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Best Blue Note Albums

Scott Williams "sneakyneighborsdog"
The list author says: "Pretty much every blue note album in the 50's and 60's during Alfred Lion's watch is a classic. I can't think of one I don't like. I hope to collect them all some day. This list represents my favorites ranked in order. I tried to weight by how much I like to listen to them rather than historical importance. One album I would have included but couldn't find, was Lou Donaldson's Midnight Sun featuring Horace Parlan."
Mosaic
Mosaic
"This is my favorite of many great Art Blakey recordings.  Every song is catchy and clever.  The band of Cedar Walton, Jymie Merrit, Curtis Fuller, with Morgan and Hubbard switching off on successive albums is my favorite Messenger lineup.  This CD features Hubbard."
The Cape Verdean Blues
The Cape Verdean Blues
"This tune cleverly weaves catchy soul jazz, Brazilian touches, and tropicalia.  I love everything Horace did, but this is my favorite.  J.J. Johnson's trombone on half of the tracks really adds something special."
Whistle Stop
Whistle Stop
"Features Philly Joe Jones on drums and Paul Chambers on bass.  Kenny Drew and Hank Mobley round out a stellar band.  The songs are inspired by Southwestern motifs and are my favorite Dorham compositions. Jones and Chambers are the best bass/drummer combo ever."
Indestructible
Indestructible
"This is a close second to Mosaic as my favorite Blakey album. This 1965 release features Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Cedar Walton, and Reggie Workman, all in their prime.  Another set of classic catchy songs."
Blue Spirits
Blue Spirits
"It's hard to believe this album wasn't released when it was recorded.  It is my favorite Freddie Hubbard CD.  Features a trio of classic pianists (Harold Mabern, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner).  It is a mix of soul jazz, post bop, and the avante garde."
Destination Out
Destination Out
"Jackie McLean, trombonist Grachan Moncur, and Bobby Hutcherson teamed up for several great albums.  This is some of the most accessible avante garde jazz ever recorded.  The vibes, McLean's nasal tone, and the brooding trombone of Moncur are surreal."
Page One
Page One
"Joe Henderson and Kenny Dorham were a magical combo.  Perhaps even more special than Miles Davis and John Coltrane.  Blue Bossa is one of my favorite all time tunes.  Recorda me and Out of the Night are classics too."
Blues Walk
Blues Walk
"Lou really popularized the use of the congos outside of a latin jazz context on this recording.  This is classic hard bop at its best."
Juju
Juju
"Alfred Lion took Coltrane's classic quarter and subbed Wayne Shorter for Coltrane to dramatic effect here.  Shorter's song writing combined with a killer band yielded awesome results.  McCoy Tyner is just a monster on this album."
Feelin' The Spirit
Feelin' The Spirit
"Grant Green blended spiritual classics with soul jazz for dramatic effect here.  These are insanely catchy tunes. Go Down Moses, Motherless Child, and Joshua Fit De Battle Ob Jericho will stick in your head for weeks."
Down With It (Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
Down With It (Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
"This is insanely catchy soul jazz featuring the dynamic duo of Mitchell on trumpet and Junior Cook on sax.  After Mitchell and Cook left Horace Silver they went on to create many great CDs together, this being the best."
Basra
Basra
"This CD features touches of Spanish and middle eastern music in a classic blue note hard bop setting.  Features Joe Henderson and Steve Swallow."
us three
us three
""Us Three" was the rhythm section of Parlan on piano, Tucker on bass and Harewood on drums.  This unit was the backbone of many great Turrentine and other soul jazz CDs.  Features the first version of the classic Wadin'.  The rap group US3 took their name from this trio."
Cornbread
Cornbread
"My favorite Lee Morgan CD.  The title track is one of the catchiest blue note songs ever.  The album also features his most classic ballad Ceora.  Features Billy Higgins, Herbie Hancock and Jackie McLean."
Breaking Point
Breaking Point
"Mirrors is probably my all time favorite jazz ballad.  The mirroring lines of Spaulding on flute and the warm tone of Hubbard are amazing."
Rollin With Leo
Rollin With Leo
"It's a shame that this baritone sax player died young due to drugs.  Leo was a great player and a great songwriter.  This CD reminds me a bit of Illinois Jacket, but with better recording quality and supporting cast."
Una Mas
Una Mas
"Kenny Dorham with Joe Henderson and Herbie Hancock.  Latin Soul Jazz classic.  More or less a follow up to Hederson's Page One that also featured Dorham."
Thing to Do
Thing to Do
"Island inspired Fungii Mama was a hit, and Thing To Do was a great tune too.  Features the classic duo of Junior Cook and Mitchell.  This CD features a young Chick Corea."
