Jazz Artists and their Best Recordings

I have rearranged my “Best Jazz of All Time” list by artist.  Where possible, I have made the list chronological by the artist’s date of birth.  Certain ensembles with no lead individual follow at the end of the list.  The numbers in parentheses indicate how many of the original 20+ source lists contained this recording.

King Oliver (1881-1938)
King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band: The Complete Set (1923-24) (5)

Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941)
1926-1930 (1926-1930) (3)

Bessie Smith (1894-1937)
The Essential Bessie Smith (1923-33) (3)

James P. Johnson (1894-1955)
The Original James P. Johnson: 1942-1945 Piano Solos (1942-1945) (3) 

Fletcher Henderson (1897-1952)
Tidal Wave (1931, 1934) (2)

Sidney Bechet (1897-1959)
The Legendary Sidney Bechet (1932-1941) (2)

Duke Ellington (1899-1974)
The Okeh Ellington (1927-1931) (4)
The Blanton-Webster Band (1940-1942) (5)
Never No Lament (1940-1942) (5)
Ellington at Newport (1956) (7)
The Great Summit (with Louis Armstrong) (1961) (2)
Money Jungle (1963) (6)
The Far East Suite (1966) (7)

Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)
The Complete Hot Fives and Hot Sevens (1925-1930) (9)
The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1932-33, 1946-47) (3)
Complete New York Town Hall and Boston Symphony Hall Concerts (1947) (2)
Plays W.C. Handy (1954) (5)
Ella and Louis (with Ella Fitzgerald) (1957) (4)
The Great Summit (with Duke Ellington) (1961) (2)

Bix Beiderbecke (1903-1931)
Bix & Tram (1926-29) (3)
At the Jazz Band Ball (1927-1928) (2)

Fats Waller (1904-1943)
The Best of Fats Waller (1929-42) (2)

Coleman Hawkins (1904-1969)
Body & Soul (1939-1956) (5)

Count Basie (1904-1984)
The Complete Decca Recordings (1937-39) (6)
April in Paris (1955-1956) (2)
The Complete Atomic Basie (1957) (7)

Henry “Red” Allen (1906-1967)
World on a String (1957) (2)

Benny Carter (1907-2003)
Further Definitions (1961) (5)

Stéphane Grappelli (1908-1997)
Afternoon in Paris (1971) (2)

Art Tatum (1909-1956)
The Solo Masterpieces (1953-56) (3)
The Album (with Ben Webster) (1956) (3)
Pablo Group Masterpieces, Vol. 8 (with Ben Webster) (1956) (3)

Lester Young (1909-1959)
The Lester Young Story (1939-49) (2)
The Complete Aladdin Recordings (1942-1947) (3)
The President Plays with the Oscar Peterson Trio (1952) (2)
The Jazz Giants ’56 (1956) (2)

Ben Webster (1909-1973)
The Album (with Art Tatum) (1956) (3)
Pablo Group Masterpieces, Vol. 8 (with Art Tatum) (1956) (3)
Soulville (1957) (2)

Benny Goodman (1909-1986)
Live at Carnegie Hall (1938) (9)

Django Reinhardt (1910-1953)
The Classic Early Recordings in Chronlogical Order (1934-39) (2)

Artie Shaw (1910-2004)
Begin the Beguine (1938-1941) (2)

Stan Kenton (1911-1979)
New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm (1952) (2)

The Gil Evans Orchestra (1912-1988)
Out of the Cool (1960) (5)

Woody Herman (1913-1987)
Keeper Of The Flame (1949) (2)

Sun Ra (1914-1993)
Jazz in Silhouette (1958) (2)
The Magic City (1965) (2)
Atlantis (1967) (2)

Billie Holiday (1915-1959)
Lady Day (1933-1944) (7)
Songs for Distingué Lovers (1957) (2)
Lady in Satin (1958) (2)

Frank Sinatra (1915-1998)
Sinatra at the Sands (1966) (4)

Charlie Christian (1916-1942)
The Genius of the Electric Guitar (1939-41) (6)

Tadd Dameron (1917-1965)
The Complete Blue Note and Capitol Recordings of Fats Navarro & Tadd Dameron (1947-1948) (2)

Thelonious Monk (1917-1982)
Genius of Modern Music, Vols I & 2 (1947-52) (5)
Best of the Blue Note Years (1947-1952) (3)
Brilliant Corners (1957) (10)
The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings (with John Coltrane) (1957) (3)
Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (1957) (5)
Monk’s Dream (1962) (3)
Live at the It Club (1964) (2)

Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993)
The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1947-1949) (3)
Bird & Diz (1949-1950) (5)
The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall (1953) (8)
For Musicians Only (with Stan Getz & Sonny Stitt) (1956) (2)
Sonny Side Up (with Sonny Rollins & Sonny Stitt) (1957) (5)

Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)
The Complete Songbooks (1956-1964) (7)
Ella and Louis (with Louis Armstrong) (1957) (4)

Nat King Cole (1919-1965)
The Best of the Nat King Cole Trio: The Vocal Classics, Vol. 1 (1942-1946) (2)

Art Blakey (1919-1990) & the Jazz Messengers
A Night at Birdland (1954) (8)
Moanin’ (1959) (9)
Mosaic (1961) (2)

Charlie Parker (1920-1955)
Complete Savoy and Dial Master Takes (1945-1948) (10)
Charlie Parker with Strings: the Master Takes (1947-1952) (4)
Bird & Diz (1949-1950) (5)
The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall (1953) (8)

Dave Brubeck (1920-2012)
Time Out (1959) (13)

Yusef Lateef (1920- )
Eastern Sounds (1961) (2)

Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008)
Jimmy Giuffre 3 (1957) (2)

Charles Mingus (1922-1979)
The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall (1953) (8)
Pithecanthropus Erectus (1956) (5)
Mingus Ah Um (1959) (10)
Blues and Roots (1959) (4)
Presents Charles Mingus (1960) (4)
The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (1963) (7)
Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (1963) (3)

Fats Navarro (1923-1950)
The Complete Blue Note and Capitol Recordings of Fats Navarro & Tadd Dameron (1947-1948) (2)

Serge Chaloff (1923-1957)
Blue Serge (1956) (2)

Wes Montgomery (1923-1968)
The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery (1960) (8)
Bags Meets Wes (with Milt Jackson) (1962) (2)
Smokin’ at the Half Note (with the Wynton Kelly Trio) (1965) (4)

Erroll Garner (1923-1977)
Concert by the Sea (1955) (10)

Dexter Gordon (1923-1990)
Go! (1962) (8)
Our Man in Paris (1963) (5)

Milt Jackson (1923-1999)
Bags Meets Wes (with Wes Montgomery) (1962) (2)

Ellis Larkins (1923-2002)
Calling Berlin, Vol. I (with Ruby Braff) (1994) (2)

George Russell (1923-2009)
Ezz-thetics (1961) (4)

Bud Powell (1924-1966)
The Amazing Bud Powell, Vols I & 2 (1949-51) (8)
The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall (1953) (8)

Sonny Stitt (1924-1982)
For Musicians Only (with Dizzy Gillespie & Stan Getz) (1956) (2)
Sonny Side Up (with Dizzy Gillespie & Sonny Rollins) (1957) (5)
Boss Tenors in Orbit (with Gene Ammons) (1962) (2)

Sarah Vaughan (1924-1990)
Sarah Vaughan (with Clifford Brown) (1954) (8)

J.J. Johnson (1924-2001)
The Eminent J.J. Johnson, Vol. 1 (1953) (3)

Max Roach (1924-2007)
The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall (1953) (8)
Clifford Brown and Max Roach (with Clifford Brown) (1955) (9)
Study in Brown (with Clifford Brown) (1955) (7)
We Insist! Freedom Now Suite (1960) (5)

Gene Ammons (1925-1974)
Boss Tenors in Orbit (with Sonny Stitt) (1962) (2)

Art Pepper (1925-1982)
Meets the Rhythm Section (1957) (9)

June Christy (1925-1990)
Something Cool (1955) (2)

Jimmy Smith (1925-2005)
The Sermon! (1958) (2)
Back at the Chicken Shack (1960) (6)

Oscar Peterson (1925-2007)
The President Plays with the Oscar Peterson Trio (with Lester Young) (1952) (2)
Night Train (1962) (4)
Oscar Peterson Trio + One (1964) (2)

John Coltrane (1926-1967)
The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings (with Thelonious Monk) (1957) (3)
Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (1957) (5)
Blue Train (1957) (9)
Giant Steps (1959) (11)
My Favorite Things (1960) (9)
The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings (1961) (5)
A Love Supreme (1964) (15)
Ascension (1965) (4)

