Best of the Best!

The Best Albums from the Greatest Artists in Jazz!

Copyright © 1996, 2000 by David Reitzes


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Jazz is the sound of our heritage.
It is an American idiom with African roots --
a trunk of soul with limbs reaching in every direction,
to the frigid North, the exotic East, the miserable,
swampy south, and the Wild West.

Duke Ellington



Jazz is only what you are.
Louis Armstrong



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, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Frank Sinatra and more? You came to the right place.

Some years back when I was working in music retail, I found one of the most common questions from my jazz customers to be: "If I were going to buy one album from (insert artist's name here), which one should it be?"

So I sat down and wrote up a list of the best albums from the best artists in my department, wrote up a brief review of each album, and put all the CDs on display at the front of the room with the reviews alongside.

What follows is a slightly modified version of my jazz "Best of the Best." As of this writing, every CD listed is available for sale at, and clicking on an image will take you directly to the appropriate Web page.

E-mail me with your questions or comments!




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