Trumpet player George Bell can appreciate a good melody.
The Baton Rouge-based performer and music lover studies the greats and pays tribute to Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder in his sets with his jazz ensemble George Bell and Friends.
But his favorite tunes aren’t limited to jazz.
“I’ve always been drawn to what Ray Charles said, ‘There are two types of music — there’s good music and bad music,’ ” Bell said.
I asked Bell what five albums he goes back to again and again — the most timeless recordings. He couldn’t narrow it down to five exactly, but he gave it a shot.
1. “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis
“What Miles Davis did was he captured the essence of what I think jazz is all about. And he assembled some of the most prolific musicians of that generation and gave them an opportunity to play on a recording that is timeless. It sounds as fresh and hip today as it did back then.”
2. “Songs in the Key of Life” by Stevie Wonder
“This was one of those musical efforts that captured a lot of qualities of what fine music is about. Those songs, the melodies, the way he integrated all the different genres — certainly R&B and some wonderful ballads. Just timeless music.”
3. “Maiden Voyage” by Herbie Hancock
“It’s another one of those albums where the writing and musicianship are impeccable.”
4. Any recording by Wynton Marsalis
“When you look at his body of work and what he has done, it’s just phenomenal. He’s going to be known not only as the greatest jazz musician but maybe the greatest musician of our generation. He’s that good.”
5. “Sounds ... And Stuff Like That!” by Quincy Jones
“You can’t put in to one specific category. It’s well done. I love the fact that Quincy Jones took Herbie Hancock’s original song (“Tell Me a Bedtime Story”) and took his piano solo and had it transcribed and had a violin orchestra play that solo. It’s so hip.”