Any Patricia Barber CD ... For my money, she's the reigning gold standard in both jazz creativity and production values, in a class of one. But (there's always a but)... her recent release "Smash" is not the best example of her work IMHO. I like most of it, but it's my least favorite Barber CD and I've listened to all of them many, many times. For anyone new to Barber, I'd recommend starting with Modern Cool, Cafe Blue, or A Distortion of Love.
I suggest some recordings on the ECM label.
Here's a couple straight ahead jazz albums that sound great:
Ray Brown / Monty Alexander / Russell Malone (2002)
Anat Cohen (clarinet) - Notes From The Village (2008)
For a jazzy, bluesy, rock mix with great sound:
Hope Waits (2007) (no relation to Tom Waits)
No, it's not a redundant question.
Stone Flower - Antonio Carlos Jobim
As Jfz said, anything from ECM will sound outstanding. Their catalog has some of the best jazz of the modern era.
Thank god for the twenty year window.
Musician - Ernie Watts
In Full Swing - Mark O Connor
Brad Mehldau Trio - any
Christian McBride - especially Kind of Brown
Some piano, bass & drum trio suggestions:
Yelena Eckemoff-latest is Glass Song, some earlier are a bit hard to come by, but can be found on Amazon. Peter Erskine is the drummer on this & a couple of others.
Erskine's trio on ECM are also excellent.
Bley/Haden/Modian Memoirs is in the same league.
All are very well recorded.
Michel Camilo - Spirit of the Moment
Tord Gustavsen - Being There
Roy Hargrove - Parker's Mood
Keith Jarrett - Jasmine
Biréli Lagrène - Move
Pat Martino - Live at Yoshi's
Pat Metheney - I Can See Your House from here
Glenn Shambroom - Band Math
I recently picked up a CD by Anat Cohen, who is mentioned above by Tomcy6. I bought her 2012 release "Claroscuro", which is my first exposure to her. The Claroscuro CD is fantastic. It has an unusually appealing selection of tunes, all wonderfully performed, and with very respectable sound quality. I've always liked clarinet, and for some strange reason it's not all that common in jazz. No doubt I'll be buying more Anat Cohen!
For both musical interest and great sound, I recommend the following:
Stefano Battaliglia-Re: Passolini
Scott Colley-Architect of the Silent Moment
Speaking of Billy Childs - The Child Within is also a great disk.
Esperanza Spalding - Esperanza
Nicholas Payton - Payton Place
Pat Metheny - The Way Up -or- Unity Band
Tia Fuller - Decisive Steps. Tia on Sax with her female band. Guest appearance on a few tracks is Christian Mcbride. I have to mention Kim Thompson on drums. You will end up reading the liner notes a few times in disbelief that it IS actually a woman drummer!!
Nice energy and composition on this one!
the German label Nagel Hayer has put out 40 or so CD's in the past 20 years --- all phenomenal. Most of them are recorded live --- with the best sonics of any live jazz ever recorded. And wow... there is some awesome music on that label.
I generally listen to jazz that was recorded between 1955 - 1963 --- probably 85-95% of my listening is from the 400 CD's i have from that period. For the remaining 10-15% --- well is it almost entirely Nagel Hayer CDs. The variety of jazz is vast at that label and it is all OUTSTANDING.
Recording quality is better than Mapleshade, Reference Recordings or other audiophile labels --- and unlike those labels (where the music tends to be ranging from crap to decent) --- the music ranges from really good to amazing.
Look them up!
"No doubt I'll be buying more Anat Cohen!"
I'm a big Anat Cohen fan(and her label; ANZIC)! 1st heard her at a used CD shop, goin' thru the racks, I saw this dbl CD that had the print sides printed to look like LP's! I never heard of the band or the musicians but figured 'what the heck' and brought it to the in-store listening station. The band - The Waverly 7 - Yo Bobby! A great record that served to introduce me to a new group of musicians, highly recommended! Since than I own 95% of Cohen's discography, she's a very gifted artist. I strongly recommend her Big Band record; 'Noir' featuring the Anzic Orchestra. She's released 2 live at the Village Vanguard records, the 2nd; 'Clarinetwork...' featuring her only on clarinet (obviously!) is terrific! While she favors different group configurations from disc to disc, they uniformly all sound great!
