All About Jazz's My iTunes Playlists are designed to help music lovers compile their own "best of" iPod playlists or CDR compilations. Here are three playlists I've constructed to help introduce new listeners to what I consider to be the essential CTI records.
Founded by legendary producer Creed Taylor in 1970, CTI Records achieved a legacy that is unrivaled in jazz. CTI produced records that were not only commercially successful but many that were superbly and artistically satisfying. Some of them are immortal.
The original playlists can be found at All About Jazz: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3. My CTI Records site can be found here.
Part 1 - These are the first-choice CTI classics that belong in any collection of CTI.
1. "Red Clay" - Freddie Hubbard from Red Clay
2. "Sugar" - Stanley Turrentine from Sugar
3. "Fire And Rain" - Hubert Laws from Afro-Classic
4. "It's Too Late" - Johnny Hammond from Breakout
5. "White Rabbit" - George Benson from White Rabbit
6. "Also Sprach Zarathustra" - Deodato from Prelude
7. "Concierto De Aranjuez" - Jim Hall from Concierto
Part 2 - These are among the best CTI performances in the entirety of CTI catalog.
1. "So What" - George Benson from Beyond The Blue Horizon
2. "The Rite Of Spring" - Hubert Laws from The Rite Of Spring
3. "Gibraltar" - Stanley Turrentine from Salt Song
4. "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" - Grover Washington Jr.from Inner City Blues
5. "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" - Grover Washington Jr. from Inner City Blues
6. "First Light" - Freddie Hubbard from First Light
7. "Rock Steady" - Johnny Hammond from Wild Horses Rock Steady
8. "Sky Dive" - Freddie Hubbard from Sky Dive
9. "Don't Mess With Mister 'T'" - Stanley Turrentine from Don't Mess With Mr. T
Part 3 - These continue to be some the most notable performances in the CTI catalog.
1. "Sunflower" - Milt Jackson from Sunflower
2. "Corazón" - Hank Crawford from Wildflower
3. "Too High" - Joe Farrell from Penny Arcade
4. "Catch My Soul" - Johnny Hammond from Higher Ground
5. "Nautilus" - Bob James from Bob James One
6. "Loran's Dance" - Idris Muhammad from Power Of Soul
7. "Mister Magic" - Grover Washington Jr. from Mister Magic
8. "It Feels So Good" - Grover Washington Jr. from Feels So Good
9. "Westchester Lady" - Bob James from Bob James Three
It's probably worth pointing out that these are not necessarily my favorite CTI tracks, even though quite a few of them are. Many people could highlight their own CTI favorites (mine would certainly include George Benson's "Cast Your Fate To The Wind," for example, and I'd want separate lists for the best on CTI of arrangers Don Sebesky, Bob James and David Matthews too). But what is here is a good first step to hearing and understanding the importance and the value of the CTI legacy.