Jazz (by Scott DeVeaux and Gary Giddins) – Collecting Jazz Recordings (2009)

According to the authors, this is not a 100-best list of jazz recordings: “Each entry represents a way to explore a part of jazz and, with it, your own emotional and intellectual responses to it.” Ah nuts, you might say–usually covering this much ground leads to something totally generic. Thankfully, this list is too eccentric for that. It also proves an excellent expansion of Giddins’ Postwar Jazz: An Arbitrary Roadmap.

Jazz doubles as a college textbook, so its audience is assumed to be college-aged as of 2009. This leads to writing about the collecting of jazz records as if to preserve, for future generations, this lost rite of passage. Said journey leads to gorgeous aesthetic theory: “jazz is a blend of art and entertainment, and its first objective is to give pleasure.” Yes. “Listen to everything  with empathy, but don’t be intimidated into letting go of your bullshit detector–this applies to arts and to arts criticism. It even applies to this book.” Laurie Anderson hardly said it better. “Your taste will change over time, and if you are lucky, that will mean an expansion rather than a diminishment in interest, curiosity, and receptiveness.” Absolutely, though perhaps it’s not luck, but rather work worth doing. “There is something deeply creepy about middle-aged people who will listen to nothing but music that turned them on when they were teenagers.” Amen to that.

“Here is a list of 100 albums by 100 artists,” even if it turns out there are two number 34s, so scratch that and write in 101 (caveat: I have an early copy; this was likely corrected). Dates listed for each item are the year(s) of recording, and not necessarily the release date. No CDs include more than two discs, and multi-artist compilations are excluded. All albums were “available in one form or another in the final months of 2008,” say the authors, a stipulation which limited their list: “We were astonished that we could not find–as CDs or MP3s–suitable anthologies or classic albums by Jack Teagarden, Randy Weston, Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton, and, incredibly, the prewar Lester Young.” So make that 106? Never enough. Happy spelunking.

