George Benson - Bad Benson is one of my favs.
Can't say I agree with his picks for "best of the decade".
Not one of Miles' comeback titles in the 80's?? for best of the 70's he picks Weather Report's "I sing the body electric"... my LEAST favorite Weather Report (after Mr. Gone) recording. Not one Keith Jarrett? Checking his 60's list I think I see where he's coming from: Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders and George Russell.
I think jazz is too big a category to get into 'best' lists. everyone has their preferred area - big band, swing, dixieland, bebop, free jazz, vocals etc. It makes more sense to figure out what pulls your chain, then find others who are into that particular area, then get their 'best' list. a free jazz fan's 'best' llist is going to be a very different animal than a big band affecianado!
Plenty of books with listings of albums rated.
My favorite is All Music Guide to Jazz. Reissued in 2004, it has brief bios, and the albums (at the time) available from that artist, (and a few out of production from LP!)
Rated and a commentary on most.
The 'stars' rating system and the review do not always totally agree, but it makes it more interesting!
You can also go to AllMusic. com for a look at any artist you could think of.
Try the link http://www.allmusic.com/. You might want to check out Scott Yanow's books on Swing and Bebop. He is selective in what albums he recommneds and rates each on a 1 to 9 scale. Yanow is one of the main reviewers in the All Music Guide. I generally find his ratings to be very accurate.
There is also the 101 Best Jazz Albums by Len Lyons. It's where I got my first recommendations.
I liked the Scaruffi list. He obviously has a penchant for avante garde music. But everyone has their own slant on jazz. It's an art, not a science.
My personal favorites out of my cd collection, I would say Patricia Barber's Modern Cool and Campanion; Big Phat Band Swinging For The Masses"; Diana Krall "The Girl In The Other Room"; Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" and "Porgy and Bess"; Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald "Porgy and Bess"; John Coltrane "The Ultimate Blue Train"; Getz/Gilberto "Jazz Samba"; John McLaughlin, Paco De Lucia, Al Di Meola "Guitar Trio";