Abbey Lincoln - Natas (Playmate) [1973]

A chef's kiss to the use of double-tracking on this song about an imaginary friend. I am always there for a singular bold effect on otherwise acoustic music, and here it's implemented so perfectly that I want to hug somebody. Stylistically, this sits quite nicely next to a previous selection from Horace Silver & Salome Bey, and it would clearly behoove me to investigate that era of vocal jazz more closely, as the focus on spiritual self-care is an influence that I always appreciate.

Sun Ra And His Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra - The All of Everything [1970]

I've been a bit obsessed with electric pianos recently, and this track's piercing Roksichord has become my baseline mind music of recent weeks -- which is to say that when I don't have something else on the brain, this song starts playing. I'm not a Sun Ra expert, so I can't say how this compares and contrasts with the rest of his extensive discography, but there's an unrushed meander to the melancholy of this piece that keeps me coming back. A lot of the magic of music is the right melody meeting the right instrumentation, and this is an excellent example.

Jelly Roll Morton - New Orleans Joy [1923]

I had no idea things got this funky in the early days of jazz, but this one has me making faces and breaking my neck like I was Jay-Z hearing the "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" beat for the first time. There's even a hint of boogie woogie-esque left hand in the mix, which I find difficult to resist. For millions of years people were making music of all kinds, and then one day we figured out how to record, and this just happens to be where we were at. A sudden new beginning marked atop a mountain of musical evolution.

Neu! - Für Immer [1973]

Neu! inspires me to be a more passionately honest version of myself. Their music injects fiery, unflinching momentum into the world, as a sort of psychedelic cleanse, that taps something both rawly animalistic and cosmically expansive. These are songs for achieving, for purging, and for letting go of anything holding you back from being you. What Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother built  here out of drums and guitars will always stand among that handful of tracks that get me thinking "this might be the best song I've ever heard."

Francis the Great - Look Up In The Sky [1977]

Um, yes, I will listen to this vintage electro-afrobeat record with a 7 year-old boy for a lead singer. Oh, it was made in France but the lyrics are in English? No, that won't be a problem for me. What's that? It's over twelve minutes of jamming you say? Look, I need you to step out from between me and that record immediately.

Terry Riley & Don Cherry - The Descending Moonshine Dervishes [Live in Cologne, Germany, 1975]

I could do with a lifetime of this. An incredible marriage of expansive psychedelic minimalism and the most soulful spiritual jazz, from masters of each. Together they explore the far out and the innermost as the same thing. It's hard to imagine that they performed this and didn't just hole up in a studio for a decade or two, but then again, maybe they said it all here.