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The Greatest Jazz Guitar Albums

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Greatest Jazz Guitar Albums

Jazz guitar, for some inexplicable reason, seems sometimes to lack the attention that it deserves.It may stem from the fact that back in the Big Band era the guitar was seen very much as part of the rhythm section, an instrument that accompanied and filled out the sound rather than take centre stage as a lead instrument. It was Charlie Christian who helped to take the instrument from side stage to centre stage, with his electric guitar playing, as a member of Benny Goodman’s band. Christian’s ‘Solo Flight’ recorded with Goodman’s band in 1941 was a seminal moment for jazz guitar.

Prior to Christian it was Eddie Lange, a brilliant and sophisticated player, who helped to make the guitar more popular. Others like Freddie Green who played with Count Basie for decades and Lonnie Johnson who played with Louis Armstrong helped to initially popularise the guitar. In Europe Django Reinhardt played single line melodies that gave the instrument more visibility and he has been a huge influence on many that followed.

Fender made the first solid body electric guitar in 1948 and a few years later Gibson introduced their Les Paul. Many jazz guitarists in the 1950s, was well as later, played hollow body guitars, Tal Farlow was one and his fluid, single note, bop style guitar was a sensation. There was also Howard Roberts, Herb Ellis, Kenny Burrell and Barney Kessel who all combined bop and single note picking, with Burrell in particular combining blues with jazz. Jim Hall, who was classically trained, took jazz guitar in another direction and others like Pat Martino helped refine the style.

Then along came Wes Montgomery whose debut Riverside album in 1958 signalled a new dawn for jazz guitar. There is not a guitarist that has followed in the jazz idiom that has not been inspired and influenced by Wes, who tragically died relatively young at 45 years old in 1968.

In the 1960s the coming of rock took some guitarists from jazz to perhaps follow the more lucrative circuit for music loved by younger fans. Nevertheless rock inspired jazz guitarists like Larry Coryell and John McLaughlin created a fusion style that was a sensation. In their wake came musicians like Mike stern, John Scofield and Pat Metheny. Yet at the same time the acoustic guitar remained the instrument of choice for some including Joe Pass, Al DiMeola, Earl Klugh, Ralph Towner and a little later still, Acoustic Alchemy.

The influence of South American rhythms on jazz in the early 1960s was a significant spur to broaden the appeal of the genre to people who thought they didn’t really like jazz…Getz/Gilberto was a groundbreaking album and prior to that Charlie Byrd’s Jazz Samba. Brazilian guitarists, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfa and Joao Gilberto have all proved a lasting inspiration.

While America has remained the jazz guitar hot house there are those from overseas that have become popular, including Hungarian, Gabor Szabo, Englishmen, Alan Holdsworth, Phillip Catherine and Martin Taylor, Italian, Antonio Forcione, and Frenchman, Bireli Lagrene.

We’ve put together a list of the 75 jazz guitar albums that we think are the greatest ever. There are musicians that we’ve included that you may never have heard of, but every one is worth exploring. To help you dig a little deeper we’ve put together a Spotify playlist of tracks featuring most of those on the list. You will find below our list, that as you will see is A to z rather than 1 to 75; it would have been just too hard to come up. We would love to hear your suggestions of who we may have missed.

