The 50 Greatest Jazz Albums…Ever

The 50 Greatest Jazz Albums…Ever

At the end of any year it’s a great time to look back and so we’ve decided to attempt to come up with a definitive list of the 50 Greatest Jazz Albums of all time. Impossible, you are probably thinking, and it probably is, but rather than just thinking of our favourites we decided to take a good look through the web to see what other lists there are and combine our findings.

As usual we expect many of you to disagree, sometimes strongly, but as usual we will love hearing from you.

It took us several days of searching but here it is, the 50 greatest…

50. Thelonious Monk - Genius of Modern Music vol.1 & 2.
49. Count Basie - the Original American Decca Recordings
48. Bud Powell - The Amazing Bud Powell Vo.1
47. Weather Report – Heavy Weather
46. John Coltrane & Thelonious Monk - At Carnegie Hall
45. Horace Silver - Song For My Father
44. Grant Green - Idle Moments
43. Count Basie - The Complete Atomic Basie
42. Hank Mobley - Soul Station
41. Charlie Christian - The Genius of the Electric Guitar
40. Art Pepper meets the Rhythm Section
39. John Coltrane - My Favourite Things
38. Benny Goodman – At Carnegie Hall 1938
37. Wes Montgomery - The incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
36. The Mahavishnu Orchestra With John McLaughlin - Inner Mounting Flame
35. Clifford Brown and Max Roach - Clifford Brown & Max Roach
34. Andrew Hill - Point of Departure
33. Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters
32. Dexter Gordon - Go
31. Sarah Vaughan - With Clifford Brown
30. The Quintet - Jazz at Massey Hall
29. Bill Evans Trio - Waltz For Debby
28. Lee Morgan - The Sidewinder
27. Bill Evans - Sunday at the village Vanguard
26. Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners
25. Keith Jarrett - the Koln Concert
24. John Coltrane - Giant Steps
23. Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage
22. Duke Ellington - Ellington at Newport
21. Cecil Taylor - Unit Structures
20. Charlie Parker - Complete Savoy and Dial Studio recordings
19. Miles Davis - Birth of the Cool
18. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - Moanin'
17. Albert Ayler - Spiritual Unity
16. Eric Dolphy - Out To Lunch
15. Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth
14. Erroll Garner - Concert By the Sea
13. Wayne Shorter - Speak No Evil
12. Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - Getz/Gilberto
11. Louis Armstrong - Best of the Hot 5s and 7s
10. John Coltrane - Blue Train
9. Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
8. Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus
7. Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else
6. Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
5. Ornette Coleman - The Shape of Jazz to Come
4. Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um
3. Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out
2. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
1. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

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445 comments

      1. Claude Soiron

        Votre liste est bonne mais vous oubliez quelques pointures incontestables de l’histoire du jazz : Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Jazztet, George Benson, Brad Mehldau, et bien d’autres…

    1. DS

      My first thought too. I’d have it top 5, but I think it just doesn’t have the same effect on most listeners that it does on the few of us who are nuts about it.

    2. Antonio Teja

      Not a bad list ! Thanks for putting 3 Miles albums in there & very Happy to know since 1972 I’m not the only one who loves Keith Jarrett’s Koln album

      1. struyn

        “25. Keith Jarrett – the Koln Concert”
        sorry, but this place would be for the first solo album recorded by K. Jarrett for ECM in 1973 !

    3. Mahglun Green Laddie

      I love Miles Davis too but although he was a giant of jazz you cannot include all his great albums, what about the ‘second great quintet’ albums? what about On the Corner? (loved and hated with equal passion but those who get it really get it) What about Steamin’, Workin’, Cookin’ Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet? Duke Ellington is universally acknowledged as one of the greats of jazz, you could argue that he is woefully under represented here, it is a list of some great jazz albums, you could never chime with everyone’s ideal top 50 list and In a Silent Way can look after itself, it is an album that any self respecting jazz collector must have, simply because it is so ubiquitously and cheaply available, even if you are not sure if it is you thing it is better to have it than not. And while I’m at it, what about John Coltrane’s Ascension? Like MIles he is already well represented here.

    4. bill miner

      While I agree with numerous choices – I’m shocked by the absence of Oscar Peterson and Coleman Hawkins (any Oscar Trio and Coleman Hawkins meets Ben Webster) also Bill Evans “You must believe in Spring” is my desert island Evans by far” with apologies to Debby. And no Charlie Parker in the top 10? Still top 50 lists involving a passion such as music will always be tough.

    5. James S.

      Tough task; good list I might make some room for Art Blakey-Album of the Year; Branford Marsalis: Braggtown; Maybe a few compilations? A Night Out with Verve; Ella’s Songbook esp. Ella Live in Berlin. Maybe tighten up criteria for listing by decade/compilations/live Jazz recordings or the like. Thanks for reminding me that there is so much good jazz to still enjoy. FIFTY is simply not enough

  1. Eckhart Derschmidt

    Of course all of the albums on this list are great, but still it leaves two basic questions:
    The most recent album on this list is from 1977. Nothing relevant happened thereafter?
    Not a single album from non-US musicians (well, Joe Zawinul is from Austria, but spent most of his musical career in the US). Nothing relevant happened outside the US?
    I doubt…

    1. Paul

      Good point about the lack of Europeans (or Canadians!) No Django is the most obvious omission for me. And Neils Henning-Oersted Pedersen was a god on the bass, by unless you’re Mingus, a bass player isn’t going to get that kind of attention.

      1. Jackie

        About 80% on it- but no Ella, Pops, Django- no Jimmie Lunceford… Great albums-but there is some stuff past 1970 that should have been included and more women…

        1. Jo Welch

          I too was dismayed to see no Ella, particularly, and could find better Sarahs. Heartened to see Kind of Blue top and Concert By the Sea in the top 20, but what of the older sax stars – Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges and Lester Young, and so many other great pianists?

          1. Crocodile Chuck

            WTF? Erroll Garner in, but ‘Bitches Brew’ ISN’T? The latter changed MUSIC in the last third of the 20thC. ‘Concert by the Sea’ is a forgettable solo stride piano performance at an outdoor ’60’s music festival.

          2. Darroch Greer

            I’m in agreement, Jo. The list is too light on Ellington, which would have given us Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster and an entire band of instrumentalists at the top of their game. I also miss Billie Holiday and Teddy Wilson, which also could have given us Lester Young. Recently, how about Roy Hargrove’s Cuba album or most anything by Chris Potter.

          3. Mahglun Green Laddie

            I see that Crocodile Chuck did not scrutinise the list too well if he missed No. 9, the album he was bemoaning wasn’t included. It is a good list and of course we could all have albums we would place higher and, perhaps, not rate some of those included, but I cannot really fault it. A list of neglected jazz gems would be good. I come across jazz all the time that I had not heard before an wonder why they are not better celebrated.

    2. Brian

      So did you not see Gilberto/Getz on the list? Getz is the only American on the recording. All others were, I believe, Brazilian. Not to mention multiple members of the Mahavishnu Orchestra were not American, with only Goodman being American among the original members. Some musicians on Bitches Brew were also not American. I’d say there are some others, as well. But I do agree there is a lack of recordings by other significant jazz artists from outside of the States.

      1. Eckhart Derschmidt

        Yes, I did see Getz/Gilberto, but even if most of the musicians on this recording were no US citicens, it was a very American production on a famous US label. Same is true for Mahavishnu and even more so for Bitches Brew.

        1. Mahglun Green Laddie

          You know that by American it was meant as North American and more specifically the United States of American rather than Canada, Central or South American

        2. Milagros Llauger

          These lists are put together by Anglos, but Brazilian, Cubans, Puerto Ricans are often excluded. Many years ago a jazz critic in Chicago told me that Latin jazz was not serious jazz…….talk about arrogance and ignorance. So let me share this information with you. Go to Youtube and find Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Chick Corea……that will lead you to Getz and Gilberto. Most people do not know the work of Laurindo Almeida, and of course we know Sergio Mendes. Some of us know. so let’s keep listening to the music.

  2. Patricia Baker

    1. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue4 9Miles Davis Bitches Brew
    8. Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus
    7. Cannonball Adderley – Somethin’ Else.4 Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um20. Charlie Parker – Complete Savoy and Dial Studio recordings
    19. Miles Davis – Birth of the Cool
    18. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – Moanin’24. John Coltrane – Giant Steps
    23. Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage
    22. Duke Ellington – Ellington at Newport50. Thelonious Monk Genius of Modern Music vol.1 & 2.
    49. Count Basie – the Original American Decca Recordings
    48. Bud Powell – The Amazing Bud Powell Vo.1 and please don’t forget Norman Granz’ series JATP Jazz at the Philharmonic

    1. Robert

      An excellent list – but you’ve got to find a way to include “Charlie Parker with Strings”. But the most glaring omission – where are the women!? What about ”
      Sarah “In the Land of Hi-Fi”.(She included an “unknown” Julian “Cannonball” Adderly)

  3. Pedro

    Well, for me Out To Lunch can’t be outside the top 10. No way Getz/Gilberto could stay in front of Dolphy’s masterpiece. Also, no Conference Of The Birds, Virtuoso and Jaco Pastorious.

