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Best Jazz Albums: 50 Essentials You Need To Hear

Including career-defining sessions that continue to make their influence felt, the best jazz albums of all time offer a wealth of stunning, must-hear music.

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Compiling a list of the best jazz albums of all time is a nigh-on impossible task. With such a variety of styles to choose from – and no shortage of musicians who have contributed several groundbreaking works to the development of jazz – it quickly becomes clear that a mere handful of artists, or subgenres, could easily dominate the list.

With that in mind, we’ve tried to make room for a wide array of musicians, styles – and reasons – for inclusion in this list of the best jazz albums of all time. Hopefully this means our selections are as rich, varied – and perhaps surprising – as the history of jazz itself.

We’re sure you’ll have your own favourite albums. Let us know in the comments section what you think we’ve missed out – and why. In the meantime, these 50 best jazz albums are essential for anyone looking to start a collection, or to go beyond classics they already know.

Best Jazz Albums: 50 Essentials You Need To Hear

50: Thelonious Monk: Genius Of Modern Music Vols.1 & 2 (Blue Note)

Nobody wanted to take a chance on signing pianist/composer Thelonious Monk when he emerged on the New York jazz scene in the late 40s. Dubbed “The High Priest Of Bop”, his idiosyncratic music, with its advanced musical vocabulary of asymmetrical melodies and dissonant cluster chords, was deemed too outré for mainstream tastes. But then Alfred Lion of Blue Note Records heard Monk, recognised his unorthodox brilliance, and began recording singles with him in 1947. In Four years later, in 1951, Lion issued Monk’s first album, Genius Of Modern Music, which was followed by a second volume in 1956 (by which time Monk was recording for Riverside). Blue Note battled to get Monk’s music to a wider audience but without much success. Nevertheless, his two albums for the company were significant to the evolution of modern jazz. They also capture him at a notable juncture in his career, when he was developing his unique musical concepts.
Key song: ‘Well You Needn’t’

49: Count Basie: The Original American Decca Recordings (Decca)

This 2013 compilation brings together all the sides that Basie recorded for Decca between 1937 and 1939, captured at the height of the swing era when big bands held sway. Though Basie’s Decca tenure was short, it was incredibly fertile, resulting in the hits ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ and ‘Pennies From Heaven’. His band at the time included Lester Young, Freddie Green and Jo Jones, as well as vocalists Jimmy Rushing and Helen Humes. Together they helped to patent an unmistakable signature sound defined by throbbing swing rhythms, taut ensemble work and incandescent soloing. A vivid snapshot of the Basie band in its youthful prime.
Key song: ‘Pennies From Heaven’

48: Bud Powell: The Amazing Bud Powell Vol.1 (Blue Note)

Harlem-born pianist Powell didn’t live beyond his 41st birthday, but he made a profound impact that can still be felt in contemporary jazz. Heavily influenced by the complex language of bebop, in the late 40s Powell transposed the innovations of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie onto the piano. Compiled from recordings made in 1949 and 1950, The Amazing Bud Powell was the pianist’s first album, and it came out in 1952 when he was 28. It contained his signature tune, ‘Un Poco Loco’ – a remarkable showcase for Powell’s virtuosity, seasoned with Afro-Cuban flavours – and the equally brilliant ‘Bouncing With Bud’. The album, which also featured a 19-year-old Sonny Rollins, is one of the best jazz albums by a pianist; it tore up the rule book and served as a memorable introduction to a phenomenal musical talent.
Key song: ‘Bouncing With Bud’

47: Weather Report: Heavy Weather (Columbia)

There were many different incarnations of Weather Report during the fusion band’s 15-year lifespan, but what gave them a unifying sense of continuity and cohesion was the omnipresence of co-founders Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter. 1977’s Heavy Weather was the group’s eighth album and their second with fretless bassist extraordinaire Jaco Pastorius. Like Shorter and Zawinul, Pastorius was a gifted composer, and his tunes ‘Teen Town’, a funky vehicle for outrageous bass pyrotechnics, and ‘Havona’, a superb ensemble piece, highlight his growing maturity as a jazz conceptualist. But it was Zawinul’s chirpy opener, ‘Birdland’, that earned the most plaudits and became the group’s most widely-known tune, spawning many cover versions. Arguably the most perfect of Weather Report’s 14 studio albums, Heavy Weather remains one of the best jazz albums of the fusion era.
Key song: ‘Birdland’

46: John Coltrane And Thelonious Monk: At Carnegie Hall (Blue Note)

This live recording of Monk and Trane playing together for a charity benefit concert in November 1957 was thought lost until the master tape was discovered languishing in the vaults of the US Library Of Congress in 2005. It’s a perfectly preserved document capturing Coltrane during his six-month tenure with Monk, which came after Miles Davis had fired him earlier in the year (and two months after the saxophonist had recorded his Blue Train album). Both men, supported by bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik and drummer Shadow Wilson, are at the peak of their respective creative powers, with Coltrane navigating Monk’s tricky melodies and unorthodox chord changes with consummate ease. A compelling portrait of two geniuses at work.
Key song: ‘Blue Monk’

45: Horace Silver: Song For My Father (Blue Note)

A leading exponent of hard bop and a founder member of The Jazz Messengers in the 50s, Horace Silver was a Connecticut-born pianist/composer who was instrumental in establishing the two-horn frontline as de rigueur in post-bop small-group jazz. During his 28-year stint with Blue Note he produced many fine albums, but few as truly satisfying as Song For My Father, whose immortal title track is defined by infectious horn motifs and a loping intro (famously borrowed by Steely Dan for their 1974 hit ‘Rikki Don’t Lose That Number’). Recorded in three separate sessions between 1963 and ’64, the album featured two different incarnations of Silver’s quintet, though it’s the four songs by the newer line-up (featuring trumpeter Carmel Jones and saxophonist Joe Henderson) that impresses the most. Song For My Father remains Silver’s most seminal work.
Key song: ‘Song For My Father’

44: Grant Green: Idle Moments (Blue Note)

St Louis guitarist Grant Green was prolific during two separate stints at Blue Note and, as his 29 albums for the company reveal, he recorded in a wide range of settings. Arguably the best of his LPs during his first tenure with the label – when he played hard bop – Idle Moments was recorded in 1963 and finds Green leading a sextet that includes tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist Duke Pearson (who composed two of the songs on the album, including the sublime but subdued 14-minute title tune) and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. Unlike some guitarists, Green never tried to overpower the listener with elaborate or flashy runs but preferred to pick out single-note melodies that stayed within the boundaries of good taste. Despite his economy with notes and judicious use of space, ‘Jean De Fleur’, a fast, self-written swinger on Idle Moments, shows that Green could play with fire when the occasion demanded.
Key song: ‘Idle Moments’

43: Count Basie: The Complete Atomic Basie (Roulette)

This jazz aristocrat’s band was famed for its panache, dynamism and unerring sense of swing, and all those qualities can be heard on this explosive 1957 recording. In an age when big bands were mostly extinct, the release of The Complete Atomic Basie marked a resurgence in the fortunes of the debonair pianist from Red Bank, New Jersey. All the material was written by rising composer/arranger Neal Hefti, and features some dynamite brass charts. At the centre of all the action is Basie’s laconic piano, its piquant fills a model of dissonant minimalism. As well as swinging uptempo numbers with blaring horns, the album contains some beautifully subdued slower numbers defined by deft and subtle orchestral nuances. The complete version, with bonus material, was released in 1994.
Key song: ‘Kid From The Red Bank’

42: Hank Mobley: Soul Station (Blue Note)

Damned by the faint praise of one jazz critic, who described him as the “middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone”, Georgia-born Mobley was often eclipsed by the work and reputation of fellow tenor players John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Though not a jazz pathfinder, he was prolific and produced a formidable body of work for Blue Note between 1955 and 1970. His 26 albums for the label are all strong, but none are quite as perfect as Soul Station. Surrounded by the supreme talents of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Art Blakey, Mobley delivers a masterclass in relaxed hard bop. A sublime mellow version of Irving Berlin’s ‘I Remember’ sets the tone for the album, which also includes four strong original numbers (‘Dig Dis’ is the best of them) that demonstrate Mobley’s unsung abilities as a composer. Earns its place among the best jazz albums of all time by being one of the best albums on Blue Note.
Key song: ‘I Remember’

41: Charlie Christian: The Genius Of The Electric Guitar (Columbia)

Despite passing away at the age of 25 from tuberculosis, Texas-born Christian did enough during his short career to achieve immortality and earn a place in the pantheon of jazz guitar greats. Though he rose to fame in the age of big-band swing (he first made his mark in the Benny Goodman sextet alongside vibes maestro Lionel Hampton), the melodic and harmonic content of Christian’s solos anticipated the advanced musical vocabulary of bebop. A posthumous release, this compilation album, first issued in 1987, drew together disparate sides, including solo recordings and cuts that document his stint with Goodman. Many guitarists that followed in Christian’s wake – among them Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and George Benson – were indebted to the Texan fretboard genius.
Key song: ‘Solo Flight’

40: Art Pepper, Red Garland, Paul Chambers And Philly Joe Jones: Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section (Contemporary)

In January 1957, when Art Pepper recorded this album – alongside Miles Davis’ former rhythm section, comprised of pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones – the 31-year-old West Coast alto saxophonist was struggling with drug addiction. Despite this, Pepper – who claimed he hadn’t touched his sax for several weeks prior to the session – made a transcendent jazz record. The material and performances are simply sublime, with every musician playing at a high level of creativity, focus and inspiration. Among the highlights is the Pepper co-write ‘Straight Life’, a frenetic bebop swinger which later became the title of his warts-and-all autobiography.
Key song: ‘Imagination’

39: John Coltrane: My Favorite Things (Atlantic)

Coltrane showcased his prowess on the relatively obscure and under-exposed soprano saxophone on this, his third album for Atlantic Records, recorded in March 1961 and released later that year. The title song recast a key number from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s popular Broadway musical The Sound Of Music and transformed it into a 13-minute modal jazz waltz with Eastern overtones. Three other standards made up the rest of the album, including a swinging uptempo take on George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ and a poignant reading of ‘Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’. The growth of Coltrane’s popularity in the early 60s was undoubtedly aided by Atlantic releasing a shorter version of ‘My Favorite Things’ as a single to promote the album.
Key song: ‘My Favorite Things’

38: Benny Goodman: At Carnegie Hall (Columbia)

Though it was recorded on 16 January 1938, Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall concert didn’t surface until 1950. It earns its place among the best jazz albums of all time thanks to its capturing a significant moment in history: Goodman was the first jazz musician permitted to play at a prestigious classical music concert hall. Worried that negative reviews would derail his career, the clarinettist was apprehensive about performing at the venue, but his fears proved unfounded and the concert was heralded as a major cultural event. Goodman’s band is on fire, and an extra dose of fuel is added to the flames thanks to the addition of members from Duke Ellington’s and Count Basie’s bands. As well as showcasing new material, Goodman also offered up a history of jazz, including some ragtime and Dixieland tunes in his set, affirming that he truly lived up to his billing as the “King Of Swing”.
Key song: ‘Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing)’

37: Wes Montgomery: The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of Wes Montgomery (Riverside)

Though inspired by the fretboard virtuosity of his idol, Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery forged a unique and immediately identifiable style. The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of… was his third album but the one that truly put the Indianapolis guitarist on the jazz map. Montgomery’s sidemen (pianist Tommy Flanagan, Modern Jazz Quartet bassist Percy Heath, and his brother, drummer Albert Montgomery) offer sterling support on a varied selection of original tunes (‘Four On Six’, ‘West Coast Blues’ and ‘Mr Walker’), covers (Sonny Rollins’ ‘Airegin’ and Dave Brubeck’s ‘In Your Own Sweet Way’) and standards (‘Polka Dots And Moonbeams’). Using his callused thumb as a pick, Montgomery plays single-note melodies with horn-like phrasing, before embellishing his solos with a sequence of block chords followed by octaves.
Key song: ‘Four On Six’

