made a respectible number of top-albums.
19. JULIO IGLESIAS – EL AMOR (1975)
My Spanish friends will laugh when they read this; as J.I. is considered as very soft music. I started to buy his albums when I got very interested in Spain at the beginning of the eighties and I wanted to get familiar with the Spanish language. Anyway Julio Iglesias’ music is timeless, is appreciated by young and old people and will still be listened to within 100 years.
20. CHRIS ISAAK – WICKED GAME (1991)
Typical american very pleasant to hear country rock album with several great songs like Wicked Game, You Owe Me Some Kind Of Love and Blue Hotel.
21. MICHAEL JACKSON – THRILLER (1982)
This is the biggest success of the just disappeared most popular showman and dancer all times Michael Jackson. I feel especially sad as his decease has been consequence of his overexploitation, like Elvis Presley, by people who have destroyed him hunting for money. R.I.P.
22. KAYAK – THREE ORIGINALS (1998)
This dutch symphonic rock group was (in Holland) quickly called as one of the “SUPER GROUPS” of 1978, but did not deserve that title at an international level. It is still one of the best and most successful dutch groups of that period where Ton Scherpenzeel (later in CAMEL) was the “Alma Mater”, and composed great songs like Starlight Dancer, Ruthless Queen, Phantom of the Night, Anne, Ballad for a Lost Friend, Theme from Spetters II (Movie) and (the beautiful) Irene and Lost Blue of Chartres. Just for these last two tracks it’s worth while buying this trilogy. Three Originals is a re-edition of their three best albums: Starlight Dancer (1977), Phantom of the Night (1978) and Periscope Life (1980).
23. KISS – ALIVE (1975)
Kiss was (is) a hardrock band with a big emphasize on the visual aspect of the music and their live shows. Until a very late stage in their carreer, their four members Gene Simmons, Paul Desmond, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss never showed their real faces as they were always painted. Their music has also an own character. During their concerts, like this one, you can hear plenty of chance-taking guitar solo’s from Frehley and a long drum solo of Criss (for me the best one I’ve ever heard).
24. BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS – BABYLON BY BUS (1978)
The music of Bob Marley accompanied me wherever I was during the parties we celebrated with schoolmates and the feasts during the weekends at that time. I visited his birth-place Nine Miles in Jamaica, where he is buried, and his villa in Kingston that nowadays is the Bob Marley museum. The King of Reggae got so popular at that time that he was much more famous than the politic rulers of his country. A civil war was coming up in Jamaica and Bob tried to intermediate in a political dispute. Considered to be dangerous for the interests of the politicians, some murderers tried to kill him in his garden and shot several times at him. Bob sadly died from a cancer at the age of 36, caused by a wound during a football game. Due to the rastafari religion he was not allowed to operate and therefore the wound had fatal complications.
25. MARILLION – MISPLACED CHILDHOOD (1985)
This is for me the most interesting work of this group, that changed its style when “FISH” left the band and started an entire new period with a new leadsinger and different, but also very good music. A few years ago I had the opportunity to hear and see them live in Madrid during the Anoraknophobiatour, and after the concert I spoke personally with the members of the band who signed me the Unplugged at the Walls cd.
26. PAUL McCARTNEY & WINGS – ALL THE BEST! (1987)
Great work that reunites the most creative Paul McCartney with outstanding songs like the fantastic Band on the Run, Ebony and Ivory, Silly Love Songs, Coming Up, No More Lonely Nights, Say Say Say, Live and Let Die and many others.
27. MICHAEL McDONALD – SWEET FREEDOM (1986)
Michael McDonald is a very discrete singer with an exceptional unique powerful voice. He started his solo career after leaving the Doobie Brothers and appeared many times as backing vocal at great songs like f.e. Ride Like the Wind (Christopher Cross) and many others.
28. GEORGE MICHAEL – LADIES & GENTLEMEN, THE BEST OF (1998)
This is a resume of the great musical career of this Italian artist where I can listen to every day. For me, Michael is one of the most versatile contemporary singers, able to understand the art to maintain himself at the top with different styles over the years.
