Jazz Fans-- Name some of your favorite, less well known recordings

I'm inviting you to share the sort of recordings you won't typically encounter on a "100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time" sort of list. they need not be obscure-- but please, no "Kind of Blue", "Sunday at the Village Vanguard", "Blue Train", etc. 
 The dates are for CD release, which are, in some cases, was quite later than the release dates for titles that first came out on vinyl.  

OK-- I'll start with a handful of mine...

Art Farmer Quintet
"Blame it On My Youth" 1988. Contemporary
Art Farmer; trumpet/Clifford Jordan: Tenor Sax/Victor Lewis: Drums/Rufus Reid: Bass/James Williams: Piano

A. F. in his late prime in skilled company exploring a nice mix of tunes. The first and best of three releases by this group. 

Gary Bartz and Sonny Fortune
"Alto Memories" 1994 Verve Japan
G. Bartz: Alto Sax/Sonny Fortune: Alto Sax/Jack Dejohnette: drums/Buster Williams: Bass/Kenny Barron: Piano

Not easy to find but worthwhile if you enjoy the two altoists, who work very well together. Note the stellar band. 

Nick Brignola
"On A Different Level" 1990 Reservoir 
Nick Brignola: Baritone Sax/Kenny Barron: PIano/Jack Dejohnette: Drums/Dave Holland: Bass

Most of Brignola's recordings feature him on a variety of horns but here, it's all Baritone. 
Another good one is "Flight of the Eagle", also on Reservoir. 

Joanne Brackeen:
"Where Legends Dwell" 1992 Ken
Joanne Brackeen: piano/Eddie Gomez: Bass/Jack deJohnette: Drums

A very "muscular" player with a delightfully idiosyncratic approach to composition.  

Jerry Bergonzi:
"Tenor of the TImes" 2006 Savant
Jerry Bergonzi: Tenor/Renato Chicco: PIano/Dave Santoro:bass/Andrea Michelutti: Drums

Contemporary Boston master.  

Hal Galper Quintet:
"Reach Out" 1995 Steeplechase
Hal Galper: Piano/.Michael Brecker: Tenor Sax/Randy Brecker: Trumpet/Billy Hart: Drums/Wayne Dockery: Bass

Terrific live showcase for this group.

Stan Getz:
"Dynasty" Re-release 2009 Verve
Stan Getz: Tenor Sax/Eddy Louise: organ/Rene Thomas: Guitar/Bernard Lubat: Drums

Live. Stan sitting in with Louise's trio. They don't let him coast. 

Don Grolnick:
"The Complete Blue Note Recordings" 1977 Blue Note
Don Grolnick: Composer, Piano/Randy Brecker: Trumpet/Barry Rodgers, Steve Turre: Trombone/
Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Bob Mintzer: Tenor Sax/Marty Ehrlich: Bass Clarinet/Dave Holland: Bass/
Peter Erkine, Bill Stewart; Drums

Focuses on Grolnick the composer. Lots of vivid instrumental colors and unpredictable intervals, here.
Check out the players! 

To pay bills, Grolnick MD'd Linda Ronstadt's touring band but I promise you these Blue Note recordings
won't remotely bring to mind "Blue Bayou"!  

Slide Hampton:
"Roots" 1985 Criss Cross Jazz
Slide Hampton: Trombone/Clifford Jordan: Tenor Sax/Cedar Walton: Piano/David Wiliams: Bass/Billy Higgins: Drums

Simply a great mainstream Jazz record as you might expect, given the personnel. 

Booker Ervin
"Booker 'N Brass" 1998 Pacific Jazz
Booker Ervin: Tenor Sax with a "small big band" including, to name a few: 
Freddie Hubbard: Trumpet/Kenny Barron: Piano/Bennie Green: Trombone/Lenny McBrowne: Drums/Reggie
Johnson: Bass

Punchy, swinging and soulful. 


Here's one: Galaxy In Satchitananda by Alice Coltrane. I first heard this back in '73! Along with Lord Of Lords.
Atlantic Records Jazz  vol.1 and vol .2....I bought these cds years ago probably 30 but I always go back to them when I was a good selection of various jazz artists. There's live and studio recordings on them.
Buddy Holly: "Jazz is strictly for the stay-at-homes."

Vivian Stanshall (The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band): "Jazz, delicious hot, disgusting cold."

Good one ! 


I'm curious: what artists are included in the anthologies?  


I'm afraid I have no idea what the Buddy Holly quote signifies.  Care to elaborate? ? ? 

Try some Dixieland and New Orleans Jazz like:

Thomas Jefferson – Dreaming Down The River To New Orleans (1962)

The New Black Eagle Jazz Band In New Orleans (1974)


If you like Gary Bartz, his album with Maisha, cut direct to disc and released in 2020 is a good playing thing- a band inspired by the older generation of players, they got Bartz-who was from the period- to join them. Sonically pretty nice and not terribly expensive.
Alice Coltrane's Ptah the El Daoud is very high on my list- it is, to my knowledge, still out of print (since 1974) and prices have gotten nutty. The hard part is finding a clean player. A lot of those old Impulses are somewhat noisy.
As mentioned in another thread, I became a big fan of Cecil McBee and you almost can't miss with any record on which he appears as a sideman. One of my personal favs is Jothan Callins- Winds of Change.
Also previously mentioned in another thread is the Tone Poet reissue of Katanga! Cheap, good sounding and efficacious! 
Richie ColeBossa Nova Eyes ( '85)

Pure vinyl goodness


OK. Thanks.


