10 jazz albums that should be in every music lover’s collection

Note: This is something I wrote back in the olden days (2003?) and published on another website. I’ve relocated it here with a few minor edits. I still think it’s a pretty decent list, with, admittedly, a few weaknesses (the biggest ones, I think, are a failure to really address the jazz singers, and a certain saxophone-centric bias). In any case, I hope you enjoy it.

Full disclosure: if you buy any of these albums by clicking on the links below, I earn an astonishingly tiny sum of money.

Hello, music fans!

Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
You need this.

I’ve picked out, for your listening pleasure, ten essential jazz albums, as an easy introduction to the wide world of jazz. You’re welcome.

I’ll assume that you already love music. But maybe you’re a lifelong rocker. Or a connossieur of the great classical composers. Or maybe you like both kinds of music: country and western. No matter your taste, the jazz section of the record store can be a little bewildering.

Let’s face it, the jazz world is a members-only club. We jazz fans love to lord our superior musical tastes over the uninitiated masses. You listen to whom? Kenny G?! I think I need to lie down.

Plus, if you’re like me, your budget doesn’t quite allow for the latest comprehensive 40-disc boxed set from Verve or Columbia Records. Same thing goes for rare and valuable vinyl collector’s items.

So, these ten albums have been carefully chosen to do a few things:

  • Introduce you to key jazz artists, styles, albums, and songs.
  • Keep the cost reasonable. These albums are all readily available and reasonably priced single compact discs (no expensive multidisc sets) or iTunes albums.
  • Preserve the dignity of the jazz tradition, by giving you the music in complete album format whenever possible. No samplers or compilations, except in a couple of cases where compilations are the only logical choice.
  • And, most importantly, add the pleasure and richness of the jazz world to your life!

Let’s get going! We’ll do this in a sort of rough chronological order. Continue reading “10 jazz albums that should be in every music lover’s collection”