You know, as this sort of inevitably incomplete list goes, this is probably the best one I have ever seen. Pretty comprehensive from a chronological standpoint except for the fact that (and also it's main glaring omission) there isn't a single recording done after 1977; as if jazz has stood still since 1977. Not!
I own 35 of those 50-listed. Pretty accurate list and yes, there is still excellent Jazz in 2014. I was impressed w/ the Top-5 alone- nailed it! 1959 was the most important year for Jazz, IME. The albums released that year alone, would set the pace for Jazz music's future. As we know Jazz today, it has the richest treasures. I am proud to say that I discovered this incredible genre of music about 10 years ago. I am not stopping anytime soon...
Happy New Year
Whoa Frogman! Great observation of the timeline! I'm 61 years old, and I'd hazard to guess that easily out of all the jazz recordings that I own, probably at least 90% of them were recorded before 1977. Until you just mentioned it, I never gave the chronology a thought.
Another bias I need to get over is that I don't own very many recordings by jazz artists that are younger than I am. I own a few, but since you've mentioned it, my omission of youngsters glaring.
Mitch4t, I'm quite a bit older than you and have the same problem.
I moved to the Twin Cities six months ago where there is a 24/7 Jazz station which I keep on my car radio.
I don't see how anyone could keep up with the flood of sensational young jazz players !
It is truly unreal how many great young musicians are on the jazz scene. Singers too, both young and not so young.
Breaks my heart to think Celine Dion probably sells 10K Cd's for every one Terney Sutton does.
I find it's much harder to find bad jazz recordings than good ones. Picking the best ones is nearly impossible. The most influential or best known, not so hard. Most will have been around for awhile. But I could make an argument for so many jazz recordings to be on that list, that's its not even worth the time to sort through and try to rationalize. It's the nature of the music where each work is unique but so many share so many similarities as well. Its one of those whole is greater than the sum of the parts kind of thing.
oops! I forgot to leave the link to the page with the list!
The list is below in reverse order:
50. Thelonious Monk Genius of Modern Music vol.1 & 2.
49. Count Basie the Original American Decca Recordings
48. Bud Powell The Amazing Bud Powell Vo.1
47. Weather Report Heavy Weather
46. John Coltrane & Thelonious Monk At Carnegie Hall
45. Horace Silver Song For My Father
44. Grant Green Idle Moments
43. Count Basie The Complete Atomic Basie
42. Hank Mobley Soul Station
41. Charlie Christian The Genius of the Electric Guitar
40. Art Pepper meets the Rhythm Section
39. John Coltrane My Favourite Things
38. Benny Goodman At Carnegie Hall 1938
37. Wes Montgomery The incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
36. The Mahavishnu Orchestra With John McLaughlin Inner Mounting Flame
35. Clifford Brown and Max Roach Clifford Brown & Max Roach
34. Andrew Hill Point of Departure
33. Herbie Hancock Head Hunters
32. Dexter Gordon Go
31. Sarah Vaughan With Clifford Brown
30. The Quintet Jazz at Massey Hall
29. Bill Evans trio Waltz For Debby
28. Lee Morgan The Sidewinder
27. Bill Evans Sunday at the village Vanguard
26. Thelonious Monk Brilliant Corners
25. Keith Jarrett the Koln Concert
24. John Coltrane Giant Steps
23. Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage
22. Duke Ellington Ellington at Newport
21. Cecil Taylor Unit Structures
20. Charlie Parker Complete Savoy and Dial Studio recordings
19. Miles Davis Birth of the Cool
18. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Moanin
17. Albert Ayler Spiritual Unity
16. Eric Dolphy Out To Lunch
15. Oliver Nelson The Blues and the Abstract Truth
14. Erroll Garner Concert By the Sea
13. Wayne Shorter Speak No Evil
12. Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto Getz/Gilberto
11. Louis Armstrong Best of the Hot 5s and 7s
10. John Coltrane Blue Train
9. Miles Davis Bitches Brew
8. Sonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus
7. Cannonball Adderley Somethin Else
6. Charles Mingus The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
5. Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come
4. Charles Mingus Mingus Ah Um
3. Dave Brubeck Quartet Time Out
2. John Coltrane A Love Supreme
1. Miles Davis Kind of Blue
Any such list can be nit-picked to death. It's a good list for someone starting a jazz collection. It's real light on vocalists (no Ella, Billie Holiday or Nat Cole?) and it favors the post WW2 era while managing to ignore the past 40 years.