Found the entire J. Callins and a couple cuts from the C. Amy/D. Bolton  on youtube-- very nice!   

I'm familiar with the A. Coltrane-- one of her better small group releases, I'd venture. 

Will check out the Maisha with G. Bartz. 

Thanks for your suggestions-- you must have a great collection. 


Thanks for the suggestion. 

Not many Jazz fans on A'gon, apparently. . . maybe that makes sense, given the genre's overall lack of popularity in the U. S. 

Once a friend exclaimed "How can you like this music? It sounds like two different songs played at the same time."

One of my favorite albums is Music, Inc. - Live at Slugs' Part 1 and 2 on the Strata East Records.  The quartet includes Charles Tolliver on Trumpet, Stanley Cowell on piano, Cecil Mc Bee on Bass, and Jimmy Hopps on drums.  The music is also available at Mosaic Records on Mosaic Selects under Charles Tolliver !    
anyone digging on japanese fusion of 70s and anime soundtracks?
right there you can dig artifact after an artifact and so on...
Yuji Ohno -- Lupin The III series of anime soundtracks
Masayoshi Takanaka -- All of me

It seems to me that Japanese hall of fame can put R/R hall of fame into hall of shame easily.
Anyways, to dig more and more I'd recommend subscribing to Terminal Passage on Youtube and more similar subscriptions will pop-up at your youtube account.

Let me offer a weird one: Hendrix, 9 to the Universe.
Check out the personnel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_to_the_Universe#Personnel

I recently bought two Tollivers:  "Paper Man" and "The Ringer". Also have some Jackie McLean Blue Notes with Tolliver. "The Ringer" features nearly the same personnel as those Live recordings, with Steve Novosel  replacing McBee. as you may be aware, Mosaic released a remastered  3 CD combining the Live at Slugs and Live in Tokyo sets with extra previously unreleased material. I bought it but stupidly didn't keep it for long. Of course, it's now very expensive as it's out of print. 


I'm afraid I don't tend to like most Fusion but I must admit I've never heard the Japanese variety. 

My main complaint about Fusion is that all too often the material is lacking interest. This is the same reason why shredders such as Vai don't interest me. I prefer playing where melodies and interesting chord progressions are the springboards for improvisation. I prize musicality and emotion far more than blazing chops. 

Of course, some players can do it all. . .  


Well, OK-- not Jazz-- but I like Hendrix. . . 

@stuartk I've heard a lot of jazz fusion in my day, and given the personnel on this album (Dave Holland, Larry Young, more) and the long form open improvisation of the album, it very much seems like jazz to me. Not sure what your definition is, but if you compare these cuts to rock cuts from the Beatles, Stones, or even other Hendrix, I think it's safe to call this jazz. IMHO.
Here are a few of my lesser well-known favorites (well at least not on the usual “Top 100” lists):

Frank Gambale - Natural High
Hendrik Meurkens - A View From Manhattan
Vic Juris - Blue Horizon 
Pete Mills - Art and Architecture
Steve Khan - The Blue Man
Oscar Peterson - Skol 
Gigi Gryce - Rat Race Blues

Heard it at a friend's house and had to buy it.

OK. Different strokes.  Harmonically, it's mostly just pentatonics and rhythmically, it's closer to Blues/Rock than anything else. That doesn't qualify as Jazz in my world.  

It has a lot more in common with the Beatles and Stones than it does with Charlie Parker but I'm not trying to pick a fight or anything-- Just explaining my rationale. 


I'm familiar with Steve Khan and Vic Juris but not the others on your list. 
Will check them out!

That's one I've seen around for a long time but somehow, but somehow have never heard. I will remedy that!  

I'm aware of the presence of L. Young and Dave Holland on the Hendrix, but again, harmonically and rhythmically, what they're actually playing is, to my ears, a Blues/Rock jam, not Jazz.   I guess Miles really blurred the categories, but even if you listen to a very bluesy "long form" Miles recording, such as Jack Johnson's "Right Off",  the players are employing intervals, harmonic shadings and rhythmic devices that separate it from Blues/Rock. And when I say "separate it", I don't mean in some sort of pedantic, scholarly sense-- I mean, you simply won't find this sort of sophistication in the playing of Blues/Rockers. Just the number and variety of chord voicings that McLaughlin utilizes in his accompaniment far exceeds what you'll encounter in the 99% of Blues/Rock players.  The way I look at it, it's all about the breadth and depth of the language employed. At the same time time, I don't claim to be an expert nor do I dispute your right to disagree. 