Al Di Meola – Elegant Gypsy
Allan Holdsworth – Metal Fatigue
Andreas Varady – Andreas Varady
Antonio Carlos Jobim – Wave
Antonio Forcione – Ghetto Paradise
Axoustic Alchemy – Red Dust and Spanish Lace
Barney Kessel – The Poll Winners
Barney Kessel – To Swing Or Not To Swing
Bill Frisell – Have a Little Faith
Bireli Lagrene – Standards
Charlie Byrd – The Guitar Artistry of Charlie Byrd
Charlie Christian – Genius of the Electric Guitar
Charlie Haden/Pat Metheny – Beyond The Missouri Sky
Charlie Hunter – Bing Bing Bing
Django Reinhardt – Quintet du Hot Club de France
Earl Klugh – Two of a Kind
Ed Bickert – Live at The Garden Party
Eddie Lang – Jazz Guitar Virtuoso
Emily Remler – East To Wes
Gabor Szabo – Spellbinder
George Benson – Absolute Benson
George Benson – Breezin’
George Benson – Shape of Things To Come
Grant Green – Idle Moments
Grant Green – Matador
Herb Ellis – Nothing But The Blues
Herb Ellis/Joe Pass – Two for the Road
Howard Alden – Your Story, The Music of Bill Evans
Howard Roberts – Velvet Groove
James Vincent – Space Traveller
Jim Hall – Concierto
Jim Hall/Bill Evans – Intermodulation
Jimmy Raney – A
Joao Gilberto – Voz e Violao
Joe Pass – For Django
Joe Pass – Virtuoso
John Abercrombie – Timeless
John McLaughlin – Extrapolation
John Scofield – A Go Go
John Scofield – Uberjam
John Scofield/Pat Metheny – I can see Your House From Here
Johnny Smith – Moonligh in Vermont (w Stan Getz)
Julian Lage Group – Gladwell
Kenny Burrell – Asphalt Canyon Suite
Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue
Kurt Rosenwinkel – Deep Song
Larry Carlton – Alone/But Never Alone
Larry Carlton – Last Nite
Larry Coryell (w John McLaughlin) – Spaces
Lee Ritenour – Wes Bound
Lee Ritenour 6 String Theory
Lenny Breau – Five O’ Clock Bells
Luiz Bonfa – Solo in Rio 1959
Martin Taylor – Spirit of Django
Mike Stern – Standards (and Other Songs)
Norman Brown – After the Storm
Pat Martino – El Hombre
Pat Metheny – Bright Size Life
Pat Metheny – The Pat Metheny Group
Peter White – Caravan of Dreams
Phillip Catherine – Summer Night
Ralph Towner – Solo Concert
Robben Ford – Tiger Walk
Ronny Jordan – The Antidote
Rosenberg Trio – Caravan
Stanley Jordan – Stolen Moments
Steve Kahn – The Suitcase (Live)
Tal Farlow – Tal
Tal Farlow – The Swinging Guitar of Tal Farlow
Ted Greene – Solo Guitar
Tuck Andress – Reckless Precision
Wes Montgomery – Full House
Wes Montgomery – Smokin’ at the Half Note
Wes Montgomery – The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery/Jimmy Smith – Jimmy & Wes the Dynamic Duo

Listen on Spotify



  1. Bill Ridley

    May 16, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    What no Barney Kessel? the best jazz guitarist of all time!!!!

    • uDiscover

      May 16, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      He’s on the list twice Bill! We couldn’t leave him off, he’s brilliant!

      • Larry M

        July 25, 2018 at 6:55 pm

        I WOULD ADD “Kessel Plays Standards,” one my favorites.

    • Daniela Cervantes

      June 18, 2015 at 1:02 am

      The Late Great Mr. Kessel is there several times. He was the greatest.

    • Petri Tähtinen

      January 31, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      Where is it Howard Roberts album Real Howard Roberts.Tal Farkow Artist album.Lenny Breau live

    • jim

      January 31, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      there are 2 — alphabetized by first name

  2. TJ

    May 16, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    No John or Bucky Pizzarelli?

  3. Dave Plotel

    May 16, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Nice choices!…..but one album you left out was ‘jazz winds from a new direction’ with
    Hank Garland , Gary Burton etc. And I’m sure most jazz guitar players would agree.

    • Gary

      May 16, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      Hank Garland’s Jazz Winds etc. Is a VERY important album. Also H.R. is a Dirty Guitar Player with Howard Roberts. Charlie Christian is the father of jazz guitar to me.

      • Jim Greeninger

        May 17, 2015 at 6:04 am

        Yes, Hank Garland’s Jazz Winds etc. Is a VERY important album. Also H.R. is a Dirty Guitar Player with Howard Roberts. Good choices.

  4. Chuck notris

    May 16, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Glad you put Eddie lang in the list! Sadly he seems to be forgotten many times. He is the father of jazz guitar!

  5. Aidan Rainsford

    May 16, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Louis Stewart certainly deserves to be on this list

  6. Fred Costello

    May 16, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Only one Johnny Smith????? And no Barney Kessel???
    Incomplete list….

  7. Fred Costello

    May 16, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Sorry…Just saw Barney’s 2 albums.

  8. David

    May 16, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    what about Torcuato Mariano? Russ Freeman? Jonathan Butler? Ricardo Silveira?

  9. Brian Blaney

    May 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    George Benson: White Rabbit is a favorite for me.
    John McLaughlin: Electric Guitarist too.

  10. Jory Kahn

    May 16, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    best Allan Holdsworth recording has to be the tony williams lifetime album Believe It. Pat Martino albums should be Footprints and Consciousness

    • 6StringCircus

      May 17, 2015 at 1:25 am

      Amen to both of those!

  11. John

    May 16, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    No Lenny Breau!?

    • Paul Labelle

      May 17, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      No Lenny is a capital SIN!

  12. Jeff Tsuruoka

    May 16, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Boogaloo Joe Jones needs to be on this list. Right On Brother is a classic.

