G. W. McLennan: Fingers (Beggars Banquet, 1993)
I used to listen to this record over and over and over and over again, endlessly moved by it's spare and simple beauty. I'd never really been a big fan of The Go Betweens - McLennan's dayjob - other than an unshakable thirst for their Streets Of Your Town single. Anyway, I picked this up one morning in the Beggars office 14 years ago and it's never moved too far from me since. I have lost, mislaid, broken, given away, thrown out, sat on, fatally wounded or otherwise been parted from hundreds of things over the last ten years or so, but Fingers is always there unlike, sadly, McLennan, who died in his sleep, at home in Brisbane, last May. He was just 48.
Andrew Hill: Illusion (Blue Note, 1969)
Since we're talking about spare and simple beauty - and having a piano moment - this would be a good time to offer up a little Andrew Hill. I wish I had more Hill than I do (ie, hardly any) as it's fantastically focussed, beautifully minimal chamber-jazz, the sort of music you most wish you were listening to when someone walks in on you unexpectedly. Just being in the same room as an Andrew Hill record brings your IQ up by about 25% and Illusion is an amazing piece of music, funkier than hell's own bedsocks while icier than than a barmaid's heart. As you listen you may ask yourself, 'Rob, tell me, is that the great Ron Carter I hear on bass?' And the answer's yes. And, yes, hi-end jazz-bo fans, that is the astonishing Kermit Moore on cello. Hey Kermit, nice cello!