I was lucky to catch Holland live five times: three times with his quintet, once with his big band and once with Gateway. The latter's the only time I've seen DeJohnette or Abercrombie. Sadly, the venue where I saw these shows (Yoshi's, in Oakland, CA) and quite a few others no longer books Jazz.  At those Jazz shows, it was mostly old white guys-- some with their wives. Other genres bring in considerably more money. 


The way I look at it, it's all about the breadth and depth of the language employed.

On reflection -- I think you're right. It's a blues-rock jam. Well said!

Very cool-- I like !

Thanks for the suggestion. 

So, why not suggest something???
This morning I've been listening to Flora Purim's "perpetual Emotion", from 2001. 

Seems most F. Purim fans prefer her more Fusion-oriented 70's work but to my ears that stuff sounds dated. I prefer this later, admittedly more mainstream  but deeply musical and emotive release. It's an example of music I can easily "get lost in"... and yes-- Airto does play drums. 


I wish I could discover more Brazilian musicians I enjoy but having spent many, many hours listening, it just hasn't happened. Perhaps starting out with a masterpiece-- Milton Nascimento's "Club Da Esquina" -- was my downfall. Nothing else has come close for me... 

Brazilian music is always at least GOOD, if not Great.

Some of mine:

Nana Vasconcelos - & The Bushdancers- (Rain Dance)

Milton Nascimento - Yauarete

Sergio Mendes



Pais Tropical
the female singers on this are just awesome.

That Mendes record brings to mind a favorite “lesser known” record, featuring some of the best alto playing one will hear:


Another great lesser known record with Cannon (one of the all time great solo breaks on the opening tune):


An octave lower:


A mystery why this record is so little



The great Larry Young again; with a great tenor player nobody has heard of, Bill Leslie.


So many more………

Cannonball and Mendes together, or individually, will always put a smile of your face. Their music is always upbeat and inspires movement. I have all of these "unknowns" except Groove street and Pepper Adams.

Does the Frogman's First Law come into play in any of this?   The Label?

Serge Chaloff - Blue Serge 
Engaging bari sax led set, not too pricey if you find it. Cheers,
Since you like Brazilian Jazz you should check out the Concord Jazz label. This Charlie Byrd Trio recording is one of my favorites. The recordings are first class!

Thanks for that list of Brazilian music-- I will investigate!

I had no idea Cannonball had recorded with  S. Mendes but I am familiar with the album with Coltrane-- good one! 

The Pepper Adams is great-- how could it not be, with that list of players? Gonna have to buy that.  

Yeah, I've got "Unity" (Woody Shaw is one of my favorite trumpet players) but I've never listened to L. Young's pre-Blue Note records. 


Yeah, I've got Blue Serge-- it WAS pricey, but well worth it!  ;o)


OK-- thanks!.

I once saw Bud Shank play with a bunch of other L.A. hotshots in a group with (dig this) Ravi Shankar and... Yehudi Menuhin !  This was back in the 70's (of course) at some outdoor venue in Ojai. No Charlie Byrd -- studio ace Dennis Budamir (sp?) was on guitar. 

Any of the later recordings by Chet Baker
Crystal Bells (Igloo Jazz Classics)
This Is Always

Also the Blue Note Tone Poets re issue of "Boppin" by Hank Mobley.  Fabulous. 
These are all on vinyl:

Charles Mingus - "Reincarnation of a Lovebird". It’s a "twofer" on Prestige.
Carla Bley - "Life Goes On" - released in 2020. Three geezers playing jazz.
Kenny Wheeler - "Gnu High" - on ECM with Keith Jarrett
Pepper Adams - "Encounter" - on Prestige with Zoot Sims
Joe Farrell - 3 albums on the CTI label - "Joe Farrell Quartet", Moongerms", and "Outback"
John McLaughlin - "Extrapolation" - with John Surman on baritone and soprano sax - Polydor label
Gil Evans - "Out of the Cool" - a new Impulse Records vinyl pressing just came out. Highly recommended!
'Introducing Lee Morgan'
The Don Shirley Trio self-titled from 1961
a CD entitled "shut yo mouth!" which featured bassists slam stewart and major "mule" holley, the latter who was a natural basso profundo and could sing down to the low E of his string bass in accompaniment with himself.
Miles Davis: Ascenseur pour l'échafaud

Art Pepper: Promise Kept: The Complete Artists House Recordings

Anything on vinyl by Emily Remler. 
New Zion Trio: Fight Against Babylon or Chaliwa

I'm a Miles and Pepper fan but haven't listened to those. Thanks for the suggestions. 


I suspect I'm just too old to recognize this as Jazz. Not saying it isn't -- it just doesn't fit within the parameters of what I've heard in the Jazz genre. 


Oh-- the movie was about this guy?  I'll check it out. 

Interesting. . . not a fan of the vocal aspect but others may enjoy it. 
Thanks for the suggestion! 

Emily Remler was great, whatever the medium. So sad about her premature death. 


OK, that's one Lee Morgan I haven't heard. Thanks! 
Strange... I've responded to all posts but some are no longer appearing. 

Not sure I have the energy to retype them all, especially given that I'm currently fighting a cold.
Rob Blakeslee- 2100 New Orleans

Marchel Ivery - Marchel’s Mode

Hope you feel better soon!