  13. Jeff Tsuruoka

    May 16, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    I’m also partial to Jim Hall’s work on Sonny Rollins’ The Bridge.

  14. Low On Pix

    May 16, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    What, no Peter Bernstein?!!

  15. RobS

    May 16, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    I watched an extended video featuring BB King talking about his development as a guitarist. He said that Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt had a large influence on his style, and he went into detail as what he found in their music. BB said that he played jazz music for his own entertainment.

    • Curt

      October 7, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      : I would vote (if I had one) for Bucky & John Pizzarelli’s Family Fugue.

  16. Bob L

    May 16, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Hank Garland is a major omission. Still, a very interesting list. And thank you for remembering Emily Remler.

  17. frank nuciforo

    May 16, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Jimmy Bruno; “Sleight of Hand”….

  18. eric

    May 16, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    No Derek Bailey? Not even ballads?


      October 26, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      It’s a shame. No Sonny Sharrock either. Too far outside for these folks.

  19. Gary Kemp

    May 16, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    This is more a list of greatest guitarists, not the best albums. If it were genuine the latter, Wes Montgomery and Jim Hall would have many more albums.

  20. Mark

    May 16, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Earth Tones Peter Bernstein One of the best in my collection of Jazz.

  21. Carole Weber

    May 17, 2015 at 12:35 am

    What about Laurindo Almeada??

  22. Beto Ochoa

    May 17, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Notably absent…Oscar Moore of the Nat King Cole Trio

  23. Beto Ochoa

    May 17, 2015 at 12:43 am

    Oscar Moore…Nat King Cole Trio..no solo album but his work is very worthy of note

  24. Andre

    May 17, 2015 at 1:04 am

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful list. I do miss Egberto Gismonti in the first place. Additionally, I’d point out that Baden Powell and Laurindo Almeida are two significant omissions.

  25. 6StringCircus

    May 17, 2015 at 1:24 am

    George Van Eps – father of the 7-string jazz guitar
    and +1 for Bucky Pizzarelli

  26. Dave

    May 17, 2015 at 1:45 am

    Sonny Sharrock’s “Ask the Ages”. Spectacular.

  27. -Jon

    May 17, 2015 at 2:10 am

    Would really like to see “Sorcerer” by Gabor Szabo on there. Contains everything I like music on it, nevermind guitar! Great list!

  28. Mike Schmidt

    May 17, 2015 at 2:16 am

    Great list…..Glad to see the late great Ted Greene there !

  29. Kevin Cook

    May 17, 2015 at 2:54 am

    Melvin Sparks is more than worthy of this list.

  30. Coyote Brian

    May 17, 2015 at 3:16 am

    No Les Paul? No Danny Gatton? Pppffffft!

    • J Rock

      September 11, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      Les Paul a significant omission. Also from his CTI years, George Benson’s ‘White Rabbit’ album.

  31. Darren

    May 17, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Marc Antoine has put out several great CD’s in his young career. I love two of his arrangements in particular: Unity and Latin Quarter. It’s Brazilan Jazz that is loved by millions! One of my favorite artists!

  32. Joe Loop

    May 17, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Cal Collins Should be on this list! His Album “Cincinnatti To LA.” as well as his paring with Herb Ellis seem to put him in this company.

  33. Peter Haas

    May 17, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Ditto on Sonny Sharrock…also “High Life.”

  34. theodor

    May 17, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Danny Gatton – Les Paul – Chet Atkins – Attila Zoller – Joe Puma – Chuck Wayne – Tal Farlow – Billy Butler – Jimmy Raney ?

  35. Michael Ige

    May 17, 2015 at 8:56 am

    No George Barnes or Bucky Pizzarelli?

  36. Roger Gough

    May 17, 2015 at 11:35 am

    FULL HOUSE. Wes Montgomery. Live at the Tsubo Coffee House absolutely rocks. My all time favourite.

  37. gin_soaked_boy

    May 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    What, no Sonny Sharrock?!? Or even James “Blood” Ulmer or Derek Bailey? Seems certain strains of jazz guitar is not ok for this list, then. Oh well…

  38. UK

    May 17, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Craig Chaquico. Acoustic a Highway.

  39. Bibifunk

    May 17, 2015 at 4:04 pm

  40. Phil

    May 17, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Jeff Skunk Baxter under the Bo Tree celebrating the Bodhisattva

  41. Phil Townes

    May 17, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Agreed: Van Eps “My Guitar” and Garland “Jazz Winds” should be there, and I would put a Les Paul & Mary Ford (for electronic pre-history), Chuck Wayne’s (awesomely original) “Traveling,” Burrell’s “Guitar Forms,” McLaughlin’s “My Goal’s Beyond,” Atkins and Paul “Chester and Lester,” Coryell’s “Eleventh House” and Gatton’s “Redneck Jazz Explosion” before some imitators. The list seems to neglect some of the monsters of old who inspired others.

