100 Greatest Jazz Albums

By D. J. McAdam.

This list is designed to provide guidance in building your own personal jazz library.  Are the albums listed below absolutely, positively, unquestionably, the one hundred albums that all jazz aficionados will agree are the greatest?  No.  Are there albums not on the list that could easily be substituted for some of the albums on the list?  Yes.  Are new (remastered or otherwise) great jazz albums possible in the future?  I sure hope so. 

But here's the bottom line: do all of the albums listed below belong in the library of any true jazz enthusiast?  In my humble opinion, yes.  Regarding the ordering system (or lack thereof) - you don't really have to pay attention to it.  I'm not saying that number ten on the list is somehow "better" than number twenty.  But I'm pretty sure that I've listed one hundred albums.

A couple of other things. I didn't put every "historically important" jazz album on the list, and I didn't completely shy away from compilations. Basically, I pretty much went with, "What album would I buy if someone handed me money and told me to go purchase a hundred jazz albums by the end of the day?" Anyway, the main thing to keep in mind is that this is a list to have fun with, you cool cats, so have fun . . .


John Coltrane - A Love Supreme

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

Best of the Nat King Cole Trio: Vocal Classics 42-46

Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus

Thelonious Monk - Genius of Modern Music 1 and 2

Charles Mingus - AH UM

John Coltrane - Blue Train

Stan Getz & The Oscar Peterson Trio: The Silver Collection

Count Basie - The Complete Decca Recordings (1937-1939)

Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters

Art Blakey - A Night in Tunisia

Bird: the Complete Charlie Parker on Verve

The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five

Complete Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall Concert 1938

Chick Webb - Stomping at the Savoy

Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else

Art Blakey - Moanin'

Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris

Miles Davis - The Complete Birth of the Cool

Hampton & Getz

Kenny Burrell - Midnight Blue

Gerry Mulligan - The Original Quartet With Chet Baker

Dizzy Gillespie - Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945

Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown

Billie Holliday - Lady Day: The Master Takes & Singles

Dexter Gordon - Go

Bill Evans - Complete Village Vanguard Recordings 1961

Wes Montgomery - Echoes of Indiana Avenue

Hank Mobley - Soul Station

Charlie Christian - The Genius Of The Electric Guitar

Charlie Parker - Jazz at Massey Hall

Teddy Wilson - Pres & Teddy

Louis Armstrong - Hot Fives & Sevens

Duke Ellington - Ellington At Newport 1956

Jelly Roll Morton: 1926-1930

Oliver Nelson - Blues & The Abstract Truth

Portrait of Art Farmer

Ornette Coleman - The Shape of Jazz to Come

Art Tatum - 20th Century Piano Genius

Art of Bix Beiderbecke

Artie Shaw Story

Getz/Gilberto - Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto

Django Reinhardt - Classic Early Recordings in Chronological Order

The Incomparable Ethel Waters

Wynton Marsalis - Standards & Ballads

Fats Waller - Complete Recorded Works

Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton

Fabulous Sidney Bechet

The Complete Lionel Hampton Quartets And Quintets With Oscar Peterson

Definitive Vince Guaraldi

Essential Tito Puente

Fletcher Henderson - Wrappin' It Up

Helen Merrill - Complete Recordings

Benny Carter - Music Master

Gene Krupa Story [Box Set]

Eddie Condon - Jam Session: Coast to Coast Jammin' At Condon's

Grant Green - Idle Moments

Herb Ellis - 4 Classic Albums - Nothing But the Blues

Herb Alpert - Whipped Cream & Other Delights

Hank Mobley - Turnaround!

Wayne Shorter: The Complete Columbia Albums Collection

Sonny Rollins - The Bridge

Al Haig - One Day Session

Lester Young with Oscar Peterson Trio

Gil Evans - Out of the Cool

Jimmy Smith - Cool Blues

Clifford Brown & Max Roach: VME Series

Eminent J.J. Johnson

Paul Chambers - We Three

Ron Carter - All Blues

The Amazing Bud Powell

Errol Garner - Concert By the Sea

Frank Sinatra - Classic Sinatra

Ben Webster - Soulville

Tommy Dorsey - Complete Recordings 1935-1939

Very Best of Julie London

Nina: The Essential Nina Simone

George Benson - Give Me the Night

Buddy Rich - Mercy Mercy - Live at Caesars Palace 1968

Coleman Hawkins - Essential Sides 1929-1939

The Jazz Messengers - At the Cafe Bohemia

Serge Chaloff - Blue Serge

Art Pepper + Eleven

Etta James - Tell Mama: The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions

Jimmy Rushing - Complete Goin' to Chicago & Listen to the Blues

Bob Brookmeyer - Recorded Fall 1961/Brookmeyer/Tonight's Music Today/Blues Hot & Cold

At The Jazz Band Ball With Pee Wee Russell

Charlie Barnet - Drop Me Off in Harlem

Joe Henderson - Inner Urge

Jimmie Lunceford - Jukebox Hits 1935-1947

Mary Lou Williams - The Zodiac Suite

George Lewis at the Beverly Caverns Session

Paul Desmond - Pure Desmond

Woody Herman - The Thundering Herds (1945-1947)

Stan Kenton - Portraits on Standards

Lee Morgan - Sidewinder

The Fabulous Fats Navarro

Frank Sinatra - With Red Norvo Quintet - Live in Australia 1959

Jack Teagarden - Meet Me Where They Play the Blues






Copyright © D. J. McAdam· All Rights Reserved