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20 Albums To Begin A Journey into Jazz

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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!
louis-armstrong-and-the-all-stars-since-i-fell-for-you-brunswick
Monk
Billie Holiday
The-Quintet-Jazz-At-Massey-Hall-1953
Clifford Brown
April In Paris
John Coltrane - [1957] Blue Train_oo1
Somethin'_Else-jpg
art_blakey_moanin
Chet Baker
Dave Brubeck
Miles Davis
Mack The Knife
Chickenshack
Wes Montgomery
waltzfordebby
oliver-nelson
Duke Ellington Coleman Hawkins
Getz Gilberto
Maiden Voyage

177 Comments

177 Comments

  1. Peter Coles

    September 30, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Interesting list, but I can’t possibly agree to a top twenty that doesn’t include anything by Ornette Coleman!

    • Hank Quinlan

      September 30, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Ummm… Clearly you missed the point. It’s 20 albums to begin a journey into jazz with, not the 20 best jazz records. For the dilettante, Ornette would certainly be too advanced and likely offputting while the titles listed act as gateways into the genre, being access points. I’d argue any top 20 without Ayler is fairly worthless yet I wouldn’t say “Spiritual Unity” should have a place on this list. Free jazz is most certainly not the place to start for the uninitiated. “No Sun Ra?! Pffft…”

      • Matthew Brandi

        October 14, 2014 at 10:00 pm

        ‘Free jazz is most certainly not the place to start for the uninitiated.’

        Really? If it weren’t for Anthony Braxton, Jon Lloyd, and Evan Parker, I doubt I would have acquired a taste for Sarah Vaughan and Grant Green. I just wouldn’t have had a point of entry.

        Different people will have different routes in. Casting the net a little wider might have been a better idea.

        ‘We like it, but we are supersophisticated’ is probably not the most useful attitude … if one wants to proselytize.

        • Cee Cee

          April 5, 2015 at 9:49 am

          If you think one of your friends is ready for it, take them straight to free jazz. However, a larger population of folks will be aware of, at least Sarah Vaughn, before they get introduced to Ornette, and an even smaller population of those introduced to free jazz, will enjoy it. It doesn’t mean the work isn’t great, it’s just that much of, at least, America’s ears are tuned to noises that are formulaic, melodic, and done in a rhythm that is somewhat recognizable to all ears A higher percentage of people at this point in history would not discover Sarah Vaughn through Braxton.

      • WILLIAM BOYD

        August 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm

        Very correct Mr Quinlan. I concur.

      • Gary

        October 28, 2017 at 1:25 pm

        Except… It’s 2017. I can imagine Ornette Coleman might have been a bit inaccessible in 1960 or even a decade later. But now? Our ears have gotten used to much stranger sounds.

    • Shardul

      April 1, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      totally

    • asha

      June 13, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Totally agree with you.

    • Jeff Mathewes

      October 25, 2015 at 2:12 am

      Hear, hear! Although “Shape of Jazz to Come” leaps to mind, “Sound Grammar” might make a great intro as well.

    • Jack Spencer

      October 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      We are talking Jazz novices here. Ornette might be a little too complex for them.

    • David Wagner

      January 10, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      My “route in” was Stanely Clarke, the track “Hello Jeff” in particular. Now I have a decent jazz collection that includes Ornette Coleman. Go figure.

      • Pearlbitch

        May 9, 2018 at 8:58 pm

        I grew up with te bands of Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington. My dad was and still is a big fan.
        So it wasn’t hard at all to become a jazz addict 😉

    • Pearlbitch

      May 9, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      I can give a big thumbs up for every list that does NOT include any album by OC, but that’s a matter of taste 😉

      Peronally, I would include an album by Johnny Hodges in the list Preferably the one he recorded with Lalo Schifrin.

      The smooth sound of Hodges is a very good start for the beginning jazz lover.

    • David Arbelaez

      July 21, 2018 at 1:57 am

      If you want some free jazz, Eric Dolphy was more influential.

    • David Arbelaez

      July 21, 2018 at 2:02 am

      If you start beginners on O.C that’s like suggesting The Rite of Spring for Classical newbies.

  2. KfromKent

    October 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Where are Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Fats Waller et al, some of the greatest jazz pianists that ever lived? Then there’s Milt Jackson and Gene Krupa, Mary Lou Williams, Benny Goodman and Hoagy Carmichael, I could go on…….

    • Peter Buxton

      April 1, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      and where is Bernard Peiffer? Formidable.

    • David Arbelaez

      July 21, 2018 at 1:59 am

      It’s a top 20 list, not a top 500 list. These 20 albums are a solid way of getting into Jazz and exploring further.

  3. christopher padula

    October 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    charles mingus “mingus mingus mingus mingus”

    • Felicia

      April 4, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      I love this album too, especially ‘Get Hit In Your Soul’ – if this doesn’t make you feel good, you’re in deep trouble! Wonderful!

  4. Stanton Swafford

    October 1, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    I would replace Monk with the MJQ recording that featured Django. More accessible. Also during the period 1954-56: Miles Davis Walkin’ and Sonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus.

    • Scott Merrell

      April 3, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Isn’t it something that in 2015, Monk’s earliest commercial recordings are still considered not accessible enough for an introductory list of recommended jazz classics? I would choose Brilliant Corners or any of his Prestige albums myself.

      • Cee Cee

        April 5, 2015 at 10:27 am

        Word. Monk was a genius. I don’t dislike the guy’s music, but I was surprised to see Chet Baker on a small list of jazz classics to recommend. He wasn’t bad, but I’d put a boatload of jazz legends before him that aren’t even on this article’s list.

        • John Gunkler

          October 24, 2015 at 1:23 pm

          Whose music is more accessible than Chet Baker’s? As for MJQ – before I learned to appreciate jazz, hearing them put me off listening to contemporary jazz for ten years! This is not an exaggeration for effect but simply the truth.

