This is for you if you want to a journey into listening to jazz more seriously, or if a friend asks you what jazz records they should listen to in order to appreciate it more fully. It’s no good people starting to listen to jazz on the margins; it’s like giving a ten year old, Tolstoy’s ‘War & Peace’ to read, chances are they will not make it past the first page.
There are some jazz fans that can be awfully snooty about the music they love, they almost try to turn it into a club that refuses to let in new members. So we decided to put together a list of the 20 albums to start your collection with. Every one is a brilliant record and no discerning jazz fan would turn their nose up at any one of them. So our list is both credible and accessible.
It includes albums like Miles Davis‘s, Kind of Blue, Bill Evan‘s, Waltz For Debby and John Coltrane‘s, Blue Train; all three consistently make the list of the most important jazz albums ever. Our 20 also includes some albums that put breadth to the genre that is jazz, like Louis Armstrong‘s, Satchmo at Symphony Hall that was the genesis of his All Stars. There’s Ella‘s Mack The Knife, a live concert recorded in Berlin in 1960 that proves that she is one of the greatest jazz vocalists ever…maybe the greatest. But some would tell you that honour belongs to Billie Holiday, and so we have her 1950 album she recorded for Norman Granz that is not one that makes too many lists, but should.
We have big band jazz from Count Bill Basie, great guitar from the brilliant Wes Montgomery, the funkiest organ in town played by Jimmy Smith (still too under-appreciated in our view) and Getz/Gilberto one of the biggest selling jazz albums of all time, but no less credible for it…and much more
We’ve listed them chronologically and we would love to hear what you would add to the list, and maybe even subtract!