All-Time Favorite Jazz Albums Since 1949

I’m hardly an expert on jazz. However, along with growing up listening to the typical rock, pop and soul canon of the 50s-80s, I did also have my grandparents’ big band records around to listen to. I played cornet/trumpet as a kid and listened to a fair amount of jazz on records from the school library and some concerts. My teenage years were pretty jazz-less until I got to college and resumed exploring, branching off from favorites Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane.

  1. Charles Mingus – The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (Impulse!) 63

  2. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (Impulse) 65
  3. Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue (Columbia) 59
  4. Eric Dolphy – Out To Lunch! (Prestige) 64
  5. Miles Davis – In A Silent Way (Columbia) 69
  6. John Coltrane – My Favorite Things (Atlantic) 60
  7. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (Columbia) 70
  8. Cecil Taylor – Unit Structures (Blue Note) 66
  9. Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah-Um (Columbia) 59
  10. Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchidananda (Impulse) 70
  11. Ornette Coleman – The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Atlantic) 59
  12. George Russell – Electronic Sonata For Souls Loved By Nature (Soul Note) 67
  13. Albert Ayler – Spiritual Unity (ESP) 64
  14. Cecil Taylor – Nefertiti (Freedom) 62
  15. John Coltrane – Crescent (Impulse) 64
  16. Oliver Nelson – The Blues And The Abstract Truth (Impulse) 61
  17. John Coltrane – Giant Steps (Atlantic) 59
  18. John Coltrane – Ole Coltrane (Atlantic) 61
  19. Pharoah Sanders – Karma (Impulse!) 69
  20. Herbie Hancock – Sextant (Columbia) 73
  21. Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus (Prestige) 56
  22. Charles Mingus – New Tijuana Moods (Bluebird) 57
  23. John McLaughlin – Extrapolation (Polydor) 69
  24. John Coltrane – Meditations (Impulse) 65
  25. Charles Mingus – Pithecanthropus Erectus (Atlantic) 56
  26. Joáo Gilberto – Chega de Saudade (Capitol) 59
  27. John Coltrane – Coltrane Plays The Blues (Atlantic) 60
  28. Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners (Riverside) 56

  29. Donald Byrd – A New Perspective (Blue Note) 63
  30. Ornette Coleman – Free Jazz (Atlantic) 60
  31. Charles Mingus – Mingus At Antibes (Atlantic) 60
  32. Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out (Columbia) 59

  33. Charles Mingus – Let My Children Hear Music (Columbia) 72
  34. John Coltrane – Ascension (Impulse) 65

  35. Sonny Sharrock – Black Woman (Vortex) 69
  36. Peter Brötzmann РMachine Gun (FMP/Unheard Music) 68

  37. Pharoah Sanders – Jewels Of Thought (Impulse) 69
  38. Lonnie Liston Smith – Expansions (RCA) 74
  39. John Coltrane – Blue Train (Blue Note) 57
  40. Charles Mingus – Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Impulse) 63

  41. Donald Byrd – Black Byrd (Blue Note) 73
  42. Pharoah Sanders – Black Unity (Impulse) 71
  43. Pharoah Sanders – Thembi (Impulse) 71
  44. Charles Mingus – Oh Yeah (Atlantic) 61

  45. Dave Holland Quartet – Conference Of The Birds (ECM) 72
  46. Jackie McLean – Destination Out! (Blue Note) 63
  47. Charles Mingus – Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus (Candid) 60
  48. Charles Mingus – Town Hall Concert (Jazz Workshop/OJC) 64
  49. The Horace Silver Quintet – Song for My Father (Blue Note) 64
  50. Herbie Hancock – Crossings (WB) 72
  51. Herbie Hancock – Mwandishi (WB) 71

  52. Pharoah Sanders – Tauhid (Impulse) 67
  53. Donald Byrd – Places And Spaces (Blue Note) 75
  54. Sonny Sharrock – Ask The Ages (Axiom) 91
  55. Grant Green – Idle Moments (Blue Note) 65
  56. Hank Mobley – Soul Station (Blue Note) 60
  57. Sarah Vaughan – Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown (Verve) 54
  58. Dizzy Gillespie – At Newport (Verve) 57

  59. Sonny Clark – Cool Struttin’ (Blue Note) 58
  60. Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder (Blue Note) 63
  61. Andrew Hill – Point Of Departure (Blue Note) 64
  62. Herbie Hancock – Empyrean Isles (Blue Note) 64

  63. Joe Henderson – Page One (Blue Note) 63
  64. Miles Davis – Sketches Of Spain (Columbia) 60
  65. Miles Davis – Round About Midnight (Columbia) 56
  66. Stan Getz/Joáo Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim (Verve) 63

  67. Ornette Coleman – Science Fiction (Columbia) 71
  68. Carla Bley and Paul Haines – Escalator Over The Hill (ECM) 71
  69. Sun Ra – Other Planes of There (Evidence) 64
  70. Duke Ellington – Ellington at Newport (Columbia) 56