          • Xopher

            October 25, 2015 at 9:29 pm

            Chet played trumpet like Miles, sang like Sinatra, and looked like a movie star (James Dean specifically). You really can’t get any more accessible than that.

  5. George Greene

    October 2, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I don’t think the list -august as it is- achieves the purpose of serving as “the essential” gateway to appreciating this rich and varied art form. If I were going to get someone interested in Jazz I would never exclude Jazz made after 1970. This is the Ken Burns/Orchestra Hall version of Jazz -that it all evaporated after the 60s.

    The wider breadth of music made since then offers countless wonderful avenues into Jazz with more chances to resonate with new listeners and encourage them to explore the rich tapestry that we all enjoy.

    • Jim from Miami

      April 2, 2015 at 1:27 am

      I agree with you George Greene. Gateway seems to me (and was for me) music that sounds in jazz and thereby whets one’s appetite for more specialized jazz. I think some of the electric Hancock and some of the CTI and better smooth jazz, as well as Branford Marsalis’ eclectic albums would be better introductions to jazz; then Kind of Blue and Maiden Voyage, and some vocals like Nina Simone, Ester Phillips Joe Williams Harry Connick Jr.and the like, moving further into the purer jazz area.

    • Dennis

      June 7, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      A great Gateway album is Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man. I’m not a huge jazz snob, but I’d also throw in the Mo Better Blues soundtrack featuring the Terrance Blanchard Quartet. I also think everyone needs to listen to Whipped cream and other delights by Herb Alpert.

    • ZN

      October 24, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      ZN
      Totally agree–if the only way to get into jazz is to ignore the last 50 years, then it’s not worth getting into.

  6. Roger Pugliese

    October 14, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    I must agree with my fellow lovers of Jazz. It is an incomplete list. If one was going to introduce someone to this wonderful world, there MUST be an inclusion of one of the greatest groups that made the scene and went on for over 40 years: The MJQ. Mr. John Lewis, Milt Jackson, Percy Heath, Connie Kay and Kenny Clark in the beginning. Together they were “The Gentlemen of Jazz.” They took Jazz out of the clubs and into the Concert Halls all over the world.

  7. Paul Shaw

    October 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    A very odd list, either as the 20 best or the 20 entry points.
    My suggestions for entry points (so no Ornette, Dolphy, George Russell, or Cecil Taylor which is too bad—and no Herbie Nichols). I am not a fan of vocalists so I have left out Billie Holiday et al. Not enough room for such a short list. Especially if trying to include post -1970 jazz.
    1. Kind of Blue for Miles Davis
    2. Giant Steps for John Coltrane (even though I love Blue Train I think an Atlantic session is a better, more accurate entry point)
    3. Mingus Ah Um for Charles Mingus
    4. Jelly Roll Morton Red Hot Pepper sessions
    5. Louis Armstrong Hot 5 and Hot 7 sessions—the source of his fame
    6. Count Basie Decca sessions with Lester Young—far more important than April in Paris
    7. Bill Evans Live at the Village Vanguard—definitive trio
    8. Newk’s Time or Saxophone Colossus for Sonny Rollins—Rollins is essential
    9. Thelonious Monk Genius of Modern Music—toss up between the two volumes, no. 1 has Misterioso and Epistrophy but no. 2 has Criss-Cross; buy the combined rerelease from the 1970s or the complete Monk on Blue Note CD package
    10. Carla Bley Social Studies
    11. Fats Waller piano sessions
    12. Joe Lovano From the Soul [or Friendly Fire]
    13. Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage
    14. Gil Evans New Bottle, Old Wine—a great place to discover Cannonball Adderley
    15. Duke Ellington The Blanton-Webster Band
    16. Charlie Parker sessions with Red Rodney and John Lewis on Verve—accessible plus you get John Lewis
    17. Dizzy Gillespie Big Band 1957 sessions
    18. Clifford Brown / Max Roach
    19. Chick Corea & Gary Burton Crystal Silence
    20. Joe Henderson Lush Life—with Wynton Marsalis

    • Cee Cee

      April 5, 2015 at 10:33 am

      You got it going on. Your list is great! Aside: I’m a big fan of jazz vocalists. I might not include them in this kind of list, but if I could sneak 2 in it would be Ella at Dukes Place and at least one thing with Joe Williams and Count Basie, but I think those all might be classified as blues/swing music. So, not a part of this list.

      • cody caldwell

        April 7, 2015 at 7:54 am

        I reckon the Count Basie swings Joe Williams sings the best vocal album ever.

    • RB

      April 6, 2015 at 5:20 am

      I thought the original list was fine, until I saw yours. Now that I think about it, I don’t think it is possible to list only 20 “best” albums for entry level referral.

    • David Arbelaez

      July 21, 2018 at 2:04 am

      No Lee Morgan? I think you know where I’m going with this.

  8. John Benson

    October 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Dexter Gordon “Ballads”

    • richard roll

      April 1, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      That is one of my favorites (as is just about any Dexter Gordon album)

  9. Ty Deeb

    October 15, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Woody Herman, Stan Kenton. How about the complete JATP series that catapulted many of the jazz greats to fame, complements of Norman Granz, the first breaker of color lines and supreme promoter of jazz.

  10. Peter Asplnwall

    October 15, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Is Ornette too difficult? I’d have thought “Ramblin'” would grab anybody tempted towards jazz. So I’d include ‘Change of the century’s
    I don’t see why anyone has to start with the earliest jazz-I certainly didn’t!