There is no Dizzy or Baker, no Burrell, no Hawkins, or as gentleman previously said Tatum, and so on...never saw a list of that kind that I actually liked, and certainly one should contain at least 500 albums to take it seriously. The same is with any other type of art or list about it. Unfortunately that tipe of 'education' is not considered as 'value' in modern society, and it is left for scholars or enthusiasts to dig into, for others, and for almost everything today, we have short lists...
Jazzcourier, I don't know much about Jazz but my first thought was how could you leave out Tatum and include Weather Report.
Schubert...I had to snicker and chuckle at that one myself.
Hey, someone had to make a list...and they had to start somewhere.
I'm at 41 of 50.
My biggest quibble with the list would be the omission of Duke Ellington's "Far East Suite". Admittedly, it's more a personal favorite than an acknowledged classic, but IMHO "FES" mixes adventurous arrangements with some truly beautiful music. It's my own quirk, but that record would definitely be high on my own top 50.
As Ohnwy said, any list can be nit picked to death; so, I would be careful about missing the forest for the trees. Don't know if anyone read the description of how they actually compiled this particular list; this might bring a somewhat different perspective to the table. These were the albums that received the most votes on all other available lists of its kind. Also, remember that, as has been discussed many times re this topic, "greatest" means different things to different people. Greatest is often considered to be the most influential or representative of an era, while to someone else it may mean the best executed representation (as far as the playing) of a particular era or style while not necessarily being the most influential. Case in point: "Something Else". Great record, fantastic playing....influential? Not really; very little on that great record that hadn't been done before.
While I agree that the omission of Tatum is suspect, I can understand why someone might make that decision. Tatum was actually, and incredibly, considered by some to not be a real jazz player and his very ornate playing no more than filigree; and an argument could be made that he was simply an extension of Fats Waller's stride piano style. From a pianistic standpoint his incredible virtuosity and influence cannot be argued. Re Wearher Report: unless one is prepared to dismiss the validity of the entire genre of jazz-fusion, there is no question that they deserve to be on the list. IMO.
IMO this list is derived from popularity(sales) and critics outdated reviews. When Bitches Brew/Headhunter and Heavy Weather are the 3 "token" fusion recordings and Kind of Blue at #1 tells me very little effort, time and thought was applied when compiling this list!
Ok. Then which recordings would you substitute for those; and why?
I don't know and I don't care how many albums I own that are part of R&R hall of fame or any other fame magazines.
Being famous or best is very often associated with level of promotions and investments in to the artist apart from performance quality that even in quite number of cases isn't up to par.
May be true, but not in the case of the three mentioned recordings.
Here's what I would substitute for the fusion choices on the list -- Tony William's Lifetime "Emergency!", Miles Davis "Tribute to Jack Johnson" and Chick Corea "Light As A Feather". Of course keep "Bitches Brew".
Just pickin' nits.
Undoubtedly great recordings, but with the possible exception of "Light As A Feather", imo they don't have the historical relevance of the ones in question. When there are so many "greats" to choose from, I think that "greatest" should be reserved for those that are not only great performances, but are also very important bynbeing landmark recordings in the evolution of the music. "Headhunters" was a masterpiece of the genre and incredibly influential with funk grooves that are still being sampled today. For better or for worse, hip-hop as we know it today would be very different had there been no "Headhunters". The addition of Jaco Pastorious to Weather Report's lineup would forever change the way that the electric bass was played and its role in a rhythm section. The influence of Jaco, not to mention the band, cannot be overstated. I like the choice of "Light As A Feather" for bringing the "Spanish" flavor to fusion-jazz; something that would become very prevalent.
Are there really that many?
Being influential should not be a major criteria when critiquing the performance of a recording. It is irrelevant if "Head Hunters" influenced hip hop or that "Bitches Brew" helped create a genre know as fusion jazz. I think Miles is still laughing at the praise this incoherent recording receives. Freddie Hubbard-Joe Sample-Chuck Mangione-Earl Klugh and many others have all made better fusion jazz recordings. There is also a serious neglect of jazz vocalists, and finally omitting Black Codes(Wynton Marsalis)is almost as ridiculous as this list!
Chuck Mangione? Earl Klugh?!?! They made pleasant fusionjazz-lite
recordings; but, better than "Bitches Brew" and "Headhunters" (even
putting aside their influence)? We are all entitled to our opinions, but this is
clearly a case of Mars and Venus.
Very good list, I own about 37 (more added daily!).
My nitpick: I think of an album as an artist's original work of art. Some of those releases were merely compilations of 78 rpm material. Ie, compilations by a record company, not an individual work of art. Also detracts from the "fact" that the best music ever recorded was in fact during the 78 rpm era. But that's a topic for another... discussion or flame war.