  42. Harri

    May 17, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    This list is definitely a very subjective and narrow view to the long list of jazz guitarist. How could you possibly leave out Peter Bernstein, Louis Stewart, Carl Kress, Billy Bean and so many others !?

  43. Federico Dalla Grana

    May 18, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    What about Joe Diorio, Romero Lumambo, Joe Morris, Mary Halvorson ( with Jessica Pavone for example) Liberty Ellman, Rez Abbazi, Brandon Ross, Marc Ribot………………….!the list of forgotten jazz guitarist is getting more and more big!

  44. Federico

    May 18, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    John jorgenson, Stokelo!!!!!!!!! Rosember trio and so on!

  45. Buddy Raymond

    May 18, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    There cannot be a list of GREAT jazz guitarist that doesn’t have CHUCK WAYNE’s name within the top 5 spots. He was incredible ! And then there is … JOHN PISANO.

    • Joey C

      July 28, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      This is list of greatest guitar ALBUMS, not guitarist.

  46. Jerry Topinka

    May 18, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I love the list of the Greatest Jazz Guitar Albums. All of them are and should be on the list. Just one player I think gets a little over looked. That player is Martin Taylor. I do see that one of his albums made the list, but there are so many other albums that Martin has made that should be on the list. I’ve been a professional guitarist all of my life and can say with out a doubt Martin has taken the jazz guitar to another level. Check out his solo albums.

  47. Jonathan Breux

    May 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    John McLaughlin’s My Goals Beyond?

  48. Jose A. Ortiz

    May 19, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    where is caravanserai by Carlos Santana and Neal Schon,Layla by Eric Clapton and D.allman,caldera with Jorge strunz,chicago one with terry kath,pat martino live,etc,etc,etc. excuse me but too many errrors in your list,probably you need to go to jazz and rock guitar 101. with this records and wes Montgomery,pat martino,grant green,george benson,kenny burrell,and some of the blues cats you probably can complete the list.

  49. Donald

    May 21, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Howard Alden, Frank Vignola, — I see Martin Taylor is mentioned in a comment but he sure needs to be on any list of great jazz guitarists.
    There is duet album with George Van Eps and Howard Alden
    My favorite Lenny Breau album is “Standard Brands” with Chet Atkins

    Don’t forget Django’s great rival, Oscar Aleman there is a two compilation of his recording.

    Teddy Bunn in the Spirits of Rhythm was amazing. He also played with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton and a number of other well known jazz bands. He settled for many years with Louis Jordan. He played single notes with his thumb similar to how Wes did it.

    There are also a whole slew of gypsy jazz guitarists, musical descendents of Django Reinhardt: Bireli Lagrene, Jimmy Rosenburg, Joscho Stephan, Stochelo Rosenburg and many more.

  50. maria

    May 22, 2015 at 5:12 am

    Stanley Turrentine!!!

  51. Wilmar

    May 22, 2015 at 5:36 am

    Elek Bacsik. Dot.

  52. John

    May 22, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Not strictly a jazz guitar compilation, and a bit too heavy on the fusion. Although DiMeola is a great player, he’s NOT a jazz player. Same with one of my favorites, Holdsworth. Glad to see Wes well represented, to me THE benchmark of what a jazz guitarist should aspire to. Glad to see some other jazz greats listed, but Pat Martino and Lenny Breau were seriously under represented and far more important to jazz guitar than some who were listed more than once or the non genre players.

    • jase

      May 24, 2015 at 4:32 am

      couldn’t agree more with you Sir!
      There were also some other comments that mentioned Chuck Wayne,among others..that I hadn’t thought of..

    • jase

      May 24, 2015 at 4:33 am

      couldn’t agree more with you Sir!
      There were also some comments by others that mentioned Chuck Wayne,Lenny Breau..among others that I hadn’t thought of..great comment!

    • ballsack man

      June 18, 2015 at 4:55 am

      al dimeola is not a jazz guitarist…wtf are you talking about. Do you have any idea what jazz is…no…thought so.

