kindofblue.jpgIn the last three years I've become a bigger fan of jazz than I thought possible. I find myself turning to the genre more each month than I had previously. It used to be that I listened to jazz in an intellectual sense only. Meaning, I focused on the technical brilliance required to perform this great American art form. A few years ago I had an epiphany, and jazz started to capture my emotions as well as my brain. I am not sure what triggered it except the fact that I started listening to more jazz via subscription music services.
Having the freedom to listen without the worry of a bad purchase certainly played a large part in my "re-education". Currently, jazz makes up a paltry 3% of record sales and it still amazes me that a jazz artist who spends a lifetime mastering their craft will never see album sales anywhere close to a corporate pop star. Will subscription services turn large numbers of music fans onto jazz? Probably not, but it played a big part for me, and hopefully there are more like me. A life without the joy this music can bring is a nightmare I don't wish to ponder.
I did an Internet search for "Greatest Jazz Albums" in order to poke around for playlist ideas, and came across Larry Jackstien's homepage. Larry is a "prominent jazz musician, concert producer, fanatical CD collector and jazz fan. In addition, he also serves as Managing Director of Sales and Marketing for Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, located near Salt Lake City, Utah". Luckily for us, Larry has taken the liberty to list the "Best Jazz Albums of the Past 50 Years" on his site. This list currently includes 529 albums. It's a treasure trove for those wishing to discover the best jazz ever recorded. This playlist contains a single track from only 40 of Larry's picks. But at almost 5 hours, it's a great start for the burgeoning jazz fan. Hopefully, you'll find yourself going back to Larry's page again and again.
Larry Jackstien's Best Jazz Albums of the Last 50 Years
1. So What - Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue
2. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing - Max Roach - At Basin Street
3. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To - Art Pepper - Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section
4. Woody'n You - Ahmad Jamal - At The Pershing: But Not For Me
5. How High The Moon - Sonny Rollins - And The Contemporary Leaders
6. My Funny Valentine - Miles Davis - My Funny Valentine
7. Will O' The Wisp - Miles Davis - Sketches Of Spain
8. That Old Feeling - Mel Tormé - Torme
9. Jet Song - Oscar Peterson - West Side Story
10. Beautiful Love (Take 2) - Bill Evans Trio - Explorations Modern
11. You're My Everything - Miles Davis - Relaxin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
12. Alice In Wonderland - Dave Brubeck - Dave Digs Disney
13. Take Five - Dave Brubeck - Time Out
14. I Could Write A Book - Arthur Prysock - Prysock And Basie
15. April In Paris - Count Basie - April In Paris
16. Fuego Cubano - Stan Kenton - Cuban Fire
17. What Kind Of Fool Am I? - Bob Brookmeyer - Samba Para Dos Jazz
18. Spartacus Love Theme - Bill Evans - Conversations With Myself
19. Stolen Moments - Oliver Nelson - Blues And The Abstract Truth
20. The Quintessence - Quincy Jones - The Quintessence
21. Gloria's Step (Take 2) - Bill Evans Trio - Sunday At The Village Vanguard
22. East Of The Sun - Charles Lloyd - Forest Flower: Charles Lloyd At Monterey
23. Fontessa - Modern Jazz Quartet - Fontessa
24. Caravan - Joe Newman - The Joe Newman Quintet At Count Basie's Big Band
25. Without A Song - Sonny Rollins - The Bridge
26. Moose The Mooche - Shelly Manne & His Men - More Swinging Sounds
27. (They Call It) Stormy Monday - Lou Rawls - Stormy Monday
28. Get Me To The Church On Time - Shelly Manne - My Fair Lady: Modern Jazz Performances
29. Blues Waltz - Max Roach - Jazz In 3/4 Time
30. Strollin' - The Horace Silver Quintet - Horace-Scope
31. Scrapple From The Apple - Blue Mitchell - Blue's Mood
32. Cheryl - Phineas Newborn, Jr. - A World Of Piano!
33. I'll Remember April - Erroll Garner - Concert By The Sea
34. Walk On - Leroy Vinnegar Sextet - Leroy Walks!
35. Maiden Voyage - Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage
36. Finger Poppin' - Horace Silver - Finger Poppin'
37. The Girl From Ipanema - Antonio Carlos Jobim - The Composer Plays
38. I've Got The World On A String - Sarah Vaughan - How Long Has This Been Going On?
39. Makin' Whoopee - Red Garland Trio - A Garland Of Red
40. Birk's Works - Dizzy Gillespie - New Faces