  11. Jim Brown

    October 16, 2014 at 6:22 am

    No quibbles with most of the selections (I would have chosen Ella’s sessions with Armstrong to represent her work. and I would have chosen Breakfast Dance and Barbeque or the Atomic Basie to represent the new testament band). The problem with this list is that it’s far too short to show the many faces of jazz. Serious omissions include Prez with Billie and with Basie, Woody, Holman’s Contemporary Concepts, Tatum, Pee Wee Russell, Mark Murphy, Dexter, Newk, Gil Evans, Brookmeyer, Mulligan’s early 60s band, and Thad Jones’ wonderful writing. I would have included a CD with Armstrong’s magnificent West End Blues, The Hi-Los And All That Jazz (for their signing, Marty Paich’s charts, and Jack Sheldon), one of the Terry Gibbs Big Band sets that included writing by Shorty Rogers, Al Cohn, and Holman, and Bill Henderson’s early LP that shows a definitive reading of “It Never Entered My Mind,” and Thad Jones’s wonderful writing for singers (My How the Time Goes By). And there’s a wonderful session on Verve with Oscar Peterson propelling Dizzy and Roy Eldridge into the stratosphere.

  12. John Benson

    October 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    The Koln Concert by Keith Jarrett was what drew me in. It appealed to my enjoyment of classical music yet there was a lot more. I would have to put that on my list of ten that would be godo starters.

  13. Sandy

    October 16, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Needs more sixties Blue Note .

  14. Fred Dekker

    October 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    If anything, all the comments provided demonstrate the uselessness of this listing. What do we need lists on subjects that are purely depending on personal tastes?

  15. John Benson

    October 20, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    I disagree with the comment about lists. They inform and stimulate. No reasonable person takes them as definitive, but there are also no bad choices on this list, discussion ensued, learning happened. Lists are great.
    How about a list of the ten worst?

    • Sven De Bruyn

      April 1, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Kudos to that!

  16. peter deeb article

    November 29, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for Read about peter deeb

  17. Iris mac

    January 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Billie got me into jazz…if there’s no Billie on any list… forget about it…she sang with and for the v best of them…

  18. Matthew

    April 1, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    The albums I typically play for people who are newish to jazz (nieces, nephews, etc.) are Blue Trane, Concierto by Jim Hall, and pretty much anything by Ella, Bill Evans, or Clifford Brown. Occasionally I’ll throw in Lester Young or Paul Gonsalves (Boom-Jackie-Boom-Chick is usually among people’s favorites). There are so, so many amazing entry points to this wonderful category of music…

    • Peter Buxton

      April 1, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      In 1964 I was at the RFH to see the Duke. Paul Gansalves was “unwell” so they plucked a stand-in from the audience. Luckily they chose Tubby Hayes and he was brilliant. Went on to record with Paul. Tubby should be on the list.

      • Peter Buxton

        April 1, 2015 at 7:41 pm

        that should of course read ‘Gonsalves’.

  19. David JB

    April 1, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I hate these lists that act as if jazz ended in the 60s….there has been 40-50 years of music that lists like this ignore.

    • suzannah lawton

      April 1, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      The list acts as if Jazz started in the 1950’s, never mind the 40s years since
      How about Earl Hines, lester young, Sidney bechet, Eddie Condon, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid ory, George lewis,etc

      Usual approach at most music colleges on their jazz courses !!!

  20. Steve Levenson

    April 1, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Where’s “Mingus Ah Um”?

  21. Gene Hilbert

    April 1, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    With only twenty albums you can not possibly cover all that should be required listening, however this is a good start. Some of my favorites are missing also but you have to start somewhere.

  22. K Culling

    April 1, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I know someone of note is always bound to be left out. That’s the nature of lists. But no Charles Mingus? Unthinkable.

    • Conrad Barr

      April 6, 2015 at 7:47 am

      The Quintet’s Jazz At Carnagie Hall has Mingus

      • Andy Frobig

        April 7, 2015 at 12:45 am

        As a side man. He was a great bassist but he’s more important as a composer/bandleader and he doesn’t have a writing credit on the album.

    • Conrad Barr

      April 6, 2015 at 7:50 am

      The Quintet’s Jazz At Massie Hall features Mingus

  23. scott culpepper

    April 1, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    If the author’s purpose was to stimulate discussion, the objective has been accomplished. Heres my suggestion: Each of us, as fans of the genre, should prepare our own list of “entry level” jazz albums, so that we can recommend it to our curious friends. Or, make a playlist of 20, or 50, or 100 tracks to share with those folks. There is just so much wonderful music that the majority of our friends know nothing about… let’s be the Jazz Apostles!

    • arthur williams

      October 25, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      gene ammons /boss tenor

  24. Kat Nicholas

    April 1, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I completely agree – “Ah Um” should be there – easily accessible and brilliant. Even my six year old loves that record. Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon – all would fit quite nicely. If we were branching out ever so slightly, Yusef Lateef, Eastern Sounds. . .

  25. Chris Burgoyne

    April 1, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Good list. Need Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus, for sure!

  26. Vance Garnett

    April 1, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    While I could easily add 20 more, this is nevertheless a great representation of Jazz LP albums. Love it!

  27. David Kaplan

    April 1, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    “The Hottest New Group In Jazz” by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.

  28. Reilly Atkinson

    April 1, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Where’s Sarah Vaughn with Clifford Brown ?, Lambert Hendricks and Ross, Sonny Clark, Ben Webster, Birth of the Cool. Tough to pick just 20. Thanks for keep;ing the music alive.

  29. Reilly Atkinson

    April 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Wheres, Sarah Vaughn + Clifford Brown, Birth of the Cool, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Ben Webster, Gene Harris, Amazing Oscar P

  30. Jeff

    April 1, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    How can “Birth of the Cool” be off this list?

  31. Martin Val Baker

    April 1, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Far too much “modern jazz’….. Where are George Lewis, Kid Ory, Bessie Smith, Bunk Johnson, King Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, KId Thomas, Lizzie Miles, and all the great pre 1940 musicians……

  32. Steve Aasen

    April 1, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    The album by Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane would be on my top 20 (top 10 for that matter).