29. OCTOBER PROJECT – OCTOBER PROJECT (1993)
This is a rather unknown group which first album has 12 great songs that are played with tempo changes that enhance your interest, accentuated by both the female voices of Mary Fahl and Julie Flanders.
30. ALAN PARSONS PROJECT – I ROBOT (1977)
31. ALAN PARSONS PROJECT – PYRAMID (1978)
These are the two most important works of Parsons together with “A Turn Of A Friendly Card”. Technically very good performed dynamic songs. I visited one of his concerts in one of the just opened halls of the Auditory of Zaragoza. There was just celebrated one concert before the one of Parsons and the hall was critizised by the press due to its terrible acoustics. Parsons was advised about this problem and made the hall sounding like nobody expected. Parsons got fame as audio engineer thanks to the production of The Beatles' Abbey Road and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon, for which he received a Grammy nomination.
32. PINK FLOYD – ANIMALS (1977)
33. PINK FLOYD – WISH YOU WERE HERE (1975)
34. PINK FLOYD – THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (1974)
One of these days, Echoes, Sheep and Wish You Where Here are my very favourite pieces of Pink Floyd, one of my all time most preferred rock bands. Their music simply needs no explanation, it’s so beautiful and technically perfect… Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to go to their concerts, my visit to Water’s In The Flesh Tour in Barcelona compensated a bit. I felt very sad when the band split, and especially because of the problems between its members. Fortunately time has healt the deepest wounds and Pink Floyd reunited at the LIVE8 festival. Sadly it will never happen again, as Rick Wright has passed on December 15th 2008 due to a cancer. From the rest, David Gilmour is actually having a quite successful solo-career and Roger Waters is active in different proyects.
35. QUEEN – MADE IN HEAVEN (1995)
36. QUEEN – A DAY AT THE RACES (1976)
37. QUEEN – A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1975)
Queen is another of my very favourite pop/rock groups. The Bohemian Rhapsody is (for me) without any doubt one of the most complete songs that exist. A Night At The Opera and A Day At The Races are my preferred albums. After several good albums but that did not reach the level of the two ones mentioned before, Queen said goodbye with Made In Heaven, during which Freddy Mercury was already deeply hit by the AIDS disease, and attended with great difficulties the recording of this last album, that in my opinion reached again the standards of the after the movies of the Marx Brothers mentioned albums. Queen has reunited several times, one succesful one with George Michael and Brian May started a solo career as well as Roger Taylor.
38. RAINBOW – ON STAGE (1977)
I preferred Rainbow above Deep Purple, thanks to the exceptional voice of their singer Ronnie James Dio. This album has a speedy start with Kill The King and the Medley of The Man On The Silver Mountain, Blues and Starstruck. Catch The Rainbow and Mistreated are also very good and the finisher Still I’m Sad is an absolute killer.
39. LOU RAWLS – THE COLLECTION (1989)
I love the voice of Lou Rawls; profound, powerful and tender. This album is a summary of all great songs of his career; apart from being a good singer, Lou seemed to be an excellent person with great values.
40. THE ROLLING STONES – “STILL LIVE” (American Concert 1981)
The Rolling Stones is an immortal group for the most lovers of Rock Music. Especially this album, with Under My Thumb, Let’s Spend The Night Together, Going To A Go-Go, Shattered, Start Me Up, Satisfaction etc. represents their best Live Music during the top of their career, before commercial interest prevailed before the music.
41. SANTANA – MOONFLOWER (1977)
Santana is a consolidated mexican artist with some extraordinary songs which are best performed on Moonflower. He makes his guitar “talking” and this instrument has a big emphasize on all he does.
42. SEAL – SEAL 1 (1991)
This album is for me one of the three or four biggest discoveries of the nineties’. The first song of the album; The Beginning, is my favourite song and Crazy and Killer became tophits as well as the Kiss For A Rose of Seal II. The history of Seal’s live is worth while reading it over.
