By: Dream Chimney
The following interview was conducted in June 2023
Greg Paulus is soon to drop his second EP on Freerange Records in collab with Taylor Bense. Greg has released on Soul Clap Records, Let’s Play House, and Kompakt, and is a producer, DJ and trumpeter. Perhaps he is best known for being one half of No Regular Play? The NRP act is back again at Craig Richards Houghton festival in the UK this summer. Here we ask Greg to dig deep and think about five albums that are important to him and that have impacted his musical world.
D'Angelo - Voodoo
I've often said this is a contender for greatest album of all time, if you don't believe me then you haven't listened to it enough! He invented a whole new style with this record, all recorded strictly to tape by Russell Elevado at Electric Lady studios. The Band is incredible, and the combo of Pino Palladino's completely new bass phrasing, Questlove's drums and some added J Dilla punch is what everyone has been trying to copy since. James Poyser shines on the keys and Roy Hargrove's one take horns are the stuff of legend.
Slum Village - Fantastic Vol. 2
A Conant Gardens masterpiece, essential Detroit listening! Superb J Dilla production and amazing badass MC'ing and that was apparently done using the headphones as a mic. I've listened to this album more than anything, I think. The drum placement changed my life and the entire musical landscape. It took most of the world an extra 15 years to catch up to and realize this sound but now it's the gold standard heard across all genres. Highly recommend the book "Dilla Time" to gain more perspective.
Miles Davis - Miles Ahead
It's hard for me to pick a favorite Miles record but this is one of them for sure. Gil Evans' arrangements are just pure beauty. Nobody can compare with his soaring palette that perfectly compliments the sound of Miles. It's moody, nostalgic, sad at points, uplifting to the soul at others. When I was at Manhattan School of Music we played the original arrangements with the big band and Dave Liebman as Miles. A joyous time that sticks with me to this day. Constant rotation for this record.
Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez - Cachaito
Very underrated record here my friends! I'm sure we are all familiar with "The Buena Vista Social Club" album and movie. Both are truly iconic along with all the individual albums. But this one is truly for the heads. Cachaito was the bass player and this is his solo album. His uncle, Cachao, literally invented Cuban bass playing with the "Tumbao" and is also credited with inventing "Mambo". Cachaito expanded brilliantly on this mantle to create many great albums but I particularly fancy his solo one. Recorded in a legendary room in Havana, it has a sound like no other, combining so many styles into a true masterpiece.
Herbie Hancock - Thrust
When I started listening to this era of Herbie, it prompted a complete shift in groove for my trumpet playing. Consummate musicianship partnered with total attitude and rhythm. The Bennie Maupin's soprano sax solo is something I practiced along with every day for probably 8 years, along with attempting to learn the complexity of Herbie's harmony and technique. I also highly recommend "Secrets" and honestly everything else from this period. It's essential listening.