Tord Gustavsen Trio - "The Ground", and "Changing Places"
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Bill Evans Trio-Waltz for Debbie;Live at the Village Vanguard; and Moonbeams
Dave Brubeck-Late Night Brubeck and The Crossing
Charlie Haden and Kenny Barron-Night in the City
Stan Getz-Cafe Montmartre
Jim Brock-Tropic Affair (Latiny but smooth)
Keith Jarrett-The Melody at Night With You
Herbie Hancock-Maiden Voyage
...for starters. BTW the TGT-The Ground, mentioned above is excellent also...haven't heard "Changing Places".
These don't have the "classics" you mentioned. I don't know where you would find instrumental versions only of these on a good recording. These are all great smooth Jazz recordings, however.
How about Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Wave" or "Stoneflower".
Not exactly jazz per say, but pretty inviting like walking into a rainforest garden. On that note, Michael Frank's "Tiger in the Rain", Joe Sample's "Carmel" John Klemmer's "Touch"
Miles Davis "In a Quiet Way"
How about Brian Eno's Ambient series "Music for Airports".
Pat Metheny's "New Chautauqua".
"Serenity" from the Concord label jazz collection series. Also in that series "Dinner by Candelight" "Jazz at Night's end" etc.
Bill Evans - various
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.
Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden - Beyond The Missouri Sky (Short Stories)
Look no further. Everyone needs to have this record whether you think you like jazz or not. I have and like most of the records listed above - but none convey "nighttime" or "peacefulness" as this one does IMO. The songs are mostly old and classics - though not as recognizable as Misty but they will grow on you.
From Amazon review: This subtle, sublime collaboration finds bassist Charlie Haden and guitarist Pat Metheny crafting bejewelled chamber duets that transcend genre. Haden and Metheny forge a lyrical, mostly acoustic style at once intimate and expansive. Both pare their playing to a Zen-like economy, focusing on a purity of tone, clarity of harmony, and counterpoint to achieve a tender lyricism.
From a user review on Barnes&Noble.com: This album is easily the most-appreciated album (cd) that i have ever played for friends and family. To the person, every one that i've played this for has appreciated it, and wanted a copy of their own. While it strikes at first as background-like in tone, a closer listen reveals gorgeous warmths of peace and reflection. You can't help but feel appreciative and evocative as the beautiful melodies and colors cause your feelings to echo the sound. You'll feel peaceful, calm, and positive.
We are listening to it right now because in fact my son has used tracks from this as his nighttime lullaby album almost every night of his life. It is not "jazzy" per se or "night clubby" - it is much more pure and harmonious and restful. Took me a few listenings to appreciate it.
One could accuse Oscar Peterson of playing too many notes, as the King said to Mozart, but banging? He has a very delicate touch. Busy, but delicate.
Listen to Oscar Peterson's "We Get Requests."
Other pleasant recordings to try:
Bill Evans "Sunday at the Vanguard"
Stanley Turrentine "Blue Hour"
Charlie Haden/Hank Jones "Steal Away"
Cyrus Chestnut "Blessed Quietness"
Stan Getz "The Essential:" Verve
Firstly,the recommendations are 'David Hazeltine-Classic Trio',and 'Alan Broadbent-Personal Standards'.Both of these fit the bill perfectly,IMHO.Secondly,as to the Oscar Peterson 'piano banging',ditto Pbb and Davemitchell.I assume that you did not mean that in a derogatory manner,just as to the style not good for 'unwinding' in the night hours.If Oscar bangs,then Rembrandt painted by numbers. The suggestions I added are not 'elevator,or Kenny G ish,but are top quality in recording,and music.They can be ,'background'but I suspect they will have your total attention before long.One corrction,none are well recognized though.Sorry I missed that point before a re-read.
Bill Evans Trio - Waltz For Debby
Bill Evans Trio - Live @ Village Vanguard
These are the definitive piano trio LPs, both featuring phenomenal bass of Scott LaFaro
Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain
This LP shows off Gil Evans skills of orchestration and creates a sublime sound that stands the test of time
Ray Brown & Laurindo Almeida - Moonlight Serenade
The inter-twining of Round Midnight & Moonlight Sonata is to die for...Cheers,
There are already four recommendations on Charlie Haden/Pat Metheny's "Beyond the Missouri Sky". Make that five. This particular recording fits all your criterias. Quality of recording is excellent and the tunes are serene, peaceful and quiet as you can get. As mentioned by the previous poster Gdoodle, this CD is a must have. My favourite tracks from this album in order are "Cinema Paradiso(love theme)", "The Moon Song" and "Our Spanish Love Song".
In fact, most of Pat Metheny's works are all very good. Even the older recordings which date back to the late 70's under ECM are all excellent in quality albeit a little lightweight in the bass. "Offramp" and "Imaginary Day" are my next favourites from Metheny. There are a few not-so-quiet tunes in "Imaginary Day" but the overall quality of this album can be considered as excellent. If you are only interested in quiet background music, "Trio 99>00" may put you to sleep.
Earl Klugh is another artist that worth a mention.
David Benoit is another one of my favourite contemporary jazz pianists, although some of his pieces may be termed as 'piano banging' by your standards. I would however describe it as a crescendo which adds more life into the music.
Fourplay is another jazz group worth checking out. Mostly mellow stuff. "Heartfelt" and "Fourplay" are my favourites.