    • J Rock

      September 11, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      @John – agree with you – if we eliminated jazz influenced rock players like Holdsworth from the list, we could include others who are more deserving, like Garland, Bruno, Breau

      • Bernie Rudd

        December 6, 2015 at 4:39 pm


  53. jase

    May 24, 2015 at 4:17 am

    Kudos on the list..I would have chose a lot of different records myself..but hey! That’s how the world works..
    …if I caould-
    Pat Martino-“We’ll Be Together Again”
    Howard Roberts-“H.R Is A Dirty Guitar Player” and “Turning To Spring”( A KILLER version of “Skylark” is on that)
    Charlie Hunter-“Return Of The Candyman”
    I might have included the Pizzarelli’s in lieu of some other entries..
    Jimmy Bruno “Live At Birdland”
    “The Sound Of The Johnny Smith Guitar”
    Tal’s “Chromatic Palette”
    Kenny’s “Tin Tin Deo”
    sorry for my bitching…hope you can forgive me..

  54. jason heatley

    May 25, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Lenny Breau was brilliant ,and Oscar Aleman from Brazil some of his time said he was better than Django who he had met and performed with

  55. jason heatley

    May 25, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Lenny Breau was brilliant ,and Oscar Aleman from Brazil some of his time said he was better than Django who he had met and performed with.

    • birunda

      June 18, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Sorry, Oscar Aleman is argentinian, not brazilian!

  56. Ed C

    June 17, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Jack Wilkins, “Windows”, one of the top albums of the 70’s.

  57. rodrigo

    June 17, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    From Australia the great jazz guitariat James Muller recorded the album Kaboom that should be part of this list for sure …

  58. Peter Neski

    June 18, 2015 at 12:05 am

    for the guy who wrote the list………………where’s Oscar Almen???

  59. Edward Singleton

    June 18, 2015 at 12:10 am

    where is George Barnes he influenced many of the great players eg George Benson!

  60. Edward Singleton

    June 18, 2015 at 12:12 am

    George Benson’s greatest Jazz album is Giblet Gravy later released as Blue Benson!

  61. Len Perry

    June 18, 2015 at 2:59 am

    Not mentioned at all is one the most creative jazz guitarist ever. Little known by the general jazz guitar public, but highly respected by all the great jazz guitar players. Truly innovative and one of the most musical guitar players ever. His name is Mick Goodrick. Give him a listen. He presently teaches at Breklee College of Music. Played with Gary Burton and many others.

    • moondog

      June 18, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      thanks for the recommendation on goodrick…just checked out his first album…very nice

  62. johnny ballsack

    June 18, 2015 at 4:53 am

    the fact that baden powell is not on here…honestly indicated that you dont listen to enough music

  63. Rafael Jorge Armiñana Romeu

    June 18, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Ante todo, Gracias, gracias a todos y cada uno de los músicos que forman parte de su lista, y a otros tantos que no aparecen, a todos Gracias infinítas por hacernos la vida más dulce y fácil. A mi me cuesta quedarme con uno solo de estos artistas..,puesto que se quedó fuera de la lista GRANT GREEN JUNIOR y su increible INTRODUCING,, y otro de mis inolvidables PACO DE LUCIA, y es que creo que es imposible hacer una lista perfecta…pero de todos los que hay en la lista , voy a elegir el de LEE RITENOUR, 6 STRING THEORY, por la cantidad y calidad de los artistas que participan en este genial album…

  64. Amano Khambata

    June 18, 2015 at 11:13 am

    1. Elegant Gypsy …the rest follow

  65. Anders Jonasson

    June 18, 2015 at 11:55 am

    my swedish coutryman ULF WAKENIUS Oscar Petersens gittarplayer for 10 years is missing

    • Gustaf Sterne

      September 25, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      Nej, nej och åter nej. Ulf har typ har några chops som han använder och dom går snabbt men han kommer inte ens i närheten av den här listan. Du kan verkligen jämställa Ulf Wakenius och Joe Pass. Helt ärligt det enda bra jag har hört med Ulf är när han kör en tributeplatte för Esbjörn och det är bra för att Esbjörns låtar. Och ja, jag har lyssnat både på pass och Uffe.
      Bara för att man använder pentan snabbt är man inte en bra jazzgitarrist.
      Rune Gustafsson har mer att säga till om i så fall! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej4P6m7L-4U

  66. Orson van Shipley

    June 18, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    A Great Idea To Share Lists & Compile A Further Collection
    Jim Bruno – Album: Into The Blue Light
    Joshua Breakstone – Walk Don’t Run
    Charlie Hunter – Pound For Pound Return Of The Candy Man (w Stephon Harris)
    Eric Gale – Moonstreams ( On Grover Washington’s ‘Feel So Good’ Album)
    Steve Khan – God & Astronauts (On Gato Barbieri’s ‘Euphoria’ Album)
    John Tropea – All Solos (On Deodato ‘Prelude’ & Deodato 2 Albums)

  67. Peter Lundvall

    June 18, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    I think You have missed Friday night in San Fransisco with di Meola, de Lucia and McLaughlin and something older with Charlie Christian

  68. RK

    June 20, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    This is just a list of commercially successful guitarists’ albums some of whom have deservedly passed the test of time. That very nature means that sales are more important than musicianship and the importance of listening and learning. You cannot make a list of “greatest” guitar albums without even considering Gene Bertoncini. There are many others. Just because they are independent releases doesn’t mean the cult of listeners does not consider them less important than the list you have.

