My top fives:

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Female Vocal Artists
Male Vocal Artists
Keyboard players
Christian Bassists I have met
Christian Keyboard Players I have met
Christian Guitarists I have met

Christian Drummers I have met

Female vocal artists

1 Norah Jones
Breathy but packed with passion, Norah's warm mellowness caresses the lyrics and conjures images of great richness and sensuality. Exactly right.
Top Track: Come Away with Me (Come Away with Me)

2 Diana Krall
Superb in voice and fingers. Power, range and style combine to make a jazzy, beefy and romantic delivery of classic lyrics with a freshness that continues to impress.
Top Track: 'Swonderful (Live in Paris)

3 Sam Brown
Last of the great rockers who have the Bassey knowledge of how to put a song across with verve and joy.
Top Track: Stop! (Stop!)

4 Charlene Spiteri
She belongs in anyone's list. Tonally distinctive with fire in her belly.
Top Track: Black-Eyed Boy

5 Nina Simone
Late but great. All the rawness you could ask for, with humour and lightness of touch. Great pianist as well.
Top Track: Little Girl Blue (Best of)


Male vocal artists

1 Nat 'King' Cole
Never to be sublimated, this voice is superb. He loves to taste the words as they tumble across his lips, and his breathy-but-forever-supported sound is rich and warm.
Top Track: Sweet Lorraine (The Very Best of)

2 George Michael
Surprise here at number two, but his rendering of classics showcased his voice superbly. An odd person, perhaps, but with a voice just as characteristic as Nat.
Top Track: Roxanne (Songs from the Last Century)

3 Robert Plant
Not easy to exclude from any top three, the Led Zeppelin front man will swoop and dive and swoop again. Not just Stairway, but The Lemon Song, In my time of Dying and of course The Immigrant Song.
Top Track: Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin IV)

4 Frank Sinatra
Yeah, yeah, I know he's ancient history, but he's so cool, with Nelson Riddle enhancing his every breath, and with that laid-back baritone style giving feel to every word.
Top Track: (I've got you) Under my Skin

5 Andrew Strong
Took the lead vocals in The Commitments, and impressed everyone. Total unknown, but what a talent.
Top Track: Midnight Hour (The Commitments)



1 Eric Clapton

Far and away the best ever. Slowhand's distinctive touch (many sounds, one style) is exciting, electrifying, invigorating. A troubled character, with many excesses, many skills. Don't try this at home, kids, but just look at the quality. His unplugged performance is wall-to-wall excellence, bringing folky blues to a whole new audience.
Top Track: Layla (of course) (Derek & the Dominoes)

2 Peter Green
Reclusive wierdo, but a founder-member of Fleetwood Mac. Following many years in self-imposed exile, these dancing fingers were once again given free reign. Committed to the blues, he also rocks and wails.
Top Track: Green Manalishi (Live at Ronnie Scott's)

3 Jimmy Page
Difficult to justify putting Page third, but he was just edged out by the range of Green. Monster of anthemic epic prog rock, this giant finds tunes and phrases which engage and beautify the tracks they accompany, and stand alone as the cornerstone of seventies culture. Sadly occultic.
Top Track: Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin IV)

4 Alan Holdsworth
If you haven't heard of him, then you are missing out. Lead guitar with a band called UK and latterly a solo performer, this man has blurred fingers even when he's rolling a smoke. Play a few disconnected chords, with three changes in timesignature, and AH will find a blistering 3000 notes lick, fill, solo and hook. You only know what's going on when you've got used to it. Music you have to listen to in order to gain the reward. Able to play anthem rock, but prefers to amaze, impress and entertain much more than that!
Top Track: Metal Fatigue (Metal Fatigue)

5 BB King
I have to acknowledge the Bluesmeister. A vast ball of sweat, emotion, arrogant licks and delicate fingerwork.
Top Track: undecided

Keyboard players

1 Keith Emerson

This man does not just rock and certainly goes far beyond simply holding down pads while the rest of the band does the playing. His boogie-woogie and jazz improvisations are splendid, and some of them performed while suspended and spinning way above the stage.
Top Track: Tocatta (Brain Salad Surgery)

