A list in no particular order of staple records that we’re listening to, celebrating International Jazz Day.
JOHN COLTRANE – A LOVE SUPREME
A spiritual awakening for famed jazz saxophonist Coltrane, who recorded the entire album live with the band.
MILES DAVIS – BIRTH OF THE COOL
A bold venture into Modern Jazz with his nonet, cutting 12 songs into this record which serves as a bridge between beboppers and a cool new jazz.
WAYNE SHORTER – SPEAK NO EVIL
A hard bop and modal jazz album by jazz pillar Wayne Shorter.
ART BLAKEY & THE JAZZ MESSENGERS – MOANIN’
A Blue Note Records classic, few bands in history are held in higher regards than Drummer Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Moanin’ features staples including “Are You Real,” “Along Came Betty,” “Blues March” and a drum‑centric Blakey piece, “The Drum Thunder Suite”.
DONALD BYRD – PLACES & SPACES
Byrd an accomplished trumpeter, having played with Art Blakey, Coltrane, Monk, Sonny Rollins, and Herbie, moved into funkier territory with Places and Spaces, using Soulful R&B sounds.
SONNY ROLLINS – SAXOPHONE COLOSSUS
An accomplished improviser, Tenor Saxophonist Sonny Rollins worked on constantly innoGSTing his sound while earning a spot in listeners’ hearts. Saxophone Colossus is easily among the greatest sets recorded.
THE DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET – TIME OUT
Studio album by one of the hottest jazz group using time signatures that were unusual for jazz. Featuring hit single ‘Take Five’, this record was the first jazz album to sell a million copies.
LONNIE LISTON SMITH – ASTRAL TRAVELING
Smith and his band Cosmic Echoes drew from the Astral Jazz Movement using embellished melodies and a collective groove. The album featured Geetha Vashi on the Tamboura, a signature instrument in Astral Jazz.
DUKE ELLINGTON – ELLINGTON AT NEWPORT
Jazz giant Duke Ellington’s infamous concert at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956 was so successful that it ended in riots. The album captures live mishaps as well as perfected studio renditions of the live concert.
ERIC DOLPHY – ‘OUT TO LUNCH!”
Recorded 4 months before his demise, this Blue Note Record by Eric Dolphy represents a pinnacle moment in avant‑garde jazz of the 60’s.
ESPERANZA SPALDING – EXPOSURE
Written and recorded in 77 hours, with tracks relying on rich wordless vocals from Lalah Hathaway and guitarist Matthew Stevens. Exposure is a stamp of accomplishment to her skills as a composer.
CHET BAKER – CHET BAKER SINGS
The charming Jazz Trumpeter Chet Faker’s album of vocal performance breaking the standard mold of modern jazz, which relied on instrumental prowess alone.
HERBIE HANCOCK – EMPYREAN ISLES
Founder of the International Jazz Day; the musical chameleon Herbie dips into Soul Jazz and Avant‑Garde experimentations on this album.
Manchester‑based Trumpeter Matthew Halsall’s second album that follows the same acoustic, modal jazz format as his debut, both released on Gondwana Records. A gentle, late‑night listening album, that says a lot by saying nothing.
CHARLIE PARKER – YARDBIRD SUITE
A bebop standard by Jazz Saxophonist Charlie Parker considered one his most lyrical compositions.
BUD POWELL TRIO & OTHERS – JAZZ AT MASSEY HALL
The coming together of Bud Powell, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus ‑ The Quintet at Massey Hall considered to be one of the greatest jazz concerts of all times.
KAMASI WASHINGTON – THE EPIC
Saxophonist‑Composer Kamasi Washington’s record, with 3 hours of music poised to secure the attention of jazz‑newbies. A love letter to soul jazz, like that of John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
THELONIOUS MONK QUARTET WITH JOHN COLTRANE AT CARNEGIE HALL
Unearthed tapes of the jazz master Thelonius Monk and the distinctive sounds of the tenor sax by John Coltrane in a lost and forgotten record released by Blue Note.
MILES & MONK AT NEWPORT
A live album of Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis playing separately at the Newport Jazz Festival.
ELLA FITZGERALD AND BILLIE HOLIDAY AT NEWPORT
A live album containing the two Jazz Queens’ performances at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival featuring a bevy of accomplished musicians.