1. “Viva Las Vilnius,” Chris Potter This guy is one of the biggest reasons I keep going back to my practice room in the Con. Every time I listen to him, it makes me either want to quit playing or go back and stick it to everyone telling me that I won’t make it as a pro musician.2. “Peaceful Warrior,” Aaron Parks It’s jazz, but it doesn’t always sound like it. I’ve been hooked on his album “Invisible Cinema” because it has a really wide range of music on it. It’s an album I think everyone would like, regardless of their jazz knowledge/experience.
3. “Snails,” The Format One of my friends from home owns a dance studio. She choreographed a duet to this song. This is one of those songs that just puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it.
4. “Paranoid Android,” Radiohead These are some bad dudes. They’ve come from underground to mainstream to whatever they are now, and they’ve always sounded fresh. This song was my introduction to them and it’ll probably always stick with me.
5. “Back in the Day,” Erykah Badu I love Erykah. She makes everything feel good. If I’m feeling down, I just turn this on and groove to it.
6. “You’re My Best Friend,” Queen This is such a great song and it makes me chill out every time I hear it. Queen had such an unmistakable sound and every time I hear this song, I stop and just listen.
7. “The Firebird Suite,” Igor Stravinsky This is a huge work for all musicians, but it was one of my first experiences with modern classical music. It’s brilliant. It was written to a story, but conjures up all sorts of imagery to the casual listener.
8. “Time Traveling,” Common I’ve been really getting into hip-hop lately, and Common is one of my favorite artists. Unlike so many mainstream “artists,” he seems to actually be saying something in all of his songs. Add this to the positive list for him: he uses live musicians.
9. “Semi-Charmed Life,” Third Eye Blind This brings back all sorts of memories from elementary school, and all of them are great! My friends and I rediscovered this album over last summer, and I pull it out every now and then to smile and remember that a song can be just plain fun.
10. “September,” Earth, Wind & Fire I stumbled on EWF in high school and immediately fell in love with their passion and soul. This song was a particular favorite of mine when I found them, but recently it’s popped into my head again, and it still rocks my world.