Best of the Best!
Looking for advice on the best albums from the greatest artists in jazz, artists like Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, Count Basie, Tony Bennett, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Blossom Dearie, Eric Dolphy and more? You came to the right place.
What follows are my picks for the very Best of the Best. As of this writing, every CD listed is available for sale at Amazon.com, and clicking on an image will take you directly to the appropriate Amazon.com page, where you can listen to free audio samples with RealPlayer.
Kind of Blue
Simply put, everyone agrees: This is one of the finest jazz albums ever made, a laid-back session with John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and Bill Evans.
'Round About Midnight
One of the definitive albums of the great Fifties Miles Quintet with John Coltrane and pianist Red Garland.
This heady brew of jazz, rock and R&B is as potent now as it was upon its release almost thirty years ago. A true jazz landmark.
A Tribute to Jack Johnson
This overlooked jazz-rock treat from a film soundtrack comes as close to straight blues-rock as Miles would ever get, and suggests the kind of album he might have collaborated upon with Jimi Hendrix. There's also no shortage of sizzling soloing from Miles, saxophonist Steve Grossman and guitarist John McLaughlin.
Verve Jazz Masters
Blossom is one of the artists to whom Tony Bennett paid tribute on his Here's to the Ladies album, yet only jazz and cabaret aficionados seem to know this vocalist. This terrific collection should change that for good, showcasing her sweet voice and impeccable taste.
Out to Lunch
No one could speak with his horn like Dolphy, combining an astonishingly free flow of ideas with rare sophistication, making him an inspiration to friends like John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. This is the definitive solo album from a true original.
Town Hall Concert (Charles Mingus)
Dolphy and Mingus seemed to bring out the best in each other. "Meditations on Integration" (here entitled "Praying with Eric") was inspired by some offhand remarks of Dolphy's, comparing America's ghettos to concentration camps without fences. Dolphy, in turn, breathes life into this amazing composition, soloing alternately on alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute.
Live at the Five Spot, Volume 1
This is a fine example of Dolphy as a soloist in his renowned band with trumpeter Booker Little and pianist Mal Waldron. A highlight is Dolphy's marathon alto solo on "The Prophet."
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