  33. Radu

    April 1, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Don Ellis – Electric Bath
    Charles Mingus – Blues & Roots; Pithecanthropus;

  34. Jazz

    April 1, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    No Kenny G?!

    • Stephen

      April 2, 2015 at 12:55 am

      Heh, heh. Good one!

      • Felicia

        April 4, 2015 at 2:58 pm

        Ha ha ha!

    • RB

      April 6, 2015 at 8:56 am

      I thought the original list was quite excellent, until I saw yours and a few other selections from others. Now that I think about it, I don’t think it is possible to list only 20 “best” albums for referral to entry level seekers.

  35. negro cogo

    April 1, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    faltan, creo, los siguientes: mingus, parker, jarrett, corea, rollins, gordon, wheater report, bad plus, casandra wilson…

  36. negro cogo

    April 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    infaltables: davis, gillespie, parker, armstrong, coltrane, mingus, evans, monk, jarrett, holiday, ellington…

  37. Paul Ciarrochi

    April 1, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Pandora, here I come baby!

  38. ricky

    April 1, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    severe forgetfulness : keith jarrett “koln concert”

  39. Angelo

    April 1, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    There’s too many great jazz albums to mention depending on our own preference.My personal favorite is Chick Corea’s RTF “Light as feather”. though it’s not included.

  40. Mark D

    April 1, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Lester Young Trio!

  41. Joe Dougherty

    April 1, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    I appreciate the inclusion of the Massey Hall concert. But for that to be the only mention of Charlie Parker is a bit criminal. Even for a “starter” jazz set, maybe adding the Dial Sessions in some form would provide a foundation for the rest? Just thinking out loud…

  42. Tony

    April 1, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    All fine albums for sure. But no Hot Fives and Sevens by Louis? No Ella doing the Duke songbook? No Charlie Parker with strings? Just shows how hard it is to get it down to 20.

  43. Allan

    April 1, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Although Herbie Hancock’s album is good it should be replaced by the incredible A Love Supreme by the indomitable John Coltrane.

  44. Stephen

    April 2, 2015 at 12:52 am

    I understand the concept and own, or have owned, many of the albums included and am acquainted with most of the others. My only contribution would be to add Round Midnight by Miles Davis from 1958. This album literally changed my life. I still own it and listen to it.

  45. Jill

    April 2, 2015 at 12:57 am

    breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the classic ‘Getz/Gilberto’. Boy oh boy, I’ll never get tired of that album. As much as I was surprised that there was no Mingus, Parker, or Rollins, I still find this list a great ‘starter kit’

  46. Vince

    April 2, 2015 at 1:42 am

    1. A journey into jazz without Charlie Parker? That’s a glaring omission!
    2. Jazz continues to thrive to this day. The present should be represented via any of the following:
    – Pat Metheny “Bright Size LIfe”
    – Chick Corea “Friends”
    – Joe Lovano “52nd Street Themes”
    – Michael Brecker “Tales From The Hudson”
    – Steps Ahead “Modern Times”
    – Pat Metheny Group “Still Life Talking”
    – Joshua Redman “Freedom In the Groove”
    – Chris Potter “Ultrahang”

    • Andy Frobig

      April 7, 2015 at 12:42 am

      Have you never heard the Quintet album? Bird, Diz, Bud Powell, Mingus and Roach. Everybody who cares about jazz at all should have this album, or at least know about it, and there’s your Bird spot on the list.

  47. RonD

    April 2, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Best list of this type that I’ve seen.
    I question whether the complainers own, or have even listened to most of these.
    It’s easy to post your personal favorites, but to come up with a list like this, that won’t alienate the neophyte is no small task.
    Thank you for posting this.

    • Deb

      April 2, 2015 at 5:59 am

      Well said. I admire your words because we could all laud our favourites, but this list is GOLD for the uninitiated.

  48. Doug Barton

    April 2, 2015 at 2:55 am

    What about the clarinets of Artie Shaw, Sydney Bechet, Paul Desmond, Benny Goodman or more recently, Eddie Daniels. Just sayin’

  49. Frank M

    April 2, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Because they have occupied space on my disc drive a great deal in the recent past, I highly recommend Joshua Redman’s “Timeless Tales (for Changing Times)” and “Art Pepper plus Eleven” with Marty Paich arrangements….very accessible and underrated!

  50. Chuck nh

    April 2, 2015 at 3:23 am

    ah um Mingus maybe?

  51. Lew

    April 2, 2015 at 3:33 am

    Can’t argue with your choices. When asked by friends which albums they should listen to, I will suggest many of these, especially Kind of Blue, Time Out and Mingus Ah Um (not in list). Although I agree with the inclusion of Ella and Billie, I would think a Sarah Vaughan album should have been included (I’ve always loved No Count Sarah).

  52. tarastew

    April 2, 2015 at 4:04 am

    Paul Shaw’s list has about 10 I would include — Ellington, Basie, Armstrong, Miles Davis, Mingus, Rollins, Monk, Evans, Hancock. Coltrane could be debated but Giants Steps is a good entry point. That’s far better than the primary list, where other than overlap I would only include the Blakey album.

    But Waller played better behind his own vocals, so I would go with Art Tatum (his Capitol recordings are probably most accessible). I would combine Parker/Gillespie, their seminal early bop sides. I would include Benny Goodman small group sides that include Charlie Christian. I would include a Bechet, either RCA or Blue Note sides. Maybe the Wes Montgomery choice for guitar album, but I quite frankly like Grant Green’s Idle Moments or the sides with Sonny Clark better. That leaves room for Billie (early sides) and Ella (tough to choose). Coleman Hawkins is tough to fit in, maybe just a 78 with Body and Soul.