Miles Davis (1926-1991)
Birth of the Cool (1949-1950) (7)
Cookin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet (1956) (2)
‘Round About Midnight (1957) (4)
Miles Ahead (1957) (3)
Milestones (1958) (8)
Kind of Blue (1959) (18)
Sketches of Spain (1959-1960) (5)
Highlights from the Plugged Nickel (1965) (2)
In a Silent Way (1969) (8)
Bitches Brew (1969) (12)

Stan Getz(1927-1991)
For Musicians Only (with Dizzy Gillespie & Sonny Stitt) (1956) (2)
Focus (1961) (2)
Getz/Gilberto (with João Gilberto) (1964) (9)

Gerry Mulligan (1927-1996)
Best of Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker (1952-1953, 1957) (5)

Ruby Braff (1927-2003)
Calling Berlin, Vol. I (with Ellis Larkins) (1994) (2)

Lee Konitz (1927- )
Subconscious-Lee (1949-1950) (3)
Alone Together (1996) (2)

Eric Dolphy (1928-1964)
Out There (1960) (2)
Out to Lunch! (1964) (13)

Cannonball Adderley (1928-1975)
Somethin’ Else (1958) (11)
Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley (with Nancy Wilson) (1961) (3)

Art Farmer (1928-1999)
Modern Art (1958) (2)
A Portrait of Art (1958) (2)

Horace Silver (1928- )
Blowin’ the Blues Away (1959) (4)
Song for My Father (1965) (9)

Bill Evans (1929-1980)
Everybody Digs Bill Evans (1958) (3)
Portrait in Jazz (1959) (2)
Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1961) (11)
Waltz for Debby (1961) (11)

Chet Baker (1929-1988)
Best of Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker (1952-1953, 1957) (5)
The Best of Chet Baker Sings (1953-1956) (5)

Joe Pass (1929-1994)
Virtuoso (1973) (4)

Cecil Taylor (1929- )
Unit Structures (1966) (6)
Conquistador (1966) (2)

Clifford Brown (1930-1956)
Clifford Brown and Max Roach (with Max Roach) (1955) (9)
Study in Brown (with Max Roach) (1955) (7)

Hank Mobley (1930-1986)
Soul Station (1960) (10)

Abbey Lincoln (1930-2010)
Straight Ahead (1961) (2)

Sonny Rollins (1930- )
Saxophone Colossus (1956) (11)
Tenor Madness (1956) (4)
Plus Four (1956) (2)
Sonny Side Up (with Dizzy Gillespie & Sonny Stitt) (1957) (5)
Way Out West (1957) (3)
A Night at the Village Vanguard (1957) (5)

Ornette Coleman (1930- )
The Shape of Jazz To Come (1959) (10)
Free Jazz (1960) (4)
Change of the Century (1960) (5)

Ahmad Jamal (1930- )
At the Pershing (1958) (2)
Cross Country Tour: 1958-1961 (1958-1961) (2)

Jim Hall (1930- )
Concierto (1975) (2)

Sonny Clark (1931-1963)
Cool Struttin’ (1958) (5)

Wynton Kelly Trio (1931-1971)
Smokin’ at the Half Note (with Wes Montgomery) (1965) (4)

Jackie McLean (1931-2006)
Let Freedom Ring (1962) (3)

Andrew Hill (1931-2007)
Point of Departure (1964) (7)

João Gilberto (1931- )
Getz/Gilberto (with Stan Getz) (1964) (9)

Kenny Burrell (1931- )
Midnight Blue (1963) (4)

Oliver Nelson (1932-1975)
Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961) (9)

Wayne Shorter (1933- )
Juju (1964) (2)
Speak No Evil (1965) (13)

Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1935-1977)
We Free Kings (1961) (2)
Rip, Rig And Panic (1965) (4)

Grant Green (1935-1979)
Idle Moments (1964) (6)

Albert Ayler (1936-1970)
Spiritual Unity (1964) (7)

Carla Bley (1936- )
Escalator Over The Hill (1968-1971) (3)

Joe Henderson (1937-2001)
Page One (1963) (5)
In ‘n Out (1964) (2)
Inner Urge (1964) (2)
Lush Life: The Music of Billy Strayhorn (1992) (2)

Nancy Wilson (1937- )
Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley (with Cannonball Adderley) (1961) (3)

