This question brought to mind a vivid memory from high school of listening to “Mira, Mira”, a Matt Harris piece from Maynard Ferguson’s LP, “Body and Soul”. I remember thinking “wouldn’t it be cool to tour with a band like this someday, playing similar great music”. It’s ironic that until now, I hadn’t remembered this, and hadn’t pieced it together that by touring with Maynard (1998-2000) I accomplished an aspiration I had inadvertently set for myself in high school.
The other album that comes to mind from this period is “Pat Metheny Group”. I listened to this hundreds of times, and learned to play all of Lyle Mays’ piano / synth work on “Phase Dance”. My high school combo performed this piece at the Optimists Music Festival, and I remember feeling so hip, playing Lyle’s solo. I still think this record stands the test of time. Check the video below.