Greatest Recordings - your opinions

I’m interested to know what recordings people here find to be the absolute pinnacle of sound reproduction.

The Classic 45 vinyl pressing of Louis Armstrong singing “St. James Infirmary” put me so deep into the studio I was afraid to clear my throat for fear I’d disturb the band. So far this is the most live-sounding recording I’ve heard. I have a decent system but when I spin this vinyl at home I don’t come anywhere close to the experience I had at the audiophile shop that first played it for me. Trying to get Louis in the house is what keeps me upgrading beyond my means…if he ever visits it’ll all be worth it.

For me tape hiss or other anomalies don't preclude a recording from my 'best of' list. I listen for that live, full, immediate, 'in the room' quality beyond all other considerations.

What recordings stand out for you and what are your criteria for them to do so? (I have a pen and paper handy)
First one that comes to mind for me is the now out-of-print 45 rpm Reference Recording "Dafos" w/ Mickey Hart, Airto, and Flora Purim

"A Meeting By The River" Water Lily Acoustics. Ry Cooder and V.M Bhatt

Stravinsky's "Firebird" Sheffield Direct-to-disc w/ Los Angeles Symphony conducted by Eric Leinsdorf.

Many, many of the RCA "Living Stereo" (aka shaded dogs), engineered by Lewis Layton

Mercury "Living Presence" series using the 3 microphone technique of Bob Fine and Wilma Cozart.

Riverside Recordings of Bill Evans, including, but not limited to "Waltz For Debbie" "Sunday at The Village Vangard"

There are many others but I will defer to future posters...
Professor Johnson's Astounding Sound Show, RR7 and Dafos mentioned by Slipknot, are two audiophile delights. But, without regard to the recording quality, two recordings that really transport me because the performers are so inside the music, are Chopin's Nocturnes by Moravec and Debessy's Preludes by Paul Jacobs - even though we all know you can't get ideal piano reproduction on disc, these performances disolve any interest I may have in issues such as recording quality, resolution, presence, etc.
There are lots of great albums from some classic artists (i.e Beatles, Miles Davis, etc..) that I could name, but I will give a couple of my non-standard choices, that others might not mention.

I have a Japanesse LP pressing of Neil Young's "Live Rust", that absolutely blows my socks off! It sounds like he is standing in my living room playing his acoustic guitar and blowing on his harmonica, especially on "Powderfinger".

Also, for the younger set, the new Coldplay album "Rush of Blood to the Head" is also a pretty good LP, (at least the UK version is). The piano is recorded very well, really giving a good ambiance to the recording. "Clocks" in particular comes across very nicely. (Nice to know that at least some of the new rock musicians can play their instruments well!)

I also agree that the Satchmo recording is very nicely done. I picked it up as soon as I heard it at the SF Electronics Expo. a few months ago.
Here are a couple. To rank for me both the sound (ignoring tape hiss)and the performance have to be fabulous.

First, there's the 45 rpm LP of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, Antal Dorati and the London Symphony Orchestra, Mercury SR90226. Probably the all time spectacular hero record for classical fans.

Then, for Jazz listeners (or wannaabe's like me) there are the 45 rpm LP limited editions, remastered by AcousTech and produced by Analoque Productions, of "the best jazz ever". There are 25 such albums and I can't tell you which is the best...they all just put many of the jazz greats (Bill Evans, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, etc) right into your listening room.
Thelma Houston & Pressure Cooker/ "I've Got The Music In Me"
Sheffield Lab# -2 (SL7-SL-8)

Dave Grusin/ "Discovered Again" (First pressing)
Sheffield Lab# -5 (SL-19-SL-20)

Both aforementioned recordings are on virgin vinyl.

Shirley Horn/ "You Won't Forget Me" (CD)
Polygram/Verve# 847 482-2

Bobby McFerrin/ "Medicine Music" (EMI CD Import)
EMI# CDP-7-92048-2
My recommendation does not qualify in the 'Greatest Recordings' arena, but since many contributors recommended works with the being right there atmosphere, I wish to contribute a live night club recording where you get the amosphere of being there as a patron. "In Person at El Matador!, Sergio Mendes Brasil '65. This is a CD manufactured in Japan ATLANTIC AMCY-1246 which I purchased at Tower Records. There is another album with the same material as well as a second disc including Pele as a singer and Sergio Mendes Favorite Things. I had this second item some time back but gave it away and I cannot vouch if the quality of the duplication is as good as the one I have listed. This is readily available at Amazon and a bargain at $15.98 for a two disc album. The single disc that I refer to is listed as out of stock at Amazon.

I think you will find this album interesting and enjoyable. The singing of Mendes's early female singers Wanda De Sah and Rosinha de Valencia bring great enjoyment and memories if you are from this era. For me it brings reminiscences as I used to frequent that nightclub in North Beach San Francisco, a block away from The Condor.
I agree with Slipknot on the RR pieces, my favorite is Flora Purim/Airto/Joe Farrell's Three Way Mirror.

I'm going to throw out there one of my old favorites I bought over 20 yrs ago, a 1/2 speed Japanese pressing of Genesis' Selling England by the Pound. very revealing.