  69. Lufe Lima

    June 22, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Jobim could play guitar, flute and a few other things, but his instrument was the piano. In addition, he died insisting that Bossa Nova was inspired, not by jazz, but by Afro-Brazilian rhythms and French Impressionism.

  70. David Hatch Snr

    September 11, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Where is George Barnes in this list and, of course, Louis Stewart and Jimmy Rosenberg

  71. Nelson

    September 11, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Joe Pass – Portraits of Duke Ellington
    John McLaughlin – Electric Guitarist

  72. mel

    September 11, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    Please do not forget to include the Teutonic Jazz guitar virtuo


    September 12, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Lenny Breau’s live recordings are the best – e.g., “The Velvet Touch of Lenny Breau.”

  74. theludi

    September 12, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Everyone always overlooks the great Baden Powell. He is a far more versatile and accomplished player than gilberto (although i adore his work and his playing). Any number of his albums is more than worthy to be on this list.

  75. James Bunnell

    September 12, 2015 at 7:02 am

    No Emily Remler? Fail.

  76. Mark

    September 12, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Stanley Clarke “School Daze”

  77. Bernie

    September 13, 2015 at 4:43 am

    Any list will be flawed by leaving someone out…

  78. Paul

    September 13, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Nice selection…I would add guitarists Ed Cherry and Eric Johnson (the Jazz not rock guitarist) to the list. Also, I think “Feeling the Spirit” by Grant Green should be listed because of the connection between the church and jazz. Thank you for listing these I don’t have some of them I’ll have to give them a listen

  79. jim stewart

    September 26, 2015 at 2:46 am

    great list but, definitely needs the additions mentioned by other enthusiasts

  80. Just Bill

    October 7, 2015 at 7:18 am

    No Blow By Blow or Wired by Jeff Beck, but you include Tiger Walk by Robben Ford?

    Then there are the country guys who play outstanding jazz: Hank Garland and Jimmy Bryant

    Not to mention the Les Paul/Chet Atkin duet albums

  81. Jorge

    October 7, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    3 albums that could make it into the list:
    “saturday night in San Francisco” – Paco de Lucia, Al di Meola, John McLaughlin
    disfarmer > Bill Frisell
    Ana > Ralph Towner

  82. Dan

    October 7, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    You need something of Joe Becks on here. How about “Empathy” w Red Mitchell. And don’t forget one of the most influential jazz guitar albums of the last 50 years
    “The Guitar Album : Historic Town Hall Concert featuring 7 of the World’s Greatest Guitarists.”

  83. Daniel

    October 7, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Here (Argentina) there are others greats players like Luis Salinas, Valentino (play fingerpicking like your hero Wes Motgomery) and others onli for call two.

  84. Arno Marsh

    December 27, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I like Joe Pass.

  85. Paul

    December 27, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Jazz guitar list without Jerry Hahn is baloney.

  86. Dante Paez

    March 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Excellent material, Rosenwinkel and Kreisberg should be there too.

  87. Dan_Aus

    February 27, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I don’t mind the young Andreas Varady at all, but I reckon it’s a bit too much for him to be on this list (as of now.)

    • J Rock

      September 24, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      Agree! Varady may well be remembered someday as one of the great -someday! Does not belong on the list when far more important players – Stochelo Rosenberg, Jimmy Bruno etal.

  88. Dan_Aus

    February 27, 2017 at 11:24 am

    The list would need to make a distinction between performers and composers, as well. There’s a difference between (just) playing guitar and making music.

  89. Fernando (Argentina)

    May 4, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Oscar Aleman (Argentina)
    Egberto Gismonti (Brasil – monster in piano too)
    Luis Bonfa (Br)
    Baden Powell (Br)
    Joao Gilberto (Br) – these last 3 more on the Bossa Nova / Samba side
    Ralph Towner
    John Abercrombie
    Charlie Christian
    Jimmy Raney
    Friday night in San Francisco (Di Meola – De Lucia – McLaughin)
    Tal Farlow’s performance in Oscar Pettiford sextet in Paris 1954.
    If Intermodulation (Evans – Hall) , Undercurrent is even better

  90. Stan Przybylinski

    May 4, 2017 at 7:54 am

    George Benson Body Talk

  91. Fermin Flores

    May 4, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Where are “the sixteen men of tain”? and “none too soon”? probably the two most jazzy albums of allan holdsworth

  92. Robert Jensen

    May 4, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Laurindo Almeida is an outstanding guitarist but rather limited in his style; besides, he doesn’t swing !

