Jazz-L Top "100" list

Many people seem to want to know about recordings they should have. This is one attempt to answer this sort of question. I don't think it is at all satisfactory, since there are thousands of recordings that are necessary. This list was generated by some of the subscribers to the Jazz-L mailing list, compiled by Eric Saidel, and I have added links. The links are selected quasi-randomly. Look around on the web for much more on these and many other artists. There are other lists like this one, for instance pianist Ramsey Lewis has one, and there's the Penguin Guide one!

Numbers above each group represent the number of votes records in that group received.


  1. Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
  2. 12

  3. John Coltrane: Giant Steps
  4. 9 (3)

  5. Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
  6. Charles Mingus: Ah Um
  7. Oliver Nelson: Blues and Abstract Truth
  8. 8 (2)

  9. John Coltrane: Love Supreme
  10. Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus
  11. 7

  12. Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch
  13. 6 (7)

  14. Louis Armstrong: Hot Fives and Sevens
  15. Dave Brubeck: Time Out
  16. Miles Davis: Sketches of Spain
  17. Thelonious Monk: Brilliant Corners
  18. Wayne Shorter: Speak No Evil
  19. Henry Threadgill: Too Much Sugar for a Dime
  20. John Zorn: Masada - Alef
  21. 5 (8)

  22. Ornette Coleman: Shape of Jazz To Come
  23. Miles Davis: Porgy And Bess
  24. Duke Ellington and his Orchestra At Newport
  25. Dave Holland: Conference of the Birds
  26. Charles Mingus: Black Saint & the Sinner Lady
  27. Charles Mingus: Live At Antibes
  28. Thelonious Monk: Monk's Music
  29. Sonny Sharrock: Ask the Ages
  30. 4 (17)

  31. Cannonball Adderly: Somethin' Else
  32. Benny Carter: Further Definitions
  33. Ornette Coleman: Change of The Century
  34. John Coltrane: Blue Trane
  35. Duke Ellington: The Far East Suite
  36. Duke Ellington: Blanton/Webster Band
  37. Bill Evans: Waltz for Debby
  38. Gil Evans: Out of the Cool
  39. Dexter Gordon: Our Man in Paris
  40. Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage
  41. Joe Lovano: From the Soul
  42. Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Inner Mounting Flame
  43. David Murray: Ming
  44. Charlie Parker: The Dial Sessions
  45. Charlie Parker: Massey Hall
  46. Art Pepper: Meets the Rhythm Section
  47. World Saxophone Quartet: Plays Duke Ellington
  48. 3 (25)

  49. Count Basie: Atomic Basie
  50. Art Blakey: Moanin'
  51. Don Byron: Tuskegee Experiments
  52. Ornette Coleman: Dancing in Your Head
  53. Miles Davis: Miles Ahead
  54. Miles Davis: In a Silent Way
  55. Miles Davis: Nefertiti
  56. Jack DeJohnette: Album Album
  57. Eric Dolphy: Outward Bound
  58. Eric Dolphy: At the Five Spot, vol. 1
  59. Ella Fitzgerald And Louis Armstrong
  60. Stan Getz: Getz/Gilberto
  61. Stan Getz: Jazz Samba
  62. Charlie Haden: Ballad of the Fallen
  63. Charlie Haden: Liberation Music Orchestra
  64. Coleman Hawkins: Body and Soul
  65. Joe Henderson: Inner Urge
  66. Joe Lovano: Rush Hour
  67. John Mclaughlin: Extrapolations
  68. Charles Mingus: Blues And Roots
  69. Max Roach: Freedom Now Suite
  70. Horace Silver: Song for my Father
  71. Horace Silver: Blowin' the Blues Away
  72. Weather Report: Heavy Weather
  73. Weston, Randy: Spirits of Our Ancestors
  74. 2 (79)

  75. George Adams/Don Pullen: Breakthrough
  76. George Adams/Don Pullen: Live at the Village Vanguard
  77. Cannonball Adderley: (Sextet) Live in New York
  78. Louis Armstrong: And Earl Hines
  79. Art Ensemble of Chicago: Nice Guys
  80. Albert Ayler: Live At Greenwhich Village
  81. Count Basie: The Compete Decca Recordings
  82. Arthur Blythe: Lenox Avenue Breakdown
  83. Anthony Braxton: New York Fall 1974
  84. Don Cherry: El Corazon (with Ed Blackwell)
  85. Ornette Coleman: Free Jazz
  86. John Coltrane: Afro Blue Impressions
  87. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
  88. John Coltrane: My Favorite Things
  89. John Coltrane: Ole Coltrane
  90. Miles Davis: Miles Smiles
  91. Miles Davis: Walkin'
  92. Miles Davis: Milestones
  93. Miles Davis: A Tribute to Jack Johnson
  94. Duke Ellington: MONEY JUNGLE
  95. Don Ellis: Electric Bath
  96. Bill Evans: Portrait in Jazz
  97. Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook
  98. Errol Garner: Concert by the Sea
  99. Stan Getz: Focus
  100. Jimmy Giuffre: The Jimmy Giuffre 3
  101. Benny Goodman: Carnegie Hall Concert
  102. Grant Green: Feelin' the Spirit
  103. John Handy: Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival 1965
  104. Joe Henderson: So Near, So Far
  105. Woody Herman: The Thundering Herds
  106. Andrew Hill: Point of Departure
  107. The Quintessential Billie Holiday, Volume 4
  108. Dave Holland: Razors Edge
  109. Bobby Hutcherson: Dialogue
  110. Abdullah Ibrahim: Water from an Ancient Well
  111. Elvin Jones: Mr. Jones
  112. Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross: Everybody's Boppin
  113. Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross: Sing A Song of Basie
  114. Yusef Lateef: Eastern Sounds
  115. Wynton Marsalis: Citi Movement
  116. John Mclaughlin: My Goal's Beyond
  117. Jackie McLean: Let Freedom Ring
  118. Carmen McRae: Sings Monk
  119. Charles Mingus: Let My Children Hear Music
  120. Charles Mingus: Presents Charles Mingus
  121. Charles Mingus: The Great Paris Concert of 1964
  122. Charles Mingus: Changes I & II
  123. Hank Mobley: Soul Station
  124. Modern Jazz Quartet: Django
  125. Wes Montgomery: Incredible Jazz Guitar
  126. Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder
  127. David Murray: The Hill
  128. David Murray: Big Band
  129. Fats Navarro and Tadd Dameron: The Complete on Blue Note
  130. Bird and Diz
  131. Charlie Parker: The Complete Dial Masters
  132. Charlie Parker: The Savoy Sessions
  133. Joe Pass: Virtuoso
  134. Art Pepper: Modern Jazz Classics
  135. Bud Powell: Genius of Bud Powell
  136. Don Pullen: Ode To Life
  137. Freddie Redd Quartet: THE MUSIC FROM 'THE CONNECTION'
  138. Dewey Redman: The Ear of the Behearer
  139. George Russell: Ezz-thetics
  140. Maria Schneider: Evanescence
  141. Archie Shepp: Fire Music
  142. Jimmy Smith: The Sermon
  143. Cecil Taylor: Unit Structures
  144. Cecil Taylor: Silent Tongues
  145. Henry Threadgill: You Know the Number
  146. Cal Tjader: Soul Sauce
  147. Lennie Tristano: Lennie Tristano/The New Tristano
  148. Steve Turre: Sanctified Shells
  149. McCoy Tyner: Sahara
  150. Sarah Vaughan: Sassy Swings the Tivoli
  151. World Saxophone Quartet: Dances & Ballads
  152. World Saxophone Quartet: Revue

Date created: Summer 1996
Originally compiled by Eric Saidel, based on input from mailing list subscribers
Last modified: 12 December 2005
Maintained by: Alan Saul