43. SIMPLE MINDS – IN THE CITY OF LIGHT (LIVE) (1987)
The Simple Minds has a very similar career like U2; both groups have much in common, regarding the sense of their songs (religious background) especially at the start of their career. Simple Minds made beautiful songs like Waterfront, Promise You A Miracle, New Gold Dream, Someone Somewhere In The Summertime, Alive And Kicking, Don’t You Forget About Me, Sanctify Yourself etc. but did not reach the popularity of U2, although they deserved it.
44. AL STEWART – BROADWAY HOTEL(1976)
This is the most popular disc of Al Stewart, with the two hits The Year Of The Cat and Broadway Hotel. I love both of them, but, after having heard the first one so many times, I like Broadway Hotel more due to the speed and the solo of the exciting spanish guitar during the song.
45. BARBRA STREISAND – MEMORIES (1981)
According the statistics it seems that I prefer male voices over the female ones but there are some exceptions. Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Diana Ross and especially Barbra Streisand are the big exceptions. Barbra has an incredible vibrating delightful tender voice as smooth as velvet. Especially Memory, No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) and Evergreen (Love Theme From A Star Is Born) are superb.
46. SUPERTRAMP – BREAKFAST IN AMERICA (1979)
47. SUPERTRAMP – CRIME OF THE CENTURY (1974)
Supertramp has made several fantastic albums during the top of their career. When other groups normally lack the inspiration to maintain the level of quality after getting popular, Supertramp has produced quite a number of top albums. Beside these I also love “Even In The Quietest Moments” with the outstanding “Fools Overture”. Since Rodger Hodgson left in 1983, the capacity to compose dramatically reduced and the group never reached the level of the former period again.
48. TOTO – PAST TO PRESENT 1977 – 1990 (1990)
Toto became very popular in my homecountry Holland. They have made fantastic hits, starting from “Hold The Line”, “Africa”, “Rosanna”, “I Won’t Hold You Back”, “Stop Loving You” and “99”. Over the years I have followed the musical careers of David Paich, the brothers Porcaro and Steve Lukather, who are, in my opinion, great musicians.
49. TEARS FOR FEARS – TEARS ROLL DOWN (GREATEST HITS) (1992)
I can listen to this album night and day, it never fails to delight. It is really one of those few albums from which all songs are fantastic. Tears For Fears has an own, unique and different concept of making music.
50. URIAH HEEP – LIVE JANUARY 1973 (1973)
This Live album of Uriah Heep is very good, although my election is mainly based on the hits “Look At Yourself” and “Easy Livin’ ”.
51. U2 – THE BEST OF 1980 – 1990 (1998)
Over the years U2 has made a great number of hits and nowadays can probably be considered one of the best modern Rock Bands, from which every concert is a real happening. Pride, that has a very special significance for me, is my very favourite song followed by New Years Day, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Unforgettable Fire, I Will Follow and many, many more.
52. VARIOUS ARTISTS - MIAMI VICE II (1986)
Themes from the popular television series “Miami Vice”. Especially Crockett’s Theme and In Dulce Decorum together with other themes from famous artists are unforgettable.
53. ROGER WATERS – IN THE FLESH (2000)
I was so lucky to go to this concert in Barcelona, on May 8, 2002 in the Palau Sant Jordi. As I never had the opportunity to go to Pink Floyd, I had been waiting for this concert over 25 years and it was worth while. What surprised me was the outstanding sound quality; they played hard but it was so well defined… It’s a Miracle really moved me. The seamless first-rate recording has such a sense of reality that it makes you feel as if you were "there".
54. JOHNNY GUITAR WATSON – A REAL MOTHER (1977)
During the time this album came out, I had a friend who played this record every day just after waking up at a sound pressure of at about 80 dB; as he was a nightfly this was always at about 2 p.m. The deep bass-tones of this music sounded so profound; plenty of years later I still love it.
55. YES – CLOSE TO THE EDGE (1972)
56. YES – GOING FOR THE ONE (1977)
Yes is another of those inmortal progressive Rock Bands of the seventy-eighties. Beside these, they have made other great albums but for me these are most representative. The Siberian Khatru will never stop exciting me. The remarcable voice of Jon Anderson has determined the image of the group during all years, with just a small exception during 1980-81. Other important band-members were Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White.
