When you’re an influential musician, people tend to ask you what you’ve been listening to lately. Here at 5 for 20, we’re just as keen to find out what records loom large in our favourite artists’ memory banks. So, we’re asking folks for their top five records of the last 20 years.
This week we hear from two-time Juno winner Jayme Stone, whom the Globe and Mail once described as "the Yo-Yo Ma of the banjo." Stone's been on a relentless world tour of late, still ostensibly in support of his acclaimed 2010 album, Room of Wonders, which continues his jazz-infused exploration of folk traditions from around the world. He's at the Mariposa Folk Festival between July 7 and 8, and criss-crossing eastern Canada after that. In making a 5 (or in his case, 6) for 20 list, Stone got reflective.
“Over the past 20 years, I've gone from listening to music to making it," he explains. "It's been a wild and crooked path, full of learning about my craft, myself, the wide world around me and how to make meaningful music and keep music meaningful. For me, being a musician takes everything I've got and it's recordings like these that inspire, keep me focused and act as tiny guide posts along the way. Hope you enjoy them!”
The Sound of Summer Running by Marc Johnson (1997)
This album set the tone for the sound I've been after over the last 15 years. It's the perfect synthesis of everything I love about jazz and folk music. It's fascinating to hear two of my favourite guitarists on one recording. You can hear the contrast in each of their solos: Metheny floats effortlessly over the music, while Frisell gets down dirty with the rhythm section.
Saturday Night in Bombay by Remember Shakti (2001)
I saw this group three times and their music made a deep impression. The camaraderie, the effortlessness, the virtuosity in service of the music, it's all there. A decade later, I'm still in awe of how deep this music is and still listen to this one track every few months.
Tales from the Acoustic Planet by Béla Fleck (1995)
This is the album that turned my world upside-down and compelled me to play the banjo. It still stands out as Béla's most heartfelt and meaningful record. The writing is lush and beautiful throughout and I love the unusual combination of timbres and textures, like oboe, banjo and acoustic percussion.
The Intercontinentals by Bill Frisell (2003)
I vividly remember racing home to put this album on the stereo and then feeling the tears roll down my face by the middle of the first song. It was like the music I'd always imagined and was waiting to hear. Looking back, this record foreshadowed where my own music would go over the next several years: sounds from around the world folded into someone's own musical language and community of musicians.
Music for 18 Musicians by Steve Reich (2005)
I love this piece. In fact, I was so moved by hearing it that I called percussionist Bob Becker (who lived around the corner from me in Parkdale) to ask him what it was like to be in Steve Reich's ensemble at the time he created it. Bob said that if I brought over a bottle of wine, we could hang out, chat about the piece and look over the score. I got a window into how composition could be an organic process, done in collaboration with the musicians playing the music. In the early days, the piece was taught orally and the dynamics were to be done with your own breathing.
Fazil Say Plays Bach by Fazi Say (1999)
I'd long loved Bach's music, but hearing this record brought it life in a whole new way. Fazil Say played with a lilt and joyfulness I can really relate to as a banjo player, and every piece I hear him play inspires me to want to learn it. It was this recording that I listened to in my kitchen one day and realized that Bach wrote dance music, which sowed the seed for my last album, Room of Wonders.
Keep an eye on this page for news about Jayme Stone.
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5 for 20: Dan Griffin of Arkells
5 for 20: Parlovr
5 for 20: The Dudes
5 for 20: Eleanor Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces
5 for 20: Baby Eagle
5 for 20: Tamara Lindeman of the Weather Station
5 for 20: Dave Ullrich of the Inbreds
5 for 20: Patrick Pentland of Sloan
[CMW] 5 for 20: Mike O’Neill
5 for 20: John K. Samson of The Weakerthans
5 for 20: The Barr Brothers
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5 for 20: Lynn Perko Truell of Imperial Teen
on Jul 04, 2012