What’s on Your Playlist: Tim Hagans

January 9, 2012

Tim Hagans

Grammy-nominated composer and trumpeter Tim Hagans is one of the more unique and influential modern voices in jazz. Hagans’ latest album, The Moon is Waiting (Palmetto Records), features his quartet performing all original compositions by Hagans.

Hagans also performs with Bob Belden, Joe Lovano, Blue Note All-Stars, Gary Peacock, Yellowjackets, and Bob Mintzer. He was nominated for Grammy awards for Best Instrumental Composition for “Box of Cannoli” from The Avatar Sessions (2010 Fuzzy Music); Best Contemporary Jazz CD for Re: Animation (2000 Blue Note) and Animation*Imagination (1999 Blue Note). In 2012 Tim Hagans will be awarded an honorary doctorate of music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Additionally, he has performed and recorded with the likes of Thad Jones, Ernie Wilkins, and Dexter Gordon. For three years Hagans was a member of the Stan Kenton Orchestra. For fifteen years Timwas artistic director and composer-in-residence for the Norrbotten Big Band, traveling to Sweden to perform, conduct and arrange projects with guest artists such as Rufus Reid, Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, and Dave Liebman.

1. The Magnificent Thad Jones, Volume 3 – Thad Jones

Thad Jones was one of the most original and in-the-moment improvisers in the history of jazz. His trumpet playing was out of this world, but Thad Jones is renowned more as a composer. I think this is because his skills as a composer and arranger were so brilliant that they overshadowed his legacy as a player. This record showcases his genius on the trumpet. (Thad Jones, Billy Mitchell, Barry Harris, Percy Heath, Max Roach).

2. Consummation – Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band

This CD is just incredible! True to its title, it is the consummate big band record. The tunes “Tiptoe,” “A Child is Born,” and “Fingers” exemplify the hipness, humor and exquisiteness that is Thad Jones.

3. The Cellar Door Sessions – Miles Davis

Six CDs: one for each night of the six nights Miles Davis performed and recorded at the Cellar Door in Washington DC in 1970. six days of wild free funk and through the roof energy. (Miles Davis, Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett, Michael Henderson, Jack DeJohnette, Airto Moreira, John McLaughlin).

4. One Down, One Up: Live At the Half Note – John Coltrane

What can you say? The classic Coltrane Quartet going nuts! (John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones).

5. Sunship – John Coltrane

This is a studio album recorded a few months after One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note. If you listen to the recording you can hear Coltrane’s voice instructing the band. He tells them “to keep the thing happening all through.” He’s talking about the energy, the intensity, the emotion; it’s the thing and you have to keep it happening, keep it going. (John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones).

6. Doin’ Allright – Dexter Gordon

What I love about Dexter is his behind-the-beat- 8th notes that combine with this huge broad sound. I played with Dexter in Copenhagen in the late 1970s. One night after a gig he let fall a big heavy arm around my shoulders. He started talking about all the things he had been through in his life. He looked so serious and then there was this awkward silence after he finished. I was in awe of him and I didn’t know what to say, so I said, “Was it worth it?” It sort of caught him off guard for a moment. He thought about it and then I saw that big square smile of his spread across his face and he said, “Yeaahhh.” Whenever I listen to him play I can’t help but see that magnificent smile. I find that I like to listen to Dexter in the morning; it’s great to have that sound and that smile – that are so uniquely Dexter – to welcome the day. This CD also has Freddie Hubbard on it and I love hearing them play together. (Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, Horace Parlan, George Tucker, Al Harewood).

7. The Hub of Hubbard – Freddie Hubbard

I would say this is Freddie at his absolute finest. The bar that Freddie sets on this recording is a lifetime goal for me. (Freddie Hubbard, Eddie Daniels, Roland Hanna, Richard Davis, Louis Hayes).

8. The Complete Columbia Albums Collection of Woody Shaw – Woody Shaw

I think the recordings from Woody’s Columbia period – from 1977 to 1981 – are his very best. He had refined his style to perfection. The sound, the ideas, and the compositions are extraordinary. Also, hearing Woody play over the standard tunes not included in the original releases shows the origin of his melodic and harmonic concept. (six CDs all with different personnel).

9. Out Front – Rufus Reid

The centerpiece to this CD is a three-movement suite called “Caress the Thought.” It’s outstanding. Rufus Reid is not only one of my favorite bassists, he’s one of my favorite composers. (Rufus Reid, Steve Allee, Duduka da Fonseca).

10. The Firebird: New York Philharmonic – Stravinsky

This work contains two of the greatest moments in all music. The first is when the French horn enters, leading into the second greatest moment, the breathtaking finale. Stravinsky was one of the greatest composers of all time and a constant inspiration for me. (Conducted by Leonard Bernstein)

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