NEW AGE/WORLD MUSIC
57. VICENTE AMIGO – VIVENCIAS IMAGINADAS (1995)
Vicente Amigo is one of the most popular Flamenco Guitar Players of today. He can be considered as the follower of Paco de Lucía. This album is especially beautiful and emotional with an intense Amigo acting in his comfort zone. His gypsy roots cannot be denied; plenty of soul with outpouring virtuosity; a true genius, speachless. Highly recommended.
58. DANIEL BARENBOIM – MI BUENOS AIRES QUERIDO, TANGOS AMONG FRIENDS (1996)
Daniel Barenboim is an argentinian jew, mainly known as a classic piano player and orchestra director. In this majestic album he shows his versatility and love for the town and country where he was born and grown up. I have great respect for the efforts Barenboim is doing to get peace between Israel and Palestina.
59. CLANNAD – MACALLA (1985)
I have nearly all albums of Clannad; Macalla is one of the best ones. This music relaxes me profound, the voice of Maire is very tender but exciting. In terms of speed the music of Clannad is very dynamic but at the same time sensitive, gentle and sometimes wistful. “Caislean Õir”, “The Wild Cry” and the popular hit “In A Lifetime” are songs that make you marvel and I count among my selection of the best of the best.
60. DEEP FOREST – WORLD MIX (1992)
Preparing all necessary for a Trade-Fair in Paris, we needed a stewardess for my by that time companies’ stand. So Saturday night going out to Paris to find one together with my mate. And we found one, a very sympathic and goodlooking Cuban girl called Jackeline. She turned out to be a very good piano player and accompanied the French group Deep Forest on their live-tours. When we sad goodbye she gave me this cd together with “Boheme”, both dedicated, which music I truly love.
61. JOSÉ LUIS ENCINAS – AURORA (1999)
Beautiful, easy to listen relaxed Spanish Guitar music. I have several albums of Encinas, in which the music dominates; he plays very well but is not to been mentioned in one breathe among other great guitar players of this list.
62. THE ITCH – PRESENT (2001)
I discovered The Itch during the “opening act” of Marrillion in Madrid about six years ago. He played all alone backed up with a tape and his guitar music was warm, clear with an intimate sound, so beautiful, that I preferred it above the concert of Marrillion.
63. JEAN MICHEL JARRE – THE CONCERTS IN CHINA (1982)
64. JEAN MICHEL JARRE – OXYGENE (1976)
I bought my first L.P. of Jean Michel Jarre, Oxygene, in London in 1976 in a huge 3 floor music warehouse. Jean Michel Jarre was the first artist to make synthesizer music popular with this album. All following discs were also extraordinary good, but these are the two I prefer. Beside his beautiful music Jarre has organized some outstanding concerts; the ones of China, Houston, la Defénse - Paris (2.000.000 people!), The 12 Dreams of the Sun show next to the Pyramids of Egypt, the Acropolis and the concert of The Forbidden City of Beijing.
65. GIDON KREMER – HOMMAGE A PIAZZOLLA (1996)
I love tangos, you can see several tango albums among my very favourite’s. This album of Gidon Kremer is a very good one, this Riga born violin player, son of a survivor of the Holocaust, interprets Piazzolla with comprehension and perfection.
66. NIGHTNOISE – SHADOW OF TIME (1993)
The music and style of Nightnoise is very similar to Clannad. They make beautiful music that makes me very relaxed and that I prefer to listen to on Sunday afternoon, when the weekend is finishing.
67. CHRIS SPHEERIS – CULTURE (1993)
68. CHRIS SPHEERIS & PAUL VOUDOURIS – ENCHANTMENT (1991)
Chris Spheeris is an American artist of greekish origin, what is highly noticed in his music. All his albums are very well recorded, it’s a pleasure to listen to on a good hi-fi installation. The exquisite relaxed Spanish guitar is the dominating instrument on all songs. Buying the music of Spheeris, one has to be a bit careful as several albums are edited with different covers.
69. TANGERINE DREAM – FORCE MAJEURE (1979)
Tangerine Dream has both made very good as some disappointing albums. This one is a very beautiful composition one has to listen to with attention.