  53. Braeden

    April 2, 2015 at 4:54 am

    Where is Night Train by Oscar Peterson? I agree with a lot of this, but there are some glaring omissions

  54. Reliza

    April 2, 2015 at 5:58 am

    I’m sorry, is MJQ no longer politically correct? A perfect introduction to jazz.

  55. Reggie

    April 2, 2015 at 6:40 am

    I could never just pick 20 albums to begin someone’s journey into jazz.But what i would do is to get them to listen to cd’s that have various artists on them.The first one i would let them listen to is the 5 disc set called “Ken Burns Jazz” it goes from the earliest recording of ‘Jass’ as it was first called to about the early 90’s.Then I would hit them up with Blue Note’s Series of cd’s called “The Blue Breaks” which is more upbeat stuff that the younger generation would enjoy. Nest there was a series of cd’s called “Priceless Jazz” which featured a great number of the Different jazz performers from the all eras of jazz. And then there a verve remixed and unmixed series that would once again get the younger generation into listen to jazz.From there I believe you’d be able to pick whole albums or cd’s of whichever artists you prefer.Just remember variety is the spice of life!!! (sorry for the long essay).

  56. Hammer

    April 2, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Freddie Hubbard – Sky Dive
    Bobby Hutcherson – Now
    Roland Kirk – I Talk to the Spirits

    Three that would be on my list.

  57. Pim Smit

    April 2, 2015 at 9:57 am

    I certainly agree on this list. Especially Davis, Evans and Getz Jobim.

  58. Pim Smit

    April 2, 2015 at 10:00 am

    and i am going to look for Ken Burns ‘Jazz’. He is one of America’s reknown historians.

  59. Earl Grey

    April 2, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Wow, I read every post, enjoyed reading them ALL, and each one, each name, each album stirred a warm memory. I even saw a couple of names I’ve never heard before! Great.

  60. Matt law

    April 2, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    I’ll get blasted by the purist, but:
    Jeff Beck, Blow by Blow or Wired.

  61. Robert Wilks

    April 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm

  62. Jim Somers

    April 2, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    There should be some Sarah Vaughn on the list. The John Coltrane-Johnny Hartman collaboration is also worthwhile. Maybe something from Coleman Hawkins or Ben Webster. Art Tatum for sure.

  63. Ryan Smith

    April 2, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    These are all fantastic picks and every one of them deserves to be listened to and absorbed again and again. I usually don’t put up a fuss about lists like this because I recognize that they are subjective….My problem, however, is that a list supposedly made to bring non-jazz listeners into the fold does not include a single record from the last 20 years. If you really want jazz music to continue to be relevant and draw in new listeners, then we have to stop treating it as if it’s just cool music that was recorded in the past and now belongs in museums and coffee shops. The whole philosophical premise of jazz is that it is the music of right now…so get people excited about the music being made right now! There are so many great artists doing cool and innovative things who are also continuing the legacy left by the artists in your list …Esperanza Spalding, The Bad Plus, Medeski Martin & Wood, Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire, Roy Hargrove, Jason Moran, Miguel Zenon, and so many more. This music is alive but we’re all pretending like it died in the 80s or something. Jazz “purists”, troll away.

    • Scott Merrell

      April 3, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Ryan Smith makes a really good point. There are great musicians today to listen to in clubs and concert halls -Bill Charlap, piano; Eric Alexander, tenor sax, Roy Haynes, drums, Renee Rosnes, piano, Kenny Washington, drums, Sonny Rollins, tenor sax, Singers Rene Marie and Annie Ross, Trumpet: Roy Hargrove, Jeremy Pelt. There’s a lot of great players around.

  64. Ronald

    April 2, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    This is great…I would add Sonny Stitt, Paul Gonzales, Kenny Burrell, Mose Allison, Nat and Cannonball Adderley Nancy Wilson, Nina Simone. I will continue to watch and listen, Thank you

  65. adam pedretti

    April 2, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    This list is great because its not a who’s who of vocal/pop jazz. Elevator music. I recently played Tony Malaby, a great sax player with an advanced tone and style, to my sister. She does not have an advanced jazz ear, but she loved it. It doesn’t matter what jazz is on the list, as long as its real jazz.

  66. Jerry Rioux

    April 2, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Great list, but I was disappointed that it didn’t include Horace Silver.

    I think that the Best of Blue Note, Vol 1 is a great one album intro to jazz. I’ve given it to a few friends. It includes:

    1. Blue Train – John Coltrane
    2. Maiden Voyage – Herbie Hancock
    3. Cristo Redentor – Donald Byrd
    4. Moanin’ – Are Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
    5. Blues Walk – Lou Donaldson
    6. Song For My Father – Horace Silver
    7. Back At The Chicken Shack – Jimmy Smith
    8. Chitlins Con Carne – Kenny Burrell
    9. The Sidewinder – Lee Morgan

  67. Bill Lang

    April 3, 2015 at 12:18 am

    George Benson – George Benson & Jack McDuff
    Toots Thielemans – Smooth and Easy
    Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker – Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945
    Modern Jazz Quartet – Jazz Progressions
    Herbie Hancock – Cantaloupe Island

    These are the albums I like. But I really enjoy seeing everyone else’s list of favorites.

  68. PhillieG

    April 3, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Where’s Kenny G?
    I’m not surprised that many comment “Where’s this person?” or “I’d choose this album”. It’s a list of 20 albums to begin a journey into Jazz with. I’m sure there are hundreds of albums that could have been chosen. Maybe those unhappy campers can start their own websites and post their lists.

