Best Jazz Albums: Top 10 Great Albums to Start Your Jazz CD Collection
More Great Music Recommendations
If you enjoy jazz and don't know where to begin your collection or simply haven't listened to very much , if any, jazz, but would like to, here's a list of albums to get you going. Enjoy!
1) Kind of Blue by Miles Davis
This album is a classic. I don't know anyone who doesn't enjoy it. Its subtle brilliant will blow you away. It's wonderfully relaxing to listen to any time you're at home. It's also a perfect album to play as background music during dinner parties.
2) Love Scenes by Diana Krall
I've seen Diana Krall in concert twice. The first time I saw her, she played at least four tracks from this album, and I was hooked. More than ten years later, I still think that this is one of her best albums.
Miles Davis - Freddie Freeloader
Diane Krall - Peel Me a Grape
3) Live Art by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
Amazon lists this album under "Jazz Fusion." Honestly I'm not sure what category is most appropriate, as it is far from strictly jazz, but I couldn't make this list without including at least one Bela Fleck album. This was the first Bela Fleck album I listened to. It's still one of my favorites. You can't go wrong with Bela Fleck, though, so if you can pick up something else of his first at the library or are just inspired to download a couple tracks from any of his albums, you won't be disappointed. He blends many different types of music together with his amazing banjo playing and ever changing also amazing group of musicians.
4) Anything Goes by Brad Mehldau
I've had the good fortune to see Brad Mehldau in concert three times. If you ever get the chance to hear him live, I highly recommend it. This is my favorite of his solo albums. Every track on this album is so good that I always listen to it straight through without skipping around.
5) The Enchantment by Bela Fleck and Chick Corea
I felt like I wasn't completely cheating by adding another Bela Fleck album to this list because this one is also by Chick Corea whose piano playing adds a wonderful element to Fleck's music.
6) Metheny / Mehldau self-titled
Hopefully you aren't feeling cheated at this point by another repeat name and another dual effort album. You won't be when you hear this album.
7) Summer Night in Munich by Oscar Peterson
I saw Oscar Peterson in concert during one of his final years with us. Some of his technical skills had been compromised because of his strokes, but you didn't even notice because all of his sensibility and subtlety was still there. Those same qualities come through in this album. (Also, on another positive note, he does not hum or sing into the microphone on this album as he does on some of his earlier ones.)
8) Time Out by Dave Brubeck
Even if you aren't familiar with this album, you'll probably be surprised by how many songs you recognize from it. The only problem that I have with Time Out is that it's simply too short. I'm left wanting another couple of songs, which is never a bad thing when it comes to any art form.
Dave Brubeck - Take Five
9) Head Hunters by Herbie Hancock
I first heard Watermelon Man in junior high when I was learning it in jazz band. If you haven't heard it before, you're missing out. It's worth picking up the entire album for the other three classic Herbie songs as well.
10) Christmas Songs by Diana Krall
I had to include one Christmas album on my list. I don't have a ton of Christmas albums, but I fully enjoy listening to the ones that I do have throughout the Christmas season every year. I'm a huge fan of her original Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas EP. It's not worth paying the used prices on Amazon for it, but you may be able to download the tracks. This later Christmas album is very solid, too. I love all of the big band arrangements.
Frequent a local record store.
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