36: The Mahavishnu Orchestra With John McLaughlin: The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia)

After rising to fame with Miles Davis at the end of the 60s (on the proto jazz-rock/fusion albums In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew), Doncaster-born guitar magus John McLaughlin formed The Mahavishnu Orchestra, a quintet that married the virtuosity of jazz improv with the high-decibel power of heavy rock to create a hybrid that was then infused with Eastern mysticism. This, their debut album, was an incendiary confection of searing guitar and violin lines jousting over churning rhythm tracks played in unusual time signatures. The group’s harshest detractors damned them as pretentious and self-indulgent, but, amazingly, they achieved mainstream success, particularly in America, where they were wholeheartedly embraced. Recorded by the first of several incarnations of the band, The Inner Mounting Flame is undoubtedly The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s best album and still astonishes today.
Key song: ‘The Dance Of Maya’

35: Clifford Brown And Max Roach: Clifford Brown & Max Roach (EmArcy)

Who knows what trumpeter and early hard bop architect Clifford Brown would have achieved had he lived beyond his 25th birthday. His death, in a car accident, on 26 June 1956, robbed the jazz world of one its brightest prospects, though he recorded at least one album worthy of inclusion among the best jazz albums of all time. Despite his young age, “Brownie” left a good number of recordings that continue to preserve his name, the best of which is arguably this one, laid down in August 1954 when Brown and drummer Max Roach co-led a quintet that included saxophonist Harold Land. With Richie Powell on piano (who died in the same fatal car crash with Brown) and George Morrow on bass, the group delivered a stunning set that featured three original tunes – including ‘Joy Spring’ – plus a vibrant take on Bud Powell’s ‘Parisian Thoroughfare’ (with a hint of George Gershwin’s ‘American In Paris’ in the intro).
Key song: ‘Joy Spring’

34: Andrew Hill: Point Of Departure (Blue Note)

Andrew Hill recorded 13 albums for Blue Note between 1963 and 1970, but Point Of Departure is, without doubt, the best of them. Like Thelonious Monk before him – who exerted a strong influence on Hill – the Chicago pianist/composer ploughed a lone furrow, expressing himself in a unique and idiosyncratic style defined by asymmetrical melodies and unorthodox meters. Point Of Departure was Hill’s fifth Blue Note album and it featured a sextet that included Eric Dolphy, Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham and a young Tony Williams on drums. Hill’s compositions – by turns frenetic and tranquil – aren’t easy to play but the group render them beautifully and effortlessly. Here, Hill traverses a narrow tightrope separating advanced hard bop from full-on avant-garde jazz, but he does so convincingly. Over half a century later, this magnum opus ranks among the best jazz albums as an essential, must-hear example of paradigm-busting post-bop jazz.
Key song: ‘Flight 19’

33: Herbie Hancock: Head Hunters (Columbia)

After the experimental music of his early 70s Mwandishi band fell on deaf ears, Herbie Hancock reinvented himself as an afro-topped jazz-funk wizard with this 1973 blockbuster album, which hit No.1 on the US jazz charts. Though influenced by Sly Stone and James Brown, Hancock stumbled upon something unique that was simultaneously accessible and groundbreaking. Combining squelchy clavinet parts with astral synth lines – both underpinned by Paul Jackson’s anchoring bass and Harvey Mason’s taut but elastic grooves – Hancock and his cohorts found themselves opening for rock acts like Santana. The four tracks here range from epic spaced-out funk (‘Chameleon’) to atmospheric tropical grooves (an offbeat, African-influenced reworking of his 1963 Blue Note classic, ‘Watermelon Man’) and edgy, syncopated fusion (‘Sly’). The set’s only slow song, ‘Vein Melter’, is an oozy soundscape. Head Hunters proved to be a hugely influential album, transforming Herbie Hancock into a fusion superstar.
Key song: ‘Chameleon’

32: Dexter Gordon: Go! (Blue Note)

The first musician to successfully play bebop on the tenor saxophone, this six foot six jazz giant from Los Angeles started his career in the late 40s but virtually disappeared in the 50s due to spells in prison for drugs offences. In the early 60s, however, he revived his career at Blue Note. Recorded in 1962, Go! was Gordon’s third album for the label and found him in the company of pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Butch Warren and drummer Billy Higgins. The album begins with a supreme slice of self-penned driving hard bop called ‘Cheese Cake’, which would remain in Gordon’s repertoire until his death in 1990. The rest of the album is devoted to standards, including a Latin-style take on Cole Porter’s ‘Love For Sale’. A self-confessed connoisseur of ballads, the saxophonist infuses his version of ‘I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears To Dry’ with a subtle soulfulness.
Key song: ‘Cheese Cake’

31: Sarah Vaughan: Sarah Vaughan (With Clifford Brown) (EmArcy)

Considered a member of the Holy Trinity of female jazz singers – along with Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday – “Sassy” Sarah Vaughan entered the studio with rising trumpet god Clifford Brown to record this album, which many jazz critics believe to be her best. The nine-song set begins with a sprightly rendition of George Shearing’s ‘Lullaby Of Birdland’ and a fine, carefree swinger called ‘You’re Not The Kind’, but elsewhere Vaughan serves up some gorgeous ballads, including a wistful ‘April In Paris’ (which finds Brown playing a plangent but lyrical horn solo using a mute) and a sensuous ‘Embraceable You’, where she caresses the lyrics with her gorgeous contralto tone.
Key song: ‘Lullaby Of Birdland’

30: The Quintet: Jazz At Massey Hall (Debut)

One of the earliest jazz supergroups, The Quintet comprised Charlie Parker – who was originally billed as Charlie Chan for contractual reasons – with Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Bud Powell and Max Roach. They came together for one night only on Friday, 15 May 1953, at Toronto’s Massey Hall. The album came out on Mingus’ own Debut label later that year, but not before he had re-recorded his bass lines, which were barely audible on the original recording. The performance included the Gillespie classics ‘Salt Peanuts’ and ‘Night In Tunisia’, the latter containing some fabulous interchanges between the trumpeter and Parker’s mercurial alto sax. Sadly, the concert represented the final time that the two bebop geniuses recorded together. Considered by some as the greatest jazz concert of all time, Jazz At Massey Hall was officially recognised as one of the best jazz albums in history when it was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1996.
Key song: ‘A Night In Tunisia’

29: Bill Evans Trio: Waltz For Debby (Riverside)

Bill Evans brought a fresh perspective to jazz piano playing by avoiding bebop clichés and drawing on the lush harmonisation of French impressionist classical composers Debussy and Ravel. ‘Waltz For Debby’ was a song inspired by the pianist’s young niece; first recorded in 1956 on the album New Jazz Conceptions, it quickly became a jazz standard. It also became the title track of this live album recorded in June 1961 at the Village Vanguard in New York. Waltz For Debby’s material was drawn from the same performance that yielded the Sunday At The Village Vanguard album, with Evans, bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian showing a high degree of empathy and symbiotic communication never before witnessed in a jazz trio setting. LaFaro, just 25, was tragically killed ten days later, though his genius is preserved in his amazing performances here.
Key song: ‘My Foolish Heart’

28: Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder (Blue Note)

A trumpet prodigy from Philadelphia who joined Blue Note when he was still a teenager, Lee Morgan rose to fame as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. The Sidewinder’s title song, with its jaunty soul jazz groove and infectious horn motifs, was a hit single for Blue Note and helped the parent album become the label’s best-selling LP. Aside from the more commercial-oriented title track, the remaining four cuts offered something different, showing the young 25-year-old musician exploring deeper jazz grooves such as ‘Totem Pole’ and ‘Hocus Pocus’. Morgan’s foil is tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, whose tone is robust and earthy in comparison with the trumpeter’s soaring, gilded sound. Offering solid support is the rhythm section, comprising Barry Harris, Bob Cranshaw and Billy Higgins.
Key song: ‘The Sidewinder’

27: Bill Evans: Sunday At The Village Vanguard (Riverside)

Originally from Plainfield, New Jersey, and of Welsh and Russian ancestry, Bill Evans amalgamated bebop and impressionistic classical music to bring a new sensibility to jazz piano playing. After debuting in 1956, Evans quickly made his mark in the jazz world and, two years later, was recruited by Miles Davis, helping to shape the sound of his groundbreaking 1959 album, Kind Of Blue. Sunday At The Village Vanguard is a tremendous live album from 1961 that shows how Evans, together with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, brought a new concept of collective improv to the piano trio aesthetic. Indeed, their interplay reaches an almost telepathic level of communication. Though Evans’ forte was lush romantic ballads, Sunday At The Village Vanguard shows that he could also swing with real verve.
Key song: ‘My Man’s Gone Now’

26: Thelonious Monk: Brilliant Corners (Riverside)

Thelonious Monk was ahead of his time, which was why for many years his music was often misunderstood and even ridiculed. By the time that the North Carolina pianist/composer recorded Brilliant Corners for Riverside in 1956, however, he was beginning to get the recognition and accolades he deserved. In terms of its defining characteristics, the album – with its angular melodies, dissonant harmonies and jaunty swing rhythms – is quintessentially Monkish. The five-track album features a 26-year-old Sonny Rollins on tenor saxophone, slaloming through Monk’s challenging chord sequences with aplomb. Highlights include the title track, plus ‘Pannonica’ (dedicated to Monk’s European patron, Baroness Kathleen Pannonica De Koenigswarter, on which Monk plays celeste) and ‘Bemsha Swing’.
Key song: ‘Bemsha Swing’

25: Keith Jarrett: The Köln Concert (ECM)

Fate almost conspired against Keith Jarrett making The Köln Concert, which was recorded live in Cologne, then in West Germany, on 25 January 1975. The Pennsylvanian pianist, then 29, was suffering from excruciating back pain as well as fatigue after a long drive to the gig, only to find that the piano wasn’t to his satisfaction. Jarrett initially refused to play but eventually relented, sitting down to deliver 66 spellbinding minutes of solo piano extemporisation. By turns lyrical and febrile, the music just seemed to pour out of him in a cathartic torrent of emotions. The resulting album quickly gained notoriety and, to date, it remains the biggest-selling album of unaccompanied piano music. Jarrett has recorded many solo piano albums since, and they’re all good, but none of them can top the transcendent feeling that defines The Köln Concert.
Key song: ‘Part 1’

24: John Coltrane: Giant Steps (Atlantic)

A switch from Prestige to the bigger Atlantic label in March 1959 witnessed Coltrane upping his game with his debut for his new company. Released in January 1960, Giant Steps marked the first time that Coltrane had recorded an album of all-original material, and, significantly, two of the songs – the classic title tune, with its mesmerising descending melody over cyclical chord changes, and the gorgeous ballad ‘Naima’ – went on to become recognised as jazz standards. Surrounding himself with simpatico sidemen – pianist Tommy Flanagan (replaced by Wynton Kelly on ‘Naima’), bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor – Coltrane’s musical explorations took bebop to its greatest heights. Other highlights of this immortal set include ‘Cousin Mary’ and ‘Mr PC’, the latter a tribute to bassist Paul Chambers.
Key song: ‘Giant Steps’

23: Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage (Blue Note)

Recorded and released in 1965, this album, whose five tracks are united by a nautical theme, was the Chicago pianist’s fifth solo outing for Blue Note. Just 24 at the time of its recording, Hancock was a rising star in the jazz world and was making his mark as a member of the celebrated Miles Davis Quintet (along with Ron Carter and Tony Williams, who also contribute to the album). Maiden Voyage’s gentle title song is a portrait of smooth sailing and finds Hancock and his band (featuring a two-horn frontline consisting of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and tenor saxophonist George Coleman) exploring modal jazz, while ‘The Hurricane’, as its title implies, is a giddy maelstrom of sound and fury. Another standout is the blithe and becalmed ‘Dolphin Dance’. Eminently accessible yet with an ear for the what was cutting edge at the time, Maiden Voyage is the jewel in Hancock’s Blue Note crown and was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.
Key song: ‘Maiden Voyage’