    • Pedro Marinho da Silva

      April 4, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Kenny who?
      I can think of Wheeler, Dorham, Werner, Washington, but G? Maybe in C or D….
      As for the list it’s an exercize like other hard ones….
      Jazz has more than 100 yo, thousands of composers, players, singers (m/f)….
      20 records?
      Man, it’s Easter Time but don’t cruxify me….
      Praise the Lord, the “Love Supreme”!!!
      Greetings from Portugal,
      I LOVE THIS MUSIC!!!
      JAZZ…. <3
      Pedro Marinho da Silva

  69. BBJ

    April 3, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    When I was still at school in 1948 I heard scratchy shellac recordings of Meade, Albert and Pete, to say nothing of Jimmy Yancey. Those records had me hooked and I still play them today (but not the 78s).
    Listen to what you like and experiment with the new but don’t become fixated. Life’s too short

  70. Taylor Roberts

    April 3, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    A Love Supreme? A Love Supreme? A Love Supreme?

  71. Silk Trombone

    April 3, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    Birth of the Cool sucks – it would not attract anyone new to jazz. I would add Soul Station, though. Great lost. Likewise, yeah, Kid Ory is great, but he’s not gonna bring anybody new in – nor would Teagarden. How ’bout some Horace Silver?

    • Andy Frobig

      April 7, 2015 at 12:50 am

      “Birth of the Cool” sucks? Boy, glad you tipped me off about that, I’ll stop loving it now!

  72. vic

    April 4, 2015 at 7:00 am

    My thoughts after reading the list, commentary & comments r that if you gonna start someone listening to the true art this entry point is a pretty darn good one and just like jazz the comments were improvisational…varying from each individual w/the foundation being consistent like the bass fiddle keeping time…I of course would have added n some Horace Silver, Charlie Parker (obviously an oversight on the list creators part) Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter just to name a couple…yet I disagree w/anyone that claim they could remove any of the artist mentioned from the list…add yes but remove…blasphemous…

    • PSU

      April 4, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      “Charlie Chan” on Jazz at Massey Hall is a pseudonym for Charlie Parker, used for contractual reasons, if I recall correctly.

  73. Teestan

    April 4, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    I would bet that some, perhaps even most of the comments come from musicians. Well, you should all go practice.

  74. Andrea

    April 4, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Brother Jug 

  75. Toni

    April 4, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Stephane Grappelli
    Ben Webster
    …………

  76. Sheri Izzard

    April 5, 2015 at 1:04 am

    I give away my “era” of jazz that got me interested in the first place – as a teenager – – – -Dave Brubeck group – Take Five among thousands of others and Ella Fitzgerald’s Carnegie Hall album. Favorites of mine. I thank you for starting this conversation. It’s a good idea for anyone who’s exploring the style. Everyone has their own ideas. And this means Jazz in not dead, but living in all of us.

  77. Dr A

    April 5, 2015 at 5:47 am

    Great list that gives a good sampling of some the greats of jazz, but I would have added one the premier jazz-fusion albums and certainly the best selling, Heavy Weather by Weather Report.

  78. Mark Taylor

    April 5, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Ah Em. I don’t see any Mingus recordings in there. Robert’s Shape of Jazz to Come is a landmark recording. So is Bitches Brew

  79. Corby

    April 5, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Accessibility and palatability, people! Be aware of what a backlash there is against REAL jazz these days. Radio has destroyed context and progressive articulation. Leave this list be. Ièm sure that even some of this will be hard for some EDM-softened ears.

  80. Kavin.

    April 5, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I came to these more classic recordings through discovering fusion in the 70s, so I would include some Weather Report or Return to Forever. Then work back.

  81. Las Latty

    April 5, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    As a young musician just learning how to construct a solo, how to put improvised musical sentences together. how to build layer upon layer of musical thoughts and ideas…IMO…the CD to listen to would be The Koln Concert by Keith Jarrett. This CD is a master class in how to display the ultimate form of the art….almost perfect in it’s ability to tell the intended story. The only other performance I can think of that comes close…… is Jazz goes to College by the Dave Brubeck Quartet…specifically Paul Desmond’s many solos. These CDs typify what Jazz and contemporary music is all about…each artist telling their own story in a truly personal way. Isn’t that the aspiration of any good musician?

    • Dave

      April 6, 2015 at 1:52 am

      Agree with preference for Brubeck’s Jazz Goes to College. Desmond’s performance was probably inspired by live audience at Ann Arbor

      • John Lovejoy

        October 24, 2015 at 7:54 pm

        I have an album that came out shortly after Jazz Goes to College called College Goes to Jazz. Pretty darn good for college kids, but I don’t think any of ’em ever became famous.

  82. John Brzykcy

    April 5, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Return to Forever-Romantic Warrior very accessible

  83. robert

    April 5, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Saxophone Collosus got me interested. Favorite album Dexter Gordens Our Man in Paris. Ella and Louie for vocals and Ellington- Armstrong sessions too.

  84. Leigh

    April 5, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Love this discussion. So many gems; so little time. All recommendations have merit. To the newbie: start with any “Greats” list, jump in, and keep your ears open.

  85. David W Delaney

    April 6, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Agree with others on MJQ, Oscar Peterson, and Sarah Vaughan; would also add Shorty Rogers/Gerry Mulligan for West Coast primer.

  86. Ken Hall

    April 6, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Quite a good representative list. Certainly would make a good intro. I would certainly have the hot fives and seven to represent Louis Armstrong and the Never no more Lament to represent Ellington. Clifford Brown and Sarah Vaughan would be a must, as would any of the Parker/Gillespie collaborations. Of course all this would mean being able to include box sets. I notice all your selections are single albums.

  87. Robert Bryant

    April 6, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    This may not garner the approval of the purists, but I think that an album such as Abbey Lincoln’s “A Turtle’s Dream” (1994) is an excellent way to introduce people to jazz who think they don’t like it. I have recommended it countless times to folks who told me they didn’t like jazz, and, more often than not, they start exploring jazz afterwards.