  4. Ray Hunter

    if you take away 47, 36,33,23,and 13 0ff the list as far as I am concerned they are rubbish compared to the stature of the other players, I have 41 of these albums and would not like to be with out any of those 41, the missing few I just haven’t bought yet. the five I have mentioned are sidemen on some of these other albums in my list and as such do what they need to do, but none of them perform that well as leaders .

    1. twanerino

      Really?! You are dismissing albums like Maiden Voyage and Speak No Evil?
      That shows you can buy jazz albuns all you want, listen to it all you want, but still don’t hear the music…

  5. dr. L

    What, no Paul Desmond, alto sax this side of ice-berg cool. And only one jazz vocal. And that with a famed jazz player. No solo. No Dinah Washington. No Nat King Cole. Mel Torme wasn’t good enough anywhere on that list. and NO Johnny Hartman?? And WEATHER REPORT trumps BITCHES BREW let alone an-nee-thing by Sinatra Tsk tsk.

    1. Jupeter

      Most of Paul Desmond best work was with Brunel and I would nominate Jazz Goes To College for a superb example of Desmond.
      Also found it strange that none of Miles albums with Gill Evans were included. But the fun is in the discussions and very few would agree with everything, that is the glory of jazz.

    2. Peter

      Desmond played his best and is most known for while he was with Brubeck which is given quite a bit of esteem on this list.
      Sinatra and nat king cole and aren’t really Jazz, what they played was more or less just swing because it lacked much of the harmonic sophistication and improvisation that is associated with much of Jazz music.
      Weather Report was good or even a great group that made a lot of nice sounds with some interesting rhythms and harmonies, but nothing they played was revolutionary the way Bitches Brew was. On that album Miles brought forth new ideas that had never heard fully heard or explored before and still kept true to foundations he laid in kind of blue and the complete birth of cool. Bitches Brew was also much more successful the Heavy weather.

  6. OP

    Maybe not as well known as most on this list, but for me Oscar Peterson Trio’s “Live From Chicago”, Kenny Burrell’s “Midnight Blue”, Sam Rivers “Fuchsia Swing Song” all belong on this list IMO…

  7. Michael Morse

    Among the missing, in no particular order: Joe Henderson, Biz Beiderbecke, Lenny Tristano, Billy Strayhorn, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie (as a leader), Art Farmer, Jim Hall, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald.. that’s just off the top of my head. With respect, a list that lacks these names is a joke.

  8. Lemmy Caution

    An impossible task true, but even so would argue that this is not so much the greatest jazz albums as the most famous, best selling or best produced, which does not translate as ‘greatest’. As great as many of these albums are, many of the artists on this list have exceeded these elsewhere. Cannonball, Blakey, Jarrett, Morgan, Monk etc etc all did works that outdid the ones listed. Also as noted, seems very limited time wise, mostly 1959-1968, which makes it even more surprising that Bobby Hutcherson’s Total Eclipse is not up there.

  9. Rusty James

    A more appropiate title would have been 45 Great Jazz Albums. As someone has mentioned earlier on you should take away of the list 47, 36,33,23,and 13 and maybe some more, the Elf’s Concert by the Sea? No w
    Just for starters: where is Teddy Wilson with Billie Holiday? Jimmie Lunceford?
    Charlie Christian? Django? Johnny Harman w/ John Coltrane? Should I carry on..? Fortunately you could buy at any decent shop more almost all of the records of the list any day. They are in broad circulation and not difficult to find, that’s maybe the reason of that list.

  10. bill holland

    You have left out many other greats. This list is totally NOT the 50 greatest!!!!! Where are: George Benson, Stan Kenton, Coleman Hawkins, Buddy Rich, Oscar Peterson, The Brekker Brothers, Wynston Marsalis Cleo Laine, Lionel Hampton, Glenn Miller. Gerald Wilson, Quincy Jones, Nelson Riddle, Artie Shaw etc. etc. etc. ALL of these artists had albums that whould fit into the list!!! They all furthered the art of jazz!!!!! Instead of wasting time on this why doesn’t someone write a thesis entitled ‘What is Jazz’. This would have to be inclusive yet selective and objective! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!

  11. Joe Garza

    I would have liked to have seen the Zoot and Sonny collaboration “interaction” on this list. I also love Art Blakey’s “Backgammon”. I agree with most of the list, great choices!

  12. Robert Scurry

    Pretty good but I would have found room for a compilation of King Oliver Creole Jazz Band 1923on Archeophone 2CD. The foundation of all that followed. Also you have nothing of Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet and Bix Beiderbecke. Important and essential pioneers among many others of early jazz.

    1. Greg

      Well done – those and I wish they had simply pegged the Armstrong box set A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, for a fatter slice of the essential Louis of the 20s and 30s. I myself could not be happy living without this chunk of music in the world. I’ve heard most of this list and I’ve not listened to plenty of it for years, but I can’t go more than a few months without listening to at least Columbia’s This Is Jazz #1.

  13. R. E. Hawkins

    An impossible task certainly, but with the exceptions of the fusion stuff it is pretty admirable. Glad to see Brubeck near the top. Agree with previous post that the omission of Hartman/Coltrane is a major oversight. Would also like to see some more adventurous material. There are several albums by Anthony Braxton that could have made the list.

  14. CBro

    1 and 2 should be flip flopped. Also Big Fun by Miles Davis needs to be on there. Time Out by Brubeck is way too high up the list. Lots of albums with big names on here but there’s way better stuff (Koln Concert that high? Come on. Mahavishnu Orchestra not that high either). Good call on Out to Lunch by Dolphy tho, but that should actually be higher. And Iron Man should be on there as well. Happy new year!

  15. Paul

    I’m fairly speechless. This is a damn fine list. Usually music lists have me swinging immediately out of the gate! I would respectively suggest adding Joe Pass’ “Virtuoso”, something of Django’s, and I’m very surprised there’s no Ella. I don’t think any of those recordings are “younger” than 40, so maybe the next list can highlight some of the young lions who have put out some screamin’ stuff in THIS century. The San Francisco Jazz Collective comes to mind.

  16. Fieldhands

    This list is poorly ordered. These are all great albums but IMO most of them got their spots because of politics. Whoever wrote this list is was trying to keep as many people happy. It looks like they used the bracket system to decide lol

      1. Frank A. Martinez

        How about these:
        Peggy Lee,Anita O’Day,June Christy,Diana Krall,Jackie Cain,how about ‘Sassy Sarah’..Chis Connors,And of course,Carmen McRae,Mildred Bailey….And of course…The First Lady of Jazz…Miss Ella Fitzgerald topping this list…

  17. Steve Burkhalter

    A good list all and all. I do think a few groundbreakers have been missed though:
    1) Pat Methenys Bright Size Life, Pat, is probably the best modern Jazz composer (after 1980), and this collaberation with Jaco was certainly groundbreaking
    2) Kenny Burrell and Grover Washington, one of my favorites to spin to this day. With a rhythm section of Ron Carter and Jack Dejohnet in Grovers pre smooth jazz days this album smokes
    3) Chic Corea and Return to Forever, Light as a Feather, come on this CD has Spain and Light as a feather, a gross omission.

    1. Kevin Sterchi

      Agree about Metheny He’s definitely the most prolific. His Question & Answer would be a good choice. I would have to put Love Supreme as my #1

  18. r c douglas

    somebody else noted nothing since 1977. i’ll add– and precious little before approx 1950. Bix. Duke. Basie. Jelly Roll. Armstrong. Grappelli. Teagarden. Oliver. all missing. i agree that those listed were great. i would echo disagreement about relative merits of Love Supreme and Kind of Blue, but that’s close.

  19. Daniela Cervantes

    I’m glad you got Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery, but how about the “Greatest”
    Barney Kessel. That man could do on one guitar what it takes three ordinary professional guitarists to do. Even George Harrison once said, “There’s nobody on this planet or any other planet that can play like that”

  20. Carlos

    Seriously? Weather Report before many many many more.. a very short timeline for “greatest” jazz albums, there have been a few thereafter, am I wrong?
    From the top of my head, where are Ella, Diz, Billie Holiday, Oscar Peterson, Wynton Marsalis, Bradford Marsalis, Benny Goodman, geeez!!! Need to broaden your “50” spectrum, and while there change some already in the list that could be swapped..
    But.. good average 7/10 score on your list…
    Thanks!!!

  21. gareth

    I love them both but “Love Supreme” is arguably the greatest music of the 20th Century bar none while “Kind of Blue” is not quite in that league. That’s a pretty ordinary Weather Report album by the way – “Mysterious Traveller” is probably better qualified.

    Where are Nina and Ella? – is this selection for pointy-beard strokers only?

  22. Lisa Gimber

    No Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman? And NiO Billy Cobhan, “SPECTRUM”. Kills me how so many peoplw make their little music site and Really Don’t know a rhing.

  23. Ken1956

    All great albums – you might include Pat Metheny (any of his albums but I am fond of ‘We Live Here”)- as his group has won 20 Grammys, and maybe you might think of Vince Guaraldi (A Charlie Brown Christmas) next time. He has certainly gained a true following outside of the Jazz world. Oh yea, how about Dave Brubeck – Live at Oberlin or Time Out.

