There is a new category for the 58th annual Grammy awards, #31: Best improvised jazz solo. Nominees include the boy wunderkind Joey Alexander on “Giant Steps”, “Cherokee” from bassist Christian McBride, and other solos from Donny McCaslin, Joshua Redman, guitarist John Scofield et al.
I want to proffer my own set of picks from days gone by. These are NOT ordered by preference — they’re all winners, top-notch solos.
1. Joe Henderson: solo on “Mamacita” from Kenny Dorham’s cd Trompeta Toccata (1965)
2. Baden Powell: solo on “Asa Branca” from cd Live at the Rio Jazz Club (1994)
3. John Coltrane: solo on “On Green Dolphin Street” from lp Miles Davis & John Coltrane in Stockholm (1960)
Miles Davis Live at the Plugged Nickel. (1995)
5. Joe Wilder: trumpet solo on “Cherokee” from cd Wilder and Wilder. (1993)
6. Paul Gonsalves: tenor solo on cd Ellington Live at Newport. (1956)
7. Jim Hall: guitar solo on Two Degrees East-3 Degrees West from cd Grand Encounter. (1957)
8. Jaco Pastorius: solo on “Portrait of Tracy” from cd Jaco Pastorius. (1976)
9. Keith Jarrett: solo piano on Tokyo part 1 from box set Sun Bear Concerts / Piano Solo. (1978)
10. John Coltrane: “My Favorite Things” from cd My Favorite Things. (1960)
11. Ahmad Jamal: “Blue Moon” from cd Blue Moon. (2012)