  1. Muhal Richard Abrams, Blu Blu Blu (Black Saint), 1990
  2. Cannonball Adderley, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! (Capitol), 1966
  3. Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, Boss Tenors (Polygram), 1961
  4. Louis Armstrong, The Complete Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings, vol. 3 (Columbia), 1928
  5. Albert Ayler, Spiritual Unity (ESP-Disk), 1964
  6. Count Basie, One O’Clock Jump: The Very Best of Count Basie (Sony), 1936-42
  7. Mildred Bailey, The Rockin’ Chair Lady (Verve), 1931-50
  8. Sidney Bechet, The Legendary Sidney Bechet (RCA), 1932-41
  9. Bix Beiderbecke, At the Jazz Band Ball (ASV Living Era), 1924-28
  10. Art Blakey, Mosaic (Blue Note), 1961
  11. Arthur Blythe, Focus (Savant), 2002
  12. Lester Bowie, The Great Pretender (ECM), 1981
  13. Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Clifford Brown and Max Roach (Polygram), 1954
  14. Dave Brubeck, Time Out (Columbia), 1959
  15. Jaki Byard and Roland Kirk, The Jaki Byard Experience (Prestige), 1968
  16. Don Byron, Tuskegee Experiments (Nonesuch), 1992
  17. Benny Carter, Further Definitions (Impulse!), 1961
  18. James Carter, Chasin’ the Gypsy (Atlantic), 2000
  19. Bill Charlap, Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note), 2007
  20. Charlie Christian, The Benny Goodman Sextet Featuring Charlie Christian (Sony), 1939-41
  21. Nat King Cole, After Midnight: The Complete Session (Blue Note), 1956
  22. Ornette Coleman, Sound Grammar (Sound Grammar), 2006
  23. John Coltrane, A Love Supreme (Impulse!), 1964
  24. Chick Corea, Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Blue Note), 1968
  25. Sonny Criss and Horace Tapscott, Sonny’s Dream (Prestige OJC), 1968
  26. Bing Crosby, Jazz Singer (Retrieval), 1931-41
  27. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (Columbia), 1959
  28. Eric Dolphy, Out There (Prestige), 1960
  29. Roy Eldridge, Roy Eldridge with the Gene Krupa Orchestra Featuring Anita O’Day Uptown (Sony), 1941-49
  30. Duke Ellington, The Essential Duke Ellington (Sony), 1927-60
  31. Bill Evans, The Paris Concert, Edition One (Blue Note), 1979
  32. Gil Evans, Out of the Cool (Impulse!), 1960
  33. Ella Fitzgerald, Something to Live For (Verve), 1937-66
  34. Erroll Garner, Concert by the Sea (Sony), 1955
  35. Stan Getz and Kenny Barron, People Time (Polygram), 1992
  36. Dizzy Gillespie, A Night in Tunisia: The Very Best of Dizzy Gillespie (RCA), 1946-49
  37. Benny Goodman, Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Sony), 1938
  38. Dexter Gordon, Go! (Blue Note), 1962
  39. Herbie Hancock, Maiden Voyage (Blue Note), 1965
  40. Roy Hargrove, Habana (Polygram), 1997
  41. Johnny Hartman, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse!), 1963
  42. Coleman Hawkins, Ken Burns Jazz Collection (Polygram), 1926-63
  43. Roy Haynes, Roy Haynes Trio Featuring Danilo Perez and John Pattitucci (Polygram), 2000
  44. Fletcher Henderson, Ken Burns Jazz Collection (Sony), 1924-40
  45. Woody Herman, Blowin’ Up a Storm: The Columbia Years (Sony), 1945-47
  46. Andrew Hill, Point of Departure (Blue Note), 1964
  47. Billie Holiday, Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday (Sony), 1935-42
  48. Dave Holland, Conference of the Birds (ECM), 1972
  49. Keith Jarrett, Whisper Not (ECM), 1999
  50. Stan Kenton, Contemporary Concepts (Blue Note), 1955
  51. Lee Konitz, Motion (Verve), 1961
  52. George Lewis, Jazz in the Classic New Orleans Tradition (Riverside OJC), 1950
  53. Abbey Lincoln, You Gotta Pay the Band (Polygram), 1991
  54. Joe Lovano, Joyous Encounter (Blue Note), 2005
  55. Jimmie Lunceford, Rhythm Is Our Business (ASV Living Era), 1933-40
  56. Rudresh Mahanthappa, Kinsmen (PI), 2008
  57. Wynton Marsalis, Standards & Ballads (Sony), 1983-97
  58. John McLaughlin, Live at the Royal Festival Hall (Polygram), 1989
  59. Brad Mehldau, Live (Nonesuch), 2008
  60. Charles Mingus, The Black Saint & the Sinner Lady (Impulse!), 1963
  61. Roscoe Mitchell, Sound (Delmark), 1966
  62. Modern Jazz Quartet, Django (Prestige), 1953-54
  63. Thelonious Monk, The Best of the Blue Note Years (Blue Note), 1947-52
  64. Wes Montgomery, Smokin’ at the Half Note (Verve), 1965
  65. Jason Moran, Modernisitic (Blue Note), 2002
  66. Lee Morgan, The Sidewinder (Blue Note), 1963
  67. Jelly Roll Morton, Birth of the Hot (RCA Bluebird), 1926-27
  68. Gerry Mulligan, The Concert Jazz Band at the Village Vanguard (Verve), 1960
  69. David Murray, Shakill’s Warrior (Sony), 1991
  70. Fats Navarro and Tadd Dameron, The Complete Blue Note and Capitol Recordings (Blue Note), 1947-49
  71. Oliver Nelson, The Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse!), 1961
  72. King Oliver, Off the Record: The Complete Jazz Band Recordings (Archeophone), 1923
  73. Charlie Parker, Best of the Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings (Savoy), 1944-48
  74. Bud Powell, Jazz Giant (Verve), 1949-50
  75. Joshua Redman, Back East (Nonesuch), 2007
  76. Django Reinhardt, The Best of Django Reinhardt (Blue Note), 1936-48
  77. Sam Rivers, Fuchsia Swing Song (Blue Note), 1964
  78. Sonny Rollins, Road Shows, vol. 1 (Doxy), 1980-2007
  79. Jimmy Rushing, Mr. Five by Five (Pearl), 1929-42
  80. George Russell, Ezz-Thetics (Riverside), 1961
  81. John Scofield and Pat Metheny, I Can See Your House from Here (Blue Note), 1994
  82. Artie Shaw, Begin the Beguine (RCA), 1938-41
  83. Archie Shepp, Fire Music (Impulse!), 1965
  84. Wayne Shorter, Footprints Live! (Verve), 2002
  85. Horace Silver, Song for My Father (Blue Note), 1964
  86. Bessie Smith, The Essential Bessie Smith (Sony), 1923-33
  87. Jimmy Smith, The Sermon (Blue Note), 1958
  88. Art Tatum, Piano Starts Here (Columbia), 1933-49
  89. Cecil Taylor, Unit Structures (Blue Note), 1966
  90. Lennie Tristano, The New Tristano (Atlantic), 1955-62
  91. Joe Turner, The Boss of the Blues (Atlantic/Collectables), 1956
  92. Sarah Vaughan, Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown (Polygram), 1954
  93. Fats Waller, The Very Best of Fats Waller (RCA), 1929-42
  94. David S. Ware, Go See the World (Columbia), 1998
  95. Dinah Washington, The Essential Dinah Washington (Polygram), 1952-59
  96. Weather Report, Heavy Weather (Sony), 1977
  97. Chick Webb, Stompin’ at the Savoy (ASV Living Era), 1934-39
  98. Ben Webster and Oscar Peterson, Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson (Verve), 1959
  99. Cassandra Wilson, Belly of the Sun (Blue Note), 2002
  100. World Saxophone Quartet, Revue (Black Saint), 1980
  101. Lester Young and Teddy Wilson, Pres and Teddy (Verve), 1956
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