  93. Matthew Laube

    May 4, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    For starters I don’t Sal Salvador….what ? Too many fusion cats

  94. Paolo

    May 5, 2017 at 1:21 am

    This list would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Whoever put it together has very limited and pervert knowledge of jazz guitar

  95. George Mason

    May 6, 2017 at 3:21 am

    Tapestry by Chuck Wayne Trio

  96. Jeffery Ventrella

    July 29, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Al Viola – stuff with Buddy Collette and Frank Sinatra

  97. Dan Laubler

    July 29, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    You should add the following to the list. A must have forvany jazz guitarist

    The Guitar Album : Historic Town Hall Concert featuring 7 of the World’s Greatest Guitarists

  98. walter blount

    July 30, 2017 at 12:04 am

    All “Best Of” lists are of course subjective. I would have liked to have seen Mundell Lowe, Sonny Sharrock , Jamaaludeen Tacoma and Carlos Santana (for his work with Alice Coltrane and Leon Thomas)

  99. Rik

    July 30, 2017 at 6:23 am

    This list needs Terje Rypdal.

  100. Pichuco

    July 30, 2017 at 9:47 am

    And Oscar Aleman? What’s the matter you don’t include argentinian guitar players?

  101. Jack Hammer

    July 30, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Holdsworth not a jazz player? Only a tone deaf, “butter churner” idiot could possibly think this and this kind of anti-thought is precisely why he recently died penniless. Not only was he a jazz player he was on such a high level compared to ANYONE ON THIS LIST that it’s almost not worth mentioning. He represents the epitome of the spirit of what jazz music is really all about….. that being improvisation! There are different genres of jazz but it’s about playing over changes. Period. Every other player on this list and there are some great ones are playing pre thought out “licks” that sound stale and contrived in comparison. The only reason you would call him a rock player is because his guitar is distorted. Which of course simply means you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Pro tip: listen to the actual pitches he produced over chord changes. Imagine that…. Coltrane of the guitar.

    • J Rock

      September 24, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Right, Holdsworth is a rock guitarist with tremendous chops. Not a jazz guitarist, but influenced by jazz.

  102. John Webb

    July 30, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Please check the work of Australian Tommy Emmanuel. He and Martin Taylor are two of the very best contemporary fingerpickers around.
    See/hear them on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCBgBXZeORc

  103. Ben Cooley

    July 30, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Where’s George van Eps?

  104. Pillsy

    August 1, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Leo Kottke, his 6 and 12 string guitar is a desert island disk

  105. José Fco

    August 6, 2017 at 7:24 am

    I would`ve liked to see some album of Egberto Gismonti in that list..

  106. Reggie Sylvester

    September 12, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Bern Nix Quartet-NEGATIVE CAPABLITY.

  107. Matt

    September 12, 2017 at 12:58 am

    BERN NIX-Negative Capability!!!!!

  108. Dick Pountain

    September 24, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Another Bill Frisell: Good Dog, Happy Man
    Another Charlie Hunter: Everyone Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Mouth

  109. Brian

    September 24, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Nothing by Chuck Loeb? serious omission.

  110. Bob Shearer

    September 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    You have Martin Taylor’s “Spirit of Django” but what about “Artistry”?

  111. James Pasola

    September 24, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Nice list! I would add 2 of my favorites to the Joe Pass list, George, Ira, & Joe….and Joy Spring. Kenny Burrell really shone with Coltrane and also brought out the best in Trane on that album. There are a few more Brazilians of note, Baden Powell & Laurindo Almeada for instance.

  112. Celan

    September 24, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Why are you making posts making it appear that the late Ornette Coleman AND Blue Note records have anuthing at all to do with your idiotic lists? Posting something in the name of someone who’s dead is incredibly arrogant arrogant of you and also sjows no respect for the dead.

  113. Jeannie

    September 24, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    The amazing Andreas Oberg

  114. Stef

    September 24, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Hank Garland ” Move ” didn’t make the list, oh shame on you

  115. Timothy Yurkovitch

    September 25, 2017 at 2:20 am

    Harry Leahey outstanding jazz player

  116. Kevin Senquiz

    September 25, 2017 at 5:17 am

    Ottmar Leibert? Fine guitar player.