22: Duke Ellington: Ellington At Newport (Columbia)

Some deemed Duke Ellington to be well past his sell by date when he appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival alongside many of the jazz world’s modernists in 1956. With an incendiary and inspiring performance that wowed the Newport audience, however, Ellington and his band demonstrated that they could still deliver the goods while asserting that big bands still had a place in jazz. His set included both old and new material; the latter included the specially-written ‘Festival Junction’ and ‘Newport Up’, though it was an old chestnut, ‘Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue’, written in 1937, that stole the show. It’s notable for a phenomenal solo by saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, who blew 27 choruses and whipped the crowd into a frenzy. The original album only contained five tracks, but it was expanded to a two-hour-long CD release in 2009.
Key song: ‘Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue’

21: Cecil Taylor: Unit Structures (Blue Note)

A native New Yorker, pianist and poet, the late Cecil Taylor, was pushing musical boundaries several years before Ornette Coleman introduced the concept of free jazz to an unsuspecting world. A classically trained pianist, Taylor recorded his first album, Jazz Advance, in 1956 and by the time that he recorded Unit Structures (the first of two albums for Blue Note) ten years later, he had developed his own personalised take on free jazz. Unit Structures features four lengthy explorations in free-form sonics and finds Taylor assisted by six like-minded musicians, including trumpeter Eddie Gale, alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons and drummer Andrew Cyrille. Taylor and his cohorts take no prisoners with their sound collages, which, to the uninitiated, are unremittingly intense and challenging. Unit Structures remains one of the best jazz albums to come out of the avant-garde.
Key song: ‘Steps’

20: Charlie Parker: Complete Savoy And Dial Studio Recordings (Concord)

Together with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, Kansas City-born alto saxophonist Parker began a jazz revolution in the mid-40s when he created a new sound that was dubbed bebop. With jaw-dropping displays of virtuosity combined with advanced harmonies and syncopated rhythms, Parker helped to alter the perception of jazz, transforming it from dance music into a serious art form. Most of his seminal recordings came out as singles for the Savoy and Dial labels in the 40s and they can be found on this 2000 compilation, which offers a vivid snapshot of bebop’s glory years. It captures Parker at the peak of his powers before heroin addiction blighted his career.
Key song: ‘Now’s The Time’

19: Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool (Capitol)

A trendsetter who was not afraid to shun convention, Miles Davis became tired of bebop’s frenetic verbosity in the late 40s and experimented with music that replaced sonic heat with a studied, cool elegance. Leading a nonet that included saxophonists Lee Konitz and Gerry Mulligan, as well as drummers Max Roach and Kenny Clarke, across 1949 and 1950 Miles recorded a series of singles for Capitol that redefined modern jazz. Significantly, arranger Gil Evans also worked on the session, and his friendship with the trumpeter would lead to future collaborations in the late 50s (on the albums Miles Ahead, Porgy And Bess and Sketches Of Spain). The seeds for those large-canvas later works can be heard in Birth Of The Cool (especially on the Evans-arranged track ‘Moon Dream’). The album’s title – given to the sessions on their original album release in 1957 – reflects the influence the sides had on the West Coast “cool jazz “sound.
Key Track: ‘Boplicity’

18: Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers: Moanin’ (Blue Note)

Nobody could drum like Art Blakey. A natural leader on the bandstand who combined both power and subtlety, he instinctively knew how to make a track swing but could also complement a soloist, employing his volcanic press rolls to create drama and offer inspiration. All those qualities can be found on Moanin’, his 1958 LP with The Jazz Messengers. The infectious title cut, penned by pianist Bobby Timmons, who laces his composition with churchy inflexions, anticipates the soul jazz style that became popular in the 60s. Saxophonist Benny Golson contributes four top-notch songs, including ‘Blues March’, ‘Along Came Betty’ and ‘The Drum Thunder Suite’, the latter of which is an explosive showcase of Blakey’s polyrhythmic prowess. On trumpet is a 19-year-old Lee Morgan.
Key song: ‘Moanin’’

17: Albert Ayler: Spiritual Unity (ESP-Disk’)

First released on Bernard Stollman’s small, New York-based indie label, ESP-Disk’, in 1964, Spiritual Unity announced Ohio-born saxophonist Ayler’s arrival on the world stage. It wasn’t his inaugural recording venture, but it was unequivocally his first significant album. Many found its visceral rawness and intensity – sometimes Ayler’s sax resembles a chainsaw cutting into a bees’ nest – deeply disturbing. Supported by intuitive and symbiotic interactions from bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray, Ayler takes Ornette Coleman’s concept of free jazz to another level. The album’s song titles – ‘Ghosts: First Variation’, ‘The Wizard’, ‘Spirits’ and ‘Ghosts: Second Variation’ – serve to underline the otherworldly essence of Ayler’s unique musical universe. One of the best jazz albums of the era, it still sounds startlingly original today.
Key song: ‘Spirits’

16: Eric Dolphy: Out To Lunch! (Blue Note)

A prodigiously gifted multi-reed player who excelled on alto saxophone and bass clarinet, Los Angeles-born Eric Dolphy was also a virtuoso flute player. He first made his mark in 1958 when he joined drummer Chico Hamilton’s band, and later, in the early 60s, when he became a leading light of the avant-garde movement, he played with Charles Mingus and John Coltrane. Recorded in February 1964, Out To Lunch! was Dolphy’s debut for Blue Note and came on the back of several LPs for Prestige’s New Jazz imprint. Joining Dolphy on the Out To Lunch! session are Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Richard Davis and an 18-year-old Tony Williams on drums. The music is intrepid in its exploration of new sonic worlds and, despite its eerie dissonances, there’s a prevailing sense of swing which gives the music cohesion. Sadly, Dolphy died, aged 36, of a diabetes-associated coma four months after recording one of the best jazz albums from of the free jazz era.
Key song: ‘Hat And Beard’

15: Oliver Nelson: The Blues And The Abstract Truth (Impulse!)

St Louis-born Nelson was a talented saxophonist who could play both the tenor and alto varieties, but who earned more fame during his relatively short career as a masterful arranger who could turn his hand to TV soundtracks and movie scores. After three years recording for the Prestige label, Nelson joined producer Creed Taylor at ABC-Paramount’s newly founded jazz imprint, Impulse!, in 1961. His debut album was the magnificent The Blues And The Abstract Truth, on which Nelson led a stellar septet whose ranks included Freddie Hubbard, Eric Dolphy and Bill Evans. It’s an album whose every facet – from the material, arrangements, ensemble work and solo passages – blends perfectly to create an exquisite whole. In terms of its elegance, though, nothing surpasses the superlative opener, ‘Stolen Moments’.
Key song: ‘Stolen Moments’

14: Erroll Garner: Concert By The Sea (Columbia)

Famed for his florid, virtuosic keyboard style, Pittsburgh-born Erroll Garner was heavily influenced by Earl Hines and Fats Waller but managed to find his own distinctive voice on the piano. Capturing Garner in an assembly hall in Carmel, California, in 1955, Concert By The Sea began as an unofficial recording made by a local broadcaster for US armed-forces radio. Garner’s manager heard the tapes and persuaded Columbia to release them as an album, whereupon it sold by the truckload (by 1958, it was estimated to have made over $1 million in sales). Garner is accompanied by bassist Eddie Calhoun and drummer Denzil Best, and offers typically flamboyant renderings of standards such as ‘I’ll Remember April’, ‘Teach Me Tonight’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’. A vivid live portrait of a piano-playing genius.
Key song: ‘Red Top’

13: Wayne Shorter: Speak No Evil (Blue Note)

A graduate of the formidable Jazz Messengers – drummer Art Blakey’s famous “Hard Bop Academy” – New Jersey’s Wayne Shorter recorded for Vee-Jay before joining Blue Note in 1964. Speak No Evil was the saxophonist’s third album for Alfred Lion’s iconic jazz label and was recorded three months after he had joined the Miles Davis Quintet. Shorter fronts an ace quintet of his own here, comprised of Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Coltrane’s then-drummer, Elvin Jones, and together they conjure up a memorable session featuring six songs composed by the saxophonist. Highlights include the beguiling opener, ‘Witch Hunt’, with its snaking melody; the cool title song, with its sublime horn theme played by Shorter and Hubbard; and the gentle, much-covered ballad ‘Infant Eyes’, which is now regarded as a jazz standard. Wayne Shorter has made many fine albums during his long career but this one, recorded on Christmas Eve 1964, is extra special.
Key song: ‘Infant Eyes’

12: Stan Getz And João Gilberto: Getz/Gilberto (Verve)

Though originally from Pennsylvania, tenor sax titan Stan Getz became associated with the cool, West Coast jazz sound in the 50s. In the following decade, he helped to stimulate interest in Brazilian music with his 1962 album Jazz Samba. Two years later, his inspired collaboration with rising Brazilian singer and guitarist João Gilberto (on Getz/Gilberto) helped to birth a bossa nova craze in the US. The combination of Getz’s silky saxophone effusions with Gilberto’s delicate vocals and softly-strummed guitar was magical, while the album’s most popular track, ‘The Girl From Ipanema’, featured a stunning cameo from Gilberto’s wife, Astrud. An edited version became a hit single and created a huge global audience for the seductive bossa nova sound. It also helped to transform Astrud Gilberto into a star who then launched her own successful career.
Key song: ‘The Girl From Ipanema’

11: Louis Armstrong: Best Of The Hot 5s And 7s (Columbia)

The long-playing 33 1/3rpm record didn’t exist when New Orleans trumpet sensation and scat singer Louis Armstrong (aka “Satchmo”) helped to define what US writer F Scott Fitzgerald described as the “Jazz Age” in the late 20s. A virtuoso trumpeter from an impoverished background, Armstrong played with King Oliver and Fletcher Henderson before forming his own Hot Five Band in 1925. Some of Armstrong’s seminal sides with this band can be found on this glorious compilation, which also includes music from his later Hot Seven group (which recorded in 1927). On the back of hits such as ‘Heebie Jeebies’ and the influential ‘West End Blues’, Armstrong became a huge star and later assumed an ambassadorial role in the jazz world. For those seeking an entry-level collection focusing on the rise of New Orleans jazz and the trumpeter’s early years, this retrospective can’t be beaten.
Key song: ‘West End Blues’

10: John Coltrane: Blue Train (Blue Note)

This was John Coltrane’s first bona fide masterpiece, recorded a week before his 32nd birthday. Though the saxophonist was contracted to Prestige at the time, he was allowed to record a one-off session for Alfred Lion’s Blue Note label, and it turned out to be an absolute gem. Earlier in the year, Trane had been fired from the Miles Davis Quintet for his heroin addiction, but by September 1957 he had quit drugs for good and began rebuilding both his life and reputation. Blue Train is an affirmation of Coltrane’s newfound sense of creativity and features a sextet that comprises pianist Kenny Drew, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones from the Miles Davis band, plus Jazz Messengers Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller. The title tune, with its memorable clarion-call horn theme, sets the tone for a six-track album that contains only one standard (‘I’m Old Fashioned’) and highlights Trane’s signature “sheets of sound” style.
Key song: ‘Blue Train’

9: Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Columbia)

At the end of the 60s, the ever-restless Miles Davis sought to change his musical direction again. Eyeing new sonic horizons and showing an interest in rock and funk aesthetics, he began using electronic instruments and creating expansive grooves driven by a backbeat. A first major milestone in this development was the epochal Bitches Brew, a sprawling double-album released in 1970. Using a large ensemble that included British guitarist John McLaughlin and three electric keyboardists (Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea and Larry Young), Davis set in motion the fusion movement that dominated jazz thinking in the 70s. Much of the music was shaped in post-production, heavily edited by Miles’ producer, Teo Macero, but Bitches Brew became hugely influential, ushering in the age of jazz-rock. Now almost half a century old, it still sounds like the music of the future.
Key song: ‘Spanish Key’