    Also, Ella’s “Songbook” albums turn out to be a great way to get people into jazz singers. I have known many people who only knew her scat singing (which, of course, is great) and were turned off by it, only to fall in love with her treatment of the standards.

  88. Andy Frobig

    April 7, 2015 at 12:35 am

    A few of these could be dropped in favor of some Sonny Rollins and Lester Young. A good double-dip would be “Billie Holiday and Lester Young: A Musical Romance.” Both are excellent on every track. I could say a lot more if I took the time to think about it, but no Lester=no list.

  89. bradley fowler

    April 7, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Uh, Love Supreme?

  90. Åsmund Gjøystdal

    April 7, 2015 at 5:49 am

    I would have liked something more modern on the list, for example I would have included Keith Jarrett/Jan Garbarek: Belonging.

  91. Ken S

    April 7, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    These comments are the supplemental discography! Just as relevant as ‘The (original) List’. As a kid who started playing in the early ’60s I heard Jazz on my mom’s kitchen radio. Sinatra, Bennett, Nat King Cole, Ella, Sarah, Holiday, et. al. My 1st album was a $0.69 LP of Dixieland (bought from the Sears Calogue Store) with Al Hirt, Pete Fountain & Bob Havens. Great entry to Dixieland (& back to Armstrong, Bix, Jelly Roll then Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey . . .)! I got my 1st taste playing jazz at the age of 12 in the local summer ‘dance band’ for jr. & senior high school kids. So big bands like Elington, Basie, Kenton, Herman, Miller, (& later, Buddy Rich & Maynard Ferguson) were my next playing opportunities. The small groups playing standards were also important discoveries for me. Goodman, MJQ, Parker, Miles, Coltrane, Lester Young, Colman Hawkins, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Paul Desmond, Brubeck, Mulligan are some of my favorites. When you jump into the middle of the pool you have a lot of direction in which to swim.

  92. David Thomson

    April 15, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Sure, the embrace of this canon could have been wider, but just starting with the few of these that could initially entice is enough to take someone into the art. The ‘Round Midnight’ soundtrack was enough for me if only because it named who to seek out. This list does far more than that.

  93. Russell Last

    May 26, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I love lists like this because of the debate they inspire. Lists are always subjective so those who are easily offended by any particular list-maker’s subjectivities need to lighten up. My only quibble: no Django Rheinhardt.

    • Lynne Sampson

      June 7, 2015 at 11:02 pm

      I got hooked on jazz as a teen in the early 1950’s. My dad (who started playing the sax when a youngster) would sometimes comment unfavorably about some of the music I listened to but then he introduced me to the music is Django Reinhardt!! Go figure!! ‘-)

  94. Dan

    June 7, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I would add Song For My Father by Horace Silver and perhaps one of the Grant Green/Sonny Clarke albums. My personal choice would be Nigeria.

  95. Mike Arsham

    June 7, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    A lot of good choices but no Afro Caribbean jazz, e.g. Diz and Chano, Machito, Mario Bauza, Chico O’Farrill, Tito Puente, or more comtemporary greats e.g. Jerry and Andy Gonzalez, Bobby Sanabria, Papo Vazquez. Anyone who doesn’t find their best work “accessible” really doesn’t like music.

  96. Dennis

    June 7, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Actually my Entry point was Herbie Hancock’s “Future Shock” well Parachute pants and spinning on your head were cool then… when I dug into jazz itself, my journey began With “Great Moments in Jazz” from Atlantic records. Compilations like that are a great way to find what you like and then find your path to musical heaven.

  97. Greg Daugherty

    June 7, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Definitive is what you want for a list like this. Some are and some aren’t. There are several excellent choices. Dave Brubeck is not definitive. Charles Mingus is. The only Duke is a token so you can have the Hawk in the list. There are many definitive players missing, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Betty Carter, LH&R – they are often missing from lists like these, but Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck, Chet Baker – they always make the lists. Why not Bill Evans at the Village Vanguard, undeniably one of the best recordings of this music? These are a list of famous musicians, not the definitive albums.

    • Ken

      June 7, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      Brubeck was not “definitive?” What planet are you listening on? Everyone has different tastes, but good grief!

  98. Ken

    June 7, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    All the adulation for Coltrane. One would think he was the only jazz saxophonist in the world. Far too much emphasis on modern jazz and the be-bop era. I’ve loved jazz for 50 years and I wouldnt’ listen to 2/3 of these albums. Basie, Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Louis and Ella, Ellington, Zoot, Django, Pizzarelli’s, Desmond. A lot of jazz is very esoteric, but it’s also the reason a lot of people don’t like it. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

  99. Mateo

    June 8, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    1. kind of blue, miles 2. a love supreme, coltrane 3. maiden voyage, hancock 4. speak no evil, wayne shorter 5. mosaic, art blakey and the jazz messengers 6. the concert, live at massey hall, charlie parker quintet 7. power to the people, joe henderson 8. now he sings, now he sobs, chick corea 9. bill evans at the village vanguard 10. one step beyond, jackie mclean 11. Charlie Parker Savoy Sessions (with miles davis) 12. gerry mulligan quartet with chet baker (Dbl CD) 13. Mingus Ah Um, Charles Mingus 14. Soul Station, Hank Mobley 15. Song for My Father, Horace Silver 16. Lester Young w/ the Oscar Peterson Trio 17. Duke Ellington @ Newport 18. The Real McCoy, McCoy Tyner 19. Brilliant Corners, Monk 20. Tomcat, Lee morgan That’s what I’d give someone…

  100. Aaron Walker

    June 11, 2015 at 4:22 am

    I don’t know why Gypsy Jazz is excluded at every turn in the jazz world. At some point it starts to feel intentional. Why would you not have a Django album – you know, the man who single handedly inspired what may be the most loved style of jazz in the world. Check out Adrian Moignard, Gonzalo Bergara, Joscho Stephan, Sebastian Ginaux, Andreas Oberg, and of course Bireli Lagrene.

