10 Jazz Albums To Have In Your Collection

There are a lot of amazing artists and albums in the jazz world, and we all could have intense conversations and also have valid reasons why an particular artist or album should be someone’s first introduction to American Jazz. 

Part 1 of Top 10 Jazz Albums To Have In Your Collection highlight albums from legends and innovators of Classic Jazz, Swing, & Bebop.

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1. Sonny Rollins Quartet – Tenor Madness

Tenor Madness is a 1956 jazz album by Sonny Rollins. It is most notable for its title track, the only known recording featuring both Rollins and John Coltrane.


2. Charles Mingus – Blues & Roots

Down Beat (1960) – 4 Stars – Very Good – “…vital and important music…[Mingus] is outstanding in his solo work…this is something worth careful and thorough listening…”


3. Johnny Hartman – I Just Dropped By To Say Hello

I Just Dropped by to Say Hello is a 1963 studio album by jazz singer Johnny Hartman.  It was Hartman’s second and next-to-last album on Impulse!, after his highly successful collaboration with John Coltrane which produced John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, recorded a few months earlier. (Wikipedia)

4. Louis Armstrong – The Hot Five

Ron Wynn and Bruce Boyd Raeburn, writing for the All Music Guide to Jazz, note that “these recordings radically altered jazz’s focus; instead of collective playing, Armstrong’s spectacular instrumental (and vocal) improvisations redefined the music.” Armstrong helped popularize scat singing in “Heebie Jeebies,” and his solo on “Potato Head Blues” helped establish the stop-time technique in jazz. (Wikipedia)

5. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Ella and Louis Again

Ella and Louis Again is a 1957 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. It is the “sequel” to their 1956 album, Ella and Louis; in contrast to their previous collaboration, this album does not only feature duets. (Wikipedia)


6. Dave Brubeck – Time Out

Time Out is based upon the use of time signatures that were unusual for jazz such as 9
, 64 and 54. The album is a subtle blend of cool and West Coast jazz.

7. Duke Ellington – The Complete Work Duke Ellington Vol-15-1939 1940

The final two-LP set in French CBS’s reissue of Duke Ellington’s recording for their associated labels, this package finds the orchestra poised for greatness just prior to switching to RCA. (All Music Guide).


8. John Coltrane – My Favorite Things

This 1960 recording was a landmark album in Coltrane’s career, the first to introduce his quartet with pianist McCoy Tyner and drummer Elvin Jones and the first release on which he played soprano saxophone. It also provided him a signature hit, as his new conception came together wonderfully on the title track.


9. Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue

Kind Of Blue is regarded by many critics as jazz’s greatest record, Davis’s masterpiece, and one of the best albums of all time. Its influence on music, including jazz, rock, and classical genres, has led writers to also deem it one of the most influential albums ever recorded.


10. Charlie Parker – The Essential

 “The Essentials” from 1961 a good introductory album for new Bird listeners 



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