8: Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus (Prestige)

At 88 years old, Sonny Rollins is one of the last surviving greats of jazz’s golden epoch. Though for health reasons he no longer plays his beloved tenor saxophone, this seminal 1957 album – which gave Rollins his nickname – reminds us of his unparalleled brilliance as an improviser. Rollins receives sterling support from pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins and legendary bebop drummer Max Roach, and together the quartet created an alchemical synergy that results in pure magic. Rollins references his family’s Caribbean roots in the jaunty, self-penned calypso-esque ‘St Thomas’ (which became one of his signature tunes) and contributes two more original songs in the shape of ‘Strode Rode’ and ‘Blue 7’. His brilliance as a balladeer is highlighted on a gorgeous reading of the standard ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’.
Key song: ‘St Thomas’

7: Cannonball Adderley: Somethin’ Else (Blue Note)

Recorded in 1958, this is undoubtedly the greatest album made by alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley during his 20-year career. What makes it special is the presence of Miles Davis in a rare sideman role (Adderley was a member of the trumpeter’s sextet at the time), while the contributions of the great Art Blakey on drums, along with excellent work from pianist Hank Jones and bassist Sam Jones, conspire to make this one of the best jazz albums recorded by a small-group ensemble. On the gently swinging ‘Autumn Leaves’ and ‘Love For Sale’, Miles plays some bewitching muted trumpet lines, but he doesn’t outshine Cannonball or the rest of the group. A must-own album for any serious jazz collector.
Key song: ‘Autumn Leaves’

6: Charles Mingus: The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (Impulse!)

Featuring an 11-piece band playing opulent, cinematic arrangements by Bob Hammer, this 1963 concept album from bassist/composer Charles Mingus was notable for its use of overdubbing, a procedure usually shunned by most jazz musicians. Even so, Mingus produced one of his most compelling studio creations here: a thrilling collision of jazz, blues and gospel flavours (which he once described as “ethnic folk-dance music”) that was distinguished by taut, cohesive ensemble work and stunning solos. The influence of Duke Ellington is almost palpable, but such was the force of Mingus’ individuality as a composer that his personality dominates the album. In Mingus’ canon, this album’s brilliance is only eclipsed only by the earlier Mingus Ah Um.
Key song: ‘Duet Solo Dancers’ (aka ‘Hearts Beat And Shades In Physical Embraces’)

5: Ornette Coleman: The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Atlantic)

From Fort Worth, Texas, Ornette Coleman made two albums for Lester Koenig’s California-based Contemporary label before joining Atlantic in 1959, where this, his debut for the company, proved one of the most revolutionary albums in jazz. Leading a quartet comprising trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins, Coleman shredded the bebop rulebook by jettisoning orthodox notions of what constituted melody and harmony. In the process, he created a brave new musical language of free-form collective improvisation that shook the jazz world to its core. The Shape Of Jazz To Come was extremely divisive at the time, but its status as one of the best jazz albums in history is secure today; it gave birth to the free jazz movement that would gain momentum as a viable musical currency in the 60s.
Key song: ‘Lonely Woman’

4: Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um (Columbia)

One of jazz’s most colourful characters, renowned for his volcanic temper, Charles Mingus – a bass player and composer originally from Arizona but raised in Los Angeles – created a unique style that melded driving hard bop with plaintive blues cries and sanctified gospel cadences. His greatest creation was this, his 1959 debut for Columbia, on which propulsive uptempo songs (‘Better Git It In Your Soul’) were balanced with beautiful shimmering ballads (‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’, an elegy for saxophonist Lester Young, who had died earlier in 1959). The album also had a biting political edge thanks to the track ‘Fables Of Faubus’, which attacked Arkansas Governor Orval E Faubus, who resisted racial integration in American schools.
Key track: ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’

3: Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out (Columbia)

Released in 1959 – the year that Ornette Coleman produced his game-changing free jazz manifesto, The Shape Of Jazz To Come – California pianist Dave Brubeck proved that jazz didn’t have to be wild and way out to be revolutionary and innovative. Time Out album finds Brubeck’s classic quartet (featuring the eloquent Paul Desmond on alto sax) experimenting with a range of unorthodox time signatures but still managing to balance sonic exploration with an accessible selection of tunes. The album spawned an unlikely hit single in 5/4 time (the jaunty, Desmond-written ‘Take Five’) and went on to sell over a million copies.
Key song: ‘Take Five’

2: John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (Impulse!)

Released in 1965, jazz mystic and saxophonist/composer John Coltrane’s four-part hymn to God remains deeply influential and is regarded as the album that birthed what became known as spiritual jazz. A Love Supreme was the first time that a musician had successfully used the language of jazz to explore deeper metaphysical concerns. Assisted by pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and über-drummer Elvin Jones, Coltrane takes us on a journey into the realm of religious exaltation. He leaves the listener exhausted – the music can seem almost overwhelming due to its emotional intensity – but also blissfully contented after the final chord has sounded. Though Coltrane recorded several landmark albums both before and after A Love Supreme, this game-changing 1965 LP sealed his immortality and sits rightfully among the best jazz albums of all time.
Key track: ‘Part One: “Acknowledgement”’

1: Miles Davis: Kind Of Blue (Columbia)

Topping our list of the 50 best jazz albums ever is this timeless, transcendent classic from the great Miles Davis. It celebrates its 60th birthday in 2019 but still sounds as cool and hip as the day it was first recorded. The session found Miles leading an all-star sextet that included saxophonists John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, as well as rising piano star Bill Evans. Here, Miles and his cohorts relinquish bebop’s febrile intensity for a looser, relaxed vibe to create a series of extended grooves that came to define modal jazz. The best-selling jazz album of all time, Kind Of Blue created a new musical language that was hugely influential not only in the jazz world but for numerous rock and pop musicians as well, assuring the album’s rightful place at the head of any list of the best jazz albums in history.
Key song: ‘So What’

Looking for more? Discover the best jazz guitar albums of all time.

478 Comments

478 Comments

  1. Rick Minor

    December 30, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    What!? How can you have a list of great jazz recordings, and not have “In a Silent Way” on it

    • FH

      December 31, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Ella, Sketches???

      • Claude Soiron

        August 29, 2015 at 7:32 am

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

        • Sean

          September 11, 2015 at 7:16 pm

          Exactly…very limited breadth to this list

          • Stephen

            November 3, 2016 at 2:59 pm

            Yes – that’s what happens when you are limited to 50 selections.

        • Maurice. Borden

          September 12, 2015 at 1:22 am

          Je suis d’accord.

        • John Lassiter

          September 12, 2015 at 7:41 pm

          No Ella Fitzgerald! A crime…

          Listen “Ella & Duke, Live in Stockholm”…”the best scatting she has EVER done” – Norman Granz!

        • Tim

          January 1, 2016 at 9:30 pm

        • Happy

          January 1, 2016 at 9:33 pm

          Check out this AMAZING new player https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRcnbSV4004

        • dr cool

          August 30, 2016 at 8:04 pm

          I agree. Miles Davis–don’t think so…Chet–Billie Holiday!!!

      • Tim

        January 1, 2016 at 9:24 pm

        Maybe

    • lance sjogren

      January 1, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Not sure In a Silent Way would be on my top 50, but your comment did give me a craving to listen to it since I haven’t for a long time.

      • Alex

        May 4, 2015 at 12:43 pm

        Good !

    • DS

      January 1, 2015 at 11:34 pm

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

    • Antonio Teja

      January 29, 2015 at 5:02 pm

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

      • struyn

        May 6, 2015 at 3:20 am

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

        • G

          July 7, 2018 at 5:58 pm

          Was thinking the same thing!

    • chris

      March 7, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      agree with you !!!!

    • YogaforCynics

      May 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      My all time favorite!

    • Gibson Hilliard

      June 1, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      This is more if the 50 most popular than 50 greatest. Who can really argue with the
      #1, Kind of Blue? But I appreciate the attempt.

      • John Fields

        September 11, 2015 at 8:52 pm

        me. I would take Brown-Roach over Miles any day

    • Mahglun Green Laddie

      June 4, 2015 at 9:53 am

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

    • steve

      September 11, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      no in a silent way……………blasphemy.

    • MusicIsLife

      September 11, 2015 at 11:30 pm

      I’m pretty sure In a Silent Way is not jazz… anything Miles Davis did with his electric band should be considered sans Genre or fusion.

    • bill miner

      October 7, 2015 at 7:19 pm

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

      • Max

        August 30, 2016 at 10:22 pm

        “YOU MUST BELIEVE IN SPRING” is also one of my Desert Island albums – all artists included. What a masterpiece!

    • James S.

      October 8, 2015 at 5:22 am

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

    • Tim

      January 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      Ok

    • Moeketsi TSIE

      August 29, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      Yes bro that’s Miles Davis for me.

    • Vanessa

      September 16, 2016 at 12:15 am

      My Favorite Things,
      Workin’,
      Sketches of Spain….

    • George

      April 22, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      Exactly Right! This list needs In a silent way & Sketches of Spain on it.

  2. Frank Rossini

    December 30, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Kind of Blue is truly great, but A Love Supreme is celestial! A Love Supreme Supreme Supreme A Love Supreme

  3. Eckhart Derschmidt

    December 30, 2014 at 9:29 pm

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

    • Paul

      December 31, 2014 at 3:23 am

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

      • Jackie

        December 31, 2014 at 3:34 am

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

        • Jo Welch

          December 31, 2014 at 6:32 am

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

          • Crocodile Chuck

            January 1, 2015 at 5:19 am

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

          • Darroch Greer

            May 31, 2015 at 9:48 pm

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

          • Mahglun Green Laddie

            June 2, 2015 at 2:51 pm

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

          • 4Corners

            September 11, 2015 at 10:25 pm

            Bitches Brew is in at #9.

      • joecrouse

        December 31, 2014 at 4:14 am

        No Yoko Kanno?

      • Michael Kroll

        January 18, 2015 at 10:34 am

        NHOP in competition with Ray Brown at the Montreux Jazz Festival Oscar P. at the piano!

      • Michael Kroll

        January 18, 2015 at 10:43 am

        NHOP in competition with Ray Brown at the Montreux Jazz Festival Oscar P. at the piano!
        Has anybody ever heard ARTURO SANDOVAL play the trumpet?

        • hector

          May 7, 2015 at 4:08 am

          Guess not Michael Kroll. Arturo Sandoval pays tribute to Clifford Brown with “I Remember Clifford” on GRP Records. Must have.

      • Rejean

        June 1, 2015 at 12:33 am

        Index, what about one of the greatest jazz pianist, a Canadian, Oscar Peterson.

        • Chris Johnson

          September 12, 2015 at 4:23 am

          Right. I would nominate “Night Train.”

          • Jpck o' Houston

            August 14, 2017 at 1:22 pm

            Me too!

        • ulya s.

          October 7, 2015 at 2:48 pm

          Exactly! I just love him!

    • Brian

      December 31, 2014 at 2:10 pm

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

      • Eckhart Derschmidt

        December 31, 2014 at 5:06 pm

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

      • hector

        May 7, 2015 at 3:55 am

        Brazilians are Americans too since Brazil is also part of America. The Continent of America that is.

        • Mahglun Green Laddie

          June 2, 2015 at 3:34 pm

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

        • Milagros Llauger

          October 8, 2015 at 12:37 pm

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

    • Jerry O'Callaghan

      January 1, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      Both excellent points!

  4. Patricia Baker

    December 30, 2014 at 9:40 pm

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

    • kip wilks

      December 30, 2014 at 11:36 pm

      Well done good choice what about diz and bird?

