Now sporting a Juno nomination for his latest record with Toronto super-group, Ricochet, Adrean Farrugia is continuing to capture fans with his amazing playing and a constantly evolving original sound. Although working though a heavy touring schedule this summer, Adrean was gracefully able to contribute to our new series of articles on the top five records you couldn’t live without. Although we originally tried to stay away from calling this his “desert island picks” – for no other reason than to avoid the common cliche – the image of Adrean on a desert island, pumping “Dancing Queen” was too appealing. So here it is: Adrean Farrugia’s top five desert island picks.
1. The Peer Gynt Suite – Edvard Grieg – Halle Orch. Conducted by Sir John Barbirolli.
This was the first album I heard that inspired something deep inside of me. It was this album that called me to be a musician. I still remember being 14 years old and sometimes waking up at 5 a.m. while my family still slept and listening to it loudly through headphones while furiously waving my arms around like a conductor. That album was my morning workout music for a while.
2. The Genius of Bud Powell – Bud Powell
My first jazz record. The groove, joy and complexity of this music makes me want to dance and play. Bud Powell could capture such joy and deep groove in his playing. This album captures his playing at it’s best. His super-fast-Art Tatum-inspired trio rendition of Tea For Two continues to inspire and amaze my ears after 20 years.
3. Standards Live – Keith Jarrett Trio
Keith Jarrett has been my very favourite pianist since I first heard him. To me, he is the most likely the greatest improvising musician alive today. His playing transcends the mundane and pulls me into a space that says there is something far greater in the Universe than only the things our five senses perceive. To me Keith Jarrettʼs music captures the God essence of music and his music sets the standard by which I measure myself.
4. Amadeus – The Complete Original Soundtrack – Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-In-The-Fields
This soundtrack comes from my favourite movie of all time — director Milos Forman’s adaptation of the play by Peter Shaffer. This music makes me so happy when I hear it. It’s as though it somehow has a cleansing effect at the molecular level. Whenever I listen to this album if feel realigned. The Queen of the Night Aria from the Magic Flute just might be the most beautiful piece of music I’ve ever heard.
5. Greatest Hits – ABBA Gold
What can I say? I grew up in the late 70ʼs and into the 80ʼs listening to these tunes at family barbecues, school dances, and while roller skating hand in hand with the various girls I had crushes on throughout grade school on Saturday afternoons at Roller Gardens in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. These songs provided a backdrop for a lot of wonderful, and not so wonderful memories from my early youth.
I really hope I don’t ever end up stranded on a desert island with only five records. Although these five are some of my very favourites I’d really hate to ever be left without so many other favourites like:
Glenn Gould’s last recording of the Goldberg Variations
Bill Evan’s Sunday at the Village Vanguard, Alone and We Will Met Again
Oscar Peterson’s Canadiana Suite and We Get Requests
Ahmad Jamal’s Live at the Pershing and Awakening
Hank Mobley’s Soul Station
Chick Corea‘s Now He Sings, Now He Sobs and Trio Music Live in Europe
Michel Petrucciani’s Pianism
Paul Bley’s My Standard
Hank Jones’ Tip Toe Tap Dance
Phineas Newborn‘s A World of Piano
Geoff Keezer’s World Music
Sonny Rollin’s The Bridge and At the Village Vanguard Vol.1 and 2
Kenny Wheeler’s Music for Large and Small Ensembles and Flutter By Butterfly
Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage, Emperean Isles, and The Piano
McCoy Tyner’s The Real Mc Coy and Supertrios
Miles Davis’ 64 Concert, Miles Smiles, and No Blues
Keith Jarrett’s The Cure, Still Live, Tribute, The Vienna Concert, and Bye Bye Blackbird
Joni Mitchell‘s Both Sides Now
Wayne Shorter’s Schizophrenia and Footprints Live
David Bowie’s Hunky Dory
Elton John’s Elton John
and just about any version of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony… to name a few.
The Purple Cabbage