70. VANGELIS – THEMES (1989)
Vangelis needs no introduction; he has made quite a lot of extraordinary albums, mainly original sound tracks for movie’s like Blade Runner, Mutiny On The Bounty, Chariots Of Fire, Missing and many more. They are all undescribable, like a fountain overflowing.
71. LITO VITALE – DESDE CASA (1998)
72. LITO VITALE CUARTETO – LA SENDA INFINITA (1989)
73. LITO VITALE CUARTETO – ESE AMIGO DEL ALMA (1988)
Lito Vitale is another artist that has to be discovered, I mean that one cannot hear him frequently on the radio. A lot of years ago in Madrid, I was having a cup of coffee with a businessrelation when “Ese Amigo Del Alma” sounded in the pub. It was so beautiful, and I asked my friend if he knew the author. He turned out to be a fan of him and he gave me all necessary explanations. A few days later I bought the album, and within a few months a nearly had all his discs. His music can be defined as new age with a deep argentinian character. In the 1990s, Vitale recorded several tango standards with Juan Carlos Baglietto, and was awarded a Latin Grammy for their collaboration in 2000. Also during those years, Vitale recorded a more jazz-like project with Lucho González and flute player Rubén Mono Izarrualde. This formation performed in the 1998 Montreux Jazz Festival.
74. ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER – TRILOGY (WHITE WINDS (1984), CAVERNA MÁGICA (1983), BEHIND THE GARDENS, BEHIND THE WALL, UNDER THE TREES (1981))
Andreas Vollenweider is another of my New Age hero’s. His electronic harp sounds so fresh, rich and with such a clarity on this impeccable recorded trilogy. Years ago, when he was still quite unknown, I saw him performing live in the Fleta Theatre in Zaragoza, with a very small audience. It was a marvellous experience.
As like most artists, the first albums of Vollenweider are the best; after 15 years he starts to discover new paths to renovate his music and the result is sometimes acceptible and other times not.
Vollenweider has worked together with different artists, like f.e. Bobby McFerrin, Carly Simon, Djivan Gasparyan, Luciano Pavarotti, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Carlos Núñez, Ray Anderson and Milton do Nascimento.
75. YANNI – OUT OF SILENCE (1987)
Yanni a self-toaught greek-american pianist, is also a must for the New Age lover. Especially this album is extraordinary, without any doubt his best work. What most people don't know is that he was a very competitive swimmer during his yought in Greece where he set a national record on the 50 meter freestyle competition.
76. MARC BERTHOUMIEUX – LES COULEURS D’ICI (1998)
I discovered this French accordion player of north African origin in a second-hand cd-shop. The cover moved me to listen and I bought the disc; I did not feel disappointed, this is a very beautiful album. “Vent Du Sud” is the most beautiful song.
77. AL DI MEOLA – DI MEOLA PLAYS PIAZZOLLA (1996)
Al Di Meola is one of the best spanish and electric guitar players. From his albums this is the one I prefer, due to my love for Piazzollas’ tango’s, that he performs very well. This recording gives the music a hyper-real sense.
78. AL DI MEOLA, JOHN McLAUGHLIN, PACO DE LUCÍA – FRIDAY NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO (LIVE) (1981)
This is a live concert with the most astonishing high-speed pyrotechnics guitar solos I have ever heard. It seems to be a true battle between the three protagonists, this album is a must for any guitar lover.
79. NIELS LAN DOKY – THE ASIAN SESSIONS (1999)
I discovered this beautiful music during an audition of Goldmund Audio Equipment in the main listening-room of Hifi-Station 2000 in the surroundings of Paris. It was the album “Misty Dawn” and unfortunately the disc was out of stock everywhere, so I decided to e-mail to an address I found somewhere on the internet. My surprise was very big when I got personally answered by Niels Lan Doky; he wrote me a very kind message indicating where I could buy the album. Asian Sessions confirm Doky's solid compositional skills and is a Masterpiece. Superb recording that lets you forget everything but the music.