      • Marc van Dongen

        May 31, 2015 at 5:28 pm

        See album nº 30…

      • Barry Witham

        October 7, 2015 at 5:46 pm

        Charlie Parker is # 20 on the list.

    • Robert

      December 31, 2014 at 2:15 pm

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

  5. Pedro

    December 30, 2014 at 9:59 pm

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

    • Kate

      August 30, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      YES YES YES for Eric Dolphy

  6. Jason Argos

    December 30, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Helen Merrill 1954 with Oscar Pediford, Clifford Brown is still the best torch Jazz vocal LP ever.

    • Jason Argos

      December 30, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Oh, and I totally understand and agree ART TATUM has his own place among the Gods so he is not listed.

    • Steve Kim

      June 1, 2015 at 3:17 am

      Hear, hear!

  7. Ray Hunter

    December 30, 2014 at 10:30 pm

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

    • twanerino

      December 31, 2014 at 7:33 am

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

      • LexJazz

        May 15, 2015 at 2:24 pm

        I agree, Speak No Evil should be No. 1

  8. Kip Athan

    December 30, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I understand and totally agree ART TATUM has his place among the Gods, so he need not be listed with these mortals.

  9. dr. L

    December 30, 2014 at 11:03 pm

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

    • kv402

      December 31, 2014 at 1:26 am

      Time Out is #3 on the list!

    • Paul

      December 31, 2014 at 3:18 am

      Totally agree about the absence of Johnny Hartman. And no Ella??

    • Jupeter

      December 31, 2014 at 9:21 am

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

      • Jupeter

        December 31, 2014 at 9:38 am

        Oh yes, I forgot about the MJQ. Apart from superb live recordings (e.g.The Last Concert), Django is a must have for any serious compiler of jazz lists

    • Peter

      May 7, 2015 at 1:22 am

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

      • Deever McGraw

        September 30, 2018 at 10:59 pm

        Nat King Cole only played swing? If you were to tell that to Oscar Peterson & Ray Charles because they would set you straight were they alive.

  10. OP

    December 30, 2014 at 11:07 pm

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

    • Paul

      December 31, 2014 at 3:38 am

      Totally agree about “The Trio” recording on Pablo. What a smokin’ album!

  11. Michael Morse

    December 30, 2014 at 11:21 pm

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

    • hamiltonAZ

      January 1, 2015 at 1:07 am

      Agreed. No Adderly, Coleman Hawkins and topheavy with Coltrane.

      • 4Corners

        September 11, 2015 at 10:28 pm

        Something Else is #7.

    • Santtu

      January 1, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Joe Henderson is on Song For My Father from Horace Silver. He plays one of my all time favorite sax solos on that song/album.

    • Martin Gowar

      January 27, 2015 at 11:16 am

      you forgot Duke Ellington !
      I agree with you, any list without these is a joke.

      • art williams

        August 28, 2016 at 6:04 pm

        What!!!??? no archie shepp?

    • Robert

      May 4, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      Agreed. No Colman Hawkins, you got to be kidding.

    • Max Turner

      June 2, 2015 at 7:44 am

      I totally agree. And don’t forget Lester Young. How could he be missing on a list of top 50??

    • Ken

      December 28, 2018 at 4:17 am

      Yes, almost no pre-war musicians except Louis and Count Basie.
      How about Red Nichols, Coleman Hawkins and the Ramblers, Kansas City Five, any of the fine 1970s, 1980s Columbia collections of Lester Young and Billie Holliday, Bixology (all Bix’s recordings.

  12. Lemmy Caution

    December 30, 2014 at 11:37 pm

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

  13. Rusty James

    December 31, 2014 at 12:23 am

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

  14. Paul Burgess

    December 31, 2014 at 12:37 am

    No Ella Fitzgerald?? “Ella at Duke’s Place” got to be there. Also missing: Billie Holiday, Nina Simone!

    • Janet

      December 31, 2014 at 3:40 am

      12 Nights in Hollywood-Ella Fitzgerald

  15. John Wagman

    December 31, 2014 at 1:20 am

    what about Sonny Rollin’s The Bridge???

    • taylor

      June 1, 2015 at 4:31 am

      yeah i was really let down that didnt make the list

  16. bill holland

    December 31, 2014 at 1:40 am

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

  17. John Isaacs

    December 31, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Oscar Peterson, Mel Tormé, Nat King Cole, MJQ, Ella for God’s sake!!!! And for my money Mingus’ greatest album is The Clown.

    • Jupeter

      December 31, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Oh yes, I forgot about the MJQ. Apart from superb live recordings (e.g.The Last Concert), Django is a must have for any serious compiler of jazz lists

  18. Joe Garza

    December 31, 2014 at 1:55 am

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

  19. wilfred thunder summinen

    December 31, 2014 at 2:00 am

    How ’bout some Jimmy Scott (a.k.a. Little Jimmy Scott). No Billie Holiday ?

  20. Robert Scurry

    December 31, 2014 at 2:08 am

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

    • Greg

      December 31, 2014 at 4:31 pm

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

  21. R. E. Hawkins

    December 31, 2014 at 2:08 am

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

  22. Kenny Haddaway

    December 31, 2014 at 2:10 am

    Hank Garland…nuff said!

  23. Phil Pine

    December 31, 2014 at 2:21 am

    I’m new to jazz music but I would think Lester Young would be on this list.

  24. francis

    December 31, 2014 at 2:21 am

    Kind of Blue can’t be higher on this list than A Love Supreme and The Black Saint, seriously, you can’t do this to me. Not to mention A Spiritual Unity.

  25. Tim Cunningham

    December 31, 2014 at 3:16 am

    No Jazz at Massey Hall, the 1953 meeting of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach? Major oversight.

    • floyd

      January 9, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      It’s there…it’s called the quintet

  26. CBro

    December 31, 2014 at 3:16 am

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

  27. Paul

    December 31, 2014 at 3:35 am

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

  28. Fieldhands

    December 31, 2014 at 3:41 am

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

  29. Richie Angelilli

    December 31, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Hank Mobley: Soul Station #42 seriously?
    No
    Billy Harper
    Joe Farrell
    Michel Petrucciani
    George Coleman

    • Jerry O'Callaghan

      January 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      Joe Farrell – song of the wind; timeless

  30. Richie Angelilli

    December 31, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Oops forgot

    Dexter Gordon
    Woody Shaw
    Kenny Barron
    Clifford Jordan
    Joe Henderson
    Chick Corea
    Jackie McLean

    • Mark

      March 28, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      There is one Dexter Gordon album, but should be at least two.

  31. Peter

    December 31, 2014 at 4:07 am

    Sketches of Spain?

    • Skip

      December 31, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      My first thought

      • Frank A. Martinez

        October 9, 2015 at 7:21 pm

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

    • Kevin

      January 3, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      I LOVE Sketches, but so many people don’t get it.

    • Gerald Alexander

      October 7, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      A stranded island album!

  32. Steve Burkhalter

    December 31, 2014 at 4:10 am

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

    • rcdouglas

      December 31, 2014 at 4:22 am

      looks like one of those “All-Star” groups Playboy used to run annually. (does it still?)

    • Kevin Sterchi

      May 31, 2015 at 11:52 pm

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

  33. r c douglas

    December 31, 2014 at 4:15 am

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

    • r c douglas

      December 31, 2014 at 4:24 am

      my apologies. Duke and Basie are there (as is Goodman). but, come to think of it, no Shaw or Miller.

  34. Don

    December 31, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Jimmy Smith

  35. FalconJapan

    December 31, 2014 at 4:41 am

    Short much of famous jazz artistes in the list, Kind of blue is good but still faraway to the first ranking 🙁

  36. Daniela Cervantes

    December 31, 2014 at 4:48 am

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

  37. Carlos

    December 31, 2014 at 5:50 am

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

  38. Nat Silver

    December 31, 2014 at 5:51 am

    What, no Art Tatum, Gerry Mulligan or Chet Baker?

    • Sean

      September 11, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      Agreed!

  39. gareth

    December 31, 2014 at 6:13 am

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

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

  40. Lisa Gimber

    December 31, 2014 at 6:47 am

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

  41. Ken1956

    December 31, 2014 at 7:03 am

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

    • Joe Cogan

      January 20, 2015 at 11:52 am

      Time Out is #3 on the list.

    • Kathiesl

      October 8, 2015 at 4:55 am

      Definitely agree with the Guaraldi!!

  42. mscocolove

    December 31, 2014 at 7:17 am

    No Ella in the top ten. Wow.

  43. Stanton

    December 31, 2014 at 7:36 am

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

  44. Stefan

    December 31, 2014 at 7:53 am

    The Raven Speaks (Woody Herman)

  45. stefano

    December 31, 2014 at 7:56 am

    What about the great Ella Fitzgerald? Chet Baker? Nina Simone? Etc ecc…Many missing..

  46. twanerino

    December 31, 2014 at 7:58 am

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

  47. James henriot

    December 31, 2014 at 8:45 am

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

  48. Trevor Hyde

    December 31, 2014 at 8:47 am

    No Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Art Tatum,Lester Young, Teddy Wilson or Billie Holiday for starters! Are you joking?

  49. Mike Burke

    December 31, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Miles Davis/Gil Evans should be there somewhere, shouldn’t they? And where’s Sidney Bechet? And Dizzy Gillespie?

  50. Jimmy Jackson

    December 31, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I second with knobs on the comment by Trevor Hyde a travesty not to include those he mentions

  51. Mark Sarnow

    December 31, 2014 at 9:34 am

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

  52. Lord Running Clam

    December 31, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Well done on what is not an easy task. My gripe tho would be the non inclusion of something by the great Sun Ra and his Arkestra.

  53. Barry Curtis

    December 31, 2014 at 10:59 am

    No Ellington/Blanton band? no Teddy Wilson, Lester Young – Billie Holliday – what about Bix and Tram?

  54. victor

    December 31, 2014 at 11:18 am

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

  55. Tarso

    December 31, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Sunflower (Milt Jackson, 1973)

    Nice Guys (Art Ensemble of Chicago, 1979)

  56. Shaun Cronin

    December 31, 2014 at 11:49 am

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

  57. basil meklis

    December 31, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    you need the bird in that collection

    • Adam C.

      December 31, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Bird is in the collection, the Savoy/Dial recordings.

  58. Ricky Garni

    December 31, 2014 at 12:42 pm

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

    • Laurent

      January 1, 2015 at 10:41 am

      Oscar Peterson : NIGERIAN MARKETPLACE !!

  59. tony

    December 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Louis Armstrong MUST be #1!

  60. Marshall Zucker

    December 31, 2014 at 2:29 pm

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

  61. Adam C.

    December 31, 2014 at 2:33 pm

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

    • John

      December 31, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      “Beyond the Missouri Sky” by Metheny and Charlie Haden is a glaring omission. And where’s Jim Hall?

  62. Rémy Brown

    December 31, 2014 at 3:41 pm

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

  63. Don

    December 31, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I guess Jazz Trombone never existed…..typical.

    • Kappa Steve

      August 5, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      Kappa

  64. armeda leiby

    December 31, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    YOU MISSED THE GREATEST, COUNT BASIE, DUKE,AND LOUIS ARMSTRONG

  65. Greg

    December 31, 2014 at 4:42 pm

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

  66. David Wagner

    December 31, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Would have loved to see Here’s to Life/Shirley Horn, or Joe Pass, or Barney Kessel, but a pretty good list.

  67. Peter Neski

    December 31, 2014 at 4:48 pm

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

  68. Le Knopf

    December 31, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    No Pete Duconge ????

  69. Susan

    December 31, 2014 at 5:49 pm

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

  70. George Thomas

    December 31, 2014 at 6:10 pm

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

  71. Dick Singer

    December 31, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Was hoping to see Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay.

