Roam’s Top 11 Jazz Records Of All Time

Based in Cork City, Roam is the electronic project of Brian Diolún. On top of being an absolute gentleman, he crafts the most soothing and beautiful electronic music full of surprising twists and turns. At lot of his work is both directly and indirectly inspired by the experimentation of jazz. Being the absolute hero that he is, he decided to compile a list of some of his favourite jazz musicians/records/pieces that continue to be sources of inspiration for his work. He’ll be playing Signal in Cork with saturday with psych weirdos Tuath, and fellow electronic pioneer Arthuritis. Do it.


Here’s a short list of some my favourite jazz and jazz-influenced records that I think are worth checking out. Although my current live set is mostly electronic based, these have definitely been an inspiration and a source for loads samples I’ve used in the past. Roll on Saturday night!

1Yusef Lateef – Eastern Sounds

Every track on here is brilliant – and a total goldmine for sample diggers. For 1961 the production sounds amazingly polished too. The first tune, in particular, is a real ear-worm. An easy-listening masterpiece full of upbeat melodies.

2Pharoah Sanders – Heart is a Melody

Such a happy album. Recorded live, so you can even hear the audience joining in and clapping to the beat at one point! The title track is surely one of the most positive songs ever. One to bang out in sunny weather.

3Eden Adhbez – Eden’s Island

While not strictly jazz, this is a really strange release part of the Exotica genre, whose etymology is a really interesting read and worth investigating. This is one of many weird concept albums that imagines a dark tropical fantasy-land. For more check out Les Baxter.

4Esbjörn Svensson Trio – Seven Days of Falling

These guys are great – the whole album is really easy on the ear and each song seems to seamlessly move between jolly and melancholic. They also have a number of really energetic live performances on YouTube that are definitely worth checking out.

5Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds of Fire

My favourite release from John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestraa. There is some amount of energy on this record, with an ominous eastern feel that I haven’t heard in anything else. Some of the hooks on violin and guitar are downright strange and the musicianship is next level altogether. Banging stuff!

6Chick Corea – Return to Forever

This is the first album of what was to become the super-group Return to Forever. The sounds on this release are often pretty sparse and disjointed but it all adds up to a really immersive album with an eery South American twist. It’s also worth checking out the solo stuff of the singer, Flora Purim, who has an incredibly unique voice and a number of other great albums.

7The Lyman Woodard Orchestra – Saturday Night Special

This might be one of my favourite albums ever! Everything sounds so saturated and lush, although it might seem a little ‘rough around the edges’ to the listener at first. There’s a melancholic atmosphere to the whole thing that I find really cinematic and dreamy. Film noir comes to mind.

8Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidananda

There is a bit of magic to this one, and the washed-out eastern vibes are pretty absorbing and meditative. The tracks are performed in a hypnotic stream-of-consciousness style often led by the drone of a tambura in the background and Alice herself on harp. The two instruments work extremely well together. This is the second on the list to feature Pharoah Sanders on sax.

9Dark Hall – Dark Hall

These lads are definitely more on the fusion side of things and can get pretty heavy. Although a little ‘clean’ sounding at times, this release has got some of the catchiest solos and hooks I’ve heard in anything. Plus Steve Di Giorgio is the bassist, for any metal fans interested. I’m not really sure what became of the band, as they seem to have only shared the one demo on their website then fell off the face of the earth!

10Stringtronics – Mindbender

Mindbenders is a funky compilation album of library music – background tracks commissioned for TV and radio during the 70’s. Naturally, there is a cinematic feel to this, and every tune on this album is fun and quirky, with Dawn Mists being the centrepiece. A real grower that has a sound all of its own.

11The Caretaker – An Empty Bliss Beyond This World

While you couldn’t really consider this a 100% jazz album, it’s definitely worth mentioning. This is an experimental ambient project by Leyland Kirby, where he splices old ballroom jazz recordings together into a collage of nostalgic sounds, reverb and vinyl crackling. The result is surprisingly relaxing and very unique listening experience. This album is the precursor to a (still on-going) 6-part album series of similar music that deals with the topic of dementia – with each release descending further and further toward unrecognisable noise. It gets pretty dark.

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