  101. Don

    June 27, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    My point of entry into jazz? Frank Zappa. Then came George Duke, Jean Luc Ponty, Sugarcane Harris, Weather Report, etc… The Grand Wazoo made me appreciate Big Band in a different light which made me check out Toshiko Akioshi, Oliver Nelson, Buddy Rich…

  102. Erik

    August 11, 2015 at 5:17 am

    I’m a big fan of Stanley Turrentine. Any reason why he never gets a mention – even in the top 50?

  103. Nico-paris

    August 31, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Thanks, exactly what I was looking for, didn’t knew where to start… Listening some of it now.

  104. Veronese

    September 28, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    For me, my starting point for listento jazz was Gerry Mulligan – Walk on Water.
    Otherwise I´ll think Paul Desmond would be an eccellent start, but all depends of wich direction tou come from.
    If you normaly listen to Punk, Rock or Metal (and everything thats include in that) maybe Coltrane and Coleman would work easy.

  105. Max

    October 24, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Anything by Ella, George Shearing and Mel Torme, Maynard Ferguson Echoes of an Era and Nat King Cole After Midnight along with Dave Brubek’s Time Out should be annexed in.

  106. Max

    October 24, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Oops! nevermind, I must have passed over Time out and Ella, but still Some Nat King Cole, Maynard Kenton and George Shearing would be great and why not a little Horace Silver and Cal Tjader? And some Weather Report for the rockers’ training wheels to start to come off?

  107. Irene M

    October 25, 2015 at 12:54 am

    Charlie Parker : Cool Blues . This album is an example of a new direction of the continuous journey which jazz is travelling on in perpetuity .

  108. Roger

    October 25, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Where’s Chick Corea????

  109. Frank DeBenedictis

    October 25, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Two disagreements. I would include jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. He contributed mightily to single string playing, and to the introduction of Gypsy Jazz. Another is Benny Goodman. I feel strong enough about him to say that he is to the clarinet what Louis Armstrong is to the horn.

  110. Patrick Longworth

    October 25, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    A lot of you commenting on this article end up proving part of the article as well as the maxim “you cannot please everybody”. If your favorite wasn’t on the list, don’t complain about it as you may just have different taste from the writer. I can think of artists not on the list but so what? The writer did their best.

  111. Tomas Palm

    November 4, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    …and where´s Bix?

  112. Ron Harrell

    April 3, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Lists like this are, by their very nature, subjective. So, piss and moan all you want to in that overly snobbish, self-assured way. These selections are one person’s very valid list of albums for beginners in the jazz listening arena. There are plenty of places one could start, but this ain’t too shabby. It could change someone’s life.

  113. elvis mussolini

    September 17, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Jazz is music for trouser janglers

  114. Guillaume

    June 16, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Nobody’s listening 21th century’s jazz here !! 😉

  115. Patrick Sanders

    June 16, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    It seems the vibraphonists got ignored.

  116. Larry Green

    June 16, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    No Lester Young and no Dexter Gordon? !

  117. Ron Pavellas

    June 16, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Some west Coast Jazz starting with Stan Kenton and Shorty Rogers, among many others…

  118. Jack

    June 17, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Well, one person’s opinion, I suppose – for what it’s worth (?). I could agree perhaps with about twelve of these, or make a list of twenty completely different albums. The good thing is it’s got people discussing.

  119. Thomas Kenny

    July 23, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    One of my introductions to Jazz was my father playing “Gerry Mulligan and the Concert Jazz Band on Tour with Special Guest Zoot Sims”. I still have his copy in my collection and it still thrills me. Out of print now, but copies can be found on Ebay.

  120. Will Caviness

    July 23, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    I would add Dizzy Gillespie- from the bluebird years. I think it would flow well with the rest of your list. Anthropology, Manteca, Cool Breeze, Ow, all heavy swinging classics!! definitely turned be on to jazz 20 years ago

  121. Joel Brickner

    July 24, 2017 at 12:41 am

    This list is very biased against pre-Bepop. What about the Benny Goodman 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert? Or the Duke Ellington 1943 Carnegie Hall Concert? Where is Bix Beiderbecke, or Django Rheinhardt/Stephan Grappelly; and what about Lester Young; or “the Birth of Cool”? I would also add either “Yardbird Suite” (a three-record collection) or “Bird’s Best Bop on Verve.”

  122. Paul Williams

    July 24, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    What no Charlie Parker? I don’t think that one can tell the story of jazz in no less than 40 albums. And if a friend of mine was interested in jazz, ain’t no way Id start them off with free jazz. I would start wifh Charlie Parker.

  123. LaFoot

    August 9, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    I had my own share of “what, no this or that?”, but we are talking an entry level list; music to get people into jazz. In that sense, with the exception of Kenny G, (Seriously? I mean, SERIOUSLY??) ALL the names and albums mentioned are good, and its been fun reading these comments. One I would add, almost a jazz primer of sorts. My first exposure to jazz (at age 12) was the music of Henry Mancini for the TV series Peter Gunn. I remember thinking “WHAT IS THIS MUSIC?!” Music from, and More music from Peter Gunn are still available. Exquisite horn sections et al. (Listen to Dreamsville.) Happy listening!

  124. Jack Spencer

    October 27, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    As always with these lists, someone will feel an important artist or two was left out. But I think most can agree that this would be a wonderful list for a Jazz Novice to get started.

  125. Gabriel

    August 2, 2018 at 4:47 am

  126. Blob

    October 23, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    Where’s Bunny Berigan??

  127. Rick

    November 24, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    So glad that “Maiden Voyage” made the list.

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