  24. Stanton

    Nothing at all by Kieth Jarrett Standards Trio?? Surely Bill Evans Vanguard recordings with the majestic Scott LaFaro belong in the top 10. Where’s Milestones by Miles?

  25. twanerino

    Yes, there are some obvious omissions, but people shouldn’t forget that it is a best ALBUM list. A lot of the people mentioned have all made great music, worthy of any jaz list, but they made it in the pre-album age where EPs and 78s where the medium. And although Count Basie’s Decca Recordings and Louis’ Best of Hot 5 and 7s are marvelous, they are compilations that should not be on a best album list. If you include them, there should be Billie Holiday’s Complete Columbia, Duke’s Blanton-Webster Band.
    A well, whatever… One thing I can’t deny through all the discussion. This list has some of the best music ever made!

  26. James henriot

    The list is pretty lacking. What about the Cti label? Most of the list reads like an audiophiles introduction into ‘jazz to impress your friends with’.
    This is a list compiled by a hifi hobbyist and not a music lover.
    For a broader and more realistic list it would need much from the 70s and those gems from the 80’s and 90s. I think Brad Melhdau, Wynton Marsalis septet work, Jeff Lorber fusion and Quincy Jones could easily replace many on the list.

  27. Mark Sarnow

    You need more Art Blakey Free For All, Ugetsu are two that come to mind quickly. And Coltrane Ole Coltrane is a better example of his work than My Favorite Things. MFT just was released first so it became many people’s introduction to Trane. But Ole was more like what he actually played live in clubs.

    1. Adam C.

      Agreed on how absurd it is to leave off the Sun Ra Arkestra! Hard to believe. Also, no Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and only one listing for Bird (though it includes multiple recordings). And if they’re gonna include compilations, then you MUST include the phenomenal CTI Records- The Cool Revolution. If you don’t have it (though many of you will have some individual songs), get it! http://www.amazon.com/CTI-Records-Revolution-Various-Artists/dp/B003YVNZ2M/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1420035622&sr=1-2&keywords=cti+records+40th+anniversary+edition

  28. victor

    difficult indeed to make a list…. I miss Oscar Petterson, Billie Holliday, Chet Baker… It terribly miss some african jazz artists like the ethiopian Mulatu Astatke & the nigerian Fela Kuti…. And what about drummer Shelly Manne, who set up one of the best jazz bands, and whose records at the Black Hawk are amongst the best jazz records ever ?

  29. Shaun Cronin

    A fine list indeed, some contentious ommissions e.g Nina Simone which have been pointed out by a fair few people. None menioned Ahmad Jamal At The Pershing though, classic album – deserved to be on there for Poinciana alone.

  30. Ricky Garni

    Of course there will always be omissions, but … no Oscar Peterson? LIVE AT THE BLUE NOTE or ELLA AND OSCAR (now THERE’S killing two birds with one stone!) Even though it really can’t be said – I think that the solo in I HEAR MUSIC (“Ella and Oscar”) is the most amazingly beautiful and perfectly designed piano solo of all time. OK, I said it.

  31. Marshall Zucker

    I always enjoy these lists despite disagreements….albums that should have been included are…Paul Desmond Quintet and with voices from Fantasy….Cal Tjaders Several Shades of Jade, Sonny Clark Trio with Max Roach and George Duvivier, Modern Sounds..Eddie Bert, numerous others included recordings by Terry Gibbs, Buddy De Franco..next time. I should be consulted to provide such insight

  32. Adam C.

    Gotta also say, as much as I appreciate Mingus, there’s no way he has two recordings that much better than the best of Monk. Not to mention numerous others they have listed above him. I mean, it’s freakin’ Thelonius Monk!

  33. Rémy Brown

    Django ? Ella ? Lester Young ? Paul Desmond ? Chet Baker ? Ben Webster, Oscar Peterson, Billie Holliday, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum, and Sidney Bechet ??? It’s a joke !!!

  34. Greg

    Well, of all the omissions, Ella Fitzgerald seems the most glaring to me. Billie and the other biggies mentioned above too. But to drop as much Coltrane in as they did and leave Sun Ra out makes the whole exercise seem like a lame Billboard Top Selling Jazz list, not a jazz aficionado’s best effort. Pharoah Sanders too.
    Those and the old stuff from the 20s and 30s as someone else said. I wish they had simply pegged the Armstrong box set A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, for a fatter slice of the essential Louis of the 20s and 30s. I myself could not be happy living without this chunk of music in the world. I’ve heard most of this list and I’ve not listened to plenty of it for years, but I can’t go more than a few months without listening to at least Columbia’s This Is Jazz #1.

  35. Peter Neski

    Of course the stuff from 78’s is put behind stuff like Miles ,No Bix No Mullligan what a surprise …lots of Blue Note lps with no Pacific lps ,this list is OK ,but far from right ,and the order sucks
    How is the classic Basie band 49 and behind a bunch of lesser lps like one by the Latter Basie band ,who’s the fool who put this thing together ???

  36. Susan

    What misogynists you are. No Billie Holiday? No Ella Fitzgerald. No Antia O’Day? No Sarah Vaughn? You also are bebop centric. No Bix Beiderbecke? No Bunny Berigan? No Fats Waller, etc, etc. etc. ONLY one Louis Armstrong record listed! How can that possibly be???

  37. George Thomas

    Impossible list to make so the rest of the real list is in the comments, here’s some of my thoughts/additions:
    -Spirituals To Swing – John Hammond’s great concerts with Basie, Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Helen Humes, Big Joe Turner, James P. Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
    Mary Lou Williams – Nite Life
    -Geri Allen, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian – Etudes
    -Terri Lyne Carrington – The Mosaic Project (includes almost every significant contemporary female jazz musician)
    -Abbey Lincoln – Straight Ahead (Max Roach, Coleman Hawkins, Eric Dolphy, Julian Priester, Mal Waldren)
    Earl Hines – A Monday Date (solo piano 1928 recordings)

  38. Sascha Hace

    Sure great stuff. But where is Sonny Clark with Cool Struttin on Blue Note or Tina Brooks “True Blue”? For me also Top 20 all-time classics. Also not to forget the fantastic album from Michael Naura Quintet “European Jazz Sounds” on Brunswick label and Elsie Bianchi Trio “The Sweetest Sound” on Saba. And as many others before said. No Ella……. Happy New Year for all you music lovers ;)

  39. Karlos

    Can’t argue with number one.
    Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Cannonball Adderley all have albums in this list. They were all musicians in the number one Jazz Album, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.

    1. HamiltonAZ

      Kind of Blue will be hard to beat – ever. I know the Coltrane buffs want to disagree, but when those guys were together on Kind of Blue, it was magical.

  40. Gigantic

    KUDOS FOR PROMOTING JAZZ MUSIC – BUT HOW ABOUT YOU ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THE RECORDS RATHER THAN COMPILE OTHER DATA? ALL THIS DOES IS CONTINUALLY LEAVE OTHER TITLES OBSCURED THAT ARE AS EQUALLY GREAT AS MANY OF THESE. FURTHER PROOF THAT THE INTERNET IS LAZY. “IT TOOK US SEVERAL DAYS OF SEARCHING…” HOW ABOUT WEEKS, MONTHS, OR EVEN YEARS OF LISTENING? NOBODY SHOULD PROMOTE ANYTHING THEY ARE NOT INTIMATE WITH ON SOME LEVEL.

  41. Jim Grodnik

    “Oscar Peterson Trio at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival”
    “Sittin’ In”: Oscar Peterson Trio with Sonny Stitt.
    “Jazz at Oberlin” Dave Brubeck Quartet

  42. Virginia

    I love all your 50 picks, but there are so many more “greatest”! Two of my favorite quotes:

    “Jazz washes away the dust of every day”–Art Blakey

    “Put it this way. Jazz is a good barometer of freedom…In its beginnings, the United States of America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which, eventually, jazz was evolved, and the music is so free that many people say it is the only unhapmpered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.”–Duke Ellington

    I LOVE JAZZ!!!

  43. Michael

    i would have agreed about #1, but a bassist friend turned me on to what may be the best, least known, jazz album ever: Money Jungle. It’s an incredible session featuring Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach.

  44. Bob Skaleski

    A good list … I would include some albums that made important contributions in the evolution of Jazz …. I would include Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing in the top ten – Even Miles loved Ahmad. The Mulligan/Desmond Duets come to mind as well as the early Chico Hamilton quintet with Fred Katz on Cello. I would place the singers – male and female in their own grouping – Stan Kenton certainly had some historic music: Kenton in Hi Fi was exceptional. There is no doubt in my mind that “Time Out” introduced more people to jazz than Miles ever did. Double the list and not rank them for more harmony among Jazz lovers.

    1. Kevin Sterchi

      while i’ll agree about Parker, it’s a shame that when you get to the earlier recordings the quality can really suffer. It seems like , although great, many of Parker’s and others are just hard to listen to due to the recording quality-it’s a shame.