Charlie Haden (1937- )
Liberation Music Orchestra (1969) (3)
Beyond the Missouri Sky (with Pat Metheny) (1997) (3)

Archie Shepp (1937- )
Four for Trane (1964) (2)

Lee Morgan (1938-1972)
The Sidewinder (1964) (12)
Search for the New Land (1964) (2)
Cornbread (1965) (2)

Julius Hemphill (1938-1995)
Dogon AD (1972) (2)

Freddie Hubbard (1938-2008)
Open Sesame (1960) (6)
Red Clay (1970) (3)

McCoy Tyner (1938- )
The Real McCoy (1967) (8)

Larry Young (1940-1978)
Unity (1966) (5)

Sonny Sharrock (1940-1994)
Ask the Ages (1991) (3)

Herbie Hancock (1940- )
Takin’ Off (1962) (2)
Empyrean Isles (1964) (2)
Maiden Voyage (1965) (11)
Headhunters (1973) (7)

Pharoah Sanders (1940- )
Karma (1969) (6)

Roscoe Mitchell (1940- )
Sound (1966) (3)

Arthur Blythe (1940- )
Lenox Avenue Breakdown (1979) (2)

Chick Corea (1941- )
Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (1968) (5)
Return to Forever (1972) (5)

Bobby Hutcherson (1941- )
Dialogue (1965) (4)

Peter Brötzmann (1941- )
Machine Gun (1968) (3)

John Abercrombie (1944- )
Timeless (1974) (2)

Henry Threadgill (1944- )
Just the Facts (1983) (2)

Tony Williams (1945-1997)
Life Time (1964) (2)
Emergency (as The Tony Williams Lifetime) (1969) (2)

Keith Jarrett (1945- )
The Köln Concert (1975) (9)
Standards, Vol. I (1983) (3)

Anthony Braxton (1945- )
For Alto (1968) (3)

Dave Holland (1946- )
Conference of the Birds (1973) (7)

Jaco Pastorius (1951-1987)
Jaco Pastorius (1976) (5)

Warren Vaché (1951- )
2gether (with Bill Charlap) (2000) (2)

Bill Frisell (1951- )
Blues Dream (2001) (2)

Joe Lovano (1952- )
From the Soul (1992) (2)

Pat Metheny (1954- )
Bright Size Life (1976) (4)
Offramp (1982) (2)
Beyond the Missouri Sky (with Charlie Haden) (1997) (3)

Al DiMeola (1954- )
Elegant Gypsy (1977) (3)

Cassandra Wilson (1955- )
Blue Light ‘Til Dawn (1993) (6)

David Murray (1955- )
Ming (1980) (2)

Maria Schneider (1960- )
Concert in the Garden (2004) (2)

Branford Marsalis (1960- )
Requiem (1999) (2)

Wynton Marsalis (1961- )
Black Codes (From the Underground) (1985) (6)

Michel Petrucciani (1962-1999)
Solo Live (1999) (2)

Dave Douglas (1963- )
Strange Liberation (2003) (3)

Diana Krall (1964- )
All for You (1996) (2)
Live in Paris (2001) (4)

Bill Charlap (1966- )
2gether (with Warren Vaché) (2000) (2)

Joshua Redman (1969- )
Wish (1993) (4)

Brad Mehldau (1970- )
The Art of the Trio, Vol. 1 (1997) (4)

Chris Potter (1971- )
Gratitude (2001) (2)

Madeleine Peyroux (1974- )
Careless Love (2004) (3)

ENSEMBLES

Modern Jazz Quartet
Django (1953-1955) (6)
Fontessa (1956) (2)
Last Concert (1974) (2)

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
Everybody’s Boppin’ (1959-1961) (2)

Art Ensemble of Chicago
Les Stances A Sophie (1970) (2)
Nice Guys (1978) (2)

Mahavishnu Orchestra
The Inner Mounting Flame (1971) (7)
Birds Of Fire (1973) (3)

Weather Report
I Sing the Body Electric (1972) (2)
Mysterious Traveler (1974) (2)
Black Market (1976) (2)
Heavy Weather (1977) (5) 

Return to Forever 
Romantic Warrior (1976) (2)

Trio Beyond 
Saudades (2006) (2)

One thought on “Jazz Artists and their Best Recordings

  1. Pingback: Authors and Auteurs: The Individual As Creative Force | Make Lists, Not War

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