  72. Sascha Hace

    December 31, 2014 at 6:56 pm

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

  73. Karlos

    December 31, 2014 at 7:25 pm

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

    • HamiltonAZ

      January 1, 2015 at 1:13 am

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

  74. Gigantic

    December 31, 2014 at 7:28 pm

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

  75. philip

    December 31, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    What no VInce Guaraldi Trio? A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the best of all times.

  76. Jiminindy

    December 31, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    i have 27 of these, a very fine list. I would add Miles – In a Silent Way, Getz’s Sweet Rain, and Wayne Shorter’s Native dancer with Milton Nascimento.

  77. Peter

    December 31, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Where’s Lady Day?

  78. Juan Montesano

    December 31, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    creo debe aparecer en la lista Chick Corea !!!!!

  79. Jim Grodnik

    December 31, 2014 at 9:38 pm

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

  80. Virginia

    December 31, 2014 at 9:50 pm

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

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

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

    I LOVE JAZZ!!!

  81. Josh Hull

    December 31, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    ? Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue
    ? Jon Schofield w/ Medeski, Martin & Wood – A Go Go
    ? Oscar Peterson Trio – Plus One (Clark Terry)
    ? Jimmy Smith

  82. John Reinschmidt

    December 31, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Herbie Nichols – Complete Blue Note Recordings
    Bobby Hutcherson – Dialogue
    Lucky Thompson – Tricotism

  83. Herb Roth

    December 31, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Philly Joe Jones,

    ” Drums Around The World”

  84. Michael

    December 31, 2014 at 11:18 pm

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

  85. Paul Corby

    December 31, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Good list. So good, I can’t choose which one to kick off to make room for Moran/Harris/ et al’s New Directions.

  86. Robert

    December 31, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    You forgot, “Like Minds”, Burton, Corea, Holland, Haynes, and Metheny….I’m sure it was just an oversight….

  87. Ben

    January 1, 2015 at 12:15 am

    No Sun Ra? WTF?

  88. Bob Skaleski

    January 1, 2015 at 12:21 am

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

  89. ron bronstein

    January 1, 2015 at 12:49 am

    I have 33 of those fifty, and this list is very much like my personal list.

  90. John

    January 1, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Obviously this list is incorrect. There are no trombonists listed!

  91. Stephen Ranzer

    January 1, 2015 at 1:16 am

    I only have 36 of the 50. Have to review the list and see which ones I still have to purchase.

  92. KBenson

    January 1, 2015 at 1:33 am

    No Charlie Parker??????!

    • Kevin Sterchi

      June 1, 2015 at 12:00 am

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

  93. Chuck

    January 1, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Too much great stuff has been done to ever limit it to 50. Concierto by Jim Hall?

  94. Chris Anderson

    January 1, 2015 at 3:12 am

    The great Jimmy Smith not on the list…? That’s crap.

  95. markjatkinson

    January 1, 2015 at 3:38 am

    Where is Liane Carroll ??? !!!!!

  96. E Fernandez

    January 1, 2015 at 3:57 am

    It’s a difficult list to do so congratulations is in order. I just wish a Chick Corea album was in there somewhere.

  97. red raleigh

    January 1, 2015 at 4:08 am

    Chick Corea. Now He Sings Now He Sobs. The greatest trio album ever. Still fresh and exciting today. Innovative and influential.

  98. Kevin

    January 1, 2015 at 4:25 am

    Sonny Sharrock’s “Ask the Ages” is a glaring omission.

  99. Rangan

    January 1, 2015 at 5:47 am

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

  100. jonujazz

    January 1, 2015 at 6:28 am

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

    • bockhus

      January 2, 2015 at 1:12 pm

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

  101. Bosher

    January 1, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Jelly Roll Mortons 1926/1927 recordings should be there

  102. P2SE Class A Single Ended

    January 1, 2015 at 10:00 am

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

  103. Ponman3436

    January 1, 2015 at 10:49 am

    You have to have some Ray Brown on Bass guys. No way you could leave him out. Solar Energy is one that comes to mind but he has so many.

  104. steve

    January 1, 2015 at 11:43 am

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

    • Neil

      June 1, 2015 at 7:21 am

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

  105. albert stenger

    January 1, 2015 at 12:13 pm

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

    albert

  106. albert

    January 1, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    sorry billie…
    i wrote a previous email to my friend billy…
    that is my excuse for that mistake…

    anyway, how can this list be without billie???

  107. stan

    January 1, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Albert Ayler.

  108. Rod Wilkinson

    January 1, 2015 at 3:14 pm

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

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

  109. Schuyler Rogers

    January 1, 2015 at 3:51 pm

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

    • Dan Johnston

      January 1, 2015 at 10:23 pm

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

  110. andicramm

    January 1, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Would like to add David Murray and The Arts Ensemble of Chicago to this list.

  111. Zzonkmiles

    January 1, 2015 at 5:59 pm

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

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

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

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

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

  112. lance sjogren

    January 1, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Good music, not the 50 I would have chosen, but then every jazz fan is liable to have a very different list.

  113. lance sjogren

    January 1, 2015 at 6:17 pm

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

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

  114. Rod

    January 1, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Dave Brubeck Quartet
    Jazz Goes To Junior College
    I was 12 years old when I bought this album it’s the one that started me into jazz !

  115. Sean Niles

    January 1, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Ella? You’ve heard of her right??

  116. Kevin Amphan

    January 1, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Great list! I made a Spotify list with all the albums for those who hasn’t got them all on LP. hehe.
    Spotify didn’t have Keith Jarrets “The Köln Concert” so I just marked its place with “Birth” in case Spotify would acquire it at another time.

    http://open.spotify.com/user/pollysnack/playlist/5fOw8V2UL19QPEZwgiA6T2

    Also, in my opinion the list needs more women like Ella and (as a Swede I’m obliged to say) Monica Zetterlund.

  117. Steve

    January 2, 2015 at 1:33 am

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

  118. Lou

    January 2, 2015 at 1:59 am

    no Freddie Hubbard, Gato Barbieri, Dizzy Gillespie

  119. Brian Anderson

    January 2, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Joe Pass ?? Ella?..Django??

  120. Akiko Miyagi

    January 2, 2015 at 6:00 am

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

  121. Leo

    January 2, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    why not chet baker?

  122. Adrian Litvinoff

    January 2, 2015 at 8:21 pm

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

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

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

  123. Jim Collins

    January 2, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Hard to believe that nobody has complained about the omission of the great Benny Carter. “Further Definitions” is both important and wonderful.

  124. Rolf Westerberg

    January 2, 2015 at 9:24 pm

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

  125. RyanK

    January 2, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Any list that leaves joe SAMPLE and george BENSON off it must be questioned!

  126. Nerdhound

    January 3, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Great list!

    I would have included ‘Michael Franks – The art of tea’ but you can’t get ’em all in i guess

  127. Margaret

    January 3, 2015 at 2:03 am

    WHERE IS THE SUN RA

  128. Michel Desgroseillers

    January 3, 2015 at 2:33 pm

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

    Michel.

  129. David

    January 3, 2015 at 4:51 pm

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

    • VISHVESH

      June 20, 2015 at 8:09 am

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

  130. Douglas Formey

    January 3, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Missing is Miles Davis “Milestones”. Maybe not Top 10 in many eyes, but at least Top 50. One of MY faves.

  131. Terry Row

    January 3, 2015 at 6:41 pm

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

    • Kazire

      March 10, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      Very funny ! Thanks for the laugh !

  132. Joe Amato

    January 3, 2015 at 9:44 pm

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

  133. Mike B

    January 4, 2015 at 7:10 am

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

  134. mark

    January 4, 2015 at 2:14 pm

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

  135. JB

    January 5, 2015 at 2:28 am

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

  136. Julie McGill

    January 5, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    I agree that a list like this would changing like the weather here in Indy, but I would like to add Wes Montgomery-“Movin Wes” to the list.

  137. Nancie

    January 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    What! No Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Vince Guaraldi’s, Anita O’Day… this list is certainly lacking.

  138. giandomenico de cicco

    January 6, 2015 at 7:18 pm

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

  139. Karin

    January 8, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Stanley Turrentine…..Salt Song

  140. Pippo

    January 8, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    No Ella and Billie in top 50???And Art Tatum,Oscar Peterson,Django and Stéphane,Benny Carter,Betty Carter,Sun Ra…??

  141. B

    January 17, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    I’m just getting into Jazz, with my only album being Kind of Blue, and it’s fantastic. I play in a latin jazz band. What should be my next album?

    • Michael Kroll

      January 18, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Check the Cuban Arturo Sandoval !

  142. Chris

    January 18, 2015 at 10:52 pm

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

  143. Kax

    January 25, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Whaat, where is Himiko Kikuchi?

  144. Maltebrigge

    January 28, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Money Jungle.

  145. Antonio

    January 29, 2015 at 5:29 pm

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

  146. DJ Kool H.

    February 4, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I’m a Fusion head…No “Birds Of Fire” or “Chaser” ?

  147. Janis Lane-Ewart

    February 12, 2015 at 2:19 am

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

  148. Colson Jimenez

    February 16, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I can’t believe Bird and Diz isn’t on there. I would also add Ella and Louis. Good list though, besides those two.

  149. magnus

    February 19, 2015 at 1:29 am

    New Orleans Suite.

  150. Ken MacAlister

    March 5, 2015 at 5:53 pm

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

  151. Jazz Funk Kwintet

    March 10, 2015 at 5:29 pm

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

    ilia

  152. David McPhie

    March 18, 2015 at 8:30 am

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

  153. Mark

    March 28, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Nine better albums than “Blue Train”? I don’t think so.

  154. Wools

    April 17, 2015 at 7:45 am

    What?! There’s not even one Nina Simone in the list. How could you…
    Nina Simone – Black Gold deserves to be on it too.

  155. Eric stathis

    April 20, 2015 at 6:09 am

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

  156. Alberto Bellors

    April 28, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Very excellent list, but what about with Ella and Billie?

  157. Kevin Pickle

    May 4, 2015 at 7:34 am

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

  158. Sadus10

    May 4, 2015 at 7:52 am

    At least give a reason to why each album is there for fuck sake! FUCKING LISTS!!

  159. Jofrad

    May 4, 2015 at 9:56 am

    No Louis Armstrong, no Sydney Bechet, no Jimmy Smith, no Django ??
    For sure this is NOT the best ever 50 Jazz albums.

  160. Sid Pena

    May 4, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Ella, Oscar Peterson. Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw, Lester Young, Django??? You list is invalid.

  161. jeffery

    May 4, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Coltrane and Hartman and Duke and Trane should be on the list.

  162. Saint Luc

    May 4, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    No CHET BAKER? THIS LIST SUCKS

  163. Jerald Truesdell

    May 4, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I would like to have seen an Oscar Peterson in there somewhere. My nomination is “Live From Russia”.

  164. TheJazzHerald

    May 4, 2015 at 3:46 pm

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

  165. Andy Tonne

    May 4, 2015 at 4:07 pm

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

  166. Jazz Ears

    May 4, 2015 at 4:19 pm

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

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

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

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

  167. Wendel Ortiz

    May 4, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Y qué hay de Chet Baker??????

  168. roberto

    May 4, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Where are Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, Milt Jackson, Sonny Stitt………..

  169. he3ctor negron

    May 4, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Sketches of Spain and Any Miles Davis and Gil Evans collaboration should be there. Great choices anyway.

  170. Aidan

    May 4, 2015 at 6:45 pm

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

  171. yosh

    May 4, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Time Out, because it helped bring jazz to the non-jazzers.

  172. Rob Schönberger

    May 4, 2015 at 9:49 pm

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

  173. Dub Master

    May 4, 2015 at 9:51 pm

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

  174. gee

    May 4, 2015 at 11:48 pm

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

  175. James P. Drinkard

    May 5, 2015 at 2:15 am

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

    • Mathias

      May 26, 2015 at 11:17 am

      This is a list of JAZZ albums, not easy listening.

