Mahavishnu Orchestra

Mahavishnu Orchestra was founded by John McLaughlin. Not by Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi, not by Swami Satchidananda. By John. McLaughlin. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about why I hate fusion.

Mahavishnu Orchestra AllMusic page

John Handy

I came across John Handy’s name, and I thought, “I should give him a list. I really don’t know much about these old blues dudes.” Then I found out he’s an avant-garde jazz saxophonist. Which basically proves, I really don’t know much about anything.

John Handy AllMusic page

Joe Henderson

Joe Henderson has an album named Tetragon, which I’ve decided is the coolest album name ever. Which is kind of ironic, because as cool stage names go, I’m pretty sure “Joe Henderson” doesn’t make the top ten.

Joe Henderson AllMusic page

Gonzalo Rubalcaba

New category! In addition to, “Artists Who Were Quite the Looker in Their Younger Days,” we now have, “Artists Who Are Pushing [insert appropriate age here] and Are Still Quite the Looker”! Charter member: Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba AllMusic page

Gil Evans

Not to be confused with Bill Evans. Also, not someone that Marcia threatened to stop speaking to me if I didn’t give him a list. But better safe than sorry.

Gil Evans AllMusic page

Geri Allen

Geri Allen is by far the coolest person I know of named Geri. Of course, the only other person I know of named Geri is my older sister’s mother-in-law. So the competition isn’t exactly fierce.

Geri Allen AllMusic page

Ernesto Lecuona

No, I never heard of him, either. But when three legends (Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and the guy I can’t remember) get together to pay tribute to someone they consider a legend, well … let’s just say he must be at least kind of important.

Ernesto Lecuona AllMusic page

Don Cherry

It takes a special kind of awesome to build a 50-year career out of playing a mini-trumpet.  Throw in the fact that his step-daughter is Neneh Cherry—on whom I had a crush in the 80s, even though she is a girl—and that’s awesome squared.

Don Cherry AllMusic page

Clark Terry

Even setting the awesome music aside, how could you not love a guy who used to do a routine as an old blues dude named Mumbles?

Clark Terry AllMusic page

Chucho Valdes/Irakere

Of the many things I am thankful for, I am thankful that Marcia more or less cajoled me into seeing Chucho Valdes at SF Jazz about a year ago. I still get shivers thinking about that show. And the one this past year with Gonzalo Rubalcaba was, if anything, even more fun. Thanks, Chucho!

Chucho Valdes AllMusic page

Irakere AllMusic page