Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What's Your Favourite Debut?

Fellow jazz critic Larry Appelbaum posted a Facebook link to John McLaughlin's album Extrapolations today, which caused me to post that I thought it was the best debut album by a jazz artist.

"A bold statement," he replied.

Is it?

Here's how I described how it sounded in my entry on McLaughlin in The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues: "Already in place (at age 26) were the remarkably fluid technical facility, diamond-hard tone and harmonic imagination that would set him apart from most jazz guitarists."

What's your vote for best album-length debut by a jazz artist? Bearing in mind that McLaughlin was already a seasoned session musician who had recorded with everyone from Petula Clark to David Bowie, let's keep it fair by limiting it to albums that are the first recordings under a musician's leadership, and of course it has to be an album of original material issued in the LP or CD era (so something like Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool does not qualify).


Anonymous said...

Glad you defined it as first as leader because he really ripped it as as sideman on his first recorded effort with Gordon Beck on "experiments with pops" in 1968. Great first as leader? How about McCoy Tyner" Inception "

Cyril Moshkow said...

Bright Size Life (Pat Metheny with Jaco Pastorius and Bob Moses)

James Hale said...

Both great debuts. One of the things that inspired this little poll (and there are numerous other great suggestions on Larry Appelbaum's Facebook page) is how diverse the votes are for Best Debut Recording in the critics poll that Francis Davis organizes. Because there are so many small labels now, it's much harder to discover debut recordings, at least in my experience. In many instances, I only hear debuts after an artist has two or three recordings under his/her belt, which ruins the element of surprise of discovering a McLaughlin or Metheny to some extent.