  117. Gustaf Sterne

    September 25, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Kurt Rosenwinkel should have more album on this list. He´s the new Pat. In the 80 Everybody wanted too play like pat. Kurt Rosenwinkel also. Now everybody want´s too play like Kurt. And don´t forget all that he has played with. Kurt Needs more love!

  118. B

    September 25, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Ivan Boogaloo Joe Jones!

  119. Delbert Walling

    September 26, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    I feel George Barnes needs to be listed here. He was such an inventive guitarist and fabulous musician and he had one of the most recognizable sounds in jazz! He inspired everyone that ever heard him play!

  120. Scott Hedegard

    September 27, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    It’s nice to know there are a lot of jazz guitar aficionados out there to discuss and cuss about their love of the best jazz music there is, but being a guitar player who had let myself get away from it for a long time and now am trying to get back in since my retirement at the first of the year, I had started listening to and buying more jazz guitar albums and I love it. Jazz is beautiful, along with blues so truly American, but I will always prefer combos with a guitar player. Not that other groups without guitarists can’t be great, it’s just a personal preference. I can’t definitively declare the “best” any more than anybody else, and my list needs some growing, but I make room for lots of music from jazz to blues to rock, and even the heaviest metal.
    Here’s a few jazz players who are so important to me:
    Lonnie Johnson He was playing lead work in the late ’20’s along with Eddie Lang. Due to the racism of the day, Lang had to appear sometimes on records under a pseudonym because many people wouldn’t tolerate his playing with an African American. Sad.
    Charlie Christian Invented lead electric playing as we know it. Benny Goodman was one jammin’ dude and his music was better than other big bands of his era. Maybe only the great R & B pioneer Louis Jordan was his biggest competition, along with the great Duke Ellington. Look for “Genius Of The Electric Guitar” if you can find it. Absolutely indispensable.
    Kenny Burrell Nobody mixed jazz and blues any better than Kenny Burrell, and his work has remained stellar until this day, where he has recorded live gigs at 85 years old and still blows minds. He truly is an American music legend.
    Chet Atkins He could do anything he wanted, and handled jazz beautifully, especially on songs like “So Rare”. The best overall guitarist of all time.
    Wes Montgomery Anybody who places any player above Montgomery as far as pure jazz playing goes is a fool. No jazz player was more influential, and nobody was as innovative and brilliant in octave picking and advanced chord comping. Listen to the live “Impressions” at the tail end of the “In The Beginning” double album, and prepare to be humiliated.
    Grant Green He favored single lead playing and while he could and did rhythm work, he preferred combos with great players like Sonny Wilson, Larry Young and Elvin Jones, and played solos that were compositions in their own right – tasteful, beautiful tone, and always in the right place at the right time, at least his 1960’s work.
    Jimi Hendrix I submit his duo with Larry Young on the jam “Young/Hendrix” from the out of print “Nine To The Universe”. There is a longer version on a four volume set that goes on well over 20 minutes, but even the 10 minutes here is pure magic as Young and Hendrix create a jam that somehow fuses jazz, blues, and rock like nobody ever did before or since. It is pure transcendence. Hendrix acolytes often muse whether the legend may have gone into a jazz direction, as he was at least talking to Miles Davis not long before his death.
    Jeff Beck His rock/jazz fusion work on “Blow By Blow” and “Wired” alone qualifies him as one of the great all around players.
    Danny Gatton This incredible genius who tragically committed suicide in 1994 was the only real competition to Chet Atkins in terms of being brilliant in all styles, rockabilly, blues, jazz and bluegrass/country without the hoke. He did two full blown jazz albums that are must haves: “New York Stories”, where he joined up with great players Bobby Watson, Yuron Israel, Roy Hargroves, and Josh Redman for an astonishing set of originals that remains one of the greatest jazz albums ever recorded, and “Relentless”, his last studio album where he paired up with Hammond B-3 wizard Joey Defrancesco for a set that more than lives up to the title.
    Jimmy Bruno He’s new to my collection, but I like his ability to burn and take it easy where he needs to. His album with another late great player, Joe Beck, “Polarity” is astonishingly brilliant. He also did an album “Like That” with Defrancesco two years after the death of Danny Gatton.
    Russell Malone Elegance abounds as this great player uses some of the most mellow tones ever to lull the listener into a beautiful place of melody and grace.

    Yes, there’s lots of others, but I’ll get around to some of them with time. Not too much in the fusion stuff – some of it got too proggy for my tastes.

  121. Ed Butler

    February 11, 2018 at 1:19 am

    I’m a fan of the Dutch picker, Jan Akkerman. Not sure if he qualifies as a jazz player. (On the other hand, “Chester & Lester” definitely belongs on this list.)

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