2 Jools Holland
Bouncing basso-octavo and twinkling leads, this chap is the nawob of boogie. His orchestra take the headlines sometimes, but without his commitment to making it happen, they would be just another good horn section.
Top Track: undecided

3 Dan Reed
Tunester, harmonist and rythm king. A composer and performer with band-member attitude, which allows him to stand back with humility at times and take the music on with aggression at times, too.
Top Track: Let everything that has breath (various versions)

4 Elton John
When you have a personality the size of Lancashire, it's tough for singing talent to shine through, but EJ has a prodigiously-toned voice (he beats everyone else on that Perfect Day single). This puts his piano-playing into third place, but it's outstandingly classy as well. Too much talent for one so keen on flowers.
Top Track: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (GYBR)

5 Oscar Peterson
Why fifth? His tendency to grunt puts me off a bit, but his fantastic flourishes and lovely phrasing win me over again.
Top Track: undecided


Christian Bassists I have met

1 Luke Fellingham
Looks and sounds like Jesus.

2 Jonny East
Individual style and grace, with a knowledge of teeth, elbows, foreheads and a slight tendency to fall over before the end of the song. But a reliable, solid bottom end.

3 Tal Fahy
Always on the case, but usually unpredicable. And that's not easy.

4 Rob Kirkwood
Thrum and twang in equal measure.

5 Matt Parker
Authority and passion with accuracy too.


Christian Keyboard players I have met

1 Mark Edwards
Programming for Great Britain, but actually a sensitive jazz chord man par excellence, too. Power soloing a speciality.

2 Miles Simmons
Sensational boogie woogie.

3 Mike (Bertie) Sandeman
Melodic, chordal, chugging texture; this bloke's got the lot! Great Hammond technique.

4 Neil Corin
He can turn his hand to amost anything: stadium rock, gentle worship, pipe organ, seventies disco classics. Hammond, Roland RD300S, accordian, Whirlitzer, with customised synth keys and a legendary tidy approach to cable looms. International Man of Fleeces, who's squeezin' for Jesus.

5 Poppy Hyde
From rock to baroque; from doped-up Wagner to hungover Fellingham. Poppy can play fast and loose with your musical emotions.


Christian Guitarists I have met

1 Dieter Hachenberg
Yes, despite his appalling tendency towards the bluegrass sound, these dancing fingers get my top vote. From Free Spirit to Garratt, via Opus and Frosty and the Snowmen, he's never failed to wail. Bluesey, licks, hooks, melodic solos and pure good taste ooze from the fellow.
Top Track: The Remeniscing (Garrett EP)

2 Dougie Scarratt
It was awfully close, but Dougie just got edged out by Dieter's commitment to variety. The lead axe man of Saxon, complete with his own hair and his Valley Arts, he rocks with such speed and grace that he's a marvel to watch and a wonder to hear.
Top Track: Bloodletter (Saxon)

3 Alan Rose
Sensitive, excellent, faultless and meaningful acoustic skill is an undervalued strength in the repertoire. But he will rock with the best, screaming and chuntering as required. Never boring to watch, even in church worship.
Top Track: Your Love (Hope: Phatfish)

4 Paul Bielatowicz
Exciting blurred-fingers concentrating magnificently on the sounds of keyboard maestro Kieth Emerson, armed mostly with a plectrum, but occasionally with an electric toothbrush.
Top Track: Flight of the Bumble Bee

5 Matt Weedall
Competent, reliable, dependable worshipping guitar hero.

Christian Drummers I have met

1 Jamie Gosney
Teeth & elbows akimbo, his sticks dance but are never busy.

2 Nathan Fellingham

Taught me everything I know, but is rather more magnificent than that.

3 Jules Burt

Now we really are talking teeth; stylistically about as far from Karen Carpenter as you can get.

4 Dave Loveland

Bizarre hair and even more unusual footwear (none).

5 Chris Evans

No, not that one.



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