Desert Island Jazz
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  • Craig Handy (2008)
    The playing careers of drummers Art Blakey and Roy Haynes overlapped by almost 50 years, from before their individual debut recordings in the mid-40s until Blakey's death in 1991, yet surprisingly few musicians played with both: Craig Handy, a member of Haynes's early-90s band, is one of those few.

    Oakland-born, and a product of both the fabled Berkeley High School music program and, via a coveted Charlie Parker scholarship, the North Texas State University One o'Clock Band, Craig has been resident in New York City since the mid-80s. While his main instrument is the tenor saxophone, his mastery of the soprano sax, of clarinet and bass clarinet, and of flute have made him continually in demand with such as Mingus Dynasty and the Mingus Big Band. His career has also included periods with Abdullah Ibrahim, Betty Carter and Herbie Hancock (with whom he appeared at the 1996 Monterey Jazz Festival). He's also a film star of sorts, one of the band of young jazz musicians in Robert Altman's 1996 "Kansas City" (he played a Coleman Hawkins-like tenor player).

    The Big Apple's gain is definitely the Bay Area's loss, but Craig does make it back home a couple of times a year, appearing with artists such as Freddie Hubbard, The Mingus Big Band, and his own small groups. Never one to forget his roots, you'll also find Craig guesting with the jazz bands of San Francisco City College.
    Pick Artist Album Song Label
    # 1 Wayne Shorter Speak No Evil Fee Fi Fo Fum (Blue Note)
    # 2 Dexter Gordon Nights at the Keystone, Vol. 1 It's You or No One (Blue Note)
    # 3 Charles Mingus Changes Two Orange Was the Color of Her Dress Then Blue Silk (Rhino)
    # 4 Maurice Ravel Chopin: Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 35; Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit, performed by Ivo Pogorelich Ondine from "Gaspard de la Nuit" (Deutsche Grammophon)
    # 5 Steely Dan Then and Now: The Best of Steely Dan Remastered Deacon Blues (MCA)
    # 6 Chick Corea Live in Montreux Psalm (GRP)
    # 7 Charlie Parker Charlie Parker with Strings: The Master Takes Repetition (Verve)
    Book Toni Morrison; or Science Fiction, e.g., Frank Herbert
    Luxury Item New York City
    Castaways by date
    George Cotsirilos
    09 Feb
    Ed Klitsch
    05 Jan