joshuakennedy

Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time - Ranker

119 posts in this topic

Hello! I recently discovered these forums and I'm excited to find more recommendations for great jazz albums to check out. I've browsed the forums already and read about a lot of great stuff.

I've been working on a list of the greatest jazz albums of all time on Ranker. If you're not familiar with that site, it has lists of items which you can give a thumbs up or thumbs down, and it updates the list in real-time as you vote on the list. For example, if you give an album a thumbs up, it might bump up its ranking on the list. If you give it a thumbs down, it might bump it down. 

Feel free to check out the list below and vote on any albums you like/dislike. Also, you can add albums that aren't already on the list. Any suggestions for albums that are missing? 

http://www.ranker.com/list/the-greatest-jazz-albums-of-all-time/joshua-kennedy

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Thanks for posting, that was fun, but I have to ask - How did you do your initial selection? It's very Blue Note centric, and this is coming from a big fan of the label.

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1 hour ago, danasgoodstuff said:

Thanks for posting, that was fun, but I have to ask - How did you do your initial selection? It's very Blue Note centric, and this is coming from a big fan of the label.

Honestly, it's mostly just stuff that I'm more familiar with and is more my style, for the most part. I'm a big fan of the Blue Note stuff from the 50s-60s. Some of the stuff on list was recommended/added by other people. But the reason I'm sharing the list is to hopefully get more input on other stuff that might be good to add to the list too. 

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Good list:  just some of my personal favorites, worth the add I think.  Mostly post 60's and into the jazz rock, jazz funk, avant garde and mainstream areas.

Herbie Hancock: Flood (CBS/Sony, 1975)

Weather Report: Live In Tokyo (CBS/Sony, 1972)

VSOP Quintet: Tempest In the Colosseum (CBS/Sony, 1977)

George Benson: Beyond The Blue Horizon (CTI, 1971)

Jack DeJohnette: Special Edition (ECM, 1979)

Keith Jarrett: At the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings (ECM, 1994)

Kenny Garrett: Songbook (Warner Bros. 1997)

Michael Brecker: Michael Brecker (MCA/Impulse, 1987)

Lyle Mays: Lyle Mays (Metheny Group Productions/Warner Bros. 1986)

Tony Williams: Tokyo Live (Blue Note, 1993)

Jeff "Tain" Watts: Citizen Tain (Columbia, 1999)

Branford Marsalis Trio: The Dark Keys (Columbia, 1996)

Mulgrew Miller: Live at Yoshi's Vols 1&2 (Max Jazz, 2005/6)

Pat Metheny: Trio--> Live (Metheny Group Productions/Warner Bros, 2000)

Miles Davis: Tutu (Warner Bros, 1986)

Brad Mehldau: Back At the Vanguard--Art Of The Trio Vol. 4 (Warner Bros, 1999)

Wynton Marsalis: Live at Blues Alley (Columbia, 1987)

Ray Brown Trio: Bam! Bam! Bam! (Concord Jazz, 1988)

Pat Metheny Group: Imaginary Day (Metheny Group Productions/Warner Bros, 1997)

Pat Metheny Group: The Way Up (Metheny Group Productions/Nonesuch, 2005)

Wayne Shorter: Footprints Live (Verve, 2002)

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18 hours ago, CJ Shearn said:

Good list:  just some of my personal favorites, worth the add I think.  Mostly post 60's and into the jazz rock, jazz funk, avant garde and mainstream areas.

Herbie Hancock: Flood (CBS/Sony, 1975)

Weather Report: Live In Tokyo (CBS/Sony, 1972)

VSOP Quintet: Tempest In the Colosseum (CBS/Sony, 1977)

George Benson: Beyond The Blue Horizon (CTI, 1971)

Jack DeJohnette: Special Edition (ECM, 1979)

Keith Jarrett: At the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings (ECM, 1994)

Kenny Garrett: Songbook (Warner Bros. 1997)

Michael Brecker: Michael Brecker (MCA/Impulse, 1987)

Lyle Mays: Lyle Mays (Metheny Group Productions/Warner Bros. 1986)

Tony Williams: Tokyo Live (Blue Note, 1993)

Jeff "Tain" Watts: Citizen Tain (Columbia, 1999)

Branford Marsalis Trio: The Dark Keys (Columbia, 1996)

Mulgrew Miller: Live at Yoshi's Vols 1&2 (Max Jazz, 2005/6)

Pat Metheny: Trio--> Live (Metheny Group Productions/Warner Bros, 2000)

Miles Davis: Tutu (Warner Bros, 1986)

Brad Mehldau: Back At the Vanguard--Art Of The Trio Vol. 4 (Warner Bros, 1999)

Wynton Marsalis: Live at Blues Alley (Columbia, 1987)

Ray Brown Trio: Bam! Bam! Bam! (Concord Jazz, 1988)

Pat Metheny Group: Imaginary Day (Metheny Group Productions/Warner Bros, 1997)

Pat Metheny Group: The Way Up (Metheny Group Productions/Nonesuch, 2005)

Wayne Shorter: Footprints Live (Verve, 2002)

I've only heard a couple things from that list, so I'll have to check the rest of it out. Thanks for sharing. In the meantime, you're also welcome to add any of those albums to the Ranker list yourself. Anybody can add on.