  45. Rangan

    The all-time best 50 list should have a wide scope for inclusion.By that count Chick Corea’s ‘The Romantic Warrior’ , Wayne Shorter”s ‘Native Dancer(seldom has one heard a better Latino fusion jazz-featuring also Milton Nascimento & Herbie Hancock),Stanley Clarke’s ‘School Days’,and Billy Cobham’s ‘Magic’ should also rightfully find their pride of place in the list!

  46. jonujazz

    Oh look, another top 50 list no different than any other. It’s so annoying to see the same albums on the top 5, again and again. No Ahmad Jamal, no Crusaders, no Metheny, no Tom Scott… What a shame.

    1. bockhus

      Thanks for mentioning some of my jazz heroes. The Crusaders opened my door to jazz and following the sound of the saxophone there were suddenly Tom Scott, Stan Getz, John Klemmer, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins and many more. I am happy that mentioning “50 Great Jazz Albums” leads to much communication. Thanks again!

  47. P2SE Class A Single Ended

    Where is Lady Day
    Quoting from your website – With a few exceptions every major pop singer in the US during her generation has been touched in someway by her genius .
    -Frank Sinatra
    Listen to Lady Day ; The Best of Billie Holiday

  48. steve

    No Brecker, Corea,, Tatum, Tristano, Marsh, Tyner?? But the woeful Ayler and Dolphy are in there? Incredible. I suppose subjectivity is inevitable when it comes to taste and naming the best 50 albums is impossible. Vast amounts of great stuff omitted and the phenomenal broadening of jazz in the last 30 years is nowhere to be seen. This probably is a very good guide to the ages of the compilers.

    1. Neil

      Being a jazz lover, you have to understand that “woeful” & “Eric Dolphy” can’t possibly be used in the same sentence. Please re-think your statement.

  49. albert stenger

    WTF is that???
    No Billy Holliday?
    Queen Latifah??
    Ella?
    you should expand to a list of 100 …
    fondest regards from the old world…
    germany – to be exact…

    albert

  50. Rod Wilkinson

    There are some great albums and I have got a lot of them, but everybody seems to have been listening in the other direction. What about Tubby Hayes, Victor Feldman, Jimmy Deuchar, John Dankworth, Harold McNair, Phil Seaman , Peter King and Ronnie Scott !!!
    Oh ! Stan Tracey and George from Battersea !
    All great jazz musicians playing jazz in the UK.

    Happy New Year to you all and keep listening to the world’s greatest music !

  51. Schuyler Rogers

    People, don’t get your panties in a bunch. It’s all good. You just have to realize that there are hundreds of great jazz artists through the ages. We all like what WE like and disagree sometimes on what others are digging. If each and every one of you compiled your top 50, it would be a beautiful and diversified list. so starting from this post on, let’s see what your favorites are.

    1. Dan Johnston

      The best part of these lists are the comments. Gives people like me all sorts of new ideas to fill in the collection! Can never have too many great jazz albums…

  52. Zzonkmiles

    I am surprised that Milestones is not on this list. I thought that was Miles Davis’s second-strongest album.

    Not a lot of modern stuff on this list either. Wynton Marsalis’s Black Codes should probably be on this list.

    Nothing from Freddie Hubbard or Woody Shaw? Cassandranite and Love Dance are both really solid albums.

    Interesting that Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come was #5. It’s an important album, but I don’t know if I’d consider it the #5 jazz album ever.

    Interesting list overall though. I disagree with a lot of the picks, but at least it got a bunch of jazzheads talking.

  53. lance sjogren

    Not sure which I would pick for the particular recording, but a couple of jazz musicians that are among my top 5 that I think need to be represented on that list are McCoy Tyner and Michael Brecker.

    In fact, just put McCoy Tyner’s album Infinity on there, it is a great album an kills two birds with one stone.

  54. Steve

    Generally astute list, with a few debatable entries and omissions. Sketches. Ella. OP for goodness sakes. And one of my personal faves would have been in my top 20: Jazz Samba.

  55. Akiko Miyagi

    Bill Evans Trio – Portrait In Jazz
    Oscar Peterson – My favorite Instrument
    Miles Davis – Round About Midnight
    Dinah Washington – For Those In Love

  56. Adrian Litvinoff

    Probably a thankless task, unless the objective was to get some discussion going! Personally I couldn’t deduce what the criteria were for inclusion – was it popularity, historical ‘significance’, musicianship, innovation?

    I agree it’s too US-centric. What about Abdullah Ibrahim, Jan Garbarek, or Trilok Gurtu? And as for women, surely Carla Bley would qualify as well as all the great singers already mentioned?

    I’d have to include Sweet Rain and Crescent in my list of great albums – they’re among my ‘Desert Island Discs’ (8 tracks).

  57. Rolf Westerberg

    There are many great albums but I would complete with Bill Evans Alone,Bill Evans last 6 album Consecration a mastework!And guitar forms Kenny Burell.

  58. Michel Desgroseillers

    Hi, the list made me discover a few albums but all the comments of you guy’s, made me discover much more musician and great albums!! thank you :)

    Michel.

  59. David

    Wow what a great list! I have a lot of these and it has made me get some LPs out that I haven’t listened to for ages. The fact that it has stimulated so much discussion is fantastic. It is a bit disturbing that there was nothing after 1977 and that very few post 77 albums were mentioned in the replies. What does that say for the future?
    Here are some albums I like. Some would be in the top 50, others would be bubbling under…
    Julius hemphill – Dogon AD
    Bobby Hutcherson – Dialogue
    Paul Pley – Open to Love
    Lennie Tristano – same (or Rhino CD reissue with New Tristano as well)
    Ganelin Trio – Baltic Triangle
    Joe Henderson – Lush Life
    Billie Holiday – Golden years Vol 1 (is that allowed?)
    John Zorn – Big Gundown
    Marilyn Crispell – Gaia
    Warne Marsh – All Music
    Thomaz Stanko – Leosia
    Sonny Sharrock – Ask the Ages (saw him at the old knitting Factory??? – wow – and bought this)

    1. VISHVESH

      You are absolutely right. The list and the comments thread has been a great learning curve for me. Thanks for giving a list of albums I have not come across earlier. I didn’t realise there is huge world out there in Jazz.

  60. Terry Row

    I’m sorry. I know my comment will offend many, but the cold hard truth is that John Coltrane played out of tune. None of his albums belong on this list, in my opinion.

  61. Joe Amato

    From early ragtime to international modernism, Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology (a 2011 update of the milestone 1973 Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz) lets you enjoy this uniquely American musical genre through its legendary innovators, including Armstrong, Ellington, Basie, Gillespie, Fitzgerald, and Marsalis. Box Set; 6 CDs with 111 tracks; soft cover companion book, 200 pages. 11.25″ x 6.56″

  62. Mike B

    It’s impossible to limit Jazz to 50 greatest and please the diversity of its audience. But, no Billie Holliday? Just Wrong. No Dizzy or Oscar Peterson? Wrong again. How about Phineous Newborn Jr. – A World of Piano? And a comment on a comment, Coltrane played out of tune and doesn’t belong on this list? Now that is completely wrong. It doesn’t offend me, it is an absurd comment. From his earlier Miles and Monk period to his middle McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones period to his free period with Pharoah Sanders, nobody, other than Miles, compares. I’ve loved jazz for 60 years and cannot imagine what a hole would exist without JC.
    All in all though, I think it’s a good list and as others have mentioned, worth learning from it and the discussions it has prompted.

  63. mark

    Surely, Thelonious Monk is top 5 material: Coltrane, Monk, Mingus, Coltrane, and Davis…
    Tomasz Stanko’s Litania belongs in the top 50, as does Larry Young, Shelly Manne live at the …

  64. JB

    On any given day my top 50 might be different. I don’t see how you can take something as broad and diverse as the entire body of jazz recordings and narrow it down to 50. Of course I have my favorites that are not listed, but this is truly a list of recordings every jazz fan should know. I knew the minute this was posted it would draw controversy. These are nice choices. People shouldn’t take this so seriously….

  65. giandomenico de cicco

    The 20’s, 30’s, 40’s are very undeestimated (Django, Bix, Fletcher, Tesch, ecc).
    The vest album for me is ALS. Ithink ,anyway, that 50 are too few

  66. Chris

    What about ARCHI SHEPP? Almost 50 years ago I bought my first record, WAY AHEAD, by him – if Im not wrong? Fantastic: better than Coltrane I thought – had lots of him, too!
    They were my house Gods those days. Coltrane was more like a sheep, I thought? Its a disgrace to menchen a word like that in this context with these geniouses.But SHEPP was anything than that!!! Cause of that, his artist name?? Dont know how he ended, but he made a mess of his music after some time? I might be wrong. When he was “at the top”; he could not be beat! Somewhere on the limmit to free form jazz(?), but I gave all my LP-records to my son – hoping he would clean them – its great musik!
    He never did; they were full of sand cause of a dog………….its a long story.
    SHEPP at his best is an enormus power, everybody of you must listen to his records – THE NEW WAVE OF JAZZ IS ON IMPULS, that was the slogan on these albums – IMPULSE: LP-records of those days. An IMPULS-record cost a fortune; same price as Deutsche Gramophone: the most precious discs one could buy. Must have sacrified a lot to be able to buy them!
    He was a pupil to Coltrane Ive red in SOHLMANS Musik Lexikon Andra reviderade och utvidgade upplagan. Första utkom 1948-52 Copyright 1979 Sohlmans Förlag AB Stockholm(5bd) (about 5.000 pages)

  67. Antonio

    would have put more Miles in there ( Milestones) what no Billie or Nina or Ella ? Thanks anyway for Jarrett’s Koln album Happy to know I am not the only one to Love this album ! Oh disappointed that there wasn’t a Chet Baker album ! I quess it was a hard task to name the 50 greatest Jazz albums of all time ! Should have expanded to the top 100 !!!