Mark Murphy - love is what stays
You all rock for all your suggestions - both for artists and for labels. Thank you!
Some more well recorded, excellent jazz recommendations:
Ernestine Anderson - Never Make Your Move Too Soon
Terence Blanchard - Wandering Moon
Dave's True Story - Sex Without Bodies
Stacey Kent - Raconte-moi
Sara Lazarus - It's All Right with Me
Pharoah Sanders - Message from Home
Tierney Sutton - Blue in Green
Marcin Wasilewski - January, and also Faithful
Flies under the radar, but try I Have A Room Above Her by Paul Motian with Bill Frisel and Joe Lovano. This group played together in the '80s and did this album in 2005. They are all famous in the own right. Motian was the long time drummer for Bill Evans in the 60s.
I highly recommend the 24/96 downloads from Sound Liaison.
check this review from Sound Stage!
I've been among the prophets saying that high-resolution downloads are the future of audiophile music sales. Surely it will benefit the majors to make high-quality downloads a first choice rather than an MP3 extra, but I believe that individual artists can benefit as well. Most new-to-the-scene performers have little money for middlemen and disc manufacture, yet can get things together for the Internet.
Frans de Rond and Peter Bjørnild have taken this approach with Sound Liaison, producing recordings available only in 24-bit/96kHz downloads that mirror the master recording. And man, are they ever sweet. I've seldom heard recordings that were so successful in both performance and sound aspects.
De Rond hails from the Netherlands, where he studied double bass at The Royal Conservatory in The Hague while concurrently studying recording techniques. Bjørnild also studied double bass, moving to the Netherlands to continue studies at The Hague. Since graduating, he has played almost every type of music, from classical to jazz. Together de Rond and Bjørnild bring two pairs of golden ears to their label. Bjørnild claims that, "a recording should be as realistic and beautiful sounding as possible. As if, when closing your eyes, you find yourself in the best seat in the hall."
The partners discovered a fine recording hall (Studio-Eleven, Hilversum) and set out to record amazing musicians in this great acoustic place in front of live audiences. It's a daring feat; one take and no place to hide, but the abilities of the musicians involved make it seem easy. I chose to talk about the first album by Carmen Gomes Inc. It was a tough choice because all of the three current albums were worthy of review.
Carmen Gomes has won many awards in the Netherlands and surrounding areas. Like so many new European singers, she sings in English -- excellent English, I might add. She's formed a group called Carmen Gomes Inc., with Folker Tettero on guitar, Peter Bjørnild on double bass, and Marcel van Engelen on drums. Her style is bluesy and intimate with a sexy voice that's sweet as dark tupelo honey, and her interpretations are unerring. The musicians play to her and to each other, and the ensemble is so tight that the four musicians breathe and move as one.
There are some standards on the set that knocked me over with their fresh approach. Any singer can misplace a few accents and rhythms and come up with something that's original, but perhaps also uneasy and a little strange. Not Gomes, who has taken the songs to their bones and then restructured them to suit her style. Thus "Fever" doesn't sound like a cover of Peggy Lee; it sounds like a brand new take on a familiar song. You emerge from hearing it not thinking it's better or lesser than Lee's version, but that it's a valid new interpretation that could have come first.
The same approach works on "Angel Eyes," "You Don't Know What Love Is," and "I'm on Fire." Most of the rest, including the title song, "Oblivion," "Time Will Tell," "Gasoa Blue," and "The Sea," are Gomes originals that fit right in with the standards. The recording achieves exactly what Bjørnild set out as his goal. It can provide the best seat in your listening room. Go to the Sound Liaison site, listen to a few samples, download an album, and see if you don't agree that this intimate effort is one of the best and best-sounding jazz vocal albums to come along in many a day. By the way, the small audience applauds enthusiastically enough after the last chords of a song die away, but the attendees never interrupt or make themselves known while a song is going on. No doubt they were completely mesmerized into silence, as was I.
Be sure to listen to: On "Dock of the Bay," Gomes creates a languid, bluesy version that is a little bit reminiscent of Bobbie Gentry while still coming across as quite original. It'll cast a spell over you.
Bassist Avashai Cohen has several fantastic CDs...
Electric Masada " at the Mountains of Madness" with John Zorn and Marc Ribot is amazing!
Pat Metheny Speaking of Now has a wonderful sound...