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Great idea, Joshua!  I'll have to learn how to post an album cover.

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1 hour ago, GA Russell said:

Great idea, Joshua!  I'll have to learn how to post an album cover.

When you add an album, there is a spot to enter an image URL. Just enter that (copied from Google images or wherever you can find the album art) and click the little blue box with the triangle in it, and that should do the trick. For some reason it doesn't accept images from AllMusic.com, though. 

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13 hours ago, joshuakennedy said:

I've only heard a couple things from that list, so I'll have to check the rest of it out. Thanks for sharing. In the meantime, you're also welcome to add any of those albums to the Ranker list yourself. Anybody can add on.

My pleasure!

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3 hours ago, joshuakennedy said:

When you add an album, there is a spot to enter an image URL. Just enter that (copied from Google images or wherever you can find the album art) and click the little blue box with the triangle in it, and that should do the trick. For some reason it doesn't accept images from AllMusic.com, though. 

Thanks, Joshua.  I'll take a look.  AMG is my usual place for album covers.

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Must say I am a bit puzzled. It includes quite a few of the obvious, but like Danasgoodstuff says, it is all too Blue Note-centric (and BN from a specific period at that). Nothing against that - some of those deserve a rating if such a list would make sense AT ALL, but how anybody can establish an "of all times" list if the very starting point is (by his own admission) a very narrow one due to lack of exposure to what's beyond that (and there is PLENTY) is purely beyond me. Jazz definitely is more than hard bop and a bit of token styles around that. And then, some of those entries appear to be a bit based on hearsay and what is "supposed" to be considered great. Domnérus et al's "Jazz pa Stampen" as the sole entry of "Eurojazz" among the "alltime greats"? Oh come on ... It's nice enough but I'd rather consider it  "pleasant" all round, but not sensational. Definitely good enough to make it onto quite a few people's desert island lists, but beyond that? And I doubt even more so that any latter-day work by any of the bigger names would make it fairly far up into such a list if OBJECTIVE criteria (such as the stylistically definite of influential or even groundbreaking character of the music, for example) were applied - to the extent possible at all. And finally, with all due respect, 10 Hank Mobleys among the "Top 100" is just plain ridiculous in any such "all time great" list. This is wildly skewed and out of all proportion.

So I really am at a loss as to what this list is out to accomplish. Quite apart from the fact that once you get into reissues from the pre-LP era (such as the Fats Navarro and Lester Young KC sides included a bit up the list - not items I'd dispute, BTW, if you have to narrow down your choices somewhat), you'd have to go ALL the way to cover the pre-LP era, otherwise there never will be any such thing as an "of all times" list if THIS is omitted.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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15 hours ago, GA Russell said:

Thanks, Joshua.  I'll take a look.  AMG is my usual place for album covers.

I saw that you added a few choices and I went ahead and added the information and pictures for them. Thanks for contributing! 

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Blues in Orbit seems an odd choice for one of the very rare Ellington albums on the list. I would probably have chosen "Such Sweet Thunder" instead, and where's the Basie?  Decca's Basies should be toward the top.

 

gregmo

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14 hours ago, joshuakennedy said:

I saw that you added a few choices and I went ahead and added the information and pictures for them. Thanks for contributing! 

Thanks!

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Ok, let me be "that guy" - what is Ranker, and why?

Sorry, I'm old.

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21 hours ago, johnblitweiler said:

Lots of my favorites are far from great.

same.

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On 7/28/2016 at 7:13 AM, JSngry said:

Ok, let me be "that guy" - what is Ranker, and why?

Sorry, I'm old.

It is a site on which users can vote on lists for various topics - music, sports, movies, etc. Each vote (like or dislike) can affect the list. So every list on there (including this one) reflects the overall opinion of the voters, not the person who made the list. 

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Ok, thanks for that. I really did not knoe.