Undercurrent
Undercurrent
"Best album by this underrated pianist, featuring Hank Mobley on sax."
Contours
Contours
"The perfect post bop avante garde mix.  This is cerebral and exploratory music.  Rivers is tremendous on both flute and sax."
Soul Station
Soul Station
"This is Mobley's best work as a leader.  While he always played consistently great, there is a little extra emotion on this one.  He led a quartet featuring Art Blakey, Paul Chambers, and Wynton Kelly"
Inventions And Dimensions
Inventions And Dimensions
"This is basically a trio album with a conga player thrown in.  The material was improvised on the spot.  This is probably the only time bassist Paul Chambers played so free.  This CD features unique songs, great improv and percussion."
Midnight Blue
Midnight Blue
"Kenny was often the guitarist on Jimmy Smith's CDs.  Here he runs the show with Stanley Turrentine sharing the spotlight.  The CD features a conga player and some classic soul jazz songs."
Serenade To A Soul Sister (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
Serenade To A Soul Sister (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
"This is one of the last great blue note classics.  Horace's catchy pop infused, jazz tunes with subtle jungle/tropicallia influences got more an more sophisticated during each album in the 60's.  This CD represents the height of Horace's push in this direction."
Speakin' My Piece (XRCD24 Master)
Speakin' My Piece (XRCD24 Master)
"Horace and Stanley Turrentine sure do speak here.  This version of Wadin' is a requirement for all blue note collections."
Money Jungle
Money Jungle
"A meeting of the minds.  Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach meet up for a legendary trio outing."
Swingin Affair
Swingin Affair
"I like this follow up to "GO" even better than "GO".  Soy Califa, Backbone, and McSplivens are all catch classics."
Byrd in Hand
Byrd in Hand
"It took me several listens before I accepted this as the best work of the great Pepper Adams and Donald Byrd duo.  The pair had some great albums together, but this is the one I listen to the most."
Maiden Voyage
Maiden Voyage
"If I had to pick one album to define what post bop is, this is the one I'd pick.  George Coleman never played better than he did as Hancock's sideman here.  The album has an overall theme and brings everything together and every song flows together."
Etcetera
Etcetera
"It's hard to believe this was isn't released at the time it was recorded.  It is my second favorite shorter album after, JuJu.  "Toy Tune" has become a standard, and "Indian Song" is just fantastic."
Takin' Off
Takin' Off
"Herbie's debut album.  Both Watermellon Man and Driftin are classic catchy tunes."
The Ultimate Blue Train
The Ultimate Blue Train
"Coltrane's classic blue note album.  Features Curtis Fuller on trombone, Lee Morgan on trumpet, and Kenny Drew on piano"
Somethin' Else
Somethin' Else
"This album features a very rare appearance by Miles Davis as a sideman.  Perhaps the best versions ever of two standards, Autumn Leaves and Love For Sale are on this album.  The title track features classic call and answer between Davis and Cannonball Adderley.  One For Dadio is a classic too."
Empyrean Isles
Empyrean Isles
"Cantaloupe Island is one of the most famous jazz tunes from this era (Partly due to the rap group US3 that sampled it).  The rest of the album is solid too, but not quite as catchy as that tune."
Out To Lunch
Out To Lunch
"By far Dolphy's best and perhaps the best avante garde jazz CD ever.  Hat and beard is in my opinion the definitive free/avante garde jazz tune."
Song For My Father
Song For My Father
"This is the most critically acclaimed Horace Silver album.  I don't think it quite reaches the heights of Cape Verdean Blues, or Serenade for a soul sister, but it is darn good.  Steely Dan stole the melody of the title track for "Rikki Don't Lose that Number"."
Moanin'
Moanin'
"Lee Morgan's solo on the title track is one of the best solos ever and the title track, written by Bobby Timmons, is one of the best jazz tunes ever.  The CD features Benny Golson who is one of the best songwriters ever.  His classic "Along Came Betty" is also featured on the album."
Prayer Meetin'
Prayer Meetin'
"While most people would say "Back at the Chicken Shack" is Smith's best, I prefer Prayer Meeting.  The title track is super catchy, and the slowed down, unconventional version of "When the Saints Go Marching In" is just awesome."
Trompeta Toccata
Trompeta Toccata
"This version of Henderson's Mamacita is slower than the one on Blue Mitchell's step lightly and is better and is a must have for blue note fans.  The title track is killer too."
The Gigolo
The Gigolo
"Within about 20 seconds of hearing the opening notes of "Yes I Can, No you Can't" I knew I had to purchase every Lee Morgan CD.  Lee Morgan just slaps you in the face with how bad a** he is with that tune."