Jake is a professional musician, teacher, songwriter and producer from Saskatoon. In 2021, he recorded and released an album called Microlingus and this year he received his music degree from the University of Saskatchewan. These six songs, he says, represent pieces of his musical taste. /Gregory Beatty

“Home at Last”
Steely Dan, Aja (1977)

Written about their hometown of New York. Fagen and Becker both solo on this track. Strangely, it’s the only time on the album. As much as I love the ridiculous musicianship of the many different players on the record, it’s nice to hear the composers incorporate their own solos into the same song. YouTube

“Two of Us”
The Beatles, Let it Be (1970)

Between 1963 and 1968, The Beatles made some of the best music in the world. This song predates all of it. It was actually written during The Quarrymen days and never saw the light of day until The Beatles were desperate for material during the Get Back time crunch in 1969/70. Having such an incredible song in their back pocket is a testament to their gargantuan songwriting ability. YouTube

Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool (1957)

Because I enjoy albums with several distinct song moments, jazz records filled with extended solos never really caught my attention. It wasn’t until I discovered Birth of Cool that I really found my love for jazz. There isn’t a song over four minutes, the solos are short and succinct, the heads fantastic, and it features the most important man in jazz. YouTube

“Alphabet Town”
Elliott Smith, Elliott Smith (1995)

A simple change of his high E string to a D adds minor 7ths to his E major chords and major 9ths to his C major chords. A signature Elliott move. Though he may not have understood it like that, he was incredibly gifted for adding interesting chord tones to his harmonies. No one has inspired my songwriting more than him. YouTube

Alice in Chains, Alice in Chains (1995)

“Frogs” perfectly represents this album. Eerie vocal harmonies, unique chord structures, dark lyrical themes and, as always, unreal guitar. The riff at 5:55 is one of Jerry’s greatest in my opinion. YouTube

“Where is the Line?”
Billy Talent, Billy Talent II (2006)

Billy Talent was a massive part of my early listening. They almost didn’t make my list, but after seeing them for the fourth time at the Saskatoon Exhibition I included them. This song is a hidden gem that exemplifies their signature qualities. YouTube