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10 Seconds: Guido Spannocchi

1. Eddie Harris - The Shadow of Your Smile ("Love Theme from "The Sandpiper") (1'03" - 1'13")

From Eddie Harris - The In Sound (1966)

"The pick up of that piano solo is the definition of swing, Cedar Waltons incredibly relaxed fill into this slightly minimalistic start of his solo together with the rhythm section grooves so hard it immediately puts a smile on your face. Ron Carter on bass and Billy Higgins on drums is probably one of my favourite combinations. The whole tune is filled with joy and just so relaxed, I recommend you check out Eddie Harris’ solo, the way he throws those altissimos casually into his bluesy-gospel infused lines is just beautiful."

2. Jeff Beck - Blackbird (0'13" - 0'23")

From Jeff Beck - You Had It Coming (2001)

"I can still remember the first time I heard this tune, the record had just come out and my uncle a die hard Jeff Beck fan played me the whole album in his car outside my grandmother’s, being into jazz I first didn’t quite know what to do with it or how to access this in my brain but this particular tune not only shows Beck’s incredible skill on the guitar but also his unbelievable musicality and sensitivity to his environment. Borderline cheesy with the reverb this is just such a great piece of music, these ten sections particularly show Beck’s skill. Rumours have it Messiaen went to the forest to copy melodies from birds and apparently Charlie Parker did the same, there’s a long tradition which is very audible in this particular piece of Beck’s playing."

3. Charles McPherson - I Can't Get Started (0'38" - 0'48")

From Charles McPherson = Live at the Five Spot (1966)

"As popular as the phrase “underrated” might be Charles McPherson should really be more of a household name, hardly any living saxophonist breathes so much tradition yet has such a free way of playing. In the head of this tune he goes off piste and still nails the important corners so effortlessly it’s almost painful. I can’t get over his playing, the sound, the way he approaches the written parts yet always comes up with something new which is always equally strong as the actual composition on which he bases his lines. In this case the rhythm section is a who's who of the time, with Billy Higgins on drums (yes one of my absolute favourites), Barry Harris on piano and Ray McKinney on bass. McPherson seems to have specialised in live albums, another one I highly recommend is “Live at the Five Spot” and he’s just put out a brand new one “Reverence” recorded live at smoke in NYC which is beautiful."

4. Prince - North (4'18" - 4'28")

From Prince - N.E.W.S. (2003)

"The story behind this album apparently is that Prince was in a lawsuit with Warner and his voice or playing wasn’t allowed to appear on any recorded music which is why he focused on production of other artists. However during this time he did release this instrumental album containing four tunes, each of the exact same length and without vocals. When this came out it didn’t say “Prince” it was originally just called “N.E.W.S.” and my record dealer in Vienna sorted me a copy telling me I would like this. Liking doesn’t even come close, this album has become some sort of bible for me, how can this be so Prince yet not have his voice on it? It really shows the musicality and genius of him. These particular ten seconds come somewhat unexpected and tilt the track into a different direction whilst remaining cool and sexy at the same time. I mean how can you be cool and sexy?! Again I recommend listening to the whole album…"

5. Cannonball Adderley - One For Daddy-O (0'38" - 0'48")

From Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else (1958)

"Obviously there is no way around Cannonball, the ease with which he executes his virtuosity is beyond measure. In this case his flight lands exactly with the cymbal, a snippet of his exceptional construction of a melodic arch and hawk focus on the point of arrival. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this tune and the whole “Something Else” album, which in my opinion is really one of the best sounding Jazz albums of all time. Cannonball also is such a positive force, somehow his playing always cheers me up!"

6. Josef Zawinul - Patriots (3'48" - 3'58")

From Josef Zawinul and the Zawinul Syndicate - World Tour (1998)

"What I love about Joe Zawinul is that he opens his music to influences from the entire world without ever losing his distinct voice and without ever becoming a tourist or cheesy. I love that it’s often a bit tongue in cheek and having a good time. The scatting here is a good example, having a good time yet totally nailing the groove and making use of the break, it’s not Zawinul himself scatting but you can hear how he “conducts” the band and calls the break from his keyboards by placing the melody as a queue. In Zawinul’s case the catalogue is extensive and his approach has become a classic point of research for grooves for me."

7. Miles Davis - Prelude (Part I) (14'40"-14'50")

From Miles Davis - Agartha (1975)

"This ten seconds always takes me by surprise, even though I grew up with this album, thanks to my uncle being an amateur trumpeter. I still find myself startled and amazed by how tight yet how comic and joyful this steaming band just interrupts the cooking groove, which resembles stopping a steam train only to start over full blast right over again.

Reggie Lucas guitar solo is nothing short of insanity and I have literally never heard any guitar player making soundscapes near these, it is beyond music to me, it is just total transcendence. Only years after hearing this album did I learn that this was an afternoon show on tour in Japanand the band did a second show in the evening called "Pangaea" - can you imagine? What a force of nature!"

8. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Sun Is Shining (0'18" - 0'28")

From Bob Marley & The Wailers - Kaya (1978)

"Talking of a loose feel, Bob Marley is probably the king. The band is so tight yet so loose and relaxed you simply have to nod your head and smile. I especially like the cadenza and how it sits with his vocals and the percussion, there seems to be infinite space and it somehow comes across quite minimal even though there’s a lot going on and quite a number of different instruments slotting in with each other like cogwheels. Since my teenage years I’ve been hooked on this album and it just keeps coming back to me.

There’s so much more than these tunes and my favourites aren’t set, this is just what I am currently into or what’s on top of my head, maybe one day I’ll write a more extensive list of things but this is a good start. What’s missing is all the classical music I grew up with but that’s notoriously hard to find on the net as solid recording as the algorithms combine all sorts of recordings and mostly don’t sound too great."


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