  68. Janis Lane-Ewart

    Great selections; however representation of female artists is blindingly small. Dinah Washington, Betty Carter, Amina Claudine Myers certainly stand with Sarah Vaughan. What about Alice Coltrane?!?!?

  69. Ken MacAlister

    A good job compiling this list as I have almost all of them. This is a great list for those who are new to jazz to start out with. I was pleasantly surprised with some selections, especially your inclusion of John McLaughlin & The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “The Inner Mounting Flame”. I know many jazz fans look at their music
    as rock moreso than jazz, but 1) It’s jazz in structure, 2) they were & are hugely influential, & 3) they continued on where Miles Davis began in ’69 & expanded the possibilities of electric jazz much to the chagrin of jazz snobs like Wynton Marsalis whose music I also like. The fusion music of the late ’60s & the ’70s is what drew me to the world of jazz. I now listen to all forms of jazz & still really enjoy a lot of the music from the fusion movement started by Miles Davis There are others who I would have liked to have seen on here, but this was a good overview for those new to jazz.

  70. Jazz Funk Kwintet

    100% Agree with this !!! Kind of Blue and Love Supreme Are the Best. Then all the others have something great and original, so the order doesn’t matter but they all have left a mark in jazz history. MICHAEL BRECKER have a place for me but… also CHARLIE PARKER WITH STRINGS is beautiful, right ?
    Bless you all jazz lovers

    ilia

  71. David McPhie

    A thankless task , but a commendable effort , if one only likes Modern Jazz ( which I do , very much so ) ..
    but only one Duke Ellington ( must be a 1920s or 30s Duke in there surely ) ? And a Fletcher Henderson and 3 or 4 Traditional Jazz titles from the 20s and 30s too ?
    Plus Kenny Burrell “Midnight Blue” and a Django / Grapelli ..

  72. Eric stathis

    Call me crazy but…for the best selling jazz record of all time…I think it is also the most overrated. As for Monk..Monks Dream is a top 5 for me. Also..no Bill Evans portrait in jazz? Finally…if you are including fusion here. ..hate to say it but I’d put Steely Dan Aja over Weather Report. But this list is a great resource so thank you :) Back to Miles though..I truly think Kind of Blue is overrated. I’d rather put on Four and More or even Nefertiti

  73. Kevin Pickle

    I kept looking for Billie Holiday, Django Reinhardt, anything with Oscar Peterson on the piano. I just can’t take this list too seriously with those omissions.

  74. TheJazzHerald

    Always love the conversations started by GOAT Jazz lists. Capping the list at 50 forces a fun debate of what’s the best music of the last 100 years. There are certainly 50 best for each decade or sub-genre, style, composer, voice, instrument and geographic region (USA and World-Wide). And, certainly older pieces carry more weight because of their influence on everything that followed. Kudos for re-launching this Dec/2014 post and the debate on the heels of #JazzAppreciationMonth, #InternationalJazzDay and #BillieHoliday100. We’ll be celebrating Ella’s centennial in April of 2017. Thx to Kevin Amphan for creating the Spotify playlist http://open.spotify.com/user/pollysnack/playlist/5fOw8V2UL19QPEZwgiA6T2. Check out YouTube.com/jediknightrider for the 50 best playlists of Jazz on YouTube. Lots of film and video of these and many other GOAT jazz artists.

  75. Andy Tonne

    Ramsey Lewis would definitely be som””ewhere on my top 50 along with Chris Botti and Paul Hardcastle. I also would find a place for “The Guitar of John Gray – The New Wave” which is my all time favorite jazz album.

  76. Jazz Ears

    No Miles Silent Way, No Trane at the Vanguard, No Trane at Birdland, No Wes Bumpin’, No Monk and Trane at the 5 Spot, and especially you can’t put Pharoah Sanders Karma in the Top 50???….

    Brubeck Time out at #3, you kidding? Ornette Coleman at #5??

    Basie only makes #43, hello… and no Basie and Sinatra Live at the Sands????

    Who puts these lists together, sometimes I think they just re-hash old lists and maybe haven’t even listened to these albums… but if it generates interest in jazz I guess that’s what counts.

  77. Aidan

    I don’t like that John Coltrane’s gorgeous Crescent isn’t present. I feel that it gets overlooked, being sandwiched between Live at Birdland and A Love Supreme, the latter of which I also believes deserves to top this list over Kind of Blue. I also believe that Jackie McLean’s Let Freedom Ring deserves to be here, as does Larry Young’s Unity. If A Love Supreme and Kind of Blue were switched, I would have no problems with this list’s top ten.

  78. Rob Schönberger

    Of course a nice list. But incredible there is no CHICK COREA or RETURN TO FOREVER, what about ROMANTIC WARRIOR. For me Chick Corea is still a genius and a truly descendant of Miles Davis (not the only one but…).

  79. Dub Master

    Funny, I do have about 75% of the Albums listed. Just wondering: Don Cherry – Brown Rice, Miles – In a silent way, Return to Forever – Light as a Feather…. Sarah Vaughan … NHOP …. Jaco Pastorius…. Just saying

  80. gee

    Love Supreme I think – possibly the greatest recording of the 20th Century in any genre ! How’s that Guys. Time Out is a dreadful supper-club bowdlerisation as is Gilberto/Getz – pales in comparison to Roots Bossa.

  81. James P. Drinkard

    The Greatest Jazz Group of this Generation…or any generation…was left off the top 50 Jazz Albums of all time……The Pat Metheny Group…..this list is rather skewed as many of the greatest jazz groups had multiple great albums…such as The Pat Metheny Group…not to mention that The Pat Metheny Group is the only musical group in history to have a record …7 consecutive albums as Grammy Winners…The PMG had wonderful albums such as…”First Circle”…”Still Life Talking”…”Letter form Home”…”American Garage”…and “The Group”…were all Grammy winners…so in all honesty…this list of the Top 50 Jazz Albums of all time, couldn’t be farther from the truth…..Respectfully…..James P. Drinkard

  82. Viggo

    It all depends on how you define ‘Greatest jazz album’. Is it by historical importance, best performance, best compositions, best improvisor, etc.
    You could argue that one of the greatest improvisors and most important figures in the history of jazz ever, Charlie Parker, only comes on #20, is a bit strange – but again it depends on the definitions. If the focus is on ‘albums’, then maybe it makes a little sense, since Parker’s greatness isn’t captured by one specific album. He was all over the place. I though have a few candidates: Live at Birdland 1950, Rockland Palace concert, One night in Washington, Bird at St. Nicks. The problem with many of these albums is of course the very poor sound quality. But the artistic quality is unsurpassed.

  83. Mick Morris

    A good list with many outstanding classic albums BUT guitar players seriously under-represented!

    No Joe Pass (Virtuoso), no Jim Hall (Concierto), no Kenny Burrel (Midnight Blue) and astonishingly, no Django Reinhardt (so much to choose from but my choice would be Peche a la Bouche)

    Like I say a good list but changes need to be made!

    Mick Morris

  84. Ian Beddowes

    Very American. What about Django Reinhardt. Brotherhood of Breath from South Africa with the great Mongezi Feza and Dudu Pukwana. And even going back to the USA, what about one of the greatest recording dessions ever made — Art Tatum and Ben Webster.
    NO MJQ — NO ROLAND KIRK
    No Anita O’Day with Oscar Peterson
    No Sathima sings Ellington
    No Bessie Smith
    Come on you people
    Worst of all NO ABDULLAH IBRAHIM

  85. Gerald Poirier

    I’ve always much preferred Bremen-Lausanne to Koln Concert for a choice of a Keith Jarrett best album. Even Facing You comes before Koln IMHO.

  86. Marv Newland

    Thelonious Monk does not show up until number 26? Genius of Modern Music should be placed at number 6 then just back up the list from there. Great selection otherwise. Perhaps too early to tell about music out of England/Europe by: Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Derek Bailey and their collaborators. Ten years from now their work may be re-considered.

  87. Danny Strunk

    To do jazz justice you should compile a list of 50 greatest albums by instrument , there are glaring omissions here.I would suggest doing it to show evolutions from beginning to present day,and yes include big bands,and vocalists.
    This being said ,no list is going to please everyone but my suggestion might be an interesting way to please most people.

  88. Ken Hall

    A good representative list of course ther will always be dissenters. Minor quibbles from me. Should have been more Vocal Jazz. Sarah Vaughan the only vocalist on the list. Her album with Clifford Brown is an absolute classic but would have liked to see Billie Holiday on the list. Also Louis Armstrong hot fives and sevens should be at number one for me.

