(In Pursuit Of) Cool Sound, Pt. 1

A few years ago, my bud Peter Lund over in Helsingborg, Sweden asked me to compile a list of 10 albums which were influential in my musical development. There’s no way I could narrow that list down to a hundred, let alone ten… But how about the first ten albums, beginning from the years when I first began to get serious about playing?

The deciding factor is, the ENTIRE album blew me away when I heard it. I could easily name several hundred favorite cuts that I couldn’t live without, but what we’re talking about here are albums where I checked out every note played on every instrument, on every tune, throughout the entire album.

The Crusaders – Chain Reaction (1975)

Over and over again. Total immersion, from my teens on. And I’m still haunted. Now, if I were choosing albums from my perspective as a producer, this list wouldn’t be the same. But these are the earliest influences that helped form me as a musician. In no particular order:

“Chain Reaction” by The Crusaders is the first album I ever bought, spending my own pocket money earned from mowing lawns. My father had albums with “The Jazz Crusaders”, but when they became “The Crusaders”, that’s when I jumped on the bandwagon.

Tenor sax and trombone in unison is one of the phattest sounds in the universe. Especially when played by Wilton Felder (sax) and Wayne Henderson (trombone). A major highlight of my musical life was being able to blow big, fat tenor/trombone lines with none other than Fred Wesley, on a one-month concert tour back in the mid-nineties. Complete, utter, total joy and bliss – and a dream come true. For a taste of the Wilton Felder influence (which sneaks up on me from time to time), check out my playing on the intro to ‘Sexual Healing’ from the Skin To Skin album.