80. KENNY G. – THE COLLECTION (1990)
I don’t know if I must classify this album within Jazz or New-Age, maybe NA is more precise. Kenny G. is probably the most popular soprano saxophone player from the moment. This album is a summary of his best and sweetest songs and a pleasure to listen to.
81. RICHARD GALLIANO – VIAGGIO (1993)
Galliano is a French accordion virtuoso. During my frequent trips to France some years ago a friend in Biarritz made me aware of his beautiful music. Galliano has been a disciple from Astor Piazzolla, who influenced him a lot in his later career. Some years ago he played live in Zaragoza and my surprise was that alive he played even better than on the studio recordings.
82. STAN GETZ – APASIONADO (1990)
83. STAN GETZ – VOYAGE (1986)
When I was eighteen years old, a friend of mine, alt-sax player, encouraged me to accompany him to a Jazz Concert in the Doelen of Rotterdam (Holland). It turned out to be the best jazz-concert I have been to ever; first played The All Star Swing Quartet, with Monty Alexander, Mickey Rooker, Ray Brown and Milt Jackson and after the pause The Stan Getz Quartet. It took some years before I realized that I have been witness of a live performance of several of the very best Jazz Musicians of the former age.
During the years I discovered most music of Stan Getz, and still until today he is for me the greatest tenor sax ever. He recorded “Apasionado” during the final stage of his cancer of the liver, that sadly finished to soon with his live.
84. MILT JACKSON – THE PROPHET SPEAKS (1994)
85. MILT JACKSON – REVERENCE AND COMPASSION (1993)
See notes on Stan Getz. During the first part of the Doelen Concert, I also fall in love with the music of the magnificent vibes player Milt "Bags" Jackson. It was really an incredible experience to see him playing with so many soul and speed. It was the start of the purchase of a great number of cd’s from Jackson and the Modern Jazz Quartet. During his 50 year career, Jackson became the most relevant vibraphone player before other famous legends like Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo, Bobby Hutcherson and Gary Burton. The most frequent styles of Bags were Bop and Blues. Below, although not on these albums, a sublime exhibition of Bags' know how with Lament.
86. JACQUES LOUSSIER TRIO – VIVALDI / THE FOUR SEASONS (1997)
The music of Jacques Loussier is a pleasure for my ears hearing the extreme double bass notes on my Linkwitz Orion loudspeakers. Loussier has made a great number of jazz-arrangements of classic music from especially Bach but also Vivaldi, Goldberg and many others.
87. PAT METHENY – IMAGINARY DAY (1997)
88. PAT METHENY – STILL LIVE (TALKING) (1987)
Pat Metheny , one of the most successful and critically acclaimed jazz musicians to come to prominence in the 1970s and '80s makes nice music with an original own sound. Unfortunately I don’t like all his music, f.e. Zero Tolerance For Silence is not my cup of tea but anyway he has made great songs and great albums, these are my two preferred ones. Metheny has played and recorded with musicians such as Jim Hall, Chick Corea, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, Joni Mitchell and many others.
89. THE MODERN JAZZ QUARTET – BLUES AT CARNEGIE HALL (1966)
The Modern Jazz Quartet was a Jazz group of the fiftees/sixtees with superb instrumentalists that made Top Jazz. My love for the way Milt Jackson plays makes me a fan of the MJQ. This concert swings with gusto; I could have mentioned plenty of their records but this one is one of the most representative.
90. JOE SAMPLE – THE PECAN TREE (2002)
Joseph Leslie “Joe” Sample is one of the founding members of the Crusaders. Once I discovered their hit “Streetlife” with the great vocalist Randy Crawford, later on I discovered the solo career of Joe Sample. He was one of the pioneers on the electric keyboard.
91. TOOTS THIELEMANS – HARD TO SAY GOODBYE (THE VERY BEST OF) (2000)
When I was a young boy, once I saw the dutch movie “Turkish Delight”, I fall in love with the theme “Dat Mistige Rooie Beest”, a beautiful, sensible and tender song in which Toots Thielemans was the soloist on his harmonica. Quite a lot of years later, after the introduction of the CD, I tried to discover this artist, and finally heard the beautiful song of the movie back on this record, that sounds like its title says, to his very last one.