  89. Randy Saunders

    I think it’s a good list to start with but maybe extend to 100 or 200 great albums because of all the new artist that have contributed to some great jazz.

  90. Carol

    Great list, but not at all inclusive. Should have been titled greatest instrumental group. Like many people commented before me, where’s Billie, Ella, Dinah, Carmen McRae, Hartman/Coltrane? While I appreciate that Sassy is on your list (and she’s one of my faves), there are so many missing it seems like another “Greatest” should be created. Thanks for the memories on this list.

  91. Lisa W.

    I don’t see the “Jazz” Crusaders on that list. While those on the list are great, The Crusaders have always been and always will be #1 on my list.

  92. Joe

    How could anyone not include Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall (1938) in an all time top 50 list? Still reputed to be one of the best jazz concerts ever!

  93. Olsen, Jan G

    Jazz Albums! I must say , hell what y want? TRad? Swing? Bop? West Coast? (So callled cool) or any kind later? (Than 1960’s)) it’s immposs to say!!! But of course, we have all, our favorites, Mine, I must say, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, and A hell of others Great musicans!

  94. Chris

    It seems that only in the USA are outstanding jazz-performances! But I can garantee you that in Europe the most beautiful music has been made that never reached the shores of America. In The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Poland etc….. Just check You Tube so you can blow your mind!!

  95. MOSES ABIOLA

    The following are influenced by thrills only as imagined by the author, and it has no significant whatsoever to the work of the artists

    50. Because the only advice I ever sought was from this MONK.
    49. No matter how many times I COUNT, I it always equal to BASIE
    48. This is the only Bud that’s truly amazing.
    47. Weather Report! When they say there’s going to be sunshine, you better believe it.
    46. The day Saint JOHN meets the MONK, at Carnegie Hall, all in attendance were truly sanctified.
    45. I trade in all my SILVER possession just to see HORACE perform
    44. I even receive a GRANT in form of GREEN for my Idle Moments
    43. I COUNT the Complete Atomic BASIE everything became clear.
    42. I stop at the soul station just to see Hank Mobley
    41. I was looking for a CHRISTIAN who’s the genius of the Electric Guitar, instead I found CHARLIE
    40. A good ART Rhythm Section, could use a little PEPPER
    39. I went to St. JOHN station to catch the COLTRANE, it’s got everyone’s Favorite Things
    38. Ladies, if GOODMAN is hard to find, you never meet BENNY.
    37. I traveled to the Far East of MONTGOMERY, just to see WES
    36. Our inner Mountain flame was rekindled by way of Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin
    35. In the matter of Clifford Brown & Max Roach, the public finds in favor of Max Roach & Clifford Brown
    34. On the top of the Hill is the Point of Departure for Andrew.
    33. Here comes the Head Hunter Herbie Hancock
    32. Dexter Gordon – Go Dexter Go
    31. Whenever I listen to Sarah, I have Vaughan
    30. The people were thrill at Massey Hall when we see the Quintet.
    29. I knew that a Waltz for Debby could be great if played by Bill Evans Trio
    28. The Sidewinder is even better by LEE MORGAN
    27. Bill Evans – Sunday school professor at the village Vanguard.
    26. MONK is Brilliant at every Corner
    25. Believe it or not, you’ll be cornered at Koln with Keith Jarrett performance.
    24. John Coltrane made the Giant Steps, before Giant Steps were made.
    23. Voyage with Herbie Hancock was made smoothly.
    22. The only Duke that matters to me is– Ellington
    21. All Structures designed by Cecil Taylor are well reinforced.
    20. A Bird Called Parker can truly FLY like CHARLIE.
    19. We all know that Mr. Davis have traveled several MILES, to see the birth of Cool
    18. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – they Moan because they get the job done.
    17. Albert said to Ayler , no unity is better that Spiritual Unity
    16. Eric Dolphy possesses the best Table manner; see him– Out to Lunch
    15. To Abstract the Truth, you must apply the law of Oliver Nelson
    14. Erroll Garner holds the Tide at one of his Concert by the Sea
    13. If you are to Speak No Evil, Trust me, a SHORTER note is WAYNE better.
    12. Getz/Gilberto, the defenders of the Jazz Realm.
    11. It is always a pleasant day when Mr. Louis Armstrong came to my Town.
    10. John Coltrane – Inside this Train, there’s a lady called A Love Supreme.
    9. I tasted Miles Davis Bitches Brew before, it was great.
    8. Folks! You have to Roll with this Sonny, you’ll see my point of view.
    7. Cannonball Adderley is truly Somethin’ Else
    6. If I traveled far, I always find time to MINGUS with the Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, I knew could find Charles somewhere around.
    5. When Ornette told Mr. Coleman about the Shape of Jazz to come, he meant business.
    4. I know I will Mingus with Charles again, when I do, I’ll tell him to play “Ah Um”
    3. It was in wonderful Copenhagen when Mr. Brubeck gave no Time Out, and the audience loves it.
    2. Only a Supreme Being named John Coltrane could treat us to A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme, A Love Supreme.
    1. Here you have it, Mr. DAVIS have traveled several MILES, yet, here we are still felling – KIND OF BLUE

    1. Jide sadiku

      Moses, that’s a great analytic presentation in a very witty and entertaining fashion. I’m surprised the list didn’t include any of Grover Washington’s albums. Personally, I’ll rather list greatest songs by the great “jazzistts” rather than categorizing albums. Thanks

  96. Rich Morgan

    How about the Sachal Jazz Ensemble? Not sure how well known they are Stateside – they arose from the Lahore-based film industry, a group of veteran musicians who had fallen foul of conservative anti-western sentiments, interpreting western jazz standards. But they are so much more than that. Check out their eponymous debut album (2011). Brubeck rated their interpretation of “Take Five” as the best cover he had heard….”Jazz and All That” (2013) follows up their debut with more standards. They have been compared to the Buena Vista Social Club – that rare and welcome push to re-evaluate a genre and (in this case) to revisit some favourite jazz standards as well as listen to fresh material from an unlikely and unexpected source. Try them.

  97. elvia

    Rather decent list granted with serious omissions noted: Chet B; Billie H; Ella F; Johnny H; Pat M.; Art B; Freddy H.; Frank S; Jaco P; Paul D; but few mentioned the late GREAT bassist Charlie Haden and to a lesser extent -Carla Bley and Shirley Horn. However, it opened up many possibilities I will check out. Thanks

  98. John

    Everyone has an opinion. Here’s mine. A list such as this could also include albums by Billie Holiday, Lester young, Colman Hawkins etc. Just my 2 cents…

  99. Ezed

    you’re missing some good Wes Montgomery albums Dexter Gordon one flight up I believe Charles Mingus both albums are overrated good this is your list

  100. Said

    I guess the most important person in Jazz is Louis Armstrong, because he had the most influence and made jazz as popular as it is(unfortunetly was!).
    So where are all the great recordings? My Favorite is Ella & Louis! Louis plays W.C. Hardy,…

    Django would be great to! He is the only european artist, who belongs to top 50 of Jazz!
    I guess not every album here is a big “gamechanger”

  101. Antonio

    Que hay de Chick Corea?.No dudo que los discos que figuran en la lista lo merezcan,pero no incluir en ella al musico más importante del jazz contenporáneo me hace dudar de los criterios que se han seguido para confeccionar dicha lista

  102. Harvey

    A futile effort to get anyone to agree with you entirely. Seems to me no list would be complete without Ella, Oscar Peterson, the MJQ etc….the top 50 is an impossible task!

  103. Jeff Harrington

    Horace Silver’s “Cape Verdean Blues” with JJ Johnson sitting in on trombone deserves a Top 50, and probably a Top 10. Its a perfect record. The Song for My Father title track dominates that album, but Cape Verdean is a 45 minute masterpiece. Please try it all.

  104. Stijn

    Missing are these masterpieces (at least)

    Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue
    Kenny Dorham – Quiet Kenny
    Dave Brubeck – Jazz Impressions of Eurasia
    Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers – Liaisons Dangereuses
    Anytyhing by Mulatu Astatqé
    Paul Desmond – Take Ten
    Jackie McLean – A Long Drink of the Blues
    Stan Getz – West Coast Jazz
    Miles Davis – Ascenceur Pour L’échafaud

  105. James Morgan

    No Gerry Mulligan? No Modern Jazz Quartet? Glad to see Erroll Garner and Stan Getz for sure. But if you are going to include Miles, especially Birth of the Cool, then it is silly to leave out John Lewis or Mulligan, who were there from the start.

  106. gideon

    my top 5:
    1. Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
    2.Bird and Diz: Last recording on verve
    3. Duke Ellington – Hot Summer Dance
    4. Dave Brubeck: Take Five
    5. Billie Holiday : Stange Fruit

  107. Jo Welch

    What, no Ella? Ella in Rome, the birthday concert or with Duke Ellington in Stockholm should SURELY be up high. If you like Concert By the Sea by Erroll Garner (which I’d have top 3, but hey) then try One World Concert or At the Piano. Both superb Garner. Too few vocalists for me : besides Ella, the best, and Sarah, who’s there I’d have Billie Holiday and Carmen Macrae – and I’d certainly have an Ahmad Jamal on piano, though I adore Erroll and love Bill Evans, there are other great pianists – such as Fats Waller

  108. Michael

    Thank you for this list. I’ve discovered so many great albums since I discovered this list about six months ago. My jazz collection of records went from ten to one hundred. I have about 70% of this list so far.

