Being a big jazz fan i always come back to Kind of Blue as the best album ever but I would like to know other peoples opinions as well. Jazz may have the richest history out of any genre of music so along with that are many other classics such as A Love Supreme, Time Out, Brilliant Corners, Ellington at Newport and the list goes on. So please express your views and opinions on the greatest jazz album ever or a list of your opinion of what the 5 or 10 best best jazz albums are
For myself it's very hard to pick the "greatest jazz album of all time" but I can definitely try. Well I'm with the many many people who think Kind of Blue is one of the greatest jazz albums of all time but here's a list of my other greats.
If you limit the exercise to the best album ever by a sextet, then KIND OF BLUE has to be high on the list (and for me at the top) followed by BLUE TRANE. Coltrane was in my estimation at the top of his form in both of these outings and sparked wonderful efforts from the other artists. Best ever by a piano trio? Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson trios get my nod, the specific albums depending on my mood at the time. Best pianoless quartet? Gerry Mulligan in several beautiful efforts. This is an impossible task!
Nice list Jonathon, I agree with your list and I like the Sonny Rollins album you named. Many people would choose Saxophone Colussus and Tenor Madness which are high on my list as well but The Bridge is a great classic album as well.
I agree with the Bill Evans trio but I have to disagree with the Gerry Mulligan pianoless quartet. Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus would be in my opinion the best pianoless quartet album. I am HUGE fan of John Coltrane and have pretty much all of his albums from all periods and I do enjoy Blue Train. Its one of my favorite albums but I do prefer Giant Steps, Crescent, and Coltrane's Sound over it.
"Greatest album of all time" is a very bad way to define music. Art exists on its own merits. Comparing it to other art is a useless exercise. Kind of Blue is a classic Jazz album. Is it better than Giant Steps? No. Someone might like it better though.
Jazz at Massey Hall Miles Davis - Kind of blue Sonny Rollins - Way out west Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners Thelonious Monk - Underground Art tatum and Ben Webster (The Tatum group masterpieces vol. 8) Charles Mingus - The black saint and the sinner lady Masterpieces by Ellington
Best? Impossible to say, but here are a few I've learned from in the way of opening my taste to new worlds.
"Kind of Blue." Of course. This album contains bits from some of the most important players of all time, just having fun and creating deathless art at the same time.
"Africa/Brass." The title cut is a jaw-dropper, even after half a century. Eric Dolphy's horn arrangement adds the right touch of breathtaking emotional power, and Elvin Jones' solo is truly psychedelic. Just as important, this represents a truly successful attempt to free jazz from confining changes, and move it toward riffing as a compositional device. In that respect, it was one of the first "fusion" albums.
"74 Miles Away." The Adderleys and Zawinul live, at their rockin' best, and their most musically witty. Zawinul's blues/gospel/rock/boogie sensibility was never grittier, and the "prepared piano" solo is a trip, as is Nat's "solo" for trumpet mouthpiece -- and no trumpet.
Since I'm a guitar guy:
"Reinventions." Sandy Bull's musical experiments paved the way for a lot of what later came to be called "jazz/rock." I review this album. Click my name with your mouse.
"Birds of Fire." The ultimate brain-damage guitar album of all time. Warning: do NOT listen to this on LSD, or you might spend time in a mental institution.
"Offramp." Pat Metheny's "mid-west farm-boy jazz" sensibility here reached its ultimate level of creativity. This is THE record to play when you're driving on the interstate at sunset.
"Upside/Downside." Mike Stern's style, halfway between Jim Hall and blues great Roy Buchanan, goes off into street-fight territory here. With help from Jaco, this SHREDS. Forget Clapton, let alone SRV.