Terry Pack talks about the albums that shaped his approach to music.
Bandleader, bassist and composer Terry Pack talks about the albums that shaped his approach to music both in his playing and in composition.
Kind of Blue - Miles Davis
My introduction to Miles Davis, Cannonball, Jimmy Cobb and Bill Evans (I had heard PC on Coltrane's Blue Train a few weeks earlier and was already a big fan). I love the simplicity and elegance of the playing, writing and arranging on this album. The three horns sound so beautiful together, and the playing is wonderful throughout. The sound of the recording is perfect.
A Love Supreme - John Coltrane
I first heard this when I was 15, and it was the first Coltrane album I heard, because it was recommended by the owner of the record shop I worked in on Saturday mornings. I love the way in which improvisation and composition co-exist throughout. A Love Supreme is in four parts, each of which is a powerful statement whose theme is part 'written' and part improvised, with each member of the quartet adding his own voice to the whole. This is an approach I have tried to emulate. I was intrigued by McCoy's use of 4ths and 5ths, and this has been a big part of my approach as a writer and arranger. I also love the sound of this record, captured by Rudy Van Gelder, it has a beautiful, natural acoustic.
Africa / Brass - John Coltrane
This is the closest Trane came to a big band album, on which his classic quartet is augmented by a brass section arranged by Eric Dolphy. It is composed of three pieces, and it is the title track 'Africa' that has influenced me most. The interaction between the rhythm section and the brass is wonderful. Again, the sound is wonderful, another Van Gelder recording.
Maiden Voyage, Empyrean Isles and Speak Like a Child - Herbie Hancock
The title track of Maiden Voyage has 'haunted' me since I first heard it more than 40 years ago. Again, it's very simple, but has great depth. All Van Gelder recordings. Herbie's use of suspended chords has influenced my writing and arranging greatly, and I love the sound of the trombone and alto flute on Speak Like a Child.
The Blues and the Abstract Truth - Oliver Nelson
It was title and the album cover that attracted me to this album, and the fact that it was on Impulse, Coltrane's label. It's the tune 'Stolen Moments' that has remained with me, particularly for its harmonies, voicings and use of dynamics.
Night Passage and Weather Report - Weather Report
These albums have become indistinguishable in my memory. The energy and collective approach of this line up (Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Peter Erskine and Bobby Thomas) was astonishing. It took me a long time to 'get' Weather Report, but when I did, I was hooked. I love Joe's use of electric and electronic keyboards.
Apocalypse and Visions of the Emerald Beyond - Mahavishnu Orchestra
The first album features the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Tillson Thomas, and has an epic quality to it. The writing and arranging is wonderful, and the group and orchestra work beautifully together. I loved this lineup of Mahavishnu: John McLaughlin, Jean-Luc Ponty, Gayle Moran, Ralphe Armstrong (aged 17!) and Narada Michael Walden (19!). The sound, recorded by Ken Scott, is wonderful. The second album features the same core band, plus a string quartet and a horn section. Again, the sound and approach has stayed with me.
Mingus - Joni Mitchell
The coming together of so many great musicians, combined with Mingus' writing, had me playing this album for months. Jaco's arrangement of 'Dry Cleaner from Des Moines' is wonderful.
Invitation - Jaco Pastorius and the Word of Mouth Big Band
A flawed but beautiful live recording of a great band playing great arrangements of great tunes. My favourites are 'Three Views of a Secret', 'Liberty City' and 'Reza', whose experimental qualities have influenced my approach.
Sky Blue and The Thompson Fields - Maria Schneider
I only discovered Maria Schneider a few years ago, in my role as bass player in the Studio 9 Orchestra. The first piece I heard was 'Choro', a thing of great beauty. I think that she is in a class of her own as a composer and arranger, and she is a real inspiration. Her approach is uncompromising and the results are incomparably beautiful. These two albums are her most recent. The music is beautiful, the playing is wonderful and the sound of the recordings is marvellous.
Ground Up and We Like It Here - Snarky Puppy
A couple of years ago, my friend, singer Heather Cairncross, kept sending me links to 'Thing of Gold', the opening track on 'Ground Up', which ignored for several months until I could resist no longer. I was hooked immediately. Great tunes, funky, quirky grooves, great playing, fantastic use of acoustic and electric sounds and a great vibe. The story of how the band has gone from playing to audiences of fewer than ten people to conquering the world in a few years is really encouraging.