  109. Dan Charnas

    Great top 50! And look at the conversations that your choices stimulated.
    Music for me is not unlike other art forms – at the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference. I don’t recall seeing demanding criteria for this top 50 selection, so I’m fine with the inherent subjectivity. We can add a Django Reinhardt album or a Chick Corea LP, and we can subtract two for which we might be on the fence to keep the total at 50. Importantly, we all thought a lot about great jazz, a lifetime love for many of us.

  110. Martin Paterson

    Of course it is just silly: nothing by David Murray! Ming’s Samba and/or Ballads for Bass Clarinet should be on there. At Newport is not Duke’s best work, nor is Getz/Gilberto Stan’s. The Webster/Blanton Sessions and Anniversary are far superior. On the other hand, if it promotes interest in the music, all well and good.

  111. Peter Bright

    I would have included Mingus’ New Tijuana Moods, Armstrong’s Plays WC Handy, perhaps an Abdullah Ibrahim album (Voices of Africa?). There are one or two other superb Monk albums not listed here. Duke Ellington has been mentioned in many comments, and I agree. I’d also consider one or two of his later albums in there, despite critics always focusing on the Blanton/Webster era. New Orleans Suite and the Far East Suite would both deserve a place. I think Blue Trane is overrated and I find much of Weather Report difficult to swallow (particularly in terms of the smooth production. Art Tatum should be there, more Rollins too…

  112. Don Thompson

    Like ‘em all, but about a thousand more just as much. But what about Roland Kirk with ‘Blackness’, and Errol Garner on harpsichord in ‘Paris Impressions’? So many……

  113. Charles Thompson

    I want to take a deeper look but I would have to add” Return to Forever” and “Heavy Weather”. I’m really a hard bop guy so there are a number of albums from that genre that would be on my list but I love” World Saxophone Quarter Plays Duke Ellington”

  114. Larry D. Scott

    This is a great list. I’ll use it to listen to some tunes that maybe I have not discovered. I suggest it to individual new to the jazz world that I’m trying to make fans. The important thing to remember is that it is just a opinion, and not a shot at your favorite record. There are something on here I like better or worst, but I don’t take it personal if this list thinks a little differently. I don’t I think I see “Song For My Father” or “Clifford Brown and Max Roach” or on the list, but I love both records with “Delilah” being in the running for my favorite tune of all times. I bet the author even had second thought after publishing the list.

    PS a tune being popular is not a bad thing.
    —–
    LDS

  115. davew

    Lots of great stuff mentioned, both on and off the list. But I didn’t see any mention of Jaco’s “Word of Mouth”. It’s got that beautiful version of “Three Views of Secret” with Toots Thielemans’s soulful harmonica lead. A few others I like (that I didn’t see mentioned)… John Mclaughlin “Extrapolation”, Eberhard Weber “Yellow Fields”, Michael Brecker “Tales From the Hudson”, Frank Zappa “Hot Rats”, Roland Kirk “Domino”.

  116. André Crombez

    Mon avis c’ est que quelques un ne devraient pas figurer dans cette liste pour laisser la place aux manquants qui devraient y être. Faire une liste des 100 meilleurs albums serait plus juste et permettrais peut être d’ en oublier moins.

  117. Paul Weiss

    Nice try, but no cigar. Any such list that leaves out albums by Ella, Dizzy, “Lady Day”, Count Basie, Lester Young, Artie Shaw, Coleman Hawkins, Jimmy Smith, Art Tatum (among others), and includes the albums numbered 15, 16, 17, 21, 28, 34, & 36 (among others) is simply not properly constituted.

  118. Vito

    Where’s Chet Baker ? Dizzy Gillespie? Only 1 Duke Ellington LP, 1 Louis Armstrong? Frank Sinatra can’t crack the Top 50?? Ella Fitzgerald not good enough?? How about Stan Kenton, Mel Torme, Red Garland, McCoy Tyner, Gene Harris, The Three Sounds, Rob McConnell & Boss Brass, Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, Modern Jazz Quartet, Milt Jackson, John Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Quincy Jones….and so many more…???

  119. BaronMind1

    Great list. Thank you. I’m a huge Miles Davis fan. I even named one of my rescue dogs after him. Best dog ever. Yet Bitches Brew is the worst album that Miles ever put out. How can anyone enjoy listening to musicians play when the musicians weren’t listening to the other players? Self indulgent BS. And I love Miles.

    I would rather see one of Trains blues records on the list. ‘Coltrain Plays the Blues’ or ‘Blue Train’ Now that’s some heavy shit.

  120. Isbel

    One woman on the list. Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Billie Holiday, all not as good as some of the music you post here. My dad grew up in the South, used to sneak into all-black venues to hear the early jazz artists. He would shake his head at your list. Some of it wouldn’t even count as jazz in his book. But you don’t care. I’d love to know who your jury was. I’d love to introduce your jury to all of the extraordinary female jazz artists you didn’t see fit to include.

  121. TAR BABY

    There were THREE great jazz albums released in 1959; Brubeck’s “Time Out,” Davis’s “Kind of Blue,” and Gerry Mulligan’s “What is There to Say?”, which was released before the other two and I believe is the #1 jazz album of all time.

  122. Pierre

    As mentioned, Joe Henderson is missing as a leader. Looking for classic tunes, LP “Power To The People”, including the great classic piece “Black Narcissus” should be somewhere in the list. Also I would include somewhere Yusef Lateef “Eastern Sounds”. The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “Inner Mounting Flame” could be safely removed from that list, even if I really like that album.

  123. Klaus

    Hello,

    that’s ever the same list. Are there no new Records? Concert by the Sea is not Garners best. And Hutcherson is great with barron In The Vanguard. No Phineas Newborn here.

    Cheers Klaus

  124. Patrick O'Connor

    I would not include reissue compliations in the list. I would stick with original issues. And as Waltz for Debbie is an original issue taken from the Sunday at Village Vanguard sessions why list both?

  125. Steven Kettler

    Thanks for this list and all the others.
    Suggestion: Compile a list of the greatest jazz albums of all times by relatively unknown artists. I am a senior, and compile bibliography as a avocation. I and can testify that for a number of reasons (not the least of which are man’s pride and ambition, and crass commercialism) some of the greatest literature in the world has been repressed and suppressed. And so it is with jazz. Have been a jazz buff all of my life. Many great players do not chose a public life on the road.
    Such a list would take years to compile, and would take the combined efforts of many jazz buffs, but could be extraordinary, and a great gift to prosperity.

  126. Amish Red

    What a nice post…..it did what you wanted, generate a great set of comments! While I am familiar with many on this list, I cannot honestly say I have listened to them all nor can I respond to many of the comments above this.

    I would suggest two other albums for consideration. The first would be Dizzy’s own last International UN band recorded live at the Royal Hall in London. I can honestly say that was the single most talented band I have ever seen put together. Having seen them live in Rotterdam and then purchasing the recording, it is in my personal top 10. A entire band of great band leaders! Amazing.

    Second is Offbeat of the Avenues by Manhatten Transfer. There are a few incredible cuts on that album that still blow me away after all this time. I consider that album full blown jazz as opposed to a popular label. Several of the arrangements are truly magnificent.

    Thank you

  127. Greg Kipp

    Typical list with the usual suspects on it in my opinion. Peggy Lee’s “Black Coffee” album and Dinah Washington’s “Dinah Jams” album should be on the list. Introducing Roland Kirk from 1960 on the Chess label should be on the list. Loved the albums made by the Benny Golson/Art Pepper Jazztet that were recorded and released by Chess Records in the early 1960s List definitely needs some more vocalists as well as some otherwise overlooked jazz musicians. Vince Gurualdi (sp) and Lorez Alexandria come to mind. List definitely needs some Billie Holiday and Lester Young. as well.

  128. darryl Jacobs

    jOHN hANDY LIVE AT mONTEREY Mose Allison Sings Donald Byrd and Voices A New Perspective Blossom Dearie anything Dakota Stato The Late Late Show June Christy Something Cool Pharoah Sanders Karma Mc Coy Tyner Atlantis just off the top of my head

  129. lee cronbach

    a nice list, BUT really focused on the 1950s thru 1970s – and lots of omissions even from that period (no Sun Ra, the Blakey band that had Shorter and Hubbard and Cedar Walton in it,
    the ‘tropical’ Duke) – and then the 1920s and 1930s AND 1980s to now are almost completely absent (Terence Blanchard for starters and the other Crescent City folk, none of Duke’s greatest works) — maybe ‘OUR FAVORITE 50″ would be a better title for this list!