  71. Lee Morgan – Search For The New Land (Blue Note) 64
  72. Albert Ayler – Live In Greenwich Village (Impulse) 66
  73. Ahmad Jamal – The Awakening (Impulse) 70
  74. Sonny Rollins – Way Out West (Contemporary) 57
  75. Ornette Coleman – Change Of The Century (Atlantic) 59

  76. Anthony Braxton – For Alto (Delmark) 68
  77. John Coltrane – The John Coltrane Quartet Plays (Impulse) 65
  78. John Coltrane – Sun Ship (Impulse) 65
  79. Sun Ra & his Arkestra – The Magic City (Saturn) 65

  80. Charlie Haden – Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse!) 69
  81. Lonnie Liston Smith – Astral Traveling (RCA) 73
  82. Don Cherry – Mu (Actuel/Charly) 69
  83. Sun Ra – The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol. 1 (ESP) 65
  84. John Coltrane – Ballads (Impulse) 61

  85. Herbie Hancock – Takin’ Off (Blue Note) 62
  86. The Tony Williams Lifetime – Emergency (Polydor) 69
  87. Miles Davis – Birth Of The Cool (Capitol) 50
  88. John Coltrane – Africa/Brass (Impulse) 61

  89. Sonny Sharrock – Guitar (Enemy) 86
  90. Charles Mingus – Mingus at Carnegie Hall (Atlantic) 74
  91. Charles Mingus – The Great Concert, 1964 (Musidisc) 64
  92. Duke Ellington with Max Roach and Charles Mingus – Money Jungle (Blue Note) 62
  93. Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars – Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy (Columbia) 54
  94. George Russell – New York, N.Y. (Decca) 59
  95. Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil (Blue Note) 64

  96. Thelonious Monk – Straight, No Chaser (Columbia) 67
  97. Sun Ra – Jazz In Silhouette (Evidence) 58
  98. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – Moanin’ (Blue Note) 58
  99. Ornette Coleman – This Is Our Music (Atlantic) 59
  100. Ornette Coleman – The Art Of The Improvisers (Atlantic) 60
  101. Bill Evans Trio – Waltz For Debby (Riverside/OJC) 61
  102. John Coltrane – Coltrane (Impulse) 62
  103. Don Cherry – Symphony For Improvisers (Blue Note) 66
  104. Duke Ellington – The Far East Suite (Bluebird) 66

  105. Archie Shepp – Attica Blues (Impulse) 72
  106. George Russell – Ezz-thetics (Riverside) 61

  107. Hank Mobley – Straight No Filter (Blue Note) 66
  108. Sonny Rollins – A Night At The Village Vanguard, Vol. 2 (Blue Note) 57
  109. Thelonious Monk – Misterioso (Riverside) 58
  110. The Gil Evans Orchestra – Out of the Cool (Impulse!) 60
  111. John Coltrane – Coltrane Live At The Village Vanguard Again! (Impulse) 66
  112. Alice Coltrane – Ptah the El Daoud (Impulse!) 70
  113. Freddie Hubbard – Open Sesame (Blue Note) 60
  114. Jackie McLean – Let Freedom Ring (Blue Note) 62
  115. Charlie Parker – Bird And Diz (Verve) 50
  116. Jimmy Smith – The Sermon! (Blue Note) 58
  117. The Mahavishnu Orchestra – The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia) 72
  118. Sun Ra – Atlantis (Evidence) 67

  119. Wayne Shorter – Juju (Blue Note) 64
  120. Donald Byrd – Off To The Races (Blue Note) 58
  121. Hank Mobley – Roll Call (Blue Note) 60
  122. John Coltrane – Interstellar Space (Impulse) 67
  123. Albert Ayler Trio – Love Cry (Impulse) 67
  124. Archie Shepp – Magic Of Ju-Ju (Impulse) 67
  125. Alice Coltrane – Universal Consciousness (Impulse!) 71
  126. Alice Coltrane – World Galaxy (Impulse!) 71
  127. The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds Of Fire (Columbia) 73
  128. Miles Davis – E.S.P. (Columbia) 65
  129. Archie Shepp – Fire Music (Impulse) 65
  130. Albert Ayler Trio – Spirits Rejoice (ESP) 65
  131. Dizzy Gillespie – The Champ (Savoy) 53
  132. Modern Jazz Quartet – Django (Prestige/OJC) 55
  133. Lee Konitz – Subconscious-Lee (Prestige/OJC) 50
  134. John Coltrane – John Coltrane With Johnny Hartman (Impulse) 63
  135. Thelonious Monk – Thelonious With John Coltrane (Riverside) 57

  136. Thelonious Monk – Monk’s Dreamm (Columbia) 63
  137. Dizzy Gillespie – New Wave (Philips) 62
  138. Dizzy Gillespie – Something Old, Something New (Philips) 63
  139. Duke Ellington – Ellington Uptown (Columbia) 53
  140. Sun Ra – The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol. 2 (ESP) 65
  141. Miles Davis – A Tribute To Jack Johnson (Columbia) 70
  142. The Art Ensemble Of Chicago – With Fontella Bass (America) 70
  143. Art Ensemble of Chicago – Bap-Tizum (Atlantic/Koch) 72
  144. John Coltrane – Impressions (Impulse) 63
  145. John Coltrane – Coltrane Live At Birdland (Impulse) 63
  146. John Coltrane – Stellar Regions (Impulse) 67
  147. Freddie Hubbard – The Artistry Of Freddie Hubbard (Impulse) 62
  148. Sonny Rollins – Tenor Madness (Prestige) 56

  149. Albert Ayler – Prophesy (ESP) 64
  150. Count Basie – Atomic Mr. Basie (Roulette) 57
  151. Dizzy Gillespie – Gillespiana (Verve) 61
  152. Stan Kenton – New Concepts Of Artistry In Rhythm (Capitol) 52
  153. Ornette Coleman – Tomorrow Is The Question! (Contemporary) 59
  154. Red Garland Trio – Groovy (Prestige/OJC) 57
  155. Sun Ra – Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy (Evidence) 63
  156. John Coltrane – Live At The Village Vanguard (Impulse) 61
  157. John Coltrane – Newport ’63 (Impulse!) 63
  158. John Coltrane & Don Cherry – The Avant-Garde (Atlantic) 60

  159. Pharoah Sanders – Izipho Zam (Sunspots) 69
  160. Sun Ra – Interstellar Low Ways (Evidence) 60
  161. Sun Ra – Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow (Evidence) 62
  162. Sun Ra – Visits Planet Earth (Evidence) 58
  163. Charles Mingus – Reincarnation of a Lovebird (Candid) 60
    LI> Miles Davis – Miles & Coltrane (Columbia) 58
  164. Charles Mingus – Mingus (Candid) 60
  165. Miles Davis – Workin’ (Prestige) 56
  166. John Coltrane – Coltrane’s Sound (Atlantic) 60
  167. John Coltrane – Coltrane Jazz (Atlantic) 59
  168. Miles Davis – Steamin’ (Prestige) 56
  169. Miles Davis – Cookin’ (Prestige) 56
  170. Miles Davis – Relaxin’ (Prestige) 56
  171. Miles Davis – Miles Ahead (Columbia) 57
  172. Sun Ra – Angels And Demons At Play (Evidence) 60
  173. Sun Ra – Holiday For Soul Dance (Evidence) 60
  174. Charlie Parker (& Gillespie/Roach/Mingus/Powell) – Jazz At Massey Hall (Debut) 53
  175. Miles Davis – Milestones (Columbia) 58
  176. Charles Mingus – The Clown (Atlantic) 57
  177. Sun Ra – Super Sonic Jazz (Evidence) 56
  178. Sun Ra – The Nubians of Plutonia 58-59 (Evidence) 59
  179. Sonny Rollins – Freedom Suite (Contemporary) 58
  180. Sonny Rollins – A Night At The Village Vanguard, Vol. 1 (Blue Note) 57
  181. Sonny Rollins – Newk’s Time (Blue Note) 58
  182. Ornette Coleman – Ornette! (Atlantic) 61
  183. Sonny Rollins – The Bridge (Bluebird/RCA) 62
  184. Thelonious Monk – Thelonious Monk (Prestige) 54
  185. Ornette Coleman – Ornette On Tenor (Atlantic) 61
  186. Miles Davis – Seven Steps To Heaven (Columbia) 63
  187. John Coltrane – Soultrane (OJC/Prestige) 58
  188. Dizzy Gillespie – Jambo Caribe (Verve) 64
  189. John Coltrane – Black Pearls (OJC/Fantasy) 58
  190. Thelonious Monk – Alone In San Francisco (Riverside) 59
  191. Cannonball Adderly Quartet – Somethin’ Else (Blue Note) 58
  192. Miles Davis – Porgy and Bess (Columbia) 58
  193. John Coltrane – Duke Ellington and John Coltrane (Impulse) 62
  194. Sun Ra – When Sun Comes Out (Saturn) 63
  195. Charles Mingus – Mingus Dynasty (Columbia) 59
  196. Charles Mingus – Blues and Roots (Atlantic) 59
  197. Sonny Rollins – Work Time (Prestige) 55
  198. Miles Davis – ’58 Sessions (Columbia) 58
  199. Ornette Coleman – Twins (Atlantic) 61
  200. Ornette Coleman – To Whom Keeps A Record (Atlantic) 61

  201. Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters (Columbia) 73
  202. Herbie Hancock – Speak Like A Child (Blue Note) 68
  203. Archie Shepp – The Way Ahead (Impulse) 68
  204. John McLaughlin – Devotion (Restless) 70

  205. Alice Coltrane – Lord Of Lords (Impulse) 73
  206. Joe Henderson & Alice Coltrane – The Elements (Fantasy/OJC) 73

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