10 Jazz Albums You Should Own

miles-davis-kind-of-blueJazz has, from its early 20th century inception, spawned a variety of subgenres, from New Orleans Dixieland dating from the early 1910s, big band-style swing from the 1930s and 1940s, bebop from the mid-1940s, a variety of Latin jazz fusions such as Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz from the 1950s and 1960s, jazz-rock fusion from the 1970s and late 1980s developments such as acid jazz, which blended jazz influences into funk and hip-hop. As the music has spread around the world it has drawn on local national and regional musical cultures, its aesthetics being adapted to its varied environments and giving rise to many distinctive styles. Here are 10 Jazz albums you should have in your collection whether beginner or aficionado.

1. Kind of Blue by Miles Davis: Classic example of why jazz became such a popular genre of music.

2. A Love Supreme by John Coltrane: Instrumental for its influence on the free jazz concept, the manuscript for the album is one of the National Museum of American History’s “Treasures of American History,” part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

3. A Night in Tunisia by Art Blakey: Originally this song was written by Dizzy Gillespie, The title track “A Night in Tunisia” has become a jazz standard covered by multiple artists both in and outside of  jazz.

4. Now by The Stark Reality: Experimental, Jazz, Funk, Fusion… Whatever you want to call it, this album stretches the lines of conventional jazz (whatever that may be) and offers listeners a new soundscape. Regardless of how long ago this album was released (album was re-released by Stones Throw in 2003).

5. Black Byrd by Donald Byrd: This album from 1972 was greatly successful and became Blue Note Records’ highest-ever selling album.

6. Liberated Brother by Weldon Irvine: The first ever album by bandleader for jazz singer Nina Simone.  Irvine was also a mentor to many New York hip-hop artists, including Q-Tip and Mos Def. (Q-Tip references Irvine on the song “Shaka” off his latest album “The Rennaissance”.

7. Brilliant Corners by Thelonious Monk: The third album composed for the Riverside label and the first, for this label, to include his own compositions.  In 2003, it was one of fifty recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. Because of its historical significance the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

8. Byrd & Diz by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie: The final collaborative studio recording by Parker and Gillespie which is also notable for featuring an early appearance of pianist Thelonious Monk.

9. Sun Song by Sun Ra: Originally titled Jazz“, is Ra’s debut album which was released in 1956 before being  licenced to Delmark Records and reissued in 1967.

10. Experience by Joe McDuphrey Experience: Producer Madlib offers a glipse into the direction of jazz/hip-hop fusion. This album could very well be a blueprint for up-and coming hip-hop producers and jazz musicians alike making it an album you should definitely own.


~ by djtapedek on July 20, 2009.

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