One more list!

It occurs to me that, in my list-o-mania feature, I forgot one that I’d promised—Best Living Jazz Musician of Various Categories. So here they are: the best and the runner-up. These picks will no doubt raise hackles, catcalls, and fisticuffs. So raise them! Send in your choices!

Pianist: Jason Moran; Keith Jarrett.
Bassist: Charlie Haden; Greg Cohen.
Alto saxophonist: Ornette Coleman; Lee Konitz.
Tenor saxophonist: Sonny Rollins; David Murray.
Trumpeter: Dave Douglas; (too hard to name a runner-up).
Clarinet: Don Byron; Anat Cohen.
Violin: Mark Feldman; Jenny Scheinman.
Guitar: Bill Frisell; Marc Ribot.
Drummer: Roy Haynes; Jack DeJohnette.

That’s all for this year!

TonyT.'s picture

Serious guitarists that belong on any list: Pat Martino! John Mclaughlin! Pat Metheny! John Abercrombie! Frank Gambale! Supreme Bassists: Dave Holland! Christian McBride! And you once described Metheny as "A Snooze"! Get Hip, Fred!

Larry Harvey's picture

Dave Douglas? No. What about Payton and Blanchard. Douglas can't carry their mouthpieces.

elizabeth!'s picture

No trombone players?!

TonyT's picture

Get hip, Fred! DeJohnette! Where is Michael Brecker's "Pilgrimage"? You are welcome to come over sometime so I can educate you about the very best drummers! R.I.P. Oscar Peterson. Happy Holidays, Mr. Kaplan.

Lionel's picture

I'll put in votes for Cecil Taylor and Uri Caine on piano, as older guy and younger guy. And much as I love Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot, Jim Hall is still alive and well, which would give him one of my slots at guitar. (And according to his website, he's about to record an album with Frisell, his former student, which goes right to the top of my must-buy list for 2008.) And bass? I agree with you on Haden, but what about Ron Carter? Cecil McBee?

Max's picture

Gotta say that these lists don't do justice to the many talented musicians in the trenches paying their dues week after week; how's that for stringing a few aphorisms in a row? Anyhoo, on trumpet, no runners up (or should that be runner ups?)? What about Ingrid Jensen, Tom Harrell, Brad Turner, Nicholas Payton, Alex Sipiagin, Earl Gardner, Charles Tolliver, Enrico Rava, etc. Sheesh!

Tony's picture

Moran and Jarrett: that's a radioactive load of pretension. Let me suggest anotehr pianists who has had much more influence on contemporary practice: Brad Mehldau. Okay, I'll admit, buckets of pretension there too; must go with playing the keyboards(?). Violin: Billy BangYou didn't mention vibraphone, but a huge hurrah for Bobby Hutcherson. Saw him this summer; can make a powerful lyrical or dramatic statement with one or two notes. Trumpet: Thank you for leaving off you know who; he has yet to make an ARTISTIC statement worth listening to.Bass: Jimmy Garrison; still going strong.Tenor: Sam Rivers; also still going strong. And what about Wayne Shorter? C'mon, he should be on any list.And, of course, "best of" -- no such thing; although 'worst of" has possibilities!

John Atkinson's picture

A bit depressing to see many oldsters on your list, Fred. But thanks for mentioning Marc Ribot, who contributes some tasty playing to the Alison Kraus/Robert Plant "Raising Sand" album.

Fred Kaplan's picture

The "oldsters" on my list play more youthfully than many musicians one-third their age. As for my having left the 2nd trumpet's chair open, it wasn't for the lack of very good trumpeters - just the lack of a clearcut 2nd choice, someone who cuts through that pack distinctively...Fred Kaplan

Chris H's picture

Good to see Ribot getting some props.

vito's picture

No Christian McBride? Ridiculous. If he's good enough for Sonny Rollins, he's good enough for this list.And Antonio Sanchez is the total package on drums.

Roy Edelsack's picture

Just peeked at your list to be sure Roy Haynes was on it.He was.You are cool.

Clarke Robinson's picture

Lists like this are always a joke, if only for the number of "you didn't mention [fillintheblank]!!!" comments they always deserve. That said, if I were to attempt one, it would look an awful lot like yours. Nice job!

Ben's picture

Cecil Taylor, enough said.