92. BEBO VALDÉS & DIEGO CIGALA – LAGRIMAS NEGRAS (2003)
One of my biggest musical discoveries and surprises of the last decade is without doubt this album; a fusion of traditional Cuban music of Bebo with the Flamenco voice of Diego Cigala that exudes unabashed charm. Especially the DVD of this record is an unforgettable experience; the fingers of Bebo dance with great rhytm over the keys of the piano like nobody but the Cubans know how to do. For me this phenomenal piano player, who has been big bandleader in the Tropicana during the fourtees and fiftees, is one of the most representative people of the classic Cuban music.
93. GROVER WASHINGTON JR. – THE BEST OF (1993)The saxophone (tenor, alto, soprano or baritone) is one of my favourite instruments. Along my hottest hundred albums you can find quite a number of sax players. Grover Washington Jr. was one of the founding fathers of Smooth Jazz Music. I love this kind of music and you can find a lot of good stuff on this album where he cooks with feeling like Winelight, Just the Two of Us, East River Drive, Let It Flow, More Than Meets The Eye, In The Name Of Love and many more.
94. WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART – REQUIEM IN RE MENOR KV.626 (WIENER PHILARMONIKER – BÖHM) (1971)
Although I mention very few classic albums, I love to listen to it, especially on Sunday morning. I can listen to any work of Mozart at any time. This Requiem is so beautiful and the performance by Böhm is extraordinary, emotive and profound.
95. WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART – DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE (WIENER PHILARMONIKER – SOLTI, LORENGAR, DEUTEKOM) (1969)
The Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) is my favourite Opera; I have some 9 different versions of it. Although this one is not the best recording, the performance is out of the question. Solti has understood this composition perfectly and choosed with the sublime voices of Pilar Lorengar as Pamina and Cristina Deutekom as the Queen of the Night two of the foremost interpreters.
96. ITZHAK PERLMAN – VIRTUOSO VIOLIN (1974)
The violin is another of my favourite instruments. Perlman belongs to the range of very best violin players and this album endorses it. His technique, soul, sensability, speed... is nearly unmatched. Zapateado is a true tour de force with volatile improvisation; an absolute must for all violin lovers.
97. TCHAIKOVSKY – SWAN LAKE, NUTCRACKER SUITE (ISRAEL PHILARMONIC ORCH. – MEHTA) (1983)
Once I got involved with classic music, Tchaikovsky was one of the first composers I liked and I got familiar with. The Swan Lake and the Nutcracker Suite are two very popular pieces to start to discover C.M. This edition is one of the best I know; a very good well defined recording with deep acoustic bass and excellent copper instrument performance.
98. ANTONIO VIVALDI – THE FOUR SEASONS (PINA CARMIRELLI – I MUSICI) (1982)
Together with the Magic Flute, The Four Seasons is one of my other very favourite classic pieces; I actually owe 13 different versions of it. I don’t know if it is because Carmirelli was Italian, but without any doubt for me this is, head and shoulders, the very best version of the most famous composition of Vivaldi. Pina understood this concert so well; she plays with deep soul, emotion, exciting speed, climax and great timing.
99. RICHARD WAGNER – FAVOURITE OVERTURES (WIENER PHILARMONIKER - SOLTI) (1983)
I have been doubting long time to include this version or Wagner - Karajan. I prefer Tannhäuser of Karajan, but the Walkirie of Solti. It’s a difficult choice, but I finally choosed for Solti; the exciting, explosive, dynamic and speedy version of Die Walküre is brought with realism and for me unbeatable.
100. ADAGIO (BERLINER PHILARMONIKER - KARAJAN) (1989)
Among my favourite classic albums, Karajan cannot fail. This is a tremendous collection of adagios; Death of Ase, Canon, Adagietto, al Santo Sepolcro, Air, Valse Triste and many more are performed with considerable nuance and subtility and settle the reference for adagio lovers. Although not from this album, as a tribute to Karajan, below the video of Tannhäuser by the Berliner Philarmoniker.
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