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Just For Fun: Favorite Albums

This article is a follow-up to my previous article, “My 'Top Three' Lists.” In fact, many of the names shown there will appear here as well, not surprisingly. However, there are also plenty of different artists, so even if you checked out my previous post, please continue reading!

If there are any things that could be gained from reading this post besides pure entertainment value, they would be an understanding of the great diversity in my musical listening experience (which informs all of my teaching and playing) and, more importantly, the great diversity in the kinds of music that I truly love! This is the collection of albums to which I would want access if I got stranded on a deserted island. In other words, to make this list, these albums had to be nearly perfect in my mind. These days, I rarely listen to any musical works for pleasure more than once. However, I could listen to each of these albums repeatedly without tiring of them.

Before presenting my list, I would like to make some comments about it...

1) There are three main categories (classical, jazz and pop/rock) with 20 albums in each, which is the number to which I limited myself. The last two categories are called “Contemporary Christian,” which technically should be in the pop/rock category, and “Other,” which is a short list of albums that are difficult to define in terms of genre; they are what I would consider to be could be considered to be “crossover” or “hybrid” albums.

2) I intentionally limited myself to only one album from each artist. However, jazz enthusiasts may notice that there are artists that appear on more than one album in that list. If you know your stuff that well, I say “congratulations” to you!

3) The albums are NOT shown in order by rank. Attempting to rank these works would be much too difficult. Rather, I listed them in order by the recording dates (earliest to latest).

4) It is no accident the majority of the classical and jazz albums were recorded during the 1990s and early 2000s, as that is when I was doing most of my active, heavy listening.

5) In terms of popular music, it will be obvious that I am a product of the 80s. Although there's definitely a soft spot in my heart for the music produced during that time, I would still make the argument that, objectively speaking, it was the greatest time in terms of songwriting and arranging (especially the mid to late 80s) for the genre to date.

6) This list is not a joke! Although the combination of albums in this list may seem strange, these really are my favorite albums. There may be a bit of nostalgia connected to some of these works, but I would defend any of them on the basis of their artistic merits.


“Erik Satie: L'Oeuvre Pour Piano” Aldo Ciccolini, piano (1967)

“Edvard Grieg: Lyrics Pieces” Emil Gilels, piano (1974)

“Steve Reich: Music For 18 Musicians” Steve Reich and Musicians (1978)

“Handel: Keyboard Suites: Vol. 1, Nos.1-8” Sviatoslav Richter, piano / Andrei Gavrilov, piano (1979)

“Gloria: The Sacred Music Of John Rutter” The Cambridge Singers (et. all), John Rutter (1983)

“John Adams: Harmonium” San Franscisco Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Edo de Waart (1984)

“Wynton Marsalis: Carnaval” Various composers; Wynton Marsalis, trumpet (1987)

“Scarlatti: Harpsichord Sonatas” Anthony Newman, harpsichord (1989)

“Holst: The Planets” Chicago Symphony Orchestra, James Levine (1991)

“C.P.E. Bach: Wurttemberg Sonatas” Keith Jarrett, piano (1994)

“Aaron Copland: The Complete Music For Solo Piano” Leo Smit, piano (1994)

“Mozart: The Piano Sonatas” (box set) Andras Schiff piano (1995)

“Olivier Messiaen: Meditations Sur Le Mystere De La Sainte Trinite” Christopher Bowers-Broadbent,

organ (1995)

“Gesualdo: Complete Sacred Music For Five Voices” Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly (1996)

“Philip Glass: Music In Twelve Parts” The Philip Glass Ensemble, Michael Reisman (1996)

“Gyorgy Ligeti Edition 3: Works For Piano” Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano (1997)

“John Cage: Music for Prepared Piano, Vol. 2” Boris Berman, piano (2001)

“The Glory of Gabrieli: Antiphonal Music For Brass Choirs” Empire Brass Quintet and Friends, Rolf

Smedvig (2002)

“Touches of Bernstein: The Complete Published Piano Music Of Leonard Bernstein” Thomas Lanners,

piano (2005)

“Alan Hovhaness: Symphonies No. 4, 20 and 53” John Wallace, trumpet; The Royal Scottish Academy

of Music and Drama Wind Orchestra, Keith Brion (2012)


“Lee Konitz Plays With The Jerry Mulligan Quartet” (1953)

Frank Sinatra “Sinatra-Basie” (1962)

Bill Evans “Trio '65” (1965)

Maynard Ferguson “Body Soul” (1986)

Wynton Marsalis “Live At Blues Alley” (1987)

Keith Jarrett “Still Live” (1988)

Stan Getz “Anniversary” (1989)

Janis Siegel “Short Stories” (1989)

Pat Metheny “Question And Answer” (1990)

Marcus Roberts “Deep In The Shed” (1990)

Joe Henderson “So Near, So Far” (1993)

Fred Hersch Trio “Dancing In The Dark” (1993)

Paul Motian Trio “Live At The Vanguard” (1995)

Brad Mehldau “The Art Of The Trio 4: Back At The Village Vanguard” (1999)

James Hurt “Dark Grooves, Mystical Rhythms” (1999)

Reid Anderson “The Vastness of Space” (2000)

Jean-Michel Pilc Trio “Together: Live At Sweet Basil, Vol. 1” (2000)

Avishai Cohen and the International Vamp Band “Unity” (2001)

Harry Connick Jr. “Other Hours: Connick On Piano, Vol. 1” (2003)

Nitai Hershkovits “Lemon The Tree” (2019)


Joni Mitchell “Hejira” (1977)

Genesis “Abacab” (1981)

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark “Junk Culture” (1984)

Jack Wagner “Lighting Up The Night” (1985)

Peter Gabriel “So” (1986)

Duran Duran “Notorious” (1986)

Chicago “18” (1986)

Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine “Let It Loose” (1987)

Bryan Adams “Into The Fire” (1987)

Bruce Hornsby & The Range “Scenes From The Southside” (1988)

Phil Collins “...But Seriously” (1989)

Noa “Noa” (1994)

Huffamoose “Huffamoose” (1995)

Level 42 “Forever Now” (1996)

Smashing Pumpkins “Machina/The Machines Of God” (2000)

Shania Twain “Up!” (2002)

Vanessa Carlton “Harmonium” (2004)

Radiohead “In Rainbows” (2007)

Lorde “Pure Heroine” (2013)

Natalie Imbruglia “Firebird” (2021)

Contemporary Christian

Indelible Grace “Indelible Grace” (2000)

Nichole Nordeman “Woven And Spun” (2002)

Keith and Kristyn Getty “In Christ Alone” (2006)

Paul Baloche “Our God Saves” (2007)

Sovereign Grace “The Glorious Christ: Live” (2019)


The Singers Unlimited “Christmas” (1972)

“Les Miserables: Original Broadway Cast Recording” (1987)

Pat Metheny “Secret Story” (1992)

“Drum Corps International World Championships 1992” (1992)

Bill Frisell “Gone, Like A Train” (1998)

Sideline "Front And Center" (2015)


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