Note: stay tuned over the coming months each of these “plain” lists is replaced with a full blog post with commentary on the items on the list (and, in some cases, the items that didn’t make the cut).
To me, it all comes back to the drums. As such, this was a hard one to narrow down (hence the honorable mentions). Note that this category is not strictly limited to drum solos.
- Max Roach: “For Big Sid” from Drums Unlimited
- Art Blakey: “The Core” from The Big Beat
- Roy Haynes: “Pumpkin” from Black Fire by Andrew Hill
- Papa Jo Jones: “Old Man River” from Jo Jones Trio
- Philly Joe Jones: “Billy Boy” from Milestones by Miles Davis
- Billy Higgins: “Una Muy Bonita” from Change of the Century by Ornette Coleman
- Elvin Jones: “Pursuance” from A Love Supreme by John Coltrane
- Mickey Roker: “Riot” from Speak Like a Child by Herbie Hancock
- Victor Lewis: “Big Girls” from Quickstep by Kenny Barron
- Joe Chambers: “El Gaucho” from Adam’s Apple by Wayne Shorter
Vernell Fournier: “Poinciana” from But Not For Me by Ahmad Jamal
Jack DeJohnette: “Isotope” from Power to the People by Joe Henderson
Dannie Richmond: “Fables of Faubus” from The Great Concert of Charles Mingus by Charles Mingus
Tony Williams: “Freedom Jazz Dance” from Miles Smiles by Miles Davis
Grady Tate: “Organ Grinder Swing” from Organ Grinder Swing by Jimmy Smith
Roy Brooks: “Filthy McNasty” from Doin’ the Thing at the Village Gate by Horace Silver
Louis Hayes: “Unit 7″ from Jazz Workshop Revisited by Cannonball Adderley
Andrew Cyrille: “Tales (8 Whisps)” from Unit Structures by Cecil Taylor
Ben Riley: “Boo Boo’s Birthday” from Underground by Thelonious Monk
Gene Krupa: “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman (reissued on various compilations)
and on and on and on . . .