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On 7/27/2016 at 9:22 AM, Big Beat Steve said:

Must say I am a bit puzzled. It includes quite a few of the obvious, but like Danasgoodstuff says, it is all too Blue Note-centric (and BN from a specific period at that). Nothing against that - some of those deserve a rating if such a list would make sense AT ALL, but how anybody can establish an "of all times" list if the very starting point is (by his own admission) a very narrow one due to lack of exposure to what's beyond that (and there is PLENTY) is purely beyond me. Jazz definitely is more than hard bop and a bit of token styles around that. And then, some of those entries appear to be a bit based on hearsay and what is "supposed" to be considered great. Domnérus et al's "Jazz pa Stampen" as the sole entry of "Eurojazz" among the "alltime greats"? Oh come on ... It's nice enough but I'd rather consider it  "pleasant" all round, but not sensational. Definitely good enough to make it onto quite a few people's desert island lists, but beyond that? And I doubt even more so that any latter-day work by any of the bigger names would make it fairly far up into such a list if OBJECTIVE criteria (such as the stylistically definite of influential or even groundbreaking character of the music, for example) were applied - to the extent possible at all. And finally, with all due respect, 10 Hank Mobleys among the "Top 100" is just plain ridiculous in any such "all time great" list. This is wildly skewed and out of all proportion.

So I really am at a loss as to what this list is out to accomplish. Quite apart from the fact that once you get into reissues from the pre-LP era (such as the Fats Navarro and Lester Young KC sides included a bit up the list - not items I'd dispute, BTW, if you have to narrow down your choices somewhat), you'd have to go ALL the way to cover the pre-LP era, otherwise there never will be any such thing as an "of all times" list if THIS is omitted.

This list is more of a starting point than a final list of all the great jazz albums ever made. That's why I'm posting it on this forum and sharing it with other people and asking for their opinion. 

On 7/27/2016 at 6:10 PM, johnblitweiler said:

Lots of my favorites are far from great.

I've never understood this kind of thinking. Who decides what's "great" and what's not? If it's one of your favorites, why can you not consider it great? Music is very subjective and I don't think anyone can definitively say anything is "great" or "not great." 

On 7/27/2016 at 5:29 PM, gmonahan said:

Blues in Orbit seems an odd choice for one of the very rare Ellington albums on the list. I would probably have chosen "Such Sweet Thunder" instead, and where's the Basie?  Decca's Basies should be toward the top.

 

gregmo

Such Sweet Thunder is on the list. I do need to add some Basie. Somehow I overlooked him. 

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ALL of my favorites are great

 

NONE of them will be on any lists

 

still.....

 

Coming Down the Mountain

 

fwiw - that recording is one of my favorites and without any question, it is certainly a great one and I'm even more sure it's on not on any list anywhere. 

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Well, here's your chance to put it on one!

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

Well, here's your chance to put it on one!

Hahaha, exactly! That's the whole point of this. 

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6 hours ago, joshuakennedy said:

I've never understood this kind of thinking. Who decides what's "great" and what's not? If it's one of your favorites, why can you not consider it great? Music is very subjective and I don't think anyone can definitively say anything is "great" or "not great." 

To oversimplify:

As an old ancient Greek philosopher (forget his name) said, each mode (and by extension, melodies, harmonies, rhythms) creates specific effects in listeners. Textbooks show composers which combinations of sounds / rhythms / dynamics make listeners sad, happy, nasty, loving, etc. etc. For example, some emotions like sentimentality in music are relatively easy to invent. More active feelings, not so easy. If you're like Socrates, you think only music that inspires men to go to war should be allowed. A lot of listening and remembering and being aware of what's valuable in life goes into choosing which music is inherently good and which music you listen to merely to make you feel better. 

As for me, I wanta boogie tonight.

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5 hours ago, joshuakennedy said:

Hahaha, exactly! That's the whole point of this. 

Earlier you said it's all subjective. That's why I find lists like this a waste of time. Is the list supposed to convince someone about what is "great"?? In all fairness, the list might be good for "newbies".

If I did care, I'd care more about what Larry Kart, John Litweiler or Steve Reynolds think, than about a ranked list.

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5 hours ago, joshuakennedy said:

Hahaha, exactly! That's the whole point of this. 

All good but I always can dream that maybe, along with many other deserving lesser heard brilliant musicians who play improvised music, you or some others who might not be familiar with more than the well known wonderful mostly historical jazz of the 50's & 60's plus or minus a couple of decades, might go listen to Joe Maneri's incredibly original and striking music. Coming Down the Mountain, Let the Horse Go, Get Ready To Receive Yourself and,of course, the greatest of them all, Dahabenzapple really will never make any list, these recordings of his great quartet simply should be demanding a bit more attention. I realize they are not like anything on that list as they are all 100% improvised as I don't know of any Joe Maneri music made in his last only public performing period from 1993 to his retirement from performing in 2005 that wasn't, so there are never any of the guideposts that many believe they need to connect to the music. Samples don't work, first listens probably only offend, so I have no idea how I *heard* it so very clearly maybe the 3rd or 5th time I put one of the above recordings on my stereo back around 1997 or so. 

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