The 20 Albums That Changed My Life

Shown below are the 20 albums that I owned during my first 20 years that influenced and inspired me to become a professional musician. They are shown in the categories that I was most drawn to during that period—jazz, classical instrumental, orchestral, and pop. There were many other artists that influenced me during this period that I heard on radio & tv or listened to on cassette tapes including Phil Woods, Buddy DeFranco, Charles McPherson, Jackie McClean, Dexter Gordon, Gene Ammons, Cannonball Adderley, The NY Philharmonic with Leonard Bernstein, The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, and The Beatles.

It has been helpful during this period of gravity to reflect back on these earlier times. It’s nice to know that all of these recordings and artists still represent great art for me. I would encourage everyone to take some time and construct their own list.

  1. Benny Goodman: The Benny Goodman Story
  2. Stan Getz: The World of Stan Getz
  3. John Coltrane: My Favorite Things
  4. John Coltrane: Giant Steps
  5. Charlie Parker: The Charlie Parker Story #3
  6. Charlie Parker: Charlie Parker with Strings
  7. Duke Ellington: 70th Anniversary Concert
  8. Johnny Hodges: 3 Shades of Blue
  9. Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus
  10. Eddie Daniels: A Flower For All Seasons


  1. Benny Goodman: Mozart Concerto and Quintet/Charles Munch & Boston Symphony
  2. Stanley Drucker & Julius Baker: Nielsen Concerti/Leonard Bernstein & NY Phil
  3. Robert Marcellus: Mozart Clarinet Concerto/George Szell & Cleveland Orchestra
  4. Vincent Abato: Ibert & Glazounov Alto Saxophone Concerti
  5. Jean-Pierre Rampal: Handel Sonatas/Robert Veyron-Lacroix, harpsichord


  1. Mozart: The Last Six Symphonies/Josef Krips & Concertgebouw
  2. Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9/William Steinberg & Pittsburgh Symphony
  3. Igor Stravinsky: Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky/Columbia Symphony


  1. Blood, Sweat & Tears: Blood, Sweat & Tears (1969)
  2. Stevie Wonder: Innervisions