6 Jazz Albums You Need To Listen To

By Rachel Brown

The following is a selection of what I think are the best jazz albums ever made. While I left out some of the greats like Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, and Ornette Coleman, the following six albums will give you a great taste of some of the most influential music ever created. The following albums are in no particular order and range from vocal jazz to bossa nova.

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Ella and Louis 

By: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, 1956

This album is a slow, relaxing album, where Louis’s deep bass voice and trumpet blends perfectly with Ella’s smooth alto. If you like vocal jazz, then this is a great album. It takes a selection of classic songs completely revamped such as “Cheek to Cheek” If you only have time to listen to one song, listen to “Under a Blanket of Blue’.

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Blue Train

By John Coltrane, 1958

If you like a fast-paced saxophone, this is the perfect album for you. Coltrane plays quickly, but it is somehow smooth at the same time. My favorite song on this album is “Lazy Bird.”

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Getz/Gilberto

By Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz, 1964

This album is the only bossa nova on here, but it has jazz flavors, and it’s a classic, so I felt it merited a spot on this list. This album is great to study to, and the voices are soft, and the guitar is gentle. Bossa nova is in Portuguese. This collection features the ultimate bossa nova classic: The Girl from Ipanema.

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Kind of Blue

By Miles Davis, 1959

This album contains some of the most influential jazz. You can hear the slow saxophone meshing with the piano in songs like “Blue in Green.” If you like drums, listen to “Love for Sale,” where the cymbals dictate the entire motion of the sax. This album will show you how cacophony can be music in itself.

Straight, No Chaser

By Theolonius Monk, 1967

Monk had schizophrenia, and while this disease tormented him in life, it helped to create some brilliant music. He thought he could hear notes that weren’t even on the piano, so he would play two chords next to each other to play the note that wasn’t there. This album is primarily piano, and there is just as much music in the silence as in the notes. If you only listen to one song from this entire article, I recommend “Locomotive.” The drums, saxophone, and piano blend perfectly to create a fast-paced masterpiece.

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Recita

By Billie Holiday, 1956

Billie Holiday has a smooth, beautiful voice. This album combines her voice with her incredible music blend to create one of the best jazz albums ever written. She would often improvise her words and melodies mid-recording. I feel that “Autumn in New York” is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.