  130. abby

    Ni pour ni contre , juste savoir comment avez-vous procédé pour le choix sur plus d’un siècle d’enregistrement . Des outils sérieux existent : “JAZZ” d’André Francis (Solfèges_Editions du Seuil) , “Le Grand Livre Du Jazz” de Joachim Ernst Berendt , qui permettent de procéder par éliminations successives ; perso , j’ai du mal à accepter l’absence de Kenny Burrell “A Night at The Vanguard” et de Jimmy Smith “T
    he Sermon”

  131. Tom Moran

    This list is not nearly as bad as some of the other lists of its kind floating around the internet, but some items should be disqualified because they were not conceived and/or recorded as “albums.” If you take the term album in its strictest sense, that would disqualify everything made before roughly 1948. So the Hot Fives and Sevens, which were never thought of as a unit, should be disqualified.

  132. Kathiesl

    Betty Carter with Ray Charles, Return to Forever, Jaco, Guaraldi, Deodato, Joe Williams, Joni Mitchell “Mingus”, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Stephane Grapelli, Jean Luc Ponty, so many to list!!

  133. Milagros Llauger

    Gil Evans “Out of The Cool” and “Into The Hot”. Interesting to see that only one female vocalist that made the list was Sarah Vaughan. I agree. I remember Chico Hamilton telling me that the most daring and truly improvisational jazz singer that he had worked with was her…….she never repeated herself…..not when she was scatting…….another was Carmen McRae.

  134. Lee V Wright

    Love the selected Artists Like the (+) 50 others. Insatiable ME.
    I am a Miles man, but with miles to spare…….74yrs with young ears
    for whispered memories, and today’s skilled mavericks

  135. Bob Scurry

    Too silly for words. Only Ellington is “Ellington at Newport”. No albums/box sets of Jelly Roll Morton,Bix,early Ellington,Ftas Waller, Sidney Bechet. Define what you mean by a jazz album.You include Basie/ Goodman /Christian historical compilations, why not these?

  136. jimmix

    This listing is 100% BETTER than the 50 Greatest Drummers…
    I will only add this, ‘Ahmad Jamal at The Pershing Hotel’, somewhere in the top 10 selections.
    The rest of the listing 11-50, I would only change the order and add or subtract JUST A FEW,
    to put my personal spin on this devils Island cast away listing or what LP’s would accompany me on a trip to Mars.
    Support The Music

  137. Birdy

    Jazz is so hard to pick the best it’s individual that’s why we like it blue note top 50 would be hard but kind of blue yes it’s the real jazz album that got a lot of us interested

  138. Chris

    Gosh, to even attempt a list like this. I love seeing this type of stuff because it invariably requires a lot of effort by the author, it will literally completely please no one, yet it always calls out one or two albums that probably deserve more attention. Sometimes just throwing a list out there to get the discussion going is just as helpful as actually making the list. I’ll say that its great but curious to see Andrew Hill at all and and Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures, love that Art Pepper made an appearance, and overall I’m happy that the author seemed to challenge those out there who might use this as a shopping list because while some of the top spots are occupied by accessible albums, there are many others that require quite a bit of the listener.

  139. jeff sarrow

    Greatest lists are always fun and thought provoking. Consider the following:

    Monk’s Dream
    Changeless – Keith Jarrett
    Very Tall – Oscar Peterson with Milt Jackson
    Romantic Warrior – Return to Forever
    Sweetnighter – Weather Report
    Live at the Chez – Buddy Rich
    Giant Steps – Trane
    Two rarely mentioned Miles albums – Friday Night and Saturday Night Live at the Blackhawk

  140. Letitia Owens

    At 15 years old I started listening to Jazz Music in my bedroom, my Dad heard the music and stopped and asked me “You like this Music?”, I replied, YES, it’s something about it Daddy that resonants with my Soul.” I’m 55 yrs old now, and I still listen to Jazz, I am NOT a historian, but I did start a FB page The Jazz Preservation Society, it s not political but my intentions are to create a space where Young people and all Lovers of Jazz can listen and learn about Jazz. BTW, there is a 12 year old up for Two Grammy Nominations, just maybe he heard Jazz like me. You clearly state in your 1st paragraph you will attempt to create a list. LOL OK, so I have my work cut out for me, all the people that said you left off this artist or that artist, it’s more cool information for me to check out. Thank you for a great source for me that continues the conversation.

  141. AntonioaA

    My personal nr 1 is Miles Davis Nonet recordings (later called Birth of the Cool). But i Miss Nefertiti, i think is the best of his quintet albums (whatever quintet he played in). Also miss Lady day,George Russell and Peter Brotzmann. And of course newer stuff. But 50 records are only 50 records.

  142. Ray

    What a great comments section. I will be able to spend the rest of the year listening to some of your recommendations. Some of my personal favourites are;
    Mingus – The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Mingus at Antibes
    Max Roach – Freedom Now Suite
    Miles – Sketches of Spain
    Donald Byrd – Slow Drag
    Basie – Complete Atomic Basie
    This here is Bobby Timmons
    Dolphy – Out to Lunch

  143. Brett Kemnitz

    There was a fellow called Jelly Roll Morton that made some pretty significant recordings. And of course Bechet. A little Sam Rivers wouldn’t hurt.

  144. Vito

    So many jazz aficionados, so many different lists of “50 Great Jazz Albums”…. In my opinion the one above is pretty narrow-minded, sticking just to 50s-60s-70s stuff. I think publishing such “lists” is a bunch of bunk and not worth effort!

  145. Bill

    If I put out a list and said blue was the best color, I’d get 10,000 comment indicating a different color. It is a preference list and indicates only one person’s preferences. Make your own list and publish it here. No matter who you list in the top 50, you’ll get 10,000 comments questioning your suggestions. Myself, I couldn’t and wouldn’t attempt to list my 50 favorites because I have about 300 favorites.

  146. Brenda

    This is a very shallow based list. According to this list, it appears that no significant jazz happened on the west coast USA or beyond. Where the Jazz Crusaders and other great musicians who were not based on the East Coast were just holding their instruments in the studios, making their posters or creating mannequins. Regarding the ’50 Greatest Drummers’ list, it is not only shallow but ridiculous, and an insult to some talented people who were outstanding pacesetters.

  147. Aviv Naamani

    How is there no early jazz on the list? No Eddie Lang, Sidney Bechet, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Freddie Keppard, George Lewis, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Bix Beiderbecke, Lonnie Johnson. It’s as if anything before the late 40s didn’t exist.

  148. Antony Collinge

    Whoa! Don’t want to add to your pain compilers. As a slight corrective, Pres would feature heavily in # 49, but omitting the small group sessions with Lady Day, Teddy Wilson et al , is a big miss.

  149. Frank Minella

    No Ella Fitzgerald? No Ramsey Lewis? Only 1 Sarah Vaughan?
    What about Cleo Laine, or Cassandra Wilson, or Shirley Horn, Alberta Hunter………….I could go on, but you get my gist…WHERE ARE ALL OF THE WOMEN THAT CONTRIBUTED?

  150. Amano Khambata

    missing > in a silent way, big fun, dark magus, bitches brw – all miles , ahmad jamal – digital works, the koln cocert – keith jarrett , romantic warrior – return to forever, elegant gypsy – al di meola, melody gardot, adele, norah jones, sade, stanley turrentine, blue train & maiyasha – coltrane .., yoyo ma and bobby mcferrin , vision of the emerald beyond – mahavishnu orchestra, l.shankar, jan garbarek , ketil bjornstad, manu katche ..

  151. Matt

    Ridiculous: No Chet Baker, no Ella, no Mulligan, no Art Tatum, no Roy Haynes Trio…

    But on the other hand: thank God no Wynton Marsalis (though there’s a solo piano album of his dad’s that is worth listening).

  152. Sandor Nozdroviczky

    What? Total incorrect list.
    Fusion albums mixed with traditional Jazz albums. If you put Heavy Weather and Bitches Brew and Mahavisnu on the list where is Return To Forever?
    Where is Corea classic: “Now he sings now…” One of the greatest piano trio album of all time (it is not only my opinion)

  153. David Annese

    These lists are always subjective and reflect the personal taste of compiler. On that note, if I had compiled this list, it would include some Gerry Mulligan.

  154. Chromex

    SUN RA
    Nuits de la Foundation Maeght.;Its After the End of the World;Nothing Is
    Don Cherry Eternal Rhythm
    Carla Bley Escalator Over The Hill
    Alan Silva Seasons;Treasure Box
    Gunter Hampel The 8th of July, 1969
    The Art Ensemble of Chicago Baptizum

  155. Stanley

    Dave Holland – Conference of the Birds
    Abdullah Ibrahim – Ekaya
    Art Esemble of Chicago – People in Sorrow
    Albert Ayer – Village Vanguard Recordings
    Pharoah Sanders – Summon Buckmun Umyun

  156. Stanley

    Dave Holland – Conference of the Birds
    Abdullah Ibrahim – Ekaya
    Art Esemble of Chicago – People in Sorrow
    Albert Ayer – Village Vanguard Recordings
    Pharoah Sanders – Summon Buckmun Umyun

  157. Pingback: Why you need to Start "Jazzing" up your Agile Scrum Tactics - MetroStar Systems

  158. RT Makins

    There are sooooo many great jazz albums I can think of, and some are on this list. But the #1 jazz album that stands heads above the rest in my opinion is not even listed here…. Miles Davis, MILESTONES!

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