  176. Don McQuillen

    May 5, 2015 at 2:30 am

    where the fuck is Billie Holiday????

  177. Viggo

    May 5, 2015 at 6:51 am

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

  178. Mick Morris

    May 5, 2015 at 11:43 am

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

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

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

    Mick Morris

  179. drjohn

    May 5, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    What!!! No Kenny G?

  180. Will Hodges

    May 5, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    No Sonny Clark???? “Cool Struttin'” and “Leapin’ and Lopin'” are classics.

  181. Ian Beddowes

    May 16, 2015 at 2:05 am

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

  182. Gerald Poirier

    May 20, 2015 at 4:34 pm

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

    • Kevin Sterchi

      June 1, 2015 at 12:03 am

      I really like Abour Zenia

  183. Nathaniel

    May 23, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Please add from Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh and Lee Knitz.
    And of course Lester Yoiung!

  184. Marv Newland

    May 24, 2015 at 10:31 pm

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

  185. Bo Halén

    May 25, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Great list! But where is Bix Beiderbecke?

  186. Cindy Nichols

    May 31, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Billy Holiday!!!!!?????!!!!

  187. Emile

    May 31, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Miles Davis In A Silent Way. What about Oscar Peterson. The list is too short>

  188. Walter Mesquita

    May 31, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Where is BILLIE HOLIDAY?????

  189. Danny Strunk

    May 31, 2015 at 4:14 pm

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

  190. Ken Hall

    May 31, 2015 at 4:17 pm

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

  191. maurice Gordon

    May 31, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Ella and Satchmo, one of my greatest Jazz albums as well as Ella with Joe Pass

  192. tom johnson

    May 31, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    A daunting task . . . well done, however nothing from the ‘Quintette du Hot Club de France’ is a glaring omission

  193. Denny Willis

    May 31, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    A jazz list without Stan Kenton???

  194. Richard Studholme

    May 31, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Shape of Jazz To Come? Ornette Coleman?

  195. Daniel

    May 31, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    The list needs more Monk, and Chick Corea’s Light as a Feather album.

  196. ralph powell

    May 31, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    The Inner Mounting Flame needs to be moved up AT LEAST 30 spots.

  197. Randy Saunders

    May 31, 2015 at 6:07 pm

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

  198. Carol

    May 31, 2015 at 6:21 pm

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

  199. Lisa W.

    May 31, 2015 at 6:32 pm

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

  200. Joe

    May 31, 2015 at 7:47 pm

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

    • Joseph Jones

      August 30, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      It’s on the list

  201. Olsen,Jan G.

    May 31, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    For me, my first LP in 1956, Miles Great Quintet, Round Midnight, John G. Red G. Paul C. And Philly J.Jones. I was 13.yrs at that time.

  202. Olsen, Jan G

    May 31, 2015 at 10:41 pm

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

  203. Chris

    May 31, 2015 at 11:26 pm

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

  204. MOSES ABIOLA

    June 1, 2015 at 12:00 am

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

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

    • Jide sadiku

      June 5, 2015 at 12:09 am

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

  205. John A Lewis

    June 1, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Chick Corea’s “Inner Space” should be somewhere on the list.

  206. Paul

    June 1, 2015 at 1:42 am

    Miles Davis Sketches of Spain should be there.

  207. Rich Morgan

    June 1, 2015 at 2:15 am

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

  208. elvia

    June 1, 2015 at 2:30 am

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

  209. Wayde Powell, III

    June 1, 2015 at 4:49 am

    The Joe Pass “Virtuoso” albums?

    • DDubocq

      October 7, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      yes indeed

  210. lauren livingston

    June 1, 2015 at 5:07 am

    Tord should be on here. But it seems newer albums have been excluded.

  211. John

    June 1, 2015 at 5:44 am

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

  212. Christophe

    June 1, 2015 at 8:47 am

    What about “Crescent” ? This is probably my favorite album, and it’s not even in the Top 50.

  213. Ezed

    June 1, 2015 at 9:22 am

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

  214. Micha

    June 1, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    There is always some crazy nutter adding all the albums to a spotify-list with other great jazz-albums. Happens to be me, this time: https://open.spotify.com/user/sweetcharlie/playlist/0eCji3Yc8H6WNjC9iOABuH

    Have fun 😉

  215. Said

    June 1, 2015 at 2:53 pm

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

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

  216. Antonio

    June 1, 2015 at 2:57 pm

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

  217. Harvey

    June 1, 2015 at 3:17 pm

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

  218. remmit

    June 1, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Nice effort, but why is there no Freddy Hubbard or Donald Byrd on it. In mho great influential artists….. to name a few….

  219. Jeff Harrington

    June 1, 2015 at 6:58 pm

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

  220. Jeff Harrington

    June 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    Also–omitting Oscar Peterson entirely is a serious flaw. Two words. Night Train.

  221. Kostas Kritikos (Sparta, Greece)

    June 1, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Monk’s Dream ?

  222. siklopz

    June 1, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    it’s certainly missing Django, Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, and most importantly…Mister Jelly Roll.

  223. Stijn

    June 1, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Missing are these masterpieces (at least)

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

  224. James Morgan

    June 1, 2015 at 10:31 pm

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

  225. gideon

    June 2, 2015 at 2:54 am

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

  226. Jo Welch

    June 2, 2015 at 8:44 am

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

  227. Oscar

    June 2, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Hey there,
    I tam afraid you forgot to put the Verve record “Back to Back”,
    with Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges on number one!
    🙂
    CU, Oscar

  228. Mick Notten

    June 3, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Good list, thank you, For me I miss Carla Bley: Escalator over the hill and Tropic apetites and Chet Baker Let’sLet’s get lost

  229. jules

    June 12, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    where the fuck is chet baker in this list!

  230. Kamau

    July 18, 2015 at 12:44 am

    How can you not have a single album of Sun-Ra’s on the list? Like. “Space is thePlace”.

  231. Michael

    July 26, 2015 at 2:46 am

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

  232. Max

    August 3, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Where is Chick Corea?

  233. Dan Charnas

    August 4, 2015 at 11:56 pm

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

  234. christopher

    August 5, 2015 at 1:21 am

    not one chet album??????? come on… “chet baker with russel freeman and strings” is intense.

  235. Martin Paterson

    August 5, 2015 at 7:49 am

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

  236. Peter Bright

    August 5, 2015 at 8:20 am

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

  237. Don Thompson

    August 5, 2015 at 8:22 am

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

  238. Wilfred Suminen

    August 5, 2015 at 11:29 am

    No Jimmy Scott – The Source ?

  239. Charles Thompson

    August 5, 2015 at 3:04 pm

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

  240. Jakub L

    August 5, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Decent list, but needs some more recent stuff. It’s kinda sad that people don’t pay attention to the cats who create and perform NOW :_;

  241. Mike

    August 5, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    What about Steamin’, Workin’, Cookin’ Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet? Maybe I missed it but at least one of them should be on here?

  242. Gordon

    August 6, 2015 at 7:12 am

    What about Jazz at The Phil?

  243. Larry D. Scott

    August 24, 2015 at 3:18 pm

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

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

  244. Joseph Jones

    August 30, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Ahmad Jamal: Live at the Pershing…But Not For Me
    Stayed at the top of the charts for a long time.

  245. davew

    September 9, 2015 at 2:11 am

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

  246. Samir Castro

    September 11, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    sonny clark cool struttin?????

  247. Chuck

    September 11, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    No Django?

  248. Michael Yoscary

    September 11, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Too light on the earlier stuff for my liking…and no vocalists. Billie Holiday?, Bix?

  249. André Crombez

    September 11, 2015 at 9:08 pm

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

  250. Paul Weiss

    September 11, 2015 at 9:41 pm

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

  251. gregkor

    September 11, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Where is:
    Herbie Hancock – Man Child?
    Jan Garbarek – Twelve Moons?

  252. Vito

    September 11, 2015 at 9:52 pm

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

  253. al pep

    September 11, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Ellington’ s Blanton Webster sessions !!!!

  254. David

    September 11, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Conspicuously absent are:
    1. The Essential Billy Holiday: The Columbia Recordings (1933-1944)
    2, Ella & Louis
    3. Trane/Hartman

  255. JeffB

    September 12, 2015 at 12:22 am

    Hmmmmmm….tough task…but to not have one ECM produced session is criminal. Conference of the Birds, Gnu High, Bright Size Life and many more.

  256. John Lees

    September 12, 2015 at 1:06 am

    Excellent list, don’t agree with them all. But as my old Grandpappy used to say ” One man’s meat is another man’s poison “

  257. BaronMind1

    September 12, 2015 at 9:43 am

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

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

  258. luc dejonckheere

    September 12, 2015 at 9:57 am

    you forgot Dave Pike

  259. nicolas mazetier

    September 12, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    la blague du siècle, révisez vos classiques.

  260. TedKool

    September 12, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I see that once again, vocal jazz is the step child.

  261. Isbel

    September 12, 2015 at 8:01 pm

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

  262. TAR BABY

    September 12, 2015 at 10:14 pm

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

    • McBundy George

      September 30, 2018 at 11:03 pm

      You forgot Ornette Coleman’s “The Shape of Jazz to Come” And Mingus’ “Mingus Ah Um”.
      They were also released in 1959 and are in the Top 5 according to this list.

  263. Rick

    September 13, 2015 at 12:14 am

    Brubeck is number 3, and Charlie Parker number 20. Right.

  264. Guy

    September 13, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    So basically that list says that nothing important happened the last 30 years or so?

  265. Pierre

    September 13, 2015 at 7:17 pm

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

  266. mark harris

    September 15, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Where’s Kenny G?

  267. ahmed the great

    September 30, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    where is oscar peterson ??? ignoring this is a crime !!

  268. Sil

    October 7, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Thelonious monk – Monk”s dream

  269. Oscar

    October 7, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Hi,

    You forgot

    “Back to back” by Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges AGAIN!

    CU, Oscar

  270. Klaus

    October 7, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Hello,

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

    Cheers Klaus

  271. Jack Spencer

    October 7, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Great list. Kind Of Blue is unarguably #1. The rest of the top 10 you could put in any order.

  272. Joanne

    October 7, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Concert By the Sea is great, but also One World Concert and At the Piano are superb. And where’s Ella?

  273. Patrick O'Connor

    October 7, 2015 at 5:12 pm

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

  274. Steven Kettler

    October 7, 2015 at 5:48 pm

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

  275. Amish Red

    October 7, 2015 at 5:55 pm

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

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

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

    Thank you

  276. NoMeansNo

    October 7, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Where is Teddy Wilson?!? 🙁

  277. BRIAN

    October 7, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    TAKE FIVE, TIME OUT, TIME FURTHER OUT — BRUBECK
    RAY CHARLES — IN PERSON, GENIUS PLUS SOUL EQUALS JAZZ, ANY CHARLIE PARKER

  278. Greg Kipp

    October 7, 2015 at 6:52 pm

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

  279. DDubocq

    October 7, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    So so many But Chick Corea – Tap Step gets me in the creative train of thought

  280. Kate

    October 7, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Indeed a terrific bunch of music, perhaps academic. Would like a list of peoples’ DIDs, perhaps stopping at 1,000.

  281. David

    October 7, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Hendricks-Lambert – Ross?

  282. darryl Jacobs

    October 7, 2015 at 9:16 pm

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

  283. lee cronbach

    October 7, 2015 at 10:46 pm

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

  284. abby

    October 7, 2015 at 11:37 pm

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

  285. Tom Moran

    October 8, 2015 at 1:11 am

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

  286. Mark Cook

    October 8, 2015 at 4:20 am

    No Freddie Hubbard? Bogus list.

  287. Viniophilia

    October 8, 2015 at 4:36 am

    Where’s DJANGO???

  288. Kathiesl

    October 8, 2015 at 5:18 am

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

  289. Guma

    October 8, 2015 at 10:26 am

    This list is good, everyone is here to give us good muziq.

  290. Milagros Llauger

    October 8, 2015 at 11:13 am

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

  291. Gus

    October 8, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Not one Modern Jazz Quartet album?

  292. Lee V Wright

    October 8, 2015 at 4:51 pm

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

  293. Bob Scurry

    October 9, 2015 at 1:42 am

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

  294. Paul

    October 9, 2015 at 3:55 am

    And Dizzy Gillespie?

  295. jimmix

    October 28, 2015 at 4:25 pm

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

  296. LolaBijou

    November 8, 2015 at 3:54 am

    Nina Simone?

  297. Mitro-Serga

    November 13, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington

  298. Birdy

    November 22, 2015 at 8:36 pm

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

  299. Chris

    December 13, 2015 at 6:12 am

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

  300. rado

    January 1, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    No Freddie Hubbard on this list? …. haha … you just made an entry to the “The top 50 funniest lists”!

  301. jeff sarrow

    January 7, 2016 at 1:20 am

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

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

  302. Letitia Owens

    January 27, 2016 at 12:31 pm

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

  303. AntonioaA

    May 14, 2016 at 6:46 am

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

  304. Ray

    June 29, 2016 at 1:54 pm

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

  305. Brett Kemnitz

    July 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm

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

  306. Steve "Gaucho" McFarland

    August 1, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.

  307. Thiago

    August 29, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    At best, a good “starter kit” for someone who wishes to begin listening to jazz. And it shows: there are 3 Coltrane albums on a 50 record list…

  308. Vito

    August 29, 2016 at 4:56 pm

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

  309. Bill

    August 29, 2016 at 6:20 pm

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

  310. Brenda

    August 29, 2016 at 9:38 pm

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

  311. Aviv Naamani

    August 29, 2016 at 10:05 pm

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

  312. Antony Collinge

    August 29, 2016 at 11:47 pm

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

  313. Antony Collinge

    August 29, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    But wise to leave Nigel Farage and His Tradmen off the list.

  314. Anthony

    August 30, 2016 at 3:25 am

    I’ve got a fever and the only thing that will cure it is more Chet

  315. Frank Minella

    August 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm

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

  316. Amano Khambata

    August 30, 2016 at 4:21 pm

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

  317. Matt

    August 30, 2016 at 5:31 pm

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

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

  318. Boaz

    August 30, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Pretty standard down the middle sort of list, no Herbie Nichols, no Sam Rivers, no Joe Henderson…

  319. KOMEDA

    August 30, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Where is Astighmatic?????????????????????

    • Mike

      August 30, 2016 at 11:43 pm

      Good question

  320. Sandor Nozdroviczky

    August 30, 2016 at 7:43 pm

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

  321. Johnny Robinson

    August 30, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    ONE WOMAN???

  322. John

    August 30, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Great list. Need some Mulligan on it.

  323. Mike

    August 30, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    While _Ellington at Newport_ is a fine document, if we’re only taking one Ellington, it really needs to be a collection from the Blanton-Webster years, no?

  324. Gregg Rosenthal

    August 30, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    RTF

    Romantic Warrior for sure Chic, Stanley and the gang!! Please dont leave them out!!

  325. David Annese

    August 31, 2016 at 1:14 am

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

  326. Chromex

    August 31, 2016 at 2:09 am

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

    • Stanley

      August 31, 2016 at 2:56 am

      Yeah!

  327. Dennis

    August 31, 2016 at 2:21 am

    Ehh. IMO there are thousands of albums with music just as “great” as on these.

  328. Stanley

    August 31, 2016 at 3:02 am

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

  329. Stanley

    August 31, 2016 at 3:02 am

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

  330. Lawrence

    August 31, 2016 at 9:25 am

    45 out of 50 are in my collection… 🙂

  331. Daniel Ello

    August 31, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    not to have the early return to forever ” light as a feather or 500 smiles high ” is a very bad ovesight

  332. R

    September 1, 2016 at 12:28 am

    No Grover Washington Jr? Especially Inner City Blues? I am disappointed with the list overall…:(

  333. Sidney

    September 3, 2016 at 1:03 am

    No ELLA!!!!

  334. Nathan

    September 7, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    If the name Jimmy Smith is not there,that means some thing is missing there or it is not enough.

    Please think about it Sir

  335. sang woong Toh

    September 9, 2016 at 2:19 am

    .

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

  337. Deweycheatumnhowe

    December 20, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Kind of Blue at #1 is correct, but the runner up spot should definetely go to Time Out.

  338. RT Makins

    January 2, 2017 at 2:54 am

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

  339. gfhjhgf

    March 26, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Je suis d’accord.

  340. João Henrique Piva

    May 6, 2017 at 12:36 am

    I have already seen many lists of the kind over internet. The New Yorker, many years ago, had its try [1], for instance.
    Due to my lack of, as it were, “natural” influence about getting to know a bit more about jazz, many of those (unavoidably subjective) rankings were very important to me. As I came to realize later, underneath all those lists there is a certain intention. And that should not be understood as a mistake.
    This here list, it seems, tends to lean not just over the “best”, but also over the “albums”. It’s very clear that the absence o Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Ella, B. Holliday relates to the fact that the notion of “album” as a marketing concept is rather recent.
    Of course there were “marketing albums” in the fifties, but they were not dominant as we see today; and of course it’s frustrating not to see many old time legends out of sight, but their presence would overwiden the intentions of author (of the list)… In the end of the day, we’d end up not having a good suggestion about what to hear (supposed you are, as I myself once were, ignorant obout jazz).

    [1]http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/05/19/100-essential-jazz-albums

  341. michael j silverstein

    May 10, 2017 at 12:51 am

    I JUST LOOKED QUICKLY, WHERE IS GERRY MULLIGAN?

    • David

      August 14, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      “Two of a kind” Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond

  342. Maya

    July 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    This is one of the greatest albums in modern jazz: http://www.allmusic.com/album/what-we-leave-behind-mw0002977654

  343. Bo Ragnerstam

    August 14, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Are Roy Elridge an Dizzy G. forgotten? And Sinatra – listen to him as if he were a sax! Billie H. Ella. Bessi S. Sara V.

  344. Thomas Sybrandt

    August 14, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Where is Oscar Peterson?? Or Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen?

  345. Ron Spencer

    August 15, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Bobby Hutcherson, McCoy Tyner, Ella, Duke’s Blanton-Webster Band, Miles Davis’ Milestones, Jimmie Lunceford, Sara Vaughan with the Count Basle Orchestra, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt and Stefan Grappelli, soundtrack to ‘Round Midnight, Miles Davis’ second quintet, Billie Holiday, Benny Carter’s Further Definitions should all be on the list.

  346. R Efrain

    August 15, 2017 at 3:45 am

    The lack of representation of Dizzy Gillespie and Lee Morgan stands out. You’re killin’ me smalls. The Quintet isn’t even in the top 10. Crazy. I can’t abide that. And there’s no way ‘The Birth of Cool’ belongs on this list if Lee Morgan’s ‘Tomcat’ or ‘Gigolo’ isn’t on it. Diz & Bird were legendary pioneers of bebop! Where are they? Plus, all due respect to Miles, but both Dizzy and Lee could outplay Miles any day. Lots of great picks on this list, but it needs work fellas!

  347. Robert

    August 15, 2017 at 4:44 am

    Lets see three Coltrane albums and no Chet Baker. Only one Stan Getz & Wayne Shorter. Nothing from Chic Corea or Django Rheinhardt (still copied note for note today?) or Billy Holiday, Louis Armstrong & Oscar Peterson, and not much for nu jazz, perhaps Pink Martini, Saint Germain, or a fav of mine which is like a party in itself is Serge Gainborough Coleur Cafe (iconic jazz album)… Perhaps Tony Bennet’s MTV Unplugged it only won a grammy as album of the year (not just jazz).

    • Robert

      August 15, 2017 at 4:46 am

      Forgot Joe Pass Virtuoso

    • Deever McGraw

      September 30, 2018 at 11:06 pm

      Pink Martini? At best a Tribute Band

  348. Scott Yanow

    August 15, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Nothing after 1980! This list is nonsensical. Don’t you realize that jazz has progressed during the past 40 years? It’s a waste of time.

  349. Erland Eikestad

    August 15, 2017 at 9:35 am

    YEAY!!! I’ve got about 30 of the listed Albums on CD and Vinyl (Some of them in Both formats!)
    I miss Michel Legrand’s “LeGrand JAZZ: Michel Legrand Dirige Les Géants Du Jazz American”. A Superb Album with a Truly Magnificent All Star ensemble with a Remarkable number of The Greatest Jazz Performers of All time, as we know Today.
    Miles, Coltrane, Ben Webster, Paul Chambers, Bill Evans, Donald Byrd, Don Lamond, Osie Johnson just to name A FEW!!
    Le Grand’s Arrangements are truly Beautiful and Original, and the Album really should have been on the List!

  350. Marcelo

    August 15, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    How can you have a list of great jazz recordings, and not have “April In Paris – Count Basie” on it

  351. soundbr

    August 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    “Chet Baker – Live in Tokyo” should be in Topten

  352. MFP

    December 4, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    Steamin’, Workin’, Cookin’ Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet says a great deal for Miles and Traine not mentioned. Also, no Wynton M? The first album or Black Codes?

  353. Domingo Echevarria

    February 2, 2018 at 1:51 am

    I Guess No Maynard No Blue Mitchell No Shelly Manne No Hubert No Turrentine No Chet?.No Woody Shaw And The List Goes On…Is Freddie on The List???I..Is A Popularity Contest Based On Sales..My Funny Valentine Live At Lincoln Center By Miles in 1964 Is My Favorite.

  354. Cy Green

    April 7, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    “Blues And The Abstract Truth” OLIVER NELSON is a tough one to leave off any list.

  355. Fatherkind

    September 29, 2018 at 1:12 am

    Where is Billie? What about pre-1950 jazz? Is Armstrong really the only early recording that makes the list? Time to broaden your listening horizons folks.

  356. Deever McGraw

    September 30, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    4 out of the top 5 in this list were released in 1959.

  357. Lars Erik Jansson

    November 10, 2018 at 2:52 am

    Good listing, but yuo forgot Clark Terry, his albums are GREAT!

  358. Markpoint

    April 21, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    Too many free jazz and avantgarde to my taste. Missing Tete Montoliu as a one of the top pianists.

  359. Redrodney

    April 30, 2019 at 4:50 am

    ‘Some deemed Duke Ellington to be well past his sell by date when he appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival alongside many of the jazz world’s modernists in 1956. With an incendiary and inspiring performance that wowed the Newport audience, however, Ellington and his band demonstrated that they could still deliver the goods while asserting that big bands still had a place in jazz.’

    Yet despite this, none of his earlier recordings make the list?!!

  360. Mark

    May 19, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Only a fool or a brave man would undertake to compile such a list, so I won’t dispute the picks, except to question that Charlie Parker doesn’t appear until number 20???…. Hmmmm….

  361. Chuck

    July 16, 2019 at 12:22 am

    The incomparable Blue Hour by Stanley Turrentine and the Three Sounds should definitely be on here. What about John Klemmer?

  362. Richard W. Cutler

    December 3, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    The ignorance expressed on this list is representative of our time. The Louis Armstrong Hot 5 and Hot Sen discs are Number 1. The Lester Young-Count Basie discs (on Mosaic) are Number 2. Bird’s complete Savoy recordings are Number 3. The Duke Ellington discs of the Blanton-Webster Band are Number 4. Either of Monk’s big band concert albums or Monk Alone in San Francisco is Number 5. Coltrane’s Giant Steps and My Favorite Things are tied for Number 6. Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants is Number 7. The MJQ’s European Concert is Number 8.

    I could go on, but this guy obviously doesn’t know Coleman Hawkins, Pee Wee Russell or anyone before 1945. What a ton of wasted effort on this inadequate list.

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