- Miles Davis Kind of Blue - this is my desert island album. Literally every note is perfect.
- Ellington at Newport - this is a partial recording of a live performance by the Duke Ellington big band at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956. Big bands were being killed by the move to bebop, and this performance basically saved the Ellington band and with it, Ellington's career and legacy. Get the full story at Wikipedia - it's a good one.
- Sinatra at the Sands - another live recording of a 50 year old Frank Sinatra fronting the Count Basie orchestra in Vegas in 1966. His voice is much rougher than the pure tenor of his youth, but his song interpretation just blows you away.
- Ella and Louis Again - the first lady of American song and the man who started it all.
- John Coltrane, the Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings - technically not one album, but it features multiple takes of Coltrane classics. Coltrane and Davis may be the two most central figures in jazz.
04 June 2010
DC Jazz Fest (